An innovative process developed by energy services company LR Senergy which can be used to model an entire well and subsequently identify production optimisation options, has been awarded US and UK patents.
The global firm secured the two patents six years after making the initial applications, due to a number of legal challenges around protecting a process rather than a product.
The patents protect the process LR Senergy offers under the product name, Wellscope™, which uses state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to model pore spaces in the ‘skin’ zone of a well or a full well. Various completion scenarios can then be produced identifying the best options for significantly optimising wellbore designs and in turn, production.
One of the co-inventors, Michael Byrne, Global technical head of formation damage, said: “When we initially set out to patent the technique we describe under the Wellscope name, we faced considerable scepticism about our ability to protect a process.
“There were numerous challenges in presenting a technical process in legal language but we eventually got there.”
LR Senergy has now been recognised by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) as an innovator in modelling well design.
Mr Byrne continued: “Ideas involving computers can be patentable but applications must meet very high standards of inventiveness and technical contribution. Historically, it has been difficult to obtain protection in this area of technology and the law in relation to computational modelling techniques relating to wellbores and formations, was challenging and uncertain.
“However, we successfully conveyed the importance and innovative value of wellbore optimisation, particularly when simulating wellbore designs within a proprietary CFD environment and the value such modelling techniques could bring to the industry. The decision to grant this patent in the UK, sets some level of legal precedence and changes the way in which examiners approach these issues in the future.”
The US patent – US8849637 – granted is for a method for modelling production from a subterranean region. The original UK patent – GB2474275 – protects well simulation or a method of optimising the design of a wellbore. A subsequent UK divisional patent – GB2515411 – broadens the scope of the patent coverage to include many other topics such as simulation of well testing, development of software, etc.
LR Senergy utilises its pioneering Wellscope technology to provide unrivalled services in flow modelling and particularly the modelling of near wellbore, formation damage, complex completions and in well flow.