|PRODUCTION OPTIMISATION? PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE|
|Field Developments and Case Studies|
1Schlumberger Information Solutions
This paper will look at the future of production optimisation, often referred to as “The Digital Oil Field” or “Integrated Operations”. It will try to answer some of the following:
1. Where are we today and where can we get to?
2. What are the current constraints and what could we achieve if these were removed?
3. What other technologies could have an impact?
The paper will present a review of integrated operations around the world and a recent case study in which software was used to enhance production operations.
In “Our Industry Petroleum”, a 600 page book published by BP in 1977, there is a chapter entitled “Production”. It only has 26 pages but makes interesting reading, and provides many fascinating insights into the oil industry of that time.
Our understanding of the basic geology of our fields then seems to have come from cores taken during drilling of wells; seismic surveys were still in their infancy and we used delineation drilling where we would now employ reservoir models. There is a section in which production methods (waterflood, gas drive, artificial lift) and surface facilities are described. But the best and most reliable way to increase production was by drilling. There was no such thing as production optimisation in those days: wells either produced or they did not.
Since then the industry has grown threefold (figure 1).
And this doesn’t include the growth in importance of gas, LNG and gas liquids. To enable this massive growth many factors have contributed. One of these is the advent of production optimisation, a key approach to a remarkable improvement in asset management.
However now, we could argue, is the beginning of a demand/supply balance. This may last for several years, but the emphasis on production optimisation and increased recovery can only grow from now on.
Production today is a complex operation served by many products and services available from many suppliers. Companies have to meet multiple requirements from governments, regulators, partners and investors, as well as their own needs.
The production area is growing in importance, is complex, and is fast moving. Clients are demanding more accuracy, visibility, extensibility and flexibility.
And it’s not surprising that the domain is fiendishly complex – there are corporate features, which should be the same everywhere, but many more which are asset specific, reflecting licence terms, commercial arrangements, local and national regulations, partnerships, joint ventures, reservoir types, status, and much more.
A major contributor to satisfying this expansion of needs and requirements is the rapid development of software, infrastructure and communications, all of which are orders of magnitude more powerful than they were 30 years ago. Some of the key areas where technology is essential to workflows designed to enable more efficient operation of oil fields are shown in figure 2.
The component layers are described in the main paper, but first we need to answer the question “What is driving the business?”. There are, of course, many factors, all of which are encouraged by a strong share price. There are 4 primary things that we can do to influence share price:
1. Add value to assets
2. Increase reserves
3. Reduce opex
4. Increase productionProduction optimisation focuses particularly on these last two topics, where we affect both effectiveness and efficiency.
Production optimisation, the pinnacle of the pyramid, comprises a number of factors and is a major contributor to asset management decision-making. The goal is maximising production of hydrocarbons without reducing expected recovery from the reservoir, and therefore includes, but is not limited to:
· Reservoir simulation
· Drilling optimisation
· Completion design and optimisation
· Flowline and pipeline network modelling
· Facilities and export modelling
· Intervention planning
An emerging technique, with the potential to transform the way we manage oil and gas assets, is model integration.
Many companies are taking the first steps, often using a tool like this one (figure 3).
This is the only Schlumberger screen I will show, and I will use it simply to illustrate what an integrated model system might look like to the user. We have helped a number of companies with their initial evaluations, in many cases in the form of a pilot project. The main paper describes four examples in some detail and includes references to relevant SPE papers.
Many companies now have an ambition to promote better asset management by means of pervasive technology. BP, for example, defines their Field of the Future as:
“The bringing together of existing and new technologies and their integration with real-time data management and revised business processes, which together will enable oil or gas field operations not only to be continuously monitored and operated from afar, but linked in real time to remote decision makers who know how to solve problems and maximise outputs of oil and gas.”
BP Frontiers, December 2003
Integrated models, whether live, snapshot or simplified, are an essential ingredient of the Digital Oil Field.
But if a company is to embrace this technology it will have to make significant changes, one of the most difficult of which is to the asset management organisation itself. The following diagram shows where the integrated model features in the asset management structure, and the key to making it work will be the clear assignment of model owner responsibilities (figure 4).
In 5 years’ time, many of the constraints we face today will have been removed, or significantly reduced. In this section we explore what the world of production might feel like when this happens. When this nirvana has arrived we will find that simplicity, connectivity, flexibility and validation are givens, releasing our staff to focus on solving problems and exploiting opportunities.
We will see things like:
· A unified environment where all the tools for asset optimisation are in the same place, accessed in the same way
· Best in class products are available as a matter of course
· All sorts of workflows are available and new workflows can be designed on the fly
· Integration will be a thing of the past
· Visualisation will be high quality and available everywhere
· Knowledge management will be easy
· Collaboration will be a fact of life
· Data management (acquisition and processing) will be a given
These are what will characterise the digital oil field, field of the future, i-field, integrated operations… whatever the client wants to call it. A world where production, drilling and operational information is available to anyone with rights to view it, any time, anywhere.
Some of the developments that we will see may improve our ability to identify and manage reservoirs:
· New types of logging
· Advanced seismic interpretation
· Advanced completions
· Seabed processing
· Satellite imaging
· More automation
Others will have the effect of prolonging the energy demand-supply balance:
· Alternative energies
· Automotive development
· Advances in power technology
· Advanced wireless transmission technologies
Yet others will positively impact the industry in ways we cannot yet imagine:
· Social networking
· Cloud computing
· Nano technology
Finally, the paper will consider what actions can be taken and will offer some concluding remarks.