“The prize is recognition of our research effort.
We have worked hard for this since 2002” 

Executive Summary
COREC, Center of Oil Recovery, was initiated by ConocoPhillips and the Ekofisk license in 2002 to increase the oil recovery and the national improved oil recovery competence through extensive research, competence building and education of new students at IRIS and University of Stavanger. 
COREC has contributed in building Norway’s fifth University, the University of Stavanger. The research projects within COREC have released both public funding and funding from other oil companies. The public funding constitutes one third of the total COREC funding of 148 million NOK. The research in COREC has contributed to the higher reserve estimates for the Ekofisk field.
In 2011, after nine years of continuous work, COREC received the IOR-prize from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, NPD, as recognition of the demanding and continuous research effort to improve the oil recovery, especially in chalk fields.


Introduction
In 2002 the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS) (former RF- Rogaland Research) and the University of Stavanger (UiS) (former Stavanger College) joined forces with ConocoPhillips and the Ekofisk License to launch the COREC (Center for Oil Recovery) center. COREC was designed as a long-term cooperative research effort for improved oil recovery methods, with both long-term and goal-oriented research activities. The establishment of COREC has extended and accentuated ConocoPhillips’ corporate social responsibility for the local community.
The overall COREC purpose is to develop improved recovery methods to increase significantly the hydrocarbon recovery from the NCS reservoirs. The main focus until now has been on opportunities and challenges in carbonate fields, like the Ekofisk field operated by ConocoPhillips.
The giant oil field Ekofisk, whose oil production in 2010 accounted for 15 per cent of the total Norwegian oil production, is since 1987 undergoing a very successful seawater injection program for both pressure maintenance and oil displacement. COREC’s focus and motivation for a long-term research has been to understand oil production mechanisms and further improve oil recovery since there are still large oil volumes remaining in the field.
Ekofisk and Eldfisk, another large oil field also operated by ConocoPhillips, rank 1st and 3rd amongst all Norwegian fields in remaining in-place oil/gas resources according to NPD. A one per cent increase of oil-in-place recovery from both Ekofisk and Eldfisk represents 120 million barrels of equivalent oil or approximately 50 billion NOK for an estimated oil price of $70/bbl.
COREC also aims at contributing to the evolution of a strong national competence on improved oil recovery. The work in COREC supports the early national goal of a 50 per cent average oil recovery factor from the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) oil reservoirs and the later Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s (NPD) goal to increase the Norwegian oil reserves by 5 billion bbls from 2005 to 2015.  
In 2011 the NPD granted COREC their IOR-prize for 2010 as recognition of the demanding and continuous research effort to improve the oil recovery, especially in chalk fields.
This report gives a summary of the main achievements, activities and results accomplished by IRIS and UiS after nine year in COREC.
Also vision, goal, strategy and plans for the next years of co-operation between ConocoPhillips (PL018) and COREC will be presented.



COREC Results
The main results for COREC can be summarized as follows:
  1. COREC has contributed in building Norway’s fifth University, the University of Stavanger.
  2. The research projects within COREC have released both public funding and funding from the oil industry. The public funding constitutes one third of the total COREC funding of 148 million NOK.
  3. The research in COREC contributes to the increased reserve estimates for the Ekofisk field.

Norway’s fifth University - University of Stavanger
Around year 2000, several of the important academic groups at the Stavanger University College showed signs of frustration and exhaustion after a 30-year long struggle to become a university, and the research spirit was dwindling. Petroleum engineering has always been one of the most important research and education programs and the establishment of COREC was timed perfectly. It revitalized the petroleum research and contributed to the establishment of the University of Stavanger in January 2005. 

Photo: The Ullandhaug area with the University in Stavanger, the NPD and IRIS.

Photo: The Ullandhaug area with the University in Stavanger, the NPD and IRIS.

The research efforts were increased and became more focused. The COREC long-term research efforts have developed Stavanger into a university city working very close to and assisting the petroleum industry both locally and worldwide in achieving their research and development objectives.
COREC is an example of a successful close cooperation between education and applied research, and has influenced the decision to formalize a common educational and research oriented entity. In the June 2005 the Board of the University of Stavanger, UiS, decided to establish IRIS, the International Research Institute of Stavanger, based on RF-Rogaland Research.
Within COREC’s objectives, a core of professors and researchers from UiS and IRIS, along with young researchers, doctorate students and Post doctorates, have joined forces and directed their research towards improving oil recovery at the NCS. By financing Professor Chairs the focus has been adjusted and the educational competence and knowledge broadened. 
One example is the new Petroleum Geoscience Engineering Program at UiS that was initiated with support from COREC.  The Geoscience bachelor and master program is a great success as the first university-level geology program in Stavanger.
Around thirty scientists and professors have been and are engaged in the COREC projects. Eleven doctorate students and six doc fellows have been funded and a large number of both master and bachelor students have been engaged in research activities within COREC projects.  For more details, please see Appendix 1.


cost
The overall COREC funding of research and educational activities has been 189 million NOK. The research projects within COREC have released both public funding and funding from other oil companies. The total amount is shared amongst the participants with one third from the Research Council and one sixth from other oil companies shown in figure 1.


Figure 1.  Different contributors to the COREC financing

The public funding from the Research Council of Norway (RCN) (The Petromaks Program) shows the high scientific research level of COREC projects, as the project applications are evaluated by international referees. How the annual spending is divided amongst the contributors is shown in figure 2.



Figure 2. Annual costs of the COREC projects funded by PL018, the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and other oil companies.

Research projects
38 research projects have been initiated in the first nine years of COREC. Table 1 shows the names of research projects initiated. Late 2011 six projects are still ongoing:

  • Optimizing water chemistry for enhanced oil recovery
  • Microbial enhanced oil recovery, - phase 2
  • Water weakening of chalk at realistic reservoir conditions
  • In situ wettability measurements by NMR – phase 
  • Pore-scale mechanisms for CO2- storage in a fracture-matrix system: Physical and geometrical effects
  • Sulfate in reservoir chalks


The research projects have been sorted in three areas; basic research, water based EOR research and gas based EOR research. The RCN has supported in total ten projects. More than 100 papers have been accepted for presentation at international conferences and professional journals. In figure 3 the publications are sorted by research areas and the complete list of papers is included in Appendix 2.


Table 1. Research projects initiated in COREC (2002-2011)




Research areas
 
Research projects
Basic research
 
  • COREC Pre study
  • Literature study: Flint nodules and silica cemented bands
  • Feasibility studies: Channel Geometries and reservoir quality
  • Wettability in chalk reservoirs
  • Evaluation of effects of local changes in the in-situ stress state
  • In situ wettability measurement by NMR  
  • Permeability and stress paths
  • Time effects in chalk, creep and other time depending processes
  • Experimental studies of 3-phase capillary pressure by centrifuge
  • Modeling of capillary pressure and phase entrapment in porous media with account for wettability change
  • Estimation of time dependent fracture parameters
  • Water weakening of chalk – Physical and chemical properties
  • Water weakening of chalk at realistic reservoir conditions
Water based EOR techniques
 
  • MEOR – Microbial enhanced oil recovery
  • Surface active compounds for enhanced oil recovery  
  • Injection of sea water and produced water into chalk: Impact on wettability
  • Enhanced oil recovery from carbonates – Wettability and chemical additives
  • Waterflooding of Carbonate Reservoirs - Optimization and improved oil recovery
  • Modelling/simulation of wettability alteration processes
  • Cyclic water injection in chalk reservoirs
  • Secondary wettability change
  • Optimized water chemistry for enhanced oil recovery
  • Sulfate in reservoir rock
Gas based EOR techniques
  • Carbon dioxide flooding
  • Improved macroscopic sweep efficiency in CO2-flooding
  • Simulation of CO2 injection at Ekofisk field
  • Pore scale mechanism for CO2-storage in a fracture-matrix system

 

+47 51 87 50 00
+47 51 87 52 00

E-mail address: corec@iris.no
Phone:
Fax:

P. O. Box 8046, 4068 Stavanger, Norway
Prof. Olav Hanssensvei 15, 4021 Stavanger

Mailing address:
Visiting address:
COREC - CENTER FOR OIL RECOVERY