UND will soon host a full-scale oil drilling and completion lab.
When completed, the project will be a $40 million experimental facility that “does not exist anywhere else in the world,” said Vamegh Rasouli, Continental Resources Distinguished Professor of Petroleum Engineering and department chair.
Petroleum engineering students will be able to simulate general drilling and deep drilling, along with testing different rocks, including shale, through the lab. Students also will be able to simulate oil reservoir conditions, including temperature, pressure and fluid flow.
“This is the only full-scale rig in the world, and it’s been used by industries worldwide for research,” Rasouli said in a news release from the university.
After an agreement is signed, the 26-foot-tall rig will be housed inside the old Minnkota Power Plant building in Grand Forks.
The lab will be made available for use by Industry and other universities, Rasouli said.
“For example, if a company wants to validate a bit-drilling mud design to drill in a given formation, we can conduct real, full-scale drilling to confirm the designed rate of penetration,” Rasouli said. “There are so many applications. We can serve students, perform research and help industry.”
The basic equipment was donated by Sidney Green, an entrepreneur, founder and president of Enhanced Production Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah. When Green retired from Schlumberger, a large international oilfield services company, he acquired the equipment. Green’s intention was to find a new home to re-establish this unique research equipment, according to Rasouli.
A number of research universities, national laboratories and international companies were considered, but Green ultimately decided on UND after visiting with Rasouli.
The North Dakota Oil & Gas Research Council and the North Dakota Industrial Commission voted to approve $2.78 million in financial support over three years. Additional funds are expected from industry and governmental research to support students and laboratory development, the news release said.