Maira ALVES FORTUNATO
PhD in Electrochemistry
IFPEN Ressources Energétiques Carnot Institute
Reinforcing and accelerating R&I
In 2020, IFPEN’s energy resources activities were awarded the “Carnot Institute” label, in recognition of the numerous active collaborative initiatives with economic players and academia, in France and around the world. IFPEN Ressources Energétiques is now one of the 39 members of the Carnot network, initially for a period of four years.
Created by the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation in 2006, the label is awarded to public laboratories very actively involved in partnership research with a view to supporting company innovation and the country’s growth.
Distributed throughout France, the Carnot Institutes work in synergy to pursue a common objective: to prepare the industrial and economic future, accelerating the transfer of research technologies to the socio-economic world.
Addressing the energy transition challenge
The IFPEN Ressources Energétiques Carnot Institute (IFPEN RE) is resolutely committed to the energy transition, seeking to:
- develop renewable energies, focusing on wind and ocean energies, geothermal energy and hydrogen, as well as their integration in electricity networks via energy storage;
- minimize the “climate risk” associated with industrial activities, via the reduction in CO2 emissions and a better understanding and anticipation of climate/ground interactions;
- support its partners in the oil industry and oil-related sector, helping them to conduct production activities in a more environmentally-friendly manner, exploiting only the oil and gas resources strictly necessary to take us through this transition period and minimizing the risks associated with exploration and production and enhanced oil recovery techniques, both onshore and offshore.
Supporting innovation in SMEs
In addition to the development of new energy technologies, IFPEN RE is committed to:
- proactively increasing the number of partnerships with intermediate-sized companies, SMEs and start-ups;
- enabling the Carnot Institute network to benefit from its international development expertise and also drawing on feedback in return.
A dense partnership network
The IFPEN Ressources Energétiques Carnot Institute enjoys close ties with industry, from micro-companies, SMEs and intermediate-sized companies through to major French and international industrial groups.
Moreover, it is actively involved in numerous international, European and national collaborative structures, placing it at the heart of a dense research partnership network.
Internationally, the IFPEN RE Carnot Institute has close ties with numerous Research Technology Organizations (RTOs), particularly via framework agreements and strategic partnerships. Carnot research enjoys a high profile and more than half of its A-list publications are the fruit of cooperative international activities. In addition it is a stakeholder in numerous world-leading scientific organizations and represents France on the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency’s Technological Cooperation Program, IEA Wind.
In Europe, the IFPEN RE Carnot Institute is positioned as a key player in the European Research Area (ERA) and works in synergy with platforms such as ETIP-DG in order to define industry’s needs and development opportunities in the geothermal energy sector. In the field of CCUS, it also actively contributes to European networks such as ECCSEL and the ZEP platform to accelerate the deployment of these technologies. In the field of geosciences, it contributes to the development of ground management solutions with the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA).
Nationally, the IFPEN RE Carnot Institute is an active contributor to the ANCRE research alliance, of which IFPEN is a founding member, and that of AllEnvi, dedicated to energy and the environment respectively. It also participates in other themed structures, such as the AVENIA competitiveness cluster dedicated to geosciences, the Club CO2 in the field of CCS, which it chairs, the EVOLEN association promoting French technological excellence, the CITEPH Open Innovation program supporting the development of SMEs and intermediate-sized companies in the energy field, and the Convergence Data IA Institute dedicated to digital technology.
The IFPEN RE Carnot Institute also works closely with the university community and other public research organizations. Finally, it is actively involved in demonstration projects within the framework of the French Investments for the Future Programs (PIA) supported by Ademe.
Expertise and skills
• Descriptive and quantitative geosciences
• Fluid, solid and structural mechanics
• Molecular and thermodynamic modeling
• Physical chemistry of complex materials and fluids
• Physics and Analysis
• Chemical engineering and technologies
• Process design and modeling
• System modeling and simulation
• Digital science and technology
Responsible oil and gas
Against the backdrop of the accelerating energy transition, the oil industry and related sectors need to continue to meet sustained demand, while significantly reducing their environmental footprint and energy consumption. IFPEN develops eco-efficient and flexible processes for the production of fuel and chemical intermediates meeting the strictest standards. To make better use of reserves, IFPEN also proposes increasingly efficient and cleaner, cutting-edge technologies for oil and gas exploration and production.
- Gas treatment
- Basins and reservoirs modeling and simulation
- Enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
- Risers and flow lines
The EOR Alliance boasts one of the biggest pools of resources and expertise dedicated to EOR, as well as unique laboratories and semi-industrial pilot testing facilities:
- to conduct laboratory and EOR simulation studies,
- to study the impact of chemical EOR on the water cycle.
Our laboratory testing resources and special equipment
Our laboratory equipment is used to characterize rocks as well as fluid and gas propagation.
- Laboratory PVT (pressure/volume/temperature), physical chemistry (separation, water treatment) and analysis facilities, as well as special equipment such as scanners and microscanners.
- 18 coreflood test benches, the only such facility in the world, used for flow simulations in reservoir conditions (surfactants, polymers, foam, fractured reservoirs, live oils, etc.).
- One high throughput coreflood experimentation test bench, CAL-X™, patented technology making it possible to reduce the time and costs involved in coreflood testing at the experimental stage, while maintaining the robustness of results.
« With the miniaturized coreflood test bench, CAL-X™, it is possible to reduce the size of samples tested by a factor of 4 or 5, as well as the duration of the tests, from a few weeks to a few days. The facility offers greater screening flexibility since it makes it possible to broaden the range of products tested and increase the volume of samples tested. It also offers greater robustness in terms of results, since more parameters can be varied (temperature, salinity, etc.). With CAL-X™ it is possible to visualize fluid displacement in the rock. The detection of behavior that would not be seen in a standard coreflood system (heterogeneity, for example) improves the understanding of mechanisms and their incorporation in the workflow suite. »
Souhail Youssef, Technical advisor EOR and SCAL High Throughput Experimentations, IFPEN
EOR simulation at various scales: from sample to reservoir
PumaFlow™ : Software used for reservoir simulation, from laboratory through to field scale.
CougarFlow™ : Software used for sensitivity analysis and risk assessment.
Semi-industrial pilot test facilities
The GOwSP (Gas-Oil-water Separation Platform) platform is a semi-industrial scale closed loop test facility used for:
- testing, in representative conditions, the efficiency of various liquid/liquid and gas/liquid separation technologies,
- carrying out studies on the impact of different chemical additives used for EOR on fluid separation and water management.
« In an EOR context, the aim of tests conducted on the GOwSP platform is to perform semi-industrial scale studies on new technologies and examine the impact of chemical additives on the quality of water/oil separation. These tests are performed in representative conditions following upstream chemical screening on a laboratory scale. It is a validation step aimed at reducing risks associated with field operations. »
Cécile Plais, laboratory manager, and Cyril Cassar, GOwSP test manager, IFPEN
References on every continent with more than 50 contracts: our success stories
With more than 30 years’ experience each, the three members of the EOR Alliance (Beicip-Franlab, IFPEN and Solvay) have contributed to the world’s biggest EOR success stories!
The world’s 1st chemical EOR reference (polymers) was built at Daqing in China (1980-1990). IFPEN then proposed the 1st polymer injection solution in a heavy oil reservoir in Canada’s Pelican Lake field. This giant reservoir contains high viscosity oil. In 2005, a pilot project enjoyed considerable success: production from the central producing well rose from fewer than 10 to more than 360 barrels per day. After almost eight years of continuous injection, the pilot facility’s central well still produces more than 150 barrels per day with a water/oil ratio below 70%. Following this success, polymer injections were extended to most of the field, making Pelican Lake the 2nd biggest polymer injection operation anywhere in the world behind Daqing.
R&I programs to continuously improve the EOR Alliance’s offer
The EOR Alliance implements R&I programs to continuously incorporate improvements into its workflows and solutions.
Recent publications highlight some aspects of this R&I.
> See publications and conference papers
IFPEN has created a community of 70 partners around a workshop dedicated to chemical EOR.
It brings together EOR managers from oil companies to discuss technical and industrial challenges associated with the implementation of EOR on the ground, technological advances and pilot project feedback.
By invitation, every two years, in the Paris region.
Join the community and explore the key factors governing the success of chemical EOR projects with your colleagues!
Working alongside its EOR Alliance partners, IFPEN develops innovative EOR solutions to improve oil field recovery rates and optimize the use of produced water.
All types of EOR processes adapted to different reservoir conditions
The EOR Alliance was created in 2010 by three companies, all leaders in their respective fields and all with more than 30 years’ experience in chemical EOR:
- IFPEN, a pioneer in EOR techniques, with cutting-edge laboratory facilities,
- Solvay, the global chemicals and chemical formulation specialists, with some thirty surfactant production sites around the world,
- Beicip-Franlab, field development and reservoir engineering specialists, industry leader in the provision of consulting services and advanced software solutions for the oil and gas sector.
The EOR Alliance provides oil companies around the world with services and solutions adapted to every stage of their projects:
- pre-feasibility study,
- laboratory tests,
- pilot design,
- pilot production,
- design on a field scale and deployment.
Expertise for each link in the EOR process chain:
- selection of the most appropriate EOR process, depending on the specific oil field conditions,
- development on a laboratory scale of a dedicated chemical formulation aimed at increasing the recovery rate,
- optimization of the pilot unit and development plan via numerical reservoir simulation,
- implementation on the field of the optimized process.
A flexible offer adapted to customers’ needs:
- global and integrated for end-to-end project management,
- turnkey and adjustable to specific project characteristics with solutions covering one or several links in the chain.
The EOR Alliance also invests in R&I to develop new workflows and solutions, with a view to accelerating the launch to market of chemical EOR projects and extending the reservoir conditions suitable for the use of chemical EOR technologies.
The water cycle is a research area IFPEN is pursuing within the Dolphin™ JIP (Joint Industry Project), bringing together oil industry partners. This JIP is studying the impact of additives used by chemical EOR technology on produced water management, in conditions representative of oil fields.
Investigations relate to:
- water/oil separation and surface water treatment, looking specifically at the compatibility of water and oil and gas separation technologies with chemical EOR additives,
- the development of tailored solutions to facilitate produced water treatment ,
- the definition of conditions for the reinjection of water into the reservoir with a view to enhanced recovery.
The 1st phase of the Dolphin™ JIP (2013-2016) was a resounding success! It brought together 14 partners. Conducted on a laboratory scale, it related to the identification of operational risks associated with EOR projects. A 2nd phase was launched in 2017 involving the pilot testing of remediation solutions to tackle the identified risks.
The body of research conducted by IFPEN is contributing to the expansion of the integrated offer developed in partnership with Beicip-Franlab and Solvay within the context of the EOR Alliance.
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
In a context in which the implementation of the energy transition is gathering pace and the oil market remains strained, the oil industry is faced with the need to:
- reduce costs,
- reinforce innovation to increase production and improve the eco-efficiency of processes.
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) makes it possible to increase the potential and life-span of oil fields. The stakes are high because a 1% increase in oil production would correspond to 2 years’ global consumption at current levels.
Three main EOR techniques exist:
- chemical using polymer and surfactant injection,
- gas or foam injection,
- thermal using steam injection.
35%: the average recovery rate from fields globally.
15 to 20%: the potential increase represented by the use of EOR techniques.
Helping oil companies to design their fields through to full field deployment with innovative EOR techniques in order to increase field recovery rates and optimize produced water recycling.
IFPEN, a pioneer in the field of EOR, with cutting-edge laboratory facilities, joined forces with two other global leaders in their respective fields to form the EOR alliance: Beicip Franlab (reservoir engineering studies and consultancy specialists) and Solvay (internationally recognized chemical formulation specialists).
The EOR alliance proposes a joint offer covering all types of EOR, from chemical EOR through to thermal EOR.
With a view to eco-responsible development, IFPEN also provides water cycle management solutions: fluid separation, water treatment and reinjection.