Innovation, New Technologies and Digitalization
Innovation and new technologies
OMV’s Upstream strategy is to apply state-of-the-art technologies developed in-house to well-maintained assets, to pilot these technologies, and to promote rapid global implementation. The current focus of research and development is on improving recovery rates and the lifetimes of mature fields. This should enable highly efficient exploration for new oil and gas deposits, even in challenging environments.
OMV applies various enhanced oil recovery methods, which are part of the Smart Oil Recovery 3.0 program (SOR 3.0). This enables OMV to increase ultimate oil recovery by up to 15 percentage points in selected fields and thus extend the field life. In 2019, five horizontal wells were drilled by OMV Austria to support this initiative. In total, about 300 kboe of incremental oil was produced by OMV Austria using SOR by the end of 2019. Eight additional horizontal wells are scheduled for 2020/2021. Oil rates could be significantly increased compared to conventionally produced saltwater re-injection. In 2019, further progress was made on rolling out SOR projects in various fields in Austria and Romania.
The two Upstream laboratories OMV Tech Center & Lab and OMV Petrom Upstream Laboratories (ICPT) continue to strengthen their partnership for work on the SOR projects in Romania. The exchange aims to use the knowledge and experience gained from the Austrian SOR projects by the Tech Center & Lab in recent years.
OMV has made great strides in developing new technologies and improving the operational performance of produced water treatment processes. In a series of field pilots aiming to produce saltwater that is optimally suited for re-injection, OMV was able to identify innovative flotation and filtration technologies which can also effectively treat challenging emulsions.
Increasingly complex reservoir fluid conditions are resulting in faster degradation of pipelines and processing equipment. To address this, OMV Upstream is growing its expertise in the application of nanotechnology products. Promising Austrian pilots to prevent paraffin deposition in well bores and to reduce wear in sucker rod pumps were extended to fields in Romania.
Significant progress has been made with the construction of the OMV Innovation & Technology Center (ITC) in Austria. The opening is expected to take place as planned in the first quarter 2020.
Adding to existing collaboration with leading international universities, OMV started joint initiatives with the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas in Moscow.
With DigitUP, an umbrella program that was launched in late 2018 for Upstream digitalization initiatives, OMV targets to become one of the global digital frontrunners in the Upstream industry.
One key area focuses on improving the efficiency of exploration and development projects by simulating the subsurface assets in 3D models (“Digital Twins”). This shortens the project lifecycle from twelve to four months, and it raises the efficiency of laboratory measurement efforts. In another project, a tank inspection drone was successfully piloted and is now ready for deployment. The drone is equipped with ultrasonic measuring tools that generate 3D models and contours of the wall thickness of the tanks. This new method lowers the risk exposure of service personnel and cuts inspection time and costs by 25%. Moreover, the newly integrated well delivery system is now fully functional in two exploration wells in Libya, reducing the time spent on pre-drill planning by 30%. Efficiency improvements were also achieved in the drilling process through an improved real-time drilling data system, which has already been implemented on 21 rigs resulting in 168 interventions that have led to estimated savings of EUR 1.5 mn in 2019.
To fully leverage the potential of these initiatives, OMV Upstream has begun to upgrade the data infrastructure to increase flexibility, security, and performance globally. Thanks to cloud technology, over 400 users are now able to access 1.6 petabyte of geological data and 170 applications online from any device around the world in a highly secure environment. This lays the foundation for high-performance computing, which will reduce the simulation runtime by a factor of 10.