A field trial has demonstrated the feasibility of ‘motes’ to identify ‘wormholes’ in heavy oil reservoirs. The test was conducted by the PI Innovation Centre, a joint venture of the Canadian Petroleum Technology Research Centre and its Netherlands-based partner Incas3 on a heavy oil field operated by Canadian Natural Resources Limited.
The CNRL trial was performed on a heavy oil reservoir that uses a ‘Chops’ (cold heavy oil production with sand) technique whereby a sand and oil mixture is produced, leaving a network of wormholes’ in the reservoir. The trial with ‘dumb’ motes (millimeter sized pellets) has showed that sub 7 mm motes can transit the reservoir. Ultimately the idea is to provide a picture of wormholes and ‘thief zones’ to help production engineers optimize sweep. A next generation mote equipped with an RFID tag is under development but it will likely require motes with a minute inertial navigation system and recorder to fulfill the goal of mapping the wormholes. More from PI Innovation and Incas3.
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