Saudi Aramco’s R&D Center Develops Series of New Technologies

By Abdelghani Henni 18 Jul 2014

Saudi Aramco’s Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC) made significant progress in developing a series of new technologies in 2013, including the SmartWater Flood, Reservoir Nanoagents, Prosperity and DETECT Coherency Technology.

The SmartWater Flood is the first homegrown recovery technology that can provide substantial additional oil recovery through simple tuning of the ionic composition of the seawater treated at Qurayyah facility for injecting into producing fields to maintain reservoir pressure. 

“The execution of a multi-well field pilot is being planned at North Uthmaniyah,” the company said, “and Saudi Aramco is conducting fundamental in-house research to better understand the fine details of recovery from the atomic/molecular scale to the reservoir scale.”

Meanwhile, the idea behind resevoir nanoagents is an industry-first concept that focuses on in situ reservoir illumination and intervention based on advances in nanotechnology. The technology targets smart nanoengineered particles and devices that can traverse the reservoir to support formation evaluation, reservoir monitoring, and oil recovery. 

“In 2013, the realization of stable magnetic nanoparticle successfully completed the proof of concept in the lab, making way for a demonstration in a shallow multi-well field trail,” Saudi Aramco said in its annual report.

EXPEC ARC has also developed an easy-to-use application titled “Prosperity” which enables the explorationist (as opposed to a reservoir quality specialist) to routinely predict reservoir quality in a variety of sandstones. This tool provides an interface that allows the user to make rigorous predictions of reservoir quality, but with a minimum of required inputs. 

“The application also utilizes a sophisticated diagenesis model, leveraged with our Geology Technology Team’s extensive reservoir quality database, to make reservoir quality estimates at the location of interest,” Saudi Aramco said.

Meanwhile, the DETECT Coherency Technology considerably enhances the value of 3D seismic data, reduces interpretation cycle time for prospect generation, and improves success rates for drilling in both exploration and field development. 

“The application of DETECT technology has not only resulted in better definition of subsurface images, but has also contributed significantly to the identification of fractures and channels — key components for our unconventional gas exploration efforts,” Saudi Aramco said.

Abdelghani Henni is the Middle East Editor for the Journal of Petroleum Technology.