Mario Silva - A life changing experience

First of all, I would like to express the honor and pleasure I feel for being a PhD student with The National IOR Centre of Norway. It is really exciting to be part of such an important project for the Norwegian oil industry and to be working with the people who compose it. It is a huge evolution opportunity and also a big adventure.

  • At the “Holmenkollen national ski arena”
    At the “Holmenkollen national ski arena”
  •  Me playing important
    Me playing important
  • Picture from one of the labs were my work is being developed
    Picture from one of the labs were my work is being developed
  • Picture from one of the labs were my work is being developed
    Picture from one of the labs were my work is being developed

For me, the adventure started towards the end of April when my plane landed in Gardermoen airport after a 4h flight from my home country, Portugal. And, here I was, in a country that I had previously visited, but never lived in. I am developing my project at the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Kjeller and the people working there were fantastic, making this transition as smooth as possible for me. The first week went by rather fast, as everything was new to me: new colleagues, new apartment, new laboratory, new office, new computer, etc, and almost left me out of time to look at what I was about to start working with.

After just one week, came my first big contact with the center: the “IOR Norway 2015”, the yearly IOR centre conference where contributors, industry and players meet to present and discuss the biggest breakthroughs in research. And boy was it something overwhelming! For someone like me, with a background in “green” and environmental chemistry, it was a real “taste of reality” about how hard and how complex it is to efficiently produce oil & gas. At first the information from many different fields of expertise just seemed scattered, but as the conference went along, the pieces started to join together and building the big picture of this adventure I boarded on. Getting to know everyone else “on board” is a time consuming process, but at least I got a glimpse of who are the centre’s partners and international cooperators, the interest its activities arise in different players, and the enthusiasm of everyone working there. Then came administrative procedures and bureaucracies to take care of (always bureaucracies) and the work began, as usual, by looking what others have done and deciding the next step to take.

So, let’s talk a bit about my project. I am working in the development of new oil/water partitioning tracers for the determination of residual oil saturation in the inter-well region of an oil reservoir, very important information for efficient reservoir management, as it allows identifying EOR operations targets, or assessing efficiency of those operations. In very simple words, this implies selecting a set of compounds/molecules with target characteristics, and making sure they will behave as we want them to in the harsh conditions of an oil reservoir so that we can retrieve the desired information from them. We are all set, with 16 different promising compounds ready to be “tortured” :)

I am going through good and exciting times, with plenty of hard work ahead, with a group of people who make me confident that this adventure will reach a happy ending. Also trying to follow the saying: “when in Rome, do as the Romans”, and so adopting little by little more of the “Norwegian lifestyle” (cycling and matpakke already checked!) in my daily routine, a healthier lifestyle (sometimes I think it’s going to kill me) with all the outdoor activities and natural beauty that this country has to offer. Oh yes, and looking forward for my first winter here!

Until the next time!