Switched on

Camcon Technology has announced the completion of the first phase of the development of a compact valve to maximise yields from downhole oil wells in a project sponsored by Shell.


Cambridge-based Camcon Technology has announced the completion of the first phase of the development of a compact valve to maximise yields from downhole oil wells in a project sponsored by Shell.



The valve will form part of a hydraulic switching system to enable individual tributaries within a downhole well to be opened, closed, or partially closed off. According to Camcon, this flexibility would significantly increase yields by allowing contaminated tributaries to be identified and closed rather than closing the entire well.



‘Camcon’s technology could radically improve the efficiency of oil recovery from deep sea oil wells. The initial results from our R&D trials show that the compact valve could improve oil output from deep-sea wells by more than a third. We now look forward to live trials,’ said Danny Chapchal, chairman of Camcon.


The compact valve uses Camcon’s binary actuation technology, which it claims makes it more energy efficient compared with other valve actuation technologies, such as solenoids, because it only requires power to switch from one state to the other. It has also been designed to function under high pressure and in harsh environments such as those experienced at the bottom of an undersea oil well.



According to Camcon, the compact valve has completed an initial set of endurance tests up to 200,000 switches with no adverse effects and reliably switches up to a pressure of 5,000psi. The valve construction itself will need to be capable of withstanding a hydrostatic pressure of 20,000psi.