New investments in Memorial University of Newfoundland's research and development (R&D) capacity may hold the key to producing additional oil offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) is investing $11.8 million in laboratory equipment and research for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), enabling a new area of research in the province for the first time.
"We are working with the university to develop enhanced oil recovery research capacity and capability in the province," said Jamie Long, president, HMDC. "Our ultimate goal is to increase oil recovery offshore Newfoundland and Labrador."
EOR refers to techniques that can be used to increase the amount of crude oil extracted from an oil field. Advanced EOR methods are not currently in use in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore industry.
The new laboratory equipment will be used to examine various EOR techniques in the context of application to Newfoundland's harsh offshore environments. EOR implementation is complex, and successful applications will require significant laboratory research and field testing. The research project represents a significant addition to Memorial's capability in upstream oil and gas technology.
"Implementing these techniques at the Hibernia field could increase ultimate recovery while developing a pool of locally trained experts in the process," said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University of Newfoundland. "This type of project speaks to the value that research at Memorial creates for the future of our province and our country. It has the potential to set the foundation for an entirely new phase of the oil and gas industry in our province."
Dr. Lesley James is an assistant professor of process engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Chevron Chair in Petroleum Engineering. She will be the principal investigator for the research study and will lead the Hibernia enhanced oil recovery project. She said HMDC's investment will have far reaching impact on teaching and research at Memorial.
"Collaborating with HMDC on this project is an incredible opportunity. It is a chance to contribute to an area of research that is technically and fundamentally challenging and that adds value to Memorial, the oil and gas industry and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador."