IFPEN and REPSOL sign a framework collaboration agreement

15 January 2014 

IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) and REPSOL Technology Center have just signed a framework collaboration agreement for the joint conduct of research and innovation projects in the field of exploration and production. 

In order to identify new reserves and optimize production, IFPEN is developing basin modeling and reservoir characterization software to provide a better insight into the underground environment and help evaluate the oil potential. In parallel REPSOL is conducting technology research focusing challenging aspects of underground modeling and reservoir characterization, with application to key projects of the company. One of the main objectives of the collaboration is to validate and jointly develop these technologies using real data from the fields operated by the Spanish oil company. IFPEN and REPSOL will use these data to fine-tune the software and adapt it to the specific problems faced by REPSOL.

Some priority areas have already been identified in the area of carbonate reservoir characterization. To carry out their studies, IFPEN and REPSOL – via its Technology Center in Madrid – will draw on the expertise of their respective teams in the field of oil geosciences.

This collaboration may subsequently be extended to other research fields or exploration and production-related services.

“By combining our know-how with the experience of an operator like REPSOL, we will be able to develop innovative solutions that will help us optimize the production of oil reserves”, highlights Maurice Bouteca, Director of IFPEN’s Resources Business Unit.

“This collaboration will deliver new insights into some of the most challenging aspects of reservoir characterization and modeling with an important impact in future E&P projects”, says Santiago Quesada, Director of REPSOL’s E&P Technology.

IFP Energies Nouvelles is a public-sector research, innovation and training center active in the fields of energy, transport and the environment. Its mission is to provide public players and industry with efficient, economical, clean and sustainable technologies to take up the challenges facing society in terms of climate change, energy diversification and water resource management. In the field of conventional and unconventional oil and gas exploration and production, IFPEN develops innovative solutions based on a precise understanding of the mechanisms at play. In particular, these solutions draw on multiscale simulation and modeling techniques validated in the laboratory and on-site.

REPSOL is an integrated oil and gas company present in more than thirty countries, employing 23,000 people. The company is the market-leader in refining and marketing in Spain with a daily production of 360,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and a refining system, which can process 998,000 barrels of oil per day. During the recent years, the company has lived an important growth in upstream areas participating in some of the world’s largest discoveries. The REPSOL technology centre is one of the most advanced in Europe and the largest in Spain, spanning 56,000 m., with more than 400 scientists and researchers working at the facilities through the company’s value chain.

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IFP Energies nouvelles, a major player in the field of EOR (enhanced oil recovery)

IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) has just organized a workshop (The Chemical EOR Workshop: Key Success Factors) unenhanced oil recovery (EOR) on chemical enhanced oil recovery (EOR), held from 27 to 29 May 2013 in Rueil-Malmaison and attended by more than 60 EOR managers representing around 25 oil companies. The success of the event bears testimony to the importance of this theme for oil companies wishing to optimize the production of oil and gas reserves. 

Against a backdrop of growing demand and the depletion of conventional reserves, EOR is one of the major challenges for oil production. Although recovery rates vary from one field to another, the worldwide average is around 35%. Of the various possible EOR processes, the chemical method is one of the most promising, with the potential to increase recovery rates by 20%.

The workshop’s participants recalled the main issues related to the development of chemical EOR:

• The need for a high level of interaction between the disciplines of geosciences, chemistry and surface engineering to ensure the success of such operations;

• Ongoing R&D to overcome the major obstacles, in particular:

– development of chemical formulations suited to difficult reservoir conditions, such as high temperatures, high salinities, carbonates, etc.;

– development of simulation tools on a variety of scales (laboratory, pilot, field);

– optimization of the cycle for produced water used in the context of EOR.

Boasting over 25 years of EOR experience as well as simulation expertise, IFPEN is a key player in this field today. In 2010, IFPEN signed a strategic partnership with Beicip Franlab and Solvay (The Chemical EOR Alliance™). This alliance offers oil operators tailor-made EOR solutions, adapted to the specific characteristics of a given field.

Upstream of this industrial partnership, IFPEN aims to ensure its research is strongly positioned in this area. As part of this work, IFPEN is developing highly innovative high-throughput screening (HTS) techniques with its partner, Solvay, aimed at optimizing the EOR process in a short time.

IFPEN is also developing a complete chemical EOR module in its PumaFlow™ software on dynamic reservoir simulation. Marketed by Beicip Franlab, this software makes it possible to use the same physics from a laboratory scale to a field scale.

Finally, working in partnership with international oil industry players, IFPEN has initiated some ambitious studies designed to gain a clearer understanding of the impact of chemical EOR on surface water treatment facilities. Furthermore, this program is due to be extended from September 2013 via the launch of the DOLPHIN™ JIP (Joint Industry Project). Scheduled to last three years, this laboratory program will be open to all oil operators and will study the impact of chemical EOR on water management.

In addition to chemical recovery methods, IFPEN is also examining the development of processes combining several EOR processes, such as CO2/chemical or thermal/chemical methods, the aim being to improve their efficiency.

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