Pragma Well Technology and Pharis Energy collaborate to develop a High Temperature Downhole Safety Valve

Pragma Well Technology Limited (Pragma) and Pharis Energy Ltd (Pharis) have signed an agreement to pursue the development of a high temperature downhole safety valve, or downhole steam injection valve (DSIV), in a project backed by the Oil & Gas Technology Centre

Pharis is preparing a phased development plan for the Pilot field, which lies in block 21/27a, starting with a steam flood trial in the southern part of the field. If this is successful, Pharis anticipates that the recovery of c. 120 mmbbls may be possible, representing approximately 50% of the oil in place and about 70 mmbbls more than could be recovered with a typical hot waterflood approach.

Offshore steam injection requires the development of a downhole safety valve which is rated for steam injection temperatures, which are in excess of 300ºC. SAGD and geothermal projects have driven the industry to develop downhole components rated for these high temperatures, but steam injection has only been undertaken offshore in countries with less stringent regulations than the UKCS and where the installation of a downhole safety valve has not been required.

In order to ensure well integrity and to comply with all necessary regulations, Pharis is seeking to include a DSIV in the well design. Pragma will design, build and certify a pair of valves.

This work has the potential to unlock the widespread application of steam flooding offshore and to enable the development of heavy oil fields which have so far been deemed too marginal to attract investment. Pharis estimates that steam flooding could enable the production of an additional four billion barrels from already discovered shallow heavy oil fields in high quality sandstone reservoirs across the UKCS, over and above the 800 mmbbls which conventional recovery techniques can achieve. 

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Chris Pearson, Small Pools Solution Centre Manager for the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said: "There is almost one billion barrels of heavy oil in undeveloped small pools on the UK Continental Shelf. Steam flooding has the potential to dramatically increase recovery rates and the DSIV project could help unlock significant reserves. We look forward to working with Pragma and Pharis on this innovative technology project."

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Gary Smart (CEO of Pragma) said "We're thrilled to be working alongside the OGTC and Pharis in the development of the DSIV. We see real potential for this breakthrough technology, which will enable steam flood to unlock previously inaccessible reserves in the UKCS, with the potential to expand to further geographical regions. Collaboration is vital for the future of the industry and the duo's confidence in our ability to support this project, especially as a new start-up company, is testament to our deep technical knowledge of the energy sector. The calibre of the OGTC and Pharis leadership teams are renowned and we look forward to a successful relationship as we drive this technology forward." 

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Steve Brown (CEO of Pharis) said "We are pleased to have the support of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and to be working with the innovative minds at Pragma Well Technology on this project. The application of steam flooding offshore has been enabled by the development of technologies to drill, complete and control horizontal steam injection and production wells. These technologies have been pioneered in the SAGD projects in Canada where more than 1,900 horizontal producer injector pairs have been drilled. This valve is the missing ingredient to apply these well technologies offshore and maximise the potential recovery from shallow heavy oil fields on the UKCS."

About Pragma Well Technology

Pragma delivers advanced production technologies and expertise to the upstream oil and gas industry. Its products and systems are highly differentiated, low risk and significantly enhance the performance of new, existing and ageing wells.

Pragma collaborates with operating companies around the world to reduce costs, increase revenue and improve access to hydrocarbon reserves. The company is committed to leveraging advantage for its customers through new technology and systems .

About Pharis Energy

Pharis Energy was founded in 2014 as The Steam oil Production Company Ltd and is the sole licensee of P2244 and P2320 which together contain over 400 mmbbls of discovered heavy oil in place in the Pilot, Blakeney, Harbour, Feugh, Dandy and Crinan fields, which lie in blocks 21/27 and 21/28, 140 kms due East of Aberdeen.

Pharis is working on plans to implement the world’s first offshore steam flood project of scale on the Pilot field. Pilot, which is the largest oilfield in Pharis's portfolio was discovered by Fina in 1989 and has been appraised with seven reservoir penetrations including a horizontal well test which produced over 1,800 bbls/day from a short horizontal well. Pharis estimates that a conventional waterflood would recover about 50 MMbbls of oil, whilst a successful steam flood would recover over 120 MMbbls of oil.

About the Oil & Gas Technology Centre

  • The Oil & Gas Technology Centre is a not-for-profit, industry-led, technology research and development organisation based in Aberdeen.
  • The Oil & Gas Technology Centre was established in October 2016 with £180 million funding as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal. 
  • The Deal is a long-term improvement programme to enhance growth, competitiveness, connectivity, infrastructure, housing and employment into an already successful regional economy.
  • The Deal is supported by the Scottish Government, UK Government, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Opportunity North East.
  • An additional £174.1 million has to be generated in matched funding from industry, university or others as part of the Centre’s long-term funding, which can be both cash and in-kind.