The catalysts speed up extraction during interbedding combustion.
Projected heavy oil and viscous oil reserves in Russia are up to 40 – 50 billion bbl., and a significant portion of that volume is in Tatarstan's depths. Heavy oil extraction warrants special technological processes, and research in that direction is currently becoming the center of attention in heavy oil-rich countries (USA, Canada, Venezuela, Russia).
Researchers at Kazan University cooperate with their peers from Stanford University. Their latest results were published in Energy and Fuels.
Senior Research Consultant of the Interbedding Combustion Lab Andrey Galukhin speaks about the research:
“There are ways to pump extremely hot steam into a reservoir to liquefy viscous oil. This facilitates extraction. But there are limitations – if the reservoir more than 1 km deep, steam loses most of its heat energy. Therefore interbedding combustion is interesting for researchers – the heat for liquefying is generated in the reservoir.
Our group works on catalysts that provide combustion during this process. The catalysts help oxidizing oil deposits in reservoirs that are relatively resistant to burning”.
Dr. Galukhin won a grant for this particular work from Russian Foundation for Basic Research in 2015.
The catalysts developed by the group have already shown promising results in lab tests, and the work continues.