Cavitas Energy funding boost for heavy oil recovery breakthrough

Oil recovery specialist Cavitas Energy is set to fast-track its technology after receiving a funding injection from the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC).

Niki Chambers of the OGTC with Steve Johnstone of Cavitas. Picture: Contributed

The Aberdeen-based firm, which is part of Valor Energy Group, will use the money to accelerate the development of its third thermal heavy oil recovery (THOR) prototype.

The system promises to reduce energy losses by allowing bypassing fluid to be heated at source as opposed to traditional methods where steam is generated at surface and pumped into the reservoir.

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While the use of steam is currently applied throughout the industry, Cavitas claims its THOR technology is an industry first, with a smaller equipment footprint able to unlock heavy oil reserves.

Steve Johnstone, the firm’s managing director, said: “As we continue to push the boundaries with our technology, we are exceptionally pleased to have the support of OGTC. THOR is approaching market entry, and with the help of OGTC we can realise this much sooner.”

Niki Chambers, marginal developments project manager at the OGTC, said: “With over 400 million barrels of heavy oil categorised as marginal developments in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), we are actively seeking technologies for enhanced oil recovery that will support our efforts to tap into these reserves.

“Cavitas’ technology THOR has the potential to increase recovery by 10-20 per cent, representing approximately 74 million barrels that would be unrecoverable otherwise, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through the first stage of their project.”

The project is likely to last 18 months over two phases.

Johnstone added: “With the UK’s OGA predicting that by 2025 42 per cent of daily North Sea production will be heavy oil, we recognise that THOR has the potential to play a very large part in the future of the UKCS.”