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Production Optimization Challenges

18 – 20 February 2013

Kuwait City, Kuwait

Technical Agenda

Tuesday, 19 February, 0845–0915

Welcome Address and Opening Remarks


Session 1: Production Optimization Challenges

Session Chairs: Nelson Bolanos, Schlumberger; Ridha Gharbi, Kuwait University

In the oil and gas industry, production domain covers a wide range of important activities that play a key role in the identification of opportunities for incremental production and/or improving production conditions of well/reservoir system. Activities targeting these objectives are usually understood as production optimisation, although plenty of other topics could also be part of this portfolio. Due to the wide and diverse types of activities related to production optimisation, e.g. fluids flow at reservoir level up to barrels flowing to the tank, a corresponding number and different type of challenges are faced during the whole production process and life cycle of the well.

This workshop will bring to the table current approaches, innovative methodologies, efficient workflows and top class technologies being used today in the industry to overcome the key challenges in production optimisation processes. Presentations, discussions, and breakout sessions are arranged to address these challenges with more emphasis on those encountered in Middle East area, while giving option to share and evaluate lessons learnt, best practices, and case studies on specific related topics.


Session 2: Optimization—Business Case

Session Chairs: Muhammed Ibrahim, Schlumberger; Stuart Johnston, BST Solutions

Optimisation is often discussed within the realms of technical adjustments to achieve certain set targets, and generally do not take into cognizance the overall business case underpinned by economic outcomes.

As a result, 'technical optimisation' is in many cases separated from 'economic optimisation'—a situation that frequently results in a technically sound outcome not moving forward because its overall quantification has not been framed within a business case. It is in view of this that the session will seek to delve into the case to be made to always underpin optimisation questions that advocate a relevant business framework. How should such business cases be framed? What recommended approaches can be put forward to consistently define the business case for each optimisation question we may be confronted with in the oil and gas industry?


Session 3: Brownfield Redevelopment

Session Chairs: Mahmoud Amani, Texas A&M University; Talal Ouazzani, Baker Hughes


Session 4: Heavy Oil/Unconventional Production Techniques

Session Chairs: Erik Sellman, Cameron; Steve Hoadley, Chevron

Heavy crude oil provides particular challenges for the oil and gas industry, both in the extraction phase as well as in the processing and dehydration phase. Production analysis show that the world average crude oil API gravity is dropping every year and the majority of the long term known reserves are for heavy crude oil.

The particular challenges of heavy crude oil include:

  • High oil density and low gas/oil ratio
  • High crude oil viscosity and transportation issues
  • Increased solids content
  • Low density difference between crude oil and formation water
  • High crude oil conductivity
  • Increased crude oil emulsion stability
  • Low FWKO separation efficiency
  • Less efficient instrumentation

The traditional remedy to the above challenges often leads to high operating temperatures, large dosages of demulsifier chemicals, equipment fouling, production upsets, and use of very large treaters. This leads to both higher operating expenditure (OPEX) as well as higher capital expenditure (CAPEX).

Wednesday, 20 February, 0830–0835

Session 5: Well Stimulation

Session Chairs: Francis Clayton, Shell; Mohamed Aggour, Texas A&M University

Production optimisation is the maximisation of value from hydrocarbon assets, mainly achieved by improving both recovery and flow rates from the wells. Well stimulation is a key technique that treats the near-wellbore region of the reservoir to reduce formation damage or increase the inflow area. Primary stimulation methods include matrix acidizing where treatment fluids flow through the pore spaces to remove damage, along with fracture stimulation treatments where the formation breakdown gradient is exceeded, creating large fractures and significantly increase the inflow area. Many other methods of well stimulation can be applied in both sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. In some cases, such as shale gas development, it is not possible to economically produce any hydrocarbons without stimulating the well. Other, more exotic stimulation methods are also available using, for example, high energy sound waves, explosives, and heat.


Session 6: Intelligent Fields—Challenges

Session Chairs: Anton Leemhuis, TNO; Steven Hoadley, Chevron

This session will address i-Field technologies, experiences, and best practices in production optimisation and reservoir management. During the session, presenters will address issues related to intelligent surface operations, remote monitoring technologies, well head and sub-surface sensors, intelligent completions, infrastructure requirements for real-time data collection and transmission, and hardware and software to process and analyse the data. Some questions under investigation will evaluate the added value of i-Field technology and how we make sure the right information is obtained from monitoring data. The assessment of the impact after implementation of the i-Field concept on company organisation will also be addressed.


Session 7: Advances and Optimization in Artificial Lift and Well Testing

Session Chairs: Brian Sidle, Welltec; Talal Ouazzani, Baker Hughes

In this session, presentations will highlight challenges and lessons learnt with regards to integrated production systems modeling. Following the presentations, groups will be formed to review, discuss, and present their perspectives on how the information presented could assist them with their production optimisation challenges and where industry/current solutions could be improved.


Session 8: Integrated Production Systems

Session Chairs: Nelson Bolanos, Schlumberger; Ridha Gharbi, Kuwait University

Oil and gas production happens in a continuum, which spans and includes the pore space, the well bore, the production network, the treatment facilities, and the export lines. A perturbation of the system at any of these points has a direct consequence on the behaviour of all the other interconnected points; which, in turn, dictates the efficiency with which the production system behaves.

However, we tend to approach the integrated production system in piece-wise fashion, i.e. the pore space separately, wells separately, treatment facilities separately, etc. Have we been efficient in doing so? Could we approach and understand the integrated production system in a better fashion? Technologies that allow coupling of component definitions of the system into an asset-type model are common these days. Are these adequate for the challenges we face, or do these require significant re-work?