Test is set in stone

A new testing facility run by the University of Leicester could help drive down oil exploration costs.

Callisto (calibration at Leicester and in situ tool optimisation) will help exploration firms calibrate their equipment to make more accurate decisions on the viability of oilfields. It uses tanks of calibrated, oil-saturated rocks, made up of 108 carefully machined slabs, to test the accuracy of oil-detecting equipment. The rocks are kept fully saturated with oil and stacked as near as possible to formations found in nature, to maintain their physical and chemical characteristics.

The non-profit project, the only one of its kind outside the US, was financed by Shell and the Department of Trade and Industry.

* www.leicester.ac.uk