This interview with Øyvind Heradstveit, CEO of FourPhase, was originally published in enerWe.no
Eliminating sand-related problems around the world
Three years ago, three entrepreneurs came up with an idea as to how oil companies could significantly reduce their operational costs using a more deliberate sand removal strategy.
Anders Arefjord, Jarle Nytræ, and Øyvind Heradstveit have each been working with cyclone technology since 1997. Their idea about improving sand management, using this technology, has eventually been developed through the company FourPhase. FourPhase is a 40 employee-strong technology firm from Os – just outside western Norway’s Bergen. The company has an international customer portfolio and is proof that it is not always the size of the company that is the most important when it comes to delivering the best solutions to the market.
Sand chokes production
Sand is an undesirable by-product when it comes to hydrocarbon production. Øyvind Heradstveit, CEO and a founder of FourPhase, explains that any sand in the reservoir will also appear in the well during oil and gas extraction from the reservoir.
“Imagine that a large hollowed out space in the subsurface sandstone is full of oil and that you put a tube into it to drain the oil. The sand which also accompanies the oil coming out clogs the well and chokes production over time. That is where our technology comes into play,” he says.
According to Øyvind Heradstveit, FourPhase’s DualFlow technology is revolutionary when it comes to removing sand from wells, and is going to change the way companies think about sand management.
The DualFlow next generation cyclone desander allows simultaneous well stream flow through two vessels, while the cyclone technology continuously separates the sand from the oil. It’s the market’s leading solution when it comes to solving the sand issue.
He further points out that a very small footprint is a major competitive advantage in today’s market.
“DualFlow is the most compact solution currently available on the market and is also very mobile, therefore. You don’t install it permanently and can move it around as needed. This is a big advantage for our customers”, Øyvind Heradstveit points out.
Possible multi-million US$ savings
A sand plug forming in the well means the operator needs to organize a major intervention in order to remove the sand. This kind of operation can often cost up to USD$ 5 million to carry out, in addition to the costs for lost production during well downtime. Mr Heradstveit explains that reducing the need for these kinds of operations is just one of several aspects of the DualFlow technology, which can create value for customers.
Greatly reduced well downtime and eliminating the need for costly coil tubing operations is not the only way major value is added. DualFlow can also actually increase production from existing wells by an average of 10 %. This is where the main value is added.
“It’s a win-win situation when you can produce more from existing reserves without greatly increasing your operational costs,” says Mr Heradstveit.
A growing client portfolio
FourPhase has already gained customers internationally. As well as Statoil, the firm has worked with ConocoPhillips, Wintershall, and BP. Moreover, the company has delivered its solids management services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and sees a growing potential in the Caspian market.
How does a company like FourPhase ensure that the big firms take notice of the technology at a time of low oil prices and operators finally focusing on getting the most out of existing resources?
“You need to be aggressive to survive in times like these. We make major use of our network, and constantly look for new opportunities to spread the word about the added value that comes with efficient sand management. DualFlow brings obvious advantages regarding money saved, downtime reduced, and increased production. Our technology speaks for itself,” Mr Heradstveit remarks.
Why did you choose the name FourPhase?
Oil extraction involves some three known elements: oil, gas, and water. We named the company FourPhase because we handle the fourth: sand and sediments.”