Meet our expert

If you’re already sitting on a chest of gold, why walk away from it?

Susanna Toivonen, a Global Key Account Manager at Kemira oil & gas, has a strong technical R&D background. This helps her address the challenges of cEOR in complex customer processes.

If you’re already sitting on a chest of gold, why walk away from it?

My customers are mostly concerned about three key things: 1) How can I recover more oil out of my existing reservoir? 2) What options do I have available? and finally 3) Are these options economically viable?

For example, with IOR/cEOR polymer technology, you don’t necessarily find perfect solutions off-the-shelf. In many cases, it’s a co-creation project between the customer and the chemistry provider. This is also one of Kemira’s key strengths. All enhanced extraction methods are not suitable for all reservoirs. That’s why we need to have different technology options available. There are also cases where polymer technology may not be the best option. However, in many cases it does work remarkably well, and is also more economically viable than other options.

Oil price obviously plays a big role in IOR/cEOR operations. However, I think these technologies are now so well understood that almost regardless of the oil price, we can make it work. We just have to do the math right and find the most efficient solutions. If you’re already sitting on a chest of gold, why walk away from it? Utilizing existing resources to the max is always cheaper than looking for completely new sources of oil.

Water treatment – a holistic view

One topic that we’ve discussed with customers lately is water treatment in EOR applications. We’re talking about significant amounts of water being processed on daily basis. It takes particular expertise to handle the returned or “used” polymer in the process efficiently and appropriately. What really helps in finding the right solution is a holistic understanding of the entire process and the journey the polymer makes before it’s produced back. Our nearly 100 years of water treatment expertise doesn’t hurt, either.

Challenge us!

My view is that there are many reservoirs out there where IOR or cEOR technology could be utilized, but for one reason or another, it has been deemed too difficult. This is perhaps due to the minerology of the field, reservoir temperature or water quality. These cases fascinate me – challenge us, can we look into it together? Just last week I had a discussion like this with an offshore operator. We’re leading in off-shore polymer technology and continuously developing new polymers, so knowing about these challenges helps us in finding solutions to real-life cases.

Digitalization – simulate what you cannot see

There’s a lot of buzz around digitalization across industries. In oil & gas, digitizing processes and utilizing data is no new thing. Obviously, there’s continuous development in this field that also benefits the oil & gas industry. Besides being able to make timely decisions, one particularly interesting thing is predictive analytics and simulation – since no-one is able to see underground, these can become significant assets in project planning and decision-making.

There’s a lot of data already available but turning this data into meaningful information that guides decisions is key. We have also introduced digital tools to our customers’ technology stack, like the KemConnect™ EOR. It is an onsite measurement tool for detecting residual cEOR polyacrylamide polymers in produced water.

I’m really a problem-solver at heart. Certain humility is required in my job; being too self-assured and knowing all the answers off the bat can lead to mistakes.

Problem-solving in cool places

My job is so interesting and rewarding – there are no two days alike. I’ve been to some exotic places through work, and walked among snakes, reptiles and other creepy crawlies. I’ll go wherever the customer is, however safety is always the first priority.

I’m really a problem-solver at heart. Certain humility is required in my job; being too self-assured and knowing all the answers off the bat can lead to mistakes. It is important to ask, listen and investigate. We’re mostly dealing with complex phenomena and conditions. Understanding these cause-and-effect relations and offering problem-solving expertise is something our customers expect from us. Sometimes they just pick up the phone and call me “Susanna, what is your professional view on this?”. It feels good to enjoy this kind of trust. My customer contacts become my team and taskforce on a specific case.

You have an opportunity to meet Susanna at the SPE Improved Oil Recovery Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma April 14-18. Visit us at booth 202.

Susanna Toivonen
Global Key Account Manager, oil & gas
At Kemira
Since 2002
Wherever I need to be. Home is in Finland.
Topics to watch
Holistic approach to project planning, life of field.
Words to live by/motto
Slice the elephant piece-by-piece. Never give in to defeatism.
Ways to unwind
Very hands-on work at the family summer cottage: mowing the lawn, clearing dry twigs off the garden. Back to basics.

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