Plans to construct a proprietary tube were first announced in autumn 2016. The task was not of the easy sort, and the works were more or less completed only this summer. Now KFU has a great piece of equipment which expands possibilities for new research in petroleum extraction enhancement.
Research Associate of the Rheological and Thermochemical Research Lab Sergey Zabelkin explains, "This device is aimed at researching processes of hydrothermal and gasothermal treatment of a model system of petroleum and mineral materials. Here we can model steam-assisted drainage, in-situ combustion, and various cyclical processes with the use of steam and heating. We projected it with a range of parameters so as to conduct experiments in all these types of processes. For example, the maximum pressure here is 200 atm, and the maximum temperature is close to 800 C. This has definitely never been done in Russia before, so we are pioneers of sorts."
Another specific feature of the device is that it can accommodate rather large specimens and analyze their emissions under steam or combustion treatment. This gives the capacity to regulate parameters of a process in directions which are of most interest to the researchers, not blindly like it used to be with old-fashioned combustion tubes.
KFU's device actually consists of a small tube and a large tube. Only the small one, attuned for steam-related experiments, has been tested so far, but it can be firmly stated that the whole apparatus is functional. Many test experiments were held in summer, and a full test was conducted recently. A few more modifications of steam-assisted gravity drainage will be tested soon, and then it's time for in-situ combustion.
Additionally, both tubes are constructed so that catalysts could be loaded both in a model mixture and during the process. This means that SAU EcoOil specialists can evaluate effectiveness for specific deposits and select optimal catalysts at the same time. Oil companies have already expressed wishes to provide their drill samples for testing.