The Colombian Petroleum Institute (ICP) is planning to invest nearly 3.5 million USD (9.8 billion pesos) toward bolstering and updating its capabilities. The funds from the ICP, the main research center of state-controlled oil and gas giant Ecopetrol, will be used to support technological improvements at its 22 labs and 35 pilot plants, according to the company.
Officials at the institute, which is located in Piedecuesta in the department of Santander, believe that such projects will help Ecopetrol as it attempts to achieve the growth and exploration objectives set out in its current operating plan through 2020. Specifically, the upgrades seek to help the company better select formulations for thermal recovery, conduct hydraulic stimulation projects, and improve methods to make offshore gas discoveries in the Caribbean.
Among the announced projects at the Colombian Petroleum Institute will be a cement laboratory and a new “triaxial load cell” for the ICP’s rock mechanics lab. Using this technology will help geologists better understand the real-world behavior behavior of rocks within reservoirs and the risk this can create for well collapse.
“In the environment of low oil prices,” stated Ecopetrol in a statement, “ICP has become a key part of the Ecopetrol Group as a provider of developments that have made it possible to optimize costs in the dilution and recovery of heavy crude oil, improvement of refining processes to produce cleaner fuels, and reduction of drilling costs.”
Along with research alliance partners over the past three years, the ICP, which will be celebrating its 32nd anniversary this weekend on June 11, has invested more than $24 million USD (71 billion pesos), according to Ecopetrol. These initiatives joint research with the Industrial University of Santander in Bucaramanga, Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellín, University of Los Llanos in Villavicencio, and Stanford University in the United States.
The Colombian Petroleum Institute is led by its director Andrés Mantilla and employs at least 22 Ph.D.s and more than 130 professionals who have earned master’s degrees. According to Ecopetrol, the ICP holds 79 active patents and 295 copyright registrations, with 28 technologies licensed to third parties.
Photo: The Litoteca Nacional de Colombia, a scientific center within the grounds of the Colombian Petroleum Institute in Santander. (Credit: National Hydrocarbon Agency)