Statoil Pioneers New Rock Prediction Method

A new technology for predicting the properties of reservoir rocks is being brought to market by Statoil Innovation AS through a newly-created company called Numerical Rocks AS.

Founded together with Norwegian entrepreneurs Pål-Eric Øren and Stig Bakke, this venture will commercialize software tools and consulting services relating to the innovatory method.

The technology combines computer-generated – or virtual – rocks with numerical simulations to predict a variety of reservoir properties.

Pioneered by Statoil, it has been successfully applied to various sandstone formations on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Verifying the method for a wider range of reservoir rocks could lead to the creation of an electronic core laboratory, says investment manager Asle Jostein Hovda in Statoil Innovation.

A facility of this kind would allow numerous "measurements" of different rock properties to be made quickly, and used to populate detailed geological models with representative data.

That offers exciting opportunities for bridging the current gap between detailed descriptions of geological models and the lack of measured rock properties.

This would translate in turn into more effective reservoir characterization, improving the ability to predict and optimize oil recovery.

It would also reduce the financial risk associated with new field developments.

"Spinning off this technology with two entrepreneurs and creating a dedicated company should ensure more focused and driven software development than keeping it in-house," explains M. Hovda.

Statoil is committed to staying in the forefront of continued research and development with the technology, not least in order to extend it to new applications.

A wholly-owned subsidiary, Statoil Innovation is dedicated to commercializing the Statoil group's technology and expertise through new start-ups.

It also invests in new and attractive external companies which support Statoil's technology strategy. Numerical Rocks is the sixth investment by Statoil Innovation since the latter was created in 2001, and the second spin-off from in-house technology.

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