Ecopetrol S.A. has been granted a patent by the Colombia’s industrial regulator for a new technology that, according to the state-controlled oil company, represents an “oxidation system and process for the simulation of in-situ combustion” of heavy crude.
The system and method were developed by researchers of the Colombian Institute of Petroleum (ICP) to simulate the emulsions that can be registered in the process of combustion in-situ, or air injection, that are used to improve the displacement of heavy crude oil to the producing wells.
The control of the emulsions generated in the process is, according to the Bogotá-based company, “vital for the commercial success of the application of the technology” to increase the thermal recovery factor in fields with this type of crude.
The researchers were able to find the “optimal operating parameters” — such as chemical characteristics of the oxidized crude and oxidation temperature ranges — and the rate of air injection that simulate the emulsions that are recorded at industrial level.
The patent was approved by the Colombian Superintendency of Industry and Commerce through Resolution 55956. This makes Ecopetrol’s 80th patent granted by authorities in Colombia, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Nigeria, Peru and Ecuador.