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Awarded with innovation prize

SR-bank's Innovation Award 2017 was given to Arild Lohne, NORCE and PhD student Oddbjørn Nødland, UiS. Both are researchers at The National IOR Centre of Norway.

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Arild Lohne and Oddbjørn Nødland (not present) received SR-bank's Innovation Award for 2017. Photo: Mari Løvås

This article was publised 4th January 2019.

The winners of 2017's innovation award have developed a new simulation tool, IORCoreSim, with potentially great positive implications for the oil industry.



IORCoreSim can help reduce the amount of polymer used when producing oil, thus saving the environment and achieving better utilization of the oil reservoir. Both Arild Lohne and Oddbjørn Nødland are researchers the National IOR Centre of Norway at UiS.

Unique talent

Executive vice president communications, Thor-Christian Haugland in SR Bank, was full of praise when awarding the prize.

«Arild Lohne is a leading researcher in his field. He has the unique talent for combining practical experience from laboratories, knowledge on pores and transferring experimental data to mathematical models. These models describe how chemical processes can contribute to the transport of one or more phases in a porous medium. The research team around him is recognized as a world leader when it comes to modelling, transport and chemical components in a porous medium,» Haugland said.

The jury drew particular attention to the PhD candidate Oddbjørn Nødland.

«Nødland represents a new generation of up- and coming academics who combine research and innovation. Together the two candidates for this year's innovation award have developed a new simulation tool called IORCoreSim with a potential for great positive implications for the industry. IORCoreSim can contribute to minimize the use of polymers and thereby saving the environment and maximizing recovery of excisting oil reservoirs. Both candidates are assiociated with The National IOR Centre of Norway here at University of Stavanger. The jury would like to draw particular attention to the PhD candidate for working with great dedication, determination and success to motivate the eleven industry partners at the IOR Centre to implement IORCoreSim in their activities.»

Recognition

Arild Lohne was clearly honoured when he received the prize.

«This award is a recognition of the work we have done and gives us an encouragement to continue. A big thank you to SR-bank and the committee for the prize, and to the IOR Centre that made this possible. I hope that the award will contribute to increased focus among the partners in the Centre to take this tool we have developed in use,»  Arild Lohne said when he received the award on behalf of himself and Nødland.

Last year the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) issued a report that said that the oil recovery methods the Centre focuses on had a large technical potential for the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

«If all our work could be implemented in a field it would mean large economic pay-off. The challenge is, will it work and will it be implemented? And  these questions are in a way based on this; when we do the research we take a small piece from the reservoir, we flood it with chemicals and measure oil production. All this is good, but what about the field? How do we translate these results to the field?» Lohne explained in his speech.

Mathematical model

Lohne and Nødland make matemathical models of the flooding process.

«We simulate the experiment and then we apply the same model in a field simulation tool and make a prediction. Then we possibly do another experiment; different condition, different core. And then we might get a different result. We don't know.»

«That is the main hindrance for implementing these methods – the uncertainty. So then it' is time to challenge the known by ripping these models apart and explore the unknown by picking up the missing pieces. And that is what Oddbjørn Nødland and I have done with different stages of polymer flooding, which is one of the most promising methods mentioned in the NPD report,» Lohne said.

Multi-disciplinary environment

PhD student Oddbjørn Nødland has worked hard and targeted at the 11 industry partners in the Centre. He lead a course to teach them how to apply IORCoreSim in their daily work. Several of the industry partners are now using the tool. Oddbjørn Nødland did not have the opportunity to attend when the prize was awarded. He is, however, very pleased that the work he is contributing to is gaining recognition. 

Lohne emphasized the supportive environment in the Centre and NORCE.

«We are working in a multi-disciplinary environment with many different researchers that we have co-operated with through the years. We have different projects supported from the Research Council of Norway and from the oil industry. And all these different collaborators make it possible to construct these models. Therefore I also want to thank all my collegues,» Lohne said in the end.



The Innovation Award consists of a diploma and a grant of NOK 50,000. The prize is an honorary award to employees at UiS or NORCE who have excelled in their field. This year's award of the Innovation Award is the tenth in the series. It was awarded during the university's annual festival on 29 October.

Text: Kjersti Riiber