A groundbreaking project to improve the efficiency of worldwide oil extraction, potentially worth billions a year, was recently unveiled at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, England.
The EU-funded REVersible Inflow control VALve (REVIVAL) program aims to increase the rate of oil recovery from wells by as much as 25%.
Currently only 32% of worldwide oil reserves are extracted due to problems with water and gas seeping into wells. The REVIVAL project is testing a newly designed Autonomous Inflow Control Valve (AICV) that immediately shuts off production at points where water and gas break through, but allows oil production to continue from other zones along the well.
The AICV works thanks to the difference in viscosity of oil, water and gas. The presence of water or gas leads to a lower change in pressure, which automatically closes the valve.
The valve is entirely self-regulating and does not require any type of control, electronics or connection to the surface. It also removes the risk, cost and requirement for separation, transportation and handling of unwanted fluids.