ORT Oil Recovery Tool

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Deployed by 1 company

The Greenest Barrel

Page last modified
April 11 2024

Hydroacoustics Inc.  (HAI) has developed and successfully deployed a simple, rugged, well-designed system that uses very low frequency sound technology to recover additional oil from developed oilfields. 

The system, known as the Oil Recovery Tool System (ORTS) employs very low frequency (VLF) sound waves of 100 hertz or less to stimulate or otherwise increase the flow of trapped oil. VLF stimulation enhances oil recovery by creating pulsed pressure waves that coalesce and mobilize oil droplets at a molecular level.

The ORTS is comprised of three major components:

  • A down-hole tool (ORT) which is the acoustic generation unit.  It is deployed into a wellbore across the productive interval to be stimulated.  It utilizes high-pressure water to generate the pulsed pressure waves
  • A Control, Diagnostic and Telemetry (CDT) manifold that operates and monitors the system.  The CDT sends alerts and data to a remote receiving station via satellite uplink and/or the Internet
  • An optional Topside Power Supply (TSPS) that allows the ORTS to operate on a stand-alone basis.  The TSPS includes power generation, power distribution, a high-pressure pump, and water filtration system.  The TSPS operates with on-site water storage to drive the ORT unit with high-pressure water

Also see our our article in the Oil & Gas Journal

Pros & Limitations
Increased Oil Recovery: Data from an ongoing project in the Permian has shown a 30%+ increase in daily oil production after accounting for other factors.
Increased Oil Reserves: Net reserve additions per ORT installation of 100,000-190,000 barrels over ten years.
Prolonging Field Life: The ORT allows operators to prolong field life by increasing oil recovery, booking additional reserves, and delaying P&A liabilities.
Increased Injectivity: Data has shown a 300% improvement in injectivity of the well in which ORT is deployed and improved injectivity in at least 3 additional injection wells within a 1-mile radius
The Greenest Barrel: Lower environmental impact per barrel compared to new drilling and other improved recovery technologies
Maintenance interval of two years
The need for more deployments to determine efficacy of technology across a broad range of reservoir types and conditions
Specification Title Specification Description
HAI's ORT is designed and constructed to be durable and operate continuously in harsh downhole oilfield environments
Simple Design
HAI's ORT has a simple and efficient design to create a continuous low-frequency acoustic pulse that mobilizes trapped oil
Ease of Installation
HAI's ORT can be installed on existing tubing in a well in less than 2 days
Proven Technology
HAI's ORT has demonstrated success in the field with increased production and reduced decline rate
Technical Support
There have been numerous papers published on the use of low-frequency sound to improve recovery. Other, less reliable systems have also demonstrated the efficacy of the technology
Depth Range
The current design of HAI's ORT limits its maximum setting depth to 7500' or less
Gas Saturation Limit
Compressible fluids such as natural gas will attenuate the acoustic pulse. HAI recommends not running the device in reservoirs with gas saturations exceeding 20% of a reservoir's bulk pore volume


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Technology Readiness Level

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Development Technology demonstration Mature / Proven
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HAI began in 1972 as a spin-off based on acoustics research initiated at Harvard University and further developed at General Dynamics Corporation.

For 50 years, Hydroacoustics Inc. (HAI) has been a world leader in the design and manufacture of unique high power, broadband, low frequency and underwater acoustic sources based on continuous wave and impulse technology. HAI has been awarded over 50 U.S. and foreign patents.

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