7031 Trondheim, Norway




pVT (NO3.7c)


The pVT facilities at SINTEF Reservoir laboratory consist of pressure cells and apparatuses for studies of fluid systems at reservoir conditions. The individual installations can be used for detailed characterisation of the pVT behaviour of fluid systems used in core flooding experiments, and for stand-alone studies of fluid systems at reservoir conditions.

Areas of research

The pVT facilities at SINTEF Reservoir laboratory supports research for CO2-EOR and CO2 saline aquifer storage. Process wetted parts are in corrosion resistant materials suitable for CO2/brine mixtures. It has been used to characterise oil/brine/CO2 fluid systems through:

  • Determination of p-V curves (constant composition volume expansion curves) for original reservoir fluids and for mixtures of reservoir fluids and CO2
  • Determination of phase fractions for binary mixtures and for more complex mixtures such as reservoir fluids
  • Characterisation of phase envelopes for CO2-rich mixtures representative of CO2 streams from capture processes
  • Determination of expansion factors from reservoir conditions to ambient conditions
  • Measurement of interfacial tension between oil/brine, oil/gas, oil/CO2, brine/CO2
  • Determination of characteristics of chemicals for foam stabilisation or viscosity-altering substances for CO2-EOR or CO2 saline aquifer storage.
  • Studies of oil/gas miscibility


The operative installations currently encompass:

Two automated pVT-cells
  • Working conditions up to 700 bar, 200 °C for both cells
  • Process volume up to 150 ml
  • Windowed high-pressure cell enabling visual characterisation of the process fluids and accurate measurement of phase fractions
  • In-cell rotary stirrer for rapid equilibration of fluids
  • Possibility for mounting of camera
  • Mounted in heating cabinet
  • Cell inserts for studies of special conditions such as asphaltene precipitation and condensate drop-out
  • CCS-related research has priority on one of the pVT-cells
Automated HPHT pVT cell
  • Working conditions up to 1000 bar, 210 °C
  • This cell is a free-standing benchtop apparatus with heating integrated in the cell body
  • The basic design of the windowed cell is as for the 700 bar cells
Automated slim-tube apparatus
  • Working conditions up to 700 bar, 150 °C
  • Coiled sand-filled 12-m long tube
  • Pore volume ~50 ml
  • In-line measurement of fluid density at outlet
Two pendant drop cells for IFT measurements
  • Working conditions up to 850 bar, 180 °C, and 2000 bar, 240 °C, respectively
  • Corrosion resistant for CO2/brine systems at high temperature and temperature
  • High-resolution camera system combined with in-house image analysis software
  • Measurement range down to ~1 mN/m
  • Mineral samples can be inserted for studies of contact angle and contact angle alteration with time in mineral/CO2/brine systems
Interface laser light scattering cell for ultra-low IFT measurements (~10-5 mN/m)
  • Working conditions up to 700 bar, 180 °C
  • The typical application of this cell is for measurement on gas condensate systems and systems with very small density difference between the phases
Rolling-ball viscometer
  • Working conditions up to 700 bar, 150 °C
  • Measurement range 0.1–3 cP

State of the Art, uniqueness & specific advantages

The pVT facilities at SINTEF Reservoir laboratory is well equipped to perform a wide range of fluid studies under reservoir conditions relevant for CO2 storage and CO2-EOR. The overall maximum working conditions are 700 bar/150 °C and for the HPHT IFT cell up to 2000 bar/ 240 °C. All basic fluid properties necessary for interpretation of core flooding studies may be measured in the laboratory.

The facilities are also well suited for studies of phase equilibrium of binary mixtures relevant for research of the impact of impurities in the CO2 stream, e.g. for CO2 transport research, with pressure and temperature read-out accuracy of 0.01 bar and 0.02 °C, respectively. The pVT cells have an internal rotary stirrer integrated into the piston top. The stirrers are driven with magnetic coupling that avoids additional penetration of the seal. The stirring enables rapid equilibration of the process fluids at each measurement step.

The IFT cells are mounted on (semi)circular rails that facilitated rocking movements to speed up equilibration of the phases in the cells. This mounting also easily facilitates switching between pendant and rising drops. The IFT cells are equipped with several auxiliary ports to enable accurate control of the process pressure during forming of new drops at the needle tip. Manually operated pistons with small volume enables accurate control of drop volume during equilibration. Several needle sizes are available to expand the formation of stable drops for a wide range of phase density differences and IFT values.

All facilities are well ventilated, and the laboratory is equipped to handle poisonous substances such as SO2 and CO.

The laboratory contains the only high-pressure interface laser light scattering IFT cell currently in operation (globally). The light scattering cell relies on the reflection/scattering of light from a stable horizontal interface between the phases in the cell and is therefore ideally suited for measurement on fluid systems with very low interfacial tension (down to 10-5 mN/m) and/or with low density difference that makes the pendant drop technique impossible. This is most relevant for gas condensate systems or systems at near-critical conditions.

Scientific Environment

The pVT facilities at SINTEF Reservoir laboratory is working in close collaboration with other ECCSEL facilities at SINTEF, such as the co-located core flooding facilities (ECCSEL facility NO3.7a). Services such as advanced characterisation of the composition (mass spectroscopy) of fluid samples are possible at other SINTEF laboratories.

Operating by


STORAGE technologies:
Caprock/well integrity, Reactivity/mineralisation, Leakage
TRANSPORT technologies:
Fluid characterisation
UTILISATION technologies:
CO2-EOR - Enhanced Oil Recovery
Research Fields:
Fluid dynamics, Chemistry/Geochemistry, Physical processes, Thermodynamics
Facility's fact sheet

Location & Contacts

7031 Trondheim, Norway
Bård Bjørkvik
RICC Contacts - Secondary contact
Rune Bredesen

Facility Availability

Unit of access (UA)
Availability per year (in UA)
90 UA (days)
Duration of a typical access (average) and number of external users expected for that access
Duration about 14–30 days
Average number of external users expected for typical access
Number of external users: 1–2

Quality Control / Quality Assurance (QA)

Activities / tests / data are
Controlled: ISO 9001

Operational or other constraints

Specific risks:
Instructions are necessary to reduce operational risks. One experienced person from SINTEF will always be present, following the on-going experiment. Most important risks are related to handling of pressurised equipment, and explosion due to thermal expansion. Users must adapt to local security and HMS instructions.
Legal issues
Access to the labs of SINTEF is dependent on compliance to all relevant procedures and policies of the institute relating to HSE and protection of the intellectual property.

CCUS Projects

Other CCUS Projects
Research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and industry.
Research Council of Norway
Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (Research Council of Norway) NCCS Norwegian CCS Research Centre
Research Council of Norway
Improved performance of CO2-EOR and underground storage by mobility control of CO2
Research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and industry.
BIGCO2 – CO2 Management Technologies for Future Power generation

Selected Publications

Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, 190 (2020)
Partitioning of non-ionic surfactants between CO2 and brine
Barrabino, A., Holt, T., and Lindeberg, E.
Fluid Phase Equilibria, 485, 168-182 (2019)
Interface light-scattering on a methane-decane system in the near-critical region at 37.8 °C (100 °F)
Strand, K.A., Bjørkvik, B.J.A.
Nanomaterials, 8, 603 (2018)
An evaluation of graphene oxides as possible foam stabilising agents for CO2 based enhanced oil recovery
Barrabino, A., Holt, T., and Lindeberg, E.
SPE/DOE IOR symposium, Tulsa, USA, April 2006. (2006)
Laboratory experiments of tertiary CO2 injection into a fractured core
Darvish, G.R., Lindeberg, E., Holt, T., Kleppe, J., Utne, S.A.
Colloids and Interfaces, 5, 23 (2021)
First approach to measure interfacial rheology at high-pressure conditions by the oscillating drop technique
Barrabino, A., Holt, T., Bjørkvik, B., Lindeberg, E.