The Petroleum Technology Research Centre is providing $300,000 in funding to the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) for research to overcome challenging geological features of the Viking tight oil play.
The research has been ongoing for a number of years but is entering a new phase with additional industry partners, PTRC said Tuesday.
Located in west-central Saskatchewan, the Viking is one of the largest oil plays in North America with an estimated 3 billion barrels of light, sweet crude in place, but the relative shallowness of the resource limits the application of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies.
Wells in the Viking often produce no more than 5 to 15% of the oil in place, and production has been on the decline since 2012, according to PTRC. The number of wells drilled in the area, however, continues to go up because of the poor recovery rates.
“Research into the Viking to optimize production from existing wells has both economic and environmental impacts,” SRC’s Michael Crabtree said in a statement Tuesday.
“Field applicable research – such as identifying subsurface sources of saline water, and designer mixtures that will not cause clays to swell while applying new additives to waterfloods – will be an increasing focus.”
The program will use modeling and imaging technologies for improved field characterization including a newly acquired industrial-scale CT scanner that is housed at SRC’s energy office in Regina.