The Industrial Projects and Alternative Energy Division offers services and developments to gas and oil exploration, exploitation and production companies. To do this, INVAP has its own offices located near hydrocarbon areas in Argentina, such as Neuquén.
The industrial division of INVAP has completed a great number of installations, currently in use, for different clients. Besides, it works in the development of original devices, taking advantage of the power and innovation capacity derived from the interaction with the Nuclear and Space Divisions.
For instance, it has been a pioneer in applying space technology to a system called MWD (Measurement While Drilling), developed for San Antonio PRIDE, a company offering services for gas and oil exploration companies. The MWD system allows a downhole tool which is drilling at a depth of 5 km to communicate with the service through pressure pulses, transmitted alongside a pipe within the same fluid which is injected for drilling.
The exploration unit may thus know its depth and position in real-time with a precision better than a few meters. Besides, the device instantly takes readings of the kind of soil it finds and its content in gas, oil or water, creating a map of underground resources.
Products under development
1- INVAP is working in an autonomous cathodic protection system for pipes, vessels and structures, wind-powered by means of 4.5 kW wind generator of own design and construction. This method, known as “printed current” technique, prevents corrosion in the ferrous components of these installations.
Photovoltaic panels may also be used as an alternative for wind generators in areas with lots of sunshine but little wind. Finally, in areas where no wind nor sunshine are available, a passive turbo expander, capable of taking power from the high gas pressure typical of oilfields in their first stages of exploitation, may be used. This 1 kW turbo expander, designed by INVAP, is actually under development, and a prototype is undergoing field tests. All these systems are used in isolated locations, usually far away from electric supply networks, as is frequent in gas boreholes.
2 – “Scraper” tools for pipe inspection, suited to measure the wall thickness and verify corrosion damage. The system makes use of the magnetic field dispersion principle; a small tool is under development, with a diameter of less than 60 mm.
3 – Steam injection system for enhanced oil recovery. A conventional system has been redesigned, constructed and operated by means of a surface boiler. Currently, a state-of-the-art device is being developed, which injects steam and carbonic anhydride generated by a high pressure combustor located in the surface.
4 – Set of tools especially designed for drilling, including downhole motors and smart systems for directional drilling of gas and oil extraction holes .