Catch the Wave

By Geoff Lee

November 29, 2016 12:00 AM

New tech could squeeze more from bitumen

Wavefront Technology Solutions Inc., with an office in Lloydminster, is confident it has come up with a solution to produce oil from tight zones in bitumen.
The Edmonton-based company has just completed a field trial of its WaveAxe technology that’s intended to speed up oil production in steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) well pairs.
WaveAxe is ideally suited to stimulate non producing zones along a long horizontal well where there is tight bitumen and very low permeability in the formation.
“A certain percentage of the well may not produce oil, so the intent is to open up permeability so it allows steam to get in, so that zone that’s currently not producing will produce,” said Brett Davidson, Wavefront’s chief executive.
He added he is confident that WaveAxe will prove to be a considerable advancement in accelerating well start-ups in SAGD operations as well as reconditioning wells to maximize overall oil recovery.
Davidson said WaveAxe could also be an application for heavy oil in the Lloydminster region.
The company set up its first office in Lloydminster in 1999, two years after its Powerwave fluid pressure pulse technology hit the market.
“All our technology with respect to fluids applies to all forms of oil in around Lloydminster,” he said.
Davidson notes Wavefront works with many different operators in the Lloydminster area
‘“In fact, we have been doing well stimulations up in the Bonnyville area, Provost and Lloydminster area for going on 20 years now,” he added.
Initial pilot testing of WaveAwe was conducted with Wavefront’s intellectual property partner at its operation north of Fort McMurray with steaming underway.
It could take another week to determine the outcome while the steam chamber builds, but Davidson told the Source the WaveAxe stimulation trial has achieved positive technical results.
“So the methodology that we employed, which is part of new intellectual property for Wavefront worked as we suspected it would, technologically, that it is,” said Davidson. 
He said when you’re in steaming operations, the growth of the steam chamber doesn’t happen immediately once you start steaming.
“In talking to our partnering company, the operator, they have been advising us it can take anywhere from two to four weeks to see a result,” said Davidson on Nov. 17.
Wavefront specializes in designing technology for oil well stimulation, secondary oil recovery and environmental groundwater remediation with WaveAxe the newest stimulation choice.
“I would say any operator in the heavy oil right up to the tight bitumens could use either Wavefront’s WaveAxe technology or Wavefront’s Powerwave technology for the placement of fluids,” he said.
“If you are looking at something like WaveAxe, the intent there is to aid in improving the permeability of the very tight low permeability bitumen so that you can have steam or solvent ingress into the bitumen so you can produce the oil.”
He said if you’re considering a surfactant injection for heavy oil, then Powerwave’s technology for injecting fluids including water would be the choice.
“We do a lot of waterfloods with our technology, so we have tools employed in heavy oil for injecting water during waterfloods,” said Davidson.
Wavefront’s tag line is from the Bit to the Last Drop.
“Everything we do with respect to fluid pulsing involves right from drilling a well right down to tertiary oil recovery.”
Wavefront has found a new market for Powerwave lately in the Middle East.
The company has been awarded a seven well Powerwave stimulation campaign in Bahrain, starting Dec. 1 with the possibility of an additional set of five wells stimulations a month pending positive results.
The company reported it just stimulated its first well with Powerwave in Kuwait where past stimulation work centered on water injection.
Wavefront completed a set three Powerwave stimulations in Saudi Arabia the week of Nov. 14 with seven more stimulations pending.

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