Research as an integrated part of Maersk Oil’s business
- The Maersk Oil Research and Technology Centre (MO-RTC) in Qatar was established in 2010 with a committed investment of up to USD 100 million over a 10-year period
- It is tasked with developing cutting-edge applications for the Al Shaheen field, while supporting the country’s aim of enhancing knowledge to secure its future
- The centre focuses on research that creates practical and applicable solutions to clearly defined problems in oil and gas production in Qatar. One of its primary themes is to enhance oil recovery (EOR) success rates by allowing researchers to understand how fluids move through complex carbonate fields, like Al Shaheen
- The world-class facility is also home to a Digital Core Laboratory – the first of its kind in the Middle East – which enables researchers to analyse and understand the mineralogy of the reservoir rocks
As Florian Smit scrolls his mouse, the 3D map tilts on his screen, with shades of red, blue and green outlining ancient underwater channels and escarpments in the chalk sediment of the Danish North Sea.
In his PhD research into reservoir characterisation at the Chalk Group of the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre – an institute funded by Maersk Oil and its Danish Underground Consortium (DUC) partners and based at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) – Smit is using a combination of advanced seismic processing techniques to identify and map out promising locations for hydrocarbon reservoirs.
“Now we can recognise the smallest things buried under 2 kilometres of sediment – like a river system or a landslide that happened tens of millions of years ago, as though they happened yesterday”, says Smit, who came to Denmark from the Netherlands five years ago to pursue his geology studies.
“We want to understand why one part of the hydrocarbon field produces oil better than another, and if this is related to the features we extract from the seismic data. By analysing the corresponding rocks in the laboratory for permeability and porosity trends, we can begin to understand how these features can influence extraction. Subsequently, we can apply these lessons elsewhere”.
Practical solutions to business needs
Oil and gas companies have long worked with researchers to improve their search for and production of hydrocarbons. However, the DTU centre is different because of its direct business connection, and its aim is to use that link to focus researchers’ work on areas that can advance hydrocarbon recovery in the North Sea.