Pragma Well Technology and Pharis Energy have signed an agreement to pursue the development of a high temperature downhole safety valve, or downhole steam injection valve (DSIV), in a project backed by the OGTC.
Pharis is preparing a phased development plan for the Pilot field, which lies in block 21/27a, starting with a steam flood trial in the southern part of the field. The intention is to confirm that a highly economic steam oil ratio can be achieved. If this is successful, Pharis expects to be able to recover approximately 50% of the oil in place, more than 120 million bbl. If the steam oil ratios are higher than expected, the development scheme is designed to be easily adapted to implement a hot (65ºC) waterflood. Hot waterflood is expected to recover more than 50 million bbl from the Pilot field.
To implement steam injection offshore requires the development of a downhole safety valve that is rated for steam injection temperatures, which are in excess of 300ºC. Steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) and geothermal projects have driven the industry to develop downhole components rated for these high temperatures, but steam injection has only been undertaken offshore in countries with less stringent regulations than the UK Continental Shelf and where the installation of a downhole safety valve has not been required.
Pharis has decided that the best way to ensure well integrity is to include a DSIV in the well design. The project will design, build and certify a pair of valves.
This work has the potential to unlock the widespread application of steam flooding offshore and to enable the development of heavy oil fields that have so far been deemed too marginal to attract investment. Pharis estimates that steam flooding could enable the production of an additional 4 billion bbl from already discovered shallow heavy oil fields in high-quality sandstone reservoirs across the UKCS, more than the 800 million bbl that conventional recovery techniques can achieve.
“There is almost 1 billion bbl of heavy oil in marginal developments on the UK Continental Shelf. Steam flooding has the potential to dramatically increase recovery rates, and the DSIV project could help unlock significant reserves. We look forward to working with Pragma and Pharis on this innovative technology project,” Chris Pearson, Marginal Developments Solution Centre Manager for the OGTC, said.
“We’re thrilled to be working alongside the OGTC and Pharis in the development of the DSIV. We see real potential for this breakthrough technology, which will enable steam flood to unlock previously inaccessible reserves in the UKCS, with the potential to expand to further geographical regions,” Gary Smart, CEO of Pragma. “Collaboration is vital for the future of the industry, and the duo’s confidence in our ability to support this project, especially as a new start-up company, is testament to our deep technical knowledge of the energy sector.