E&P Magazine - September 2006

Special Report

Tech Trends

dGB has launched OpendTect SSIS, a sequence stratigraphic interpretation system. In SSIS, seismic interpreters have new ways to visualize and analyze seismic data, which leads to better insights of sediment deposition, erosion and timing. In combination with OpendTect's neural networks plug-in, users can follow up with seismic facies clustering and study the resulting patterns and bodies, and their spatial distribution, in relation to geologic timing and system tracts.

Activity Spotlight

News & Analysis

Brazilian energy regulator ANP will offer 284 blocks in seven basins in its eighth licensing auction on Nov. 28 this year as it pinned down a date after an earlier delay. The organization originally planned to offer 1,153 blocks in 18 basins but the government's CNPE energy policy council decided to focus on areas with more focused potential.

Another Perspective

Analysis assures product flows

Flow assurance is a critical issue in offshore wells, and it becomes more and more critical as tieback distances and water depths increase. The right decisions are imperative because an operator will have to live with them through the life of a well or field or submit to expensive new solutions for a project already in place.

COD drives project efficiencies

Backdropping the oil industry's historical supply/demand fluctuations, every upswing typically brings new challenges as well as open-ended opportunities. As shareholders of super-major oil companies evaluate the balance between production and reserves, increased consumption continues to exert pressure on these companies to keep pace. As a result, seismic data processors are finding themselves dealing with an abundance of work.

Complex projects need coordination

A workable teamwork approach to construction management reduces the chance of costly misunderstandings. The external interface management process is useful to ensure that the myriad of project elements are properly coordinated, responsibilities assigned, problems identified, conflicts resolved, resolutions documented and roles understood by all involved.

Design the intelligent well

Intelligent wells are about timely information and response. Designed to obtain real-time downhole data to gain critical wellbore and reservoir information, they are likewise equipped with the well completion and control technology to enable swift, responsive actions that minimize asset risk and optimize production.

Drift-off path prediction

With drilling operations moving to ever-harsher environments, there is an increased need to ensure drilling riser integrity in unplanned incidents such as loss of station keeping.

Working with a major drilling contractor, MCS has developed an on-board vessel/riser drift-off simulator for use on the latest generation of dynamically positioned (DP) drilling rigs.

E&P interviews Lukoil chairman

Russia can offer huge oil and gas reserves matched by huge engineering challenges to recovery. Lukoil Chairman of the Board Valery Isaakovitch Graifer, general chairman of the

2006 SPE Russian Oil and Gas Technical Conference and Exhibition, analyzed the Russian oil and gas industry during an interview.

Expandable sand screens add value

Currently, production from sand-prone environments accounts for approximately one-third of BP's current total production, and this will grow significantly as many of BP's new growth areas ramp up production over the next few years. In addition many of BP's water injectors will require sand control.

Fields get smarter

Intelligent operations in the oil and gas exploration and production industry is a concept that has been coming into reality during the past few years. While exploration programs to find new hydrocarbon reserves can and must continue, the intelligent operations idea centers on known reservoirs.

Flanges tackle deepwater challenges

A remote connection system enables flanges to be used safely and effectively at depth.

Acergy has steadily been building up experience in using standard flange connectors for the tie-in of deepwater pipelines and risers. To date, more than 100 flanges have been successfully connected using the Modular Advanced Tie In System (Matis) remote connection system, with no leaks reported during pressure testing or subsequent pipeline operation.

Get news from downhole

Well monitoring and surveillance is the process driver for most of what counts as intelligent operations. Permanent monitoring of the production well bore and closely associated processes and infrastructure provide fundamentally better understanding of the well and reservoir.

Glory Days

By the mid-1990s, 3-D seismic had come into its own, particularly offshore. Vessels were being equipped with longer streamers, and more of them, enabling them to acquire massive volumes of data in a relatively quick period. "Group shoots" were becoming common, enabling geophysical contractors to bite off ever-larger chunks of acreage in return for a guaranteed customer base that helped to pre-fund the survey and offset some of the financial risk.

Just scratching the surface

The term "what the market will bear" ideally should not apply to research and development. Unfortunately, it often does. Thus it is that the Exploration Geophysics Lab (EGL) at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas is studying gas hydrates.

Madagascar seems ripe for picking

Major oil companies bypassed Madagascar in times past, but now it's on ExxonMobil's short list of hot offshore prospects, and the latest licensing round has drawn interest from other major oil companies as well, but onshore prospects offer high potential, too.

Maintain constant BHP while drilling

Operators drilling with Dynamic Pressure Control expand access to previously undrillable reserves while reducing mud costs and NPT. Dynamic Pressure Control (DPC) is a managed-pressure drilling (MPD) service to maintain constant bottomhole pressure (CBHP) while drilling.

Mirror imaging of OBS nodes

As the world struggles to address increasing demand and decreasing supply of energy, producers are compelled to explore and produce in more challenging places. Technology has always been a key to success in this game. New seismic technology aims at imaging the blind spots of conventional methods. One such new technology is ocean bottom station (OBS) nodes.

Multiphase flow modeling for UBD

Because of the presence of both compressible and incompressible fluids, accurate multiphase flow modeling is necessary for the planning and implementation of most UBD projects. In underbalanced drilling (UBD), the pressure throughout the well bore is intentionally kept lower than the formation pressure, allowing the well to produce during the drilling operation.

New tool makes casing drilling faster

New top drive casing running and drilling system removes personnel and equipment from the rig floor, gets through trouble zones and cuts time off casing jobs. Conventional casing jobs run up against two time-consuming issues: First, the hole must be cleaned (reamed and wiped) in order to obtain a good cement job. This costs rig time and exposes the well bore to damage.

Optimizing drilling programs using full-wave imaging

In the late 1990s, the development and commercial availability of three-component (3-C) digital geophones ushered in a new era in seismic acquisition. Modern recording systems, along with the new 3-C digital sensors, made it possible to deploy and record large-scale multicomponent 3-D surveys.

Overcome UBD challenges

Drilling underbalanced brings unique problems, but overcoming them can result in a successful well not attainable with traditional drilling techniques. There are many locations worldwide where drilling cost reduction or production improvement is likely to result through application of directional underbalanced drilling (UBD). The main benefit of underbalanced drilling is the minimization of formation invasion related problems.

Planning is key in remote environments

The oil and gas sector is a high-risk industry in anyone's estimation - working with high- pressures, volatile liquids, flammable and toxic gases, heavy equipment in remote and harsh conditions, and often hundreds of miles away from emergency services. It is vitally important therefore to understand the significance of emergency preparation and take steps to ensure operators have effective response arrangements in place should the worst happen.

Predict viscosity effects

A hydraulically valid model with the resultant viscosity predicting algorithms has been developed for lost circulation material (LCM) added to non-aqueous drilling fluids.

Measuring drilling fluid rheology for fluids containing LCM is difficult or impossible with a standard bob and sleeve rheometer because of the interference of the particles with the rotation of the sleeve in the narrow annular gap.

Pushing the limits in a fractured reservoir

The Colorado School of Mines Reservoir Characterization Project (RCP) is conducting time-lapse multicomponent seismic surveys at Rulison field, Piceance Basin, Colorado, to identify and monitor fracture zones in tight gas sands. Multicom-ponent seismic monitoring is being conducted in a tight gas development project for the first time, as downspacing to 10 acres is occurring.

Rig technologies in Arctic regions

As access to the world's oil and gas reserves becomes constrained outside Europe and North America, the interest in and potential for exploration and production (E&P) in remote regions has increased. This is especially true in the Arctic frontier, where E&P spending is forecast to grow significantly. The Sakhalin Island shelf contains proven reserves rivaling the North Sea during early development, and 80% of Russia's potential hydrocarbons are concentrated in the northwest Arctic shelf.

Sand control gains from new technology

Packer system, lightweight gravel offer solution for North Sea openhole gravel pack.

In the first part of the 1990s, cased-hole gravel pack was the primary sand control measure in Statoil; however, during the last decade openhole solutions have been taking over. Statoil has had good success with openhole gravel-pack operations in horizontal wells up to 3,937 ft (1,200 m) in length.

Sand control goes mobile

New system makes high-rate pumping accessible and affordable in remote areas. For years, offshore operators have relied on dedicated stimulation vessels for high-rate pumping operations such as hydraulic fracturing, frac packing and acidizing.

Shear magic

It is becoming easier to get the message across about the value of land multicomponent seismic surveys. In the United States and Canada alone more than 150 projects have been undertaken using multicomponent acquisition systems which offer excellent coverage with survey sensors recording in the region of 18,000 channels.

The intelligent field comes full circle

The ultimate, perfected vision of intelligent operations is a closed loop with the reservoir simulation as the broad base of the system, ongoing operating parameters all captured in real time and fed into the simulation, and the continuously updated simulation becoming the driver for optimization decisions.

Update the intelligent model

Reservoir models are run more frequently, and the day could be approaching when they are continuously updated with real-time production well data. One thing everyone agrees on is that the industry is not there yet. There is debate about whether it actually will get there or getting all the way there will be useful enough to justify the effort.

Water detection plays critical role

An operator must measure water content to devise an effective flow maintenance plan.

A crucial component of flow assurance today is the need to predict and measure the water production profile in the well.