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The National IOR Centre of Norway

The National IOR Centre provides solutions for improved oil recovery on the Norwegian continental shelf through academic excellence and close cooperation with the industry.

Publisert: Endret:
Centre director

Ying Guo



External financing

Research Council of Norway: 10 mill. / Industry partners: 2 mill.



Industry partners

ConocoPhillips, Aker BP, Vår Energi, Equinor, Neptune Energy, Lundin, Halliburton, Schlumberger, and Wintershall DEA

Research partners


PhD students / postdocs

30 / 20

7 years of research and still going strong
Smart Solutions for Future IOR

About us

PhD student Tijana Voake. Photo: Marius Vervik

Awarded by the Research Council of Norway after a national competition, the Centre started up in December 2013. The Centre's goal is to develop new knowledge and technology in order to increase recovery beyond projections under today’s field operation plans.

The IOR Centre is led by University of Stavanger, with research institutes NORCE and IFE as core partners. Several other research groups, and 9 oil and service companies, complete the Centre's list of partners and collaborators.

The Centre will contribute to the implementation of environmentally friendly technologies for improving oil recovery on the Norwegian continental shelf. Please visit the research submenu for a detailed overview of our research tasks and projects.

Secondary objectives include:

  • Robust upscaling of recovery mechanism observed on pore and core scale to field scale
  • Optimal injection strategies based on total oil recovered, economic and environmental impact
  • Educating some 20 PhDs and six postdocs during the eight-year period, as well as 50 MSc students per year

Our research

Mobile and immobile oil / EOR

Understanding, modeling, and upscaling the microscopic and macroscopic displacement efficiency when various EOR fluids are injected into a porous rock.

Reservoir characterisation

Theme 2 works with the integration of field data such as pressure, temperature, seismic data, tracer data, geophysical data, and geological data into a field scale simulation model.

Education and training

Students, PhD candidates and postdocs play a vital part in The National IOR Centre of Norway. No less than 25 per cent of the Centre's budget is reserved for education and training.



IORCoreSim is a tool for simulating the combined effect of low salinity water injection and polymer flooding on oil recovery.

Big blocks of chalk is used when preparing cores for lab experiments. Photo: Marius Vervik

IORCoreSim can help reduce the amount of polymer used when producing oil, thus saving the environment and achieving better utilization of the oil reservoir. For this work, PhD student Oddbjørn Nødland and senior scientist Arild Lohne at NORCE won SR-bank's Innovation Prize 2017.​

IORCoreSim has been developed in the Centre. It was previously known as BugSim, a simulator for predicting the behavior of microbes during water flooding.

The tool is unique in the sense that it can simulate the combined effect of low salinity water injection and polymer flooding on oil recovery.

Senior scientist Arild Lohne has been the main developer. During the Centre lifetime Lohne has added functionality to simulate the injection of non-Newtonian fluids, such as polymers. Professor Aksel Hiorth has added functionality to simulate geochemical interactions.

Lohne's and Hiorth's PhD student Oddbjørn Nødland has improved the numerical codes and tested the simulator against core scale experiments. Nødland is now a postdoc in the Centre.


Field scale evaluation and history matching

The economic feasibility of implementing new IOR methods on a field needs to be evaluated, preferably taking the uncertainty in the reservoir description into account.

A model of the Norne reservoir in the North Sea.

While optimizing future production, environmental constraints need to be considered. The evaluation will be based on history matched reservoir models. An important focus in this research area is to develop better methods for full field history matching using 4-D seismic data. The history matching is done using ensemble-based methods, but we consider use of different types of seismic data for inversion. Some focus is on compacting reservoirs. Here we both study how to improve the interpretation of 4D seismic data for the location of water and pressure fronts and investigate the coupling between fluid flow and geomechanics linking 4D seismic observations to stress exchange in the reservoir and surrounding rock. A substantial part of the work on history matching is using real data, an open data set for the Norne field and data from Ekofisk that has been made available for selected studies within the IOR Centre.

The Centre's first full field study on history matching utilizing 4D seismic data has been successfully completed. The chosen field was the Norne field, using the data set available for research purposes. The results are being presented in different forums, and are attracting attention, as it demonstrates a full workflow for assisted history matching using 4D seismic data.


Deliverable of an Unbeatable Core Scale Simulator

The purpose of this project is to develop a numerical tool, IORCoreSim, to interpret all kinds of special core analyst lab experiments. By using IORCoreSim, the key parameters needed to simulate water flooding and EOR processes at pilot and sector scale are extracted from the lab experiments.


Core plug preparation procedures

The purpose of this project is to check how the core preparation procedures can influence results when investigating the potential for EOR in the lab.


Flow of non-Newtonian fluids in porous media

The purpose of this project is to design lab experiments that will provide information about the transport properties of polymer-based fluids in porous media.

Polymer fluids are complex and there is currently no complete theoretical understanding of their transport properties in a reservoir where polymer molecules are exposed to temperature, salinity, and pressure gradients. This project will generate data and models that will be used in IORCoreSim and IORSim (Task 4) to predict the fate and effect of polymer flooding for improved oil recovery.


Permeability and stress state

The purpose of this project is to understand how stress state and pore pressure affect the permeability of compacting rocks at reservoir conditions.

However, a permeability model based solely on the concept of effective stress (overburden minus pore pressure) does not entirely explain laboratory observations. This project will generate a consistent set of experimental data including reservoir parameters that, together with stress state, influence fluid flow in porous rocks and rock permeability. This will enhance the understanding of permeability behaviour under reservoir conditions, increase model accuracy and improve permeability prediction.


Understanding the initial wettability of reservoirs

The purpose of this project is to link reservoir wettability to the properties of the crude oil, rock mineralogy and formation water composition.


Reservoir wettability and its effect on water-based recovery processes

The purpose of this project is to understand the parameters affecting both the initial wettability in carbonate reservoirs and the potential for wettability alteration by water-based EOR methods.

These parameters also influence the potential for water based wettability alteration processes, which will give opportunities for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) effects during “Smart Water” injection and hybrid EOR processes.


Mineralogical influence on reservoir wetting and Smart Water EOR processes

The purpose of this project is to study the effects of sandstone mineralogy and mineral properties on the initial reservoir wetting and on wettability alteration by water-based EOR methods.


Upscaling of polymer and Smart Water processes

The purpose of this postdoc project is to develop further polymer and smart water models in IORCoreSim, and to investigate how they can be upscaled for use in large-scale reservoir simulation tools, such as IORSim and OPM.


Applying the analytical tool box to specific EOR related experiments to enhance oil recovery and to assist upscaling

This project will deepen the understanding of textural alterations of the rock samples (mainly chalk) during EOR related injection experiments.

One research focus will be «fractured» chalk samples, a second would be the investigation of the role of dolomite and dolomite-calcite mixtures to match reservoir conditions, as well as non-carbonate minerals (e.g. clays). A third approach would be to study specific geomechanical and geological key areas like the «zone» of increased porosity in chalk which seems to be progressing through a core during flooding with MgCl2, the comparison of reservoir and on-shore chalk including an in-depth study of chalk using state-of-the-art methodologies, completing the necessary knowledge of chalk for EOR purposes.


Pore scale simulation of multi-phase flow in an evolving pore scale

Injecting water into an oil reservoir leads to chemical interactions that alter the geometry of the pore space and the wettability of the mineral surfaces.

A distance away from the injection point, the injected water reach equilibrium with the formation. How far away from the injector are the chemical interaction active, and how fast are the mineralogical alterations in the active region? How is oil release affected by wettability changes on the pore scale? What are the dominating mechanisms? These questions are particularly important when low salinity or optimized brines are injected in order to improve the microscopic sweep.


Micro-scale simulation of viscoelastic polymer solutions

The projects will study how the distribution of stress in a viscoelastic polymer solution will affect the interaction between the water and oil phases.

The effect of having non-Newtonian stress com-ponents, due to the presence of polymer, has been hypothesized to be a contributing factor to in-creased oil recovery in polymer-flooding. We will have an increased focus on boundary conditions for the polymers. In addition, we want to simulate a pure polymer flooding in a porous media, to assist in interpreting the polymer-flooding experiments conducted under Task 1.


Simulation of complex non-Newtonian flow

The purpose of this project is to investigate non-Newtonian flow in micro channels. Non-Newtonian effects such as normal forces will be investigated in various pore geometries.

One of the aims is to determine when the viscoelastic effects are important for oil displacement, and if they could contribute significantly to oil recovery.


Development and calibration of IORSim

The purpose of this project is to develop a simulator, IORSim, which improves the capabilities of industry standard reservoir simulators to simulate IOR processes.

This is done in a modular way by letting the industry standard reservoir simulator carry out the fluid flow predictions, while IORSim simulates the transportation of chemicals, interactions and effects on the flow parameters (relative permeability and capillary pressure). This allows us to take advantage of the improved pore- and core-scale models developed in tasks 1, 2 and 3 directly in realistic field cases.


Large scale yard test and supporting lab activities

This project aims to fill the gap between lab scale and pilot scale. It is important to study EOR chemicals not only at cm scale cores, but also in several m scale porous media.

In longer (and larger) systems it is possible to investigate the interplay between matrix flow and fracture flow. Furthermore the temperature profile can be varied along these systems, allowing to study the interplay between temperature and different flow regimes. Supporting lab experiments will be performed to quality assure the larger scale tests, and to investigate if it is possible to reproduce part (or all) of the observation in the large scale tests in smaller core samples.


Polymer rheology at micro- and Darcy scale

The purpose of this project is to investigate polymer rheology in porous media through thorough experimental investigation at different scales, accompanied by modelling.

The goal is to determine what governs the onset of shear thinning, shear thickening and mechanical degradation, and if possible, propose methods of mitigating mechanical degradation.


Risk Management/ERA

The purpose of this project is to develop and implement risk analysis methods and models in support of the IOR Centre efforts to assess and evaluate overall environmental impacts and risks associated with different IOR solutions (products or processes) resulting from the IOR Centre research activities.

The aim is to use the concrete risk analysis results in the decision-making process regarding R&D priorities at the Centre, and more broadly to contribute to the general development of methods, models and the foundations of environmental risk assessment (ERA).


Improve IOR models in IORSim

The research partners in the IOR Centre has developed a simulator, IORSim, which improves the capabilities of industry standard reservoir simulators for simulating IOR processes.

This is done in a modular way by letting a reservoir simulator (for example Eclipse) compute the fluid flow, while IORSim simulates the transportation of chemicals, interactions and effects on flow parameters like relative permeability and capillary pressure.


Coordinating Upscaling Workflow

The project will coordinate the upscaling efforts within the IOR Centre themes. The different themes and tasks have throughout the Centre work used and developed models including the effects relevant for the different scales with some initiatives on upscaling.

The current project will merge and unify these procedures into an upscaling workflow. This will assist the further work in uncovering unresolved effects / knowledge gaps on the different scales. And it will be the task of this project to initiate appropriate actions to investigate and fill these gaps.


Nanoparticle tracers for petroleum reservoir studies

The aim of this research is to examine the usefulness of nanoparticles as tracers for fracture detection in interwell operation (ITT) and for use as tracer carriers in single-well huff-and-puff operation in dedicated laboratory and small-scale field experiments.

Successful outcome will offer completely new classes of tracer tools for reservoir and production management.


Lanthanide ester complexes for SWCTT: focus on their partitioning behaviour, quantification procedure and dynamic performances

This research aims to improve existing technology and develop new technology for measuring Sor in reservoirs, based on the use of tracers for the flow of injected fluids.

The application of this technology will help define the best IOR strategy for selected reservoirs by examining the near-well zone.


Dynamic flooding properties of new PITT tracers

The aim is to examine the dynamic flooding properties of new water-oil partitioning tracer com-pounds (PITT-tracers). Such tracers are used for Sor-determination in water- or gas-flooded volumes between wells.

These new potential tracer compounds have been proposed and studied in a recent PhD-project. The dynamic testing will be done in flooding experiments with cores or packed porous media under known residual oil saturation. Size of the flooding equipment will be varied from bench-top setups to several meter scale. Does the technology hold its promises over varying flooding distances?


Adding more physics, chemistry and geological realism into the reservoir simulator

This project addresses forward simulation of IOR methods. It also aims to contribute towards providing a tailor-made simulator that includes the necessary modelling methodologies and simulation capabilities to simulate increased oil recovery pilots on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.


Advanced Numerical Methods for Compositional Flow Applied to Field Scale Reservoir Models

This project addresses the forward simulation of IOR methods, and particularly investigates different numerical methods that can be applied to implement a compositional flow module for modeling the IOR/EOR.

In the end, the project contributes to pilot simulations by providing a «full field simulation tool» for water based IOR/EOR methods.


Upscaling of chemo-mechanical compaction to field scale models

The purpose of this project is to extend the simulation capabilities of OPM through coupling with an open-source multiphysics code to model reservoir compaction in connection with oil recovery.

Moreover, we aim to integrate the effect of geochemical processes on mechanical deformation (Theme 1) and the resulting feedback on the flow simulation (Theme 2).


Production optimization

The economic feasibility of implementing new IOR methods on a field needs to be evaluated, preferably taking the uncertainty in the reservoir description into account.

This project will develop and demonstrate methodology to optimize future production for evaluating the economic potential of the reservoirs. We aim for a flexible approach that can also consider environmental constraints.


Data assimilation using 4D seismic data

This project is the main project addressing history matching at the IOR Centre. The project focuses on being able to meet the target of full field history matching using 4D seismic and tracer data.

The first demonstration case was to history match the Norne field using production and 4D seismic data. Further on we will add tracer data into the workflow. We will also further develop the methodology to strengthen the work flow’s robustness with regards to different field types.


Interpretation of 4D seismic for compacting reservoirs

The project aims to improve history matching using 4D seismic data for compacting reservoirs. To achieve this, we further develop methods for better usage of 4D seismic data to interpret and decouple the compaction and production related effects.

This is also important for monitoring gas, water and pressure fronts in compacting reservoirs.


4D seismic for high-resolution sector models

This project is investigating fluid flow monitoring and history matching using 4D seismic data.

The project brings high-resolution simulation models into the history matching picture with the purpose of understanding and improving reservoir sweep efficiency.


Elastic full-waveform inversion

This project aims to improve the interpretation of seismic data through full-waveform inversion. The methodology proposed provides valuable information for both the exploration and production stages of the petroleum value chain.


IOR Pilot Projects – Learning by Doing

The purpose of this project is to study the impact of uncertainty about the benefits of a technology on adoption and information gathering decisions related to IOR projects.

We will develop and implement a decision and data analytics framework for the purpose of generating decision supporting information for IOR projects with a particular focus on the IOR pilot project decisions.


The Value of Data and Data Analytics for IOR Operations

The purpose of this project is to use decision and data analytic approaches in probabilistic models to identify and value relevant and material data in IOR contexts.

Value-of-Information (VOI) analysis will be used to evaluate the benefits of collecting additional information (such as seismic data and pilot test data) before actually acquiring it. Such information gathering may be worthwhile if it holds the possibility of changing the decision (e.g., a production strategy or IOR method) that would be made without further information.


Data assimilation using 4D seismic and tracer data

This is a PhD project which aims to assimilate both 4D seismic and tracer data, in addition to the conventional production data, for improved reservoir characterization.

This project involves tailored strategies to handle different types of field data, and improved workflow for more coherent assimilation of these field data into reservoir models.


Reservoir Optimization and Model Evaluation

This project will study optimization and modelling of EOR injection strategies with the aim of increased total oil recovered, maximum economic benefit and minimal environmental impact.

The planned research and implementation will significantly improve prediction of EOR effects and thus improve decision making for the Norwegian Continental Shelf. An important part is also to educate a PhD student.


4D seismic frequency-dependent AVO inversion to predict saturation-pressure changes

This research project deals with the problem of seismic reservoir characterization and improved recovery.

It focuses on the development of an appropriate theoretical background and workflow, for including frequency dependence into the 4D (time-lapse) seismic AVO inversion and analysis to estimate viscoelastic properties, pressure and fluid saturation changes. The project is split in several phases.


Integrated geological, geophysical, reservoir, and decision analysis of the Edvard Grieg Field, Utsira High, North Sea

This project applies geological (sedimentology and structural geology), geophysical, reservoir modelling, and decision analysis methods to the Edvard Grieg Field, with the purpose of improving reservoir characterization in the field and assessing how this improved model affects production forecasts and recovery.

Finished projects

See the list of final projects reports and PhD theses here.

  • 1.1.3 Wettability estimation by oil adsorption (PhD project)
  • 1.1.4 Core scale modeling of EOR transport mechanisms (PhD project)
  • 1.1.5 Application of metallic nanoparticles for enhanced heavy oil recovery (PhD project)
  • 1.1.6 Effect of wetting property on the mechanical strength of chalk at hydrostatic, and in-situ stress and temperature conditions (PhD project)
  • 1.1.7 Thermal properties of reservoir rocks, role of pore fluids, minerals and diagenesis. A comparative study of two differently indurated chalks (PhD project)
  • 1.1.9 Integrated EOR for heterogeneous reservoirs (postdoc project)
  • 1.1.10 From SCAL to EOR
  • 1.2.1 Micro- and nano-analytical methods for EOR (PhD project)
  • 1.2.2 Raman and nano-Raman spectroscopy applied to fine-grained sedimentary rocks to understand mineralogical changes for IOR application (PhD project)
  • 1.3.2 Improved oil recovery molecular processes (postdoc project)
  • 1.3.4 Description of the rheological properties of complex fluids based on the kinetic theory (postdoc project)
  • 1.3.5 Experimental investigation of fluid chemistry effect on adhesive properties of calcite grains (PhD project)
  • 1.4.4 Smart Water for EOR by Membranes (PhD project)
  • 2.5.1 Development and testing of nanoparticles as tailor-made tracers for improved reservoir description and for measurement of defined reservoir properties (postdoc project)
  • 2.5.2 Single-Well Chemical Tracer Technology, SWCTT, for measurement of SOR and efficiency of EOR methods
  • 2.6.3 CO2 Foam EOR Field Pilots (PhD project)
  • 2.7.2 Robust production optimization (PhD project)
  • 2.7.6 Data assimilation using 4-D seismic data (postdoc project TNO)

Research news

Rystad: Increased value creation

RCN supported petroleum research has triggered large volumes of oil resources. Ensemble Kalman Filter technology, one of the prioritized research fields at the Centre, is estimated to account for a significant part of the reserve increase.

Great expectations from RCN

The IOR Centre of Norway is supported by the The Research Council of Norway (RCN) with 10 million NOK each year. Therefore, RCN is following the Centre closely. We report twice a year, we have annual contact meetings and they come to visit us every second year.

How to use the data set from Lundin?

Lundin shares all the data from one field, Edvard Grieg, with the researchers at The National IOR Centre of Norway. But how to use this gift in the best possible way? The first PhD project using data from the Edvard Grieg field is now up and running.

Management team

Institutt for energiressurser
Institutt for energiressurser
Institutt for energiressurser
Institutt for energiressurser
Professor emeritus

Randi Valestrand

Research director, NORCE

Sissel O. Viig

Director of Field Implementation, IFE

Thierry Laupretre

Chair of Board, AkerBP

Robert Moe

Head of Technical Committee, ConocoPhillips

Events & conferences


Save the date! The sixth IOR NORWAY is arranged 26-28 April 2021. The venue is as always Tjodhallen, University of Stavanger.

Kick-off for Delivery Forums

With only one and a half years left of the first phase of the Centre, it's time to concretize our deliverables to the industry.

National Science Week

The National Science Week (Forskningsdagene) takes place at the end of September every year. See the programme for this year's events.


At the OG21-forum decision makers in the petroleum industry meet to discuss the continued importance of technology.

Industry partners
Research partners

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