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Marginal Fields: Resource to Revenue

4 – 6 April 2013

Goa, India | Grand Hyatt Goa

Technical Agenda

Friday, 5 April, 0900–1030

Session 1: Case Histories

Marginal fields are currently estimated to contribute about 30–40% of global oil produced and are gaining ever-growing importance due to the natural production decline of large, mature fields. Large IOC's and smaller independents are developing skills and capabilities to unlock the potential from marginal fields and small developments. Despite the challenges of economically developing these fields, factors such as integrated production facilities with focus on minimising CapEx and OpEx, utilisation of existing infrastructure, fit-for-purpose reservoir management and operating practices, and emphasis on increasing field recovery through technology applications can make the difference in terms of production and profit for any field size.

Favourable fiscal terms and regulations suited to marginal fields and small fields' development can further help making such fields economic and add to revenues and production for all stakeholders.

This session will provide an insight from conceptualisation to commercial production of several marginal fields and help us understand the lessons of success from across the world.


Session 2: Improving Economics of Marginal Fields

Marginal fields are primarily uneconomical for development at one point of time under a given fiscal, technological, and regulatory regime. These may be additionally impacted by environmental concerns, political stability, access, remoteness, price level and stability of produced oil and gas. On the other hand, growing demand, high oil and gas prices, dwindling size of new discoveries, and crippling domestic shortages are primary drivers for their monetisation on priority.

Uncertainties in recoverable reserves and high costs associated in acquiring further reservoir information as well as high capital expenditure is the dilemma the industry is facing in developing small and marginal accumulations.

To facilitate faster monetisation of such reserves, favourable policies and fiscal regime are primary enabling factors along with strategies to develop at low costs and improve recoveries while implementing such projects.


Session 3: Subsurface

A vast number of small and marginal discoveries in both offshore and onshore environments are waiting for development. The inventory of such fields is increasing with almost all upstream operators. Appropriate technologies and strategies are required to develop these fields cost effectively.

A substantial amount of hydrocarbons can be unlocked in many areas of the world if a proper exploration approach is applied through new geological concepts development, new well logging acquisition, and interpretation techniques, or by selecting the most appropriate geophysical surveying and processing methodologies. Integrated solutions, multidisciplinary studies, good reservoir management, data acquisition, rapid oil development, new technologies, and customised operating practices can also contribute dramatically in exploiting the hydrocarbon potential of marginal fields.


Session 4: Drilling and Completion

When the term marginal field is mentioned, it is usually associated with small pockets of hydrocarbons that have a plateau of a few years. Marginal fields have several parameters that affect them, and the two that affect them the most are drilling and completion strategy of the well. When we talk about completion it is no longer about just tubular and downhole jewellery, we are also talking about the important events in the well's life that determines the productivity of the well, for example, hydraulic fracturing. The various cycles which affect our oil industry have emphasised the need for detailed control of expenditure for development and production of small discoveries. Reducing geological and engineering uncertainty should be key focus on such developments and again drilling and completion will have the biggest impact on these parameters.

The session will discuss innovative strategies from a drilling and completion perspective to best develop marginal fields. Concepts of maximum reservoir contact, batch and pad drilling, appropriate use of improved recovery methods like hydraulic fracturing which have enabled the production from many marginal tight gas fields will be discussed.

Saturday, 6 April, 0900–1030

Session 5: Surface Facilities

With easy oil moving into history, the industry is moving into more complex and difficult reservoirs in search of black gold. The increasing demand and the imbalances in consumptions across the world is making oil and gas economics risky. However, between complex reservoirs and conventional ones, we have marginal fields which can be exploited by using innovative and cost effective solutions.

Since marginal fields have limited life, solutions should have the flexibility of fast development and redeployment possibilities after the life of the field/reservoir. MODU/MOPU/monopods/unmanned facilities are the established methods of exploiting marginal fields. Further optimisation is required in terms of standard modularised units which can be easily deployed and retrieved for redeployment. Standardisation in terms of water depth/reservoir type and size need also to be considered. Further, standardized design could yield economies of scale, with large number of similar facilities lowering the inventory requirement.

It may be worthwhile to evaluate the design conditions, as to whether 100 year storm conditions or lesser need to be applied coupled with additional safety features to protect the environment in case of a failure. Subsea tie-backs could also be a solution in some cases.

This session will looking at having innovative solutions of modularised and re-deployable facilities and alternate methods of developing support facilities both for onshore and offshore application.


Session 6: Offshore Marginal Fields

A large number of discoveries have been made since 1970’s in onland and offshore areas, which due to reasons of economics, were not considered feasible for development. Faced with the prospect of finite oil and gas reserves and crippling domestic shortages, oil companies have embarked upon aggressive strategy for development of even small accumulations, as they seek to sustain oil production and secure a long term gas supply.

Uncertainty in the amount of recoverable reserves and high cost associated in acquiring further reservoir information as well as high capital expenditure are the dilemmas our industry is facing in developing small accumulations.

Marginal fields with limited oil and gas reserves are economically viable when produced with low capital cost and overheads. This is also possible when outsourced to smaller companies. With the rise in oil price, improved infrastructure and less expensive enabling technology and liberal Government regulations, these stranded oil and gas accumulations are increasingly being exploited profitably. The workshop will focus on marginal field development with innovative solutions and fit-for- purpose technology.

  • Offshore marginal field development: challenges and critical issues
  • Early monetization and concurrent exploration
  • Innovative facility solutions to reduce capital and operating cost
  • Drilling and well completion design and issues
  • Options for stranded gas development of marginal fields
  • Reviewing the success and failure of marginal field development—case study
  • Regulatory framework and fiscal incentive for marginal filed development


Session 7: Safety

Safety of life, property, and environment is of prime importance. Whilst the oil and gas industry endeavours to maintain one of the highest standards in safety because of the risks involved in operations, it is important to understand the implications of these standards on marginal fields wherein the risks involved are very different from large reservoirs and facilities. Present state-of-the-art safety philosophy, practices for marginal fields onshore as well as offshore considering aspects of reservoir, drilling, design of field and facilities, operations, decommissioning and redeployment, etc. will be addressed.

Also, marginal fields are normally characterised by small reservoir size, low pressure, low production rate, unmanned or minimum facilities platform, shorter operating life hence possible less severe storm/environmental load, remote location. Hence it may be worthwhile to consider a different set of design parameters to make such unmanned small facilities more viable without compromising on the safety of environment, human, and marine life and the material assets including the reservoir. Design philosophies will have to incorporate features to comply the design parameters in certain extreme situations but still have adequate fail-safe mechanisms in place to protect the environment, life and material. The session will also explore aspects on safety design philosophy for techno–commercial viability and mitigating the risk involved in marginal field development.


Session 8: Future Direction—Panel Session

This high-level panel session will conclude the workshop with presentations by specially invited eminent and key industry experts. It will focus on future direction of marginal fields developments and the new technologies required to make it from a resource to revenue.

This session will finish with workshop concluding remarks by the steering committee chairperson.


Concluding Remarks by Workshop Chairperson and Vote of Thanks