A project that would employ a pioneering heavy oil recovery technique in the North Sea has edged a step forward.
Pharis Energy has chosen engineering consultancy Crondall to carry out a concept select study for its 100% owned Pilot field, which has about 230 million barrels in place.
London-headquartered Pharis believes it could recover up to 113m barrels using the “steam flooding” method, compared to just 60m with waterflooding.
Steam flooding involves injecting hot water vapour into a well, heating the heavy oil so that it thins, allowing it to flow more freely.
Pharis – launched as The Steam Oil Production Company in 2014, then renamed last year – said it wanted to become the first operator to unleash the method on a major offshore project.
Steam flooding has been employed onshore, including in the Alberta sands of Canada.
Crondall’s study will cover a range of development approaches for the Pilot field and includes the facilities, marine and subsea scope of work.
It engineers will develop and assess facilities and subsea configurations as well as various oil separation and artificial lift technologies to determine an optimum solution for the development.
Duncan Peace, managing director of Winchester-based Crondall, said: “We are very pleased to continue our work with Pharis Energy on this exciting project and we welcome the confidence shown in our engineering teams to develop a commercially viable concept for the project.
“The breadth and complexity of this development play to the strengths of our multidisciplinary team and we look forward to progressing the study.”
Pharis chief executive Stephen Brown said: “We are delighted to be progressing the Pilot project and continuing our good working relationship with the folk at Crondall Energy.
“The Crondall Energy team not only know the theory of how to go about developing offshore oil fields but also really understand the practicalities of weaving the development concept together with the team of engineers, contractors, rig and vessel owners, consultants and suppliers, into a financeable project.”