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Future Systems for Extreme Environments

27–30 May 2013 :: Muscat, Oman


Technical Agenda

Session 1: How Would these Future Technologies and Systems Improve Reservoir Characterisation?

Session Managers: Sami Eyuboglu, Halliburton; Ridha Abid, Weatherford

How well we know our reservoir is a key starting element to any successful field development, especially in extreme environments. This session will focus on how future technologies and systems could improve reservoir characterisation. At the start, we will explore how we can get wide and accurate data describing the reservoir and how downhole and surface monitoring techniques could be improved by incorporating future sensing systems driven by optical, acoustic, chemical, electromagnetic, and communications technologies. A second key aspect is how we can better use the reservoir data to improve our understanding of the reservoir mechanisms throughout the life of the field. We will address how future technologies will help develop more accurate and reliable reservoir models, simulation, and computing tools. The combination of accurate reservoir data and improved modelling and simulation tools will provide the base for field development strategies that lead to optimised reservoir recovery over the life of the field.

Reservoir characterisation in extreme environments will require the adoption of new emerging technologies but will also require a wider integration of distinct disciplines such as geophysics, geology, reservoir engineering, petrophysics, fluids mechanics, economics, computing, data management, and certainly many more disciplines into new integrated systems. A final exercise will explore the limits of these future technologies and systems in both existing known harsh environments and future unknown ones.

Session 2: Can We Build Smart Drilling Systems that Adapt Their Behaviour Through an Awareness of the Formations and Optimise the Well Productivity as They Drill?

Session Managers: Ibrahim Al-Sidhani, Petroleum Development Oman; Vincent Flores, VAM Drilling

The oil and gas industry has been talking about drilling automation for many decades. However, the concept of automation has not been progressed as was done in other industries. Over the last few years, drilling automation started to become a reality, driven primarily by major operators, drilling contractors, rig designers, and innovators. In order for the oil and gas industry to push the drilling and well construction to the next level, collaboration with other industries like aeronautics and auto industries is required to take lessons and apply them to the drilling systems. The rigs of tomorrow will likely be considerably more autonomous, or self-directed, and designed or retrofitted with state-of-the-art technologies that will do everything from link the drilling process to the well plan, eliminate dangerous and repetitive tasks and optimise the drilling parameters and the well trajectory based on formation and downhole data.

  • What does drilling automation mean and to what level it will be pushed?
  • What would be the role of humans be in future drilling operations?
  • How can such systems be used to optimise the well productivity?

Session 3: Are there New Well Construction Methods and Materials to Isolate the Wells?

Session Managers: Vincent Flores, VAM Drilling; John Allen, Saudi Aramco

Carbon steel drill pipe, steel casing, and cement have been the backbone of well construction for almost a century. There are powerful economic and operational incentives for preserving this status quo. Continued use of these technologies, however, leads to many of our well control and well life/workover issues. Can we make true step change improvements in these venerable technologies so that they can serve of more reliably for another 100 years? Or do we start with a blank slate to redefine well construction techniques.

Do we find new materials which could allow us to drill safely in any environment, or in a more profitable way? Do we develop “Buck Rogers” techniques that seal and strengthen the formation surface as we remove rock to make the hole? Do we find new materials that substantially improve our current casing/annular sealant techniques while maintaining economic viability?

Whether we look at previous catastrophic incidents in GoM, or the thousands of smaller incidents that effect well life and zonal isolation—has the time come to re-examine our paradigms?

Session 4: How Can Future Reservoirs be Accessed and Isolated?

Session Managers: Mark Brinsden, Shell; Dave Clark, Baker Hughes

Finding the optimum path to the reservoir and ensuring safety, integrity, reservoir isolation and selection is critical as we move into extreme environments. Accessing the reservoir involves everything from the surface location from which we drill and/or produce, through the methods of constructing and supporting the well path to the reservoir. The extremes of surface conditions from polar ice to mountainous terrain will add to complexities in the future. New well construction technology and safety procedures are needed to handle higher temperature and pressure, high H2S and CO2, very deep water, very deep wells, and very long step outs.

The reservoir that is accessed in future will be more unconventional, with possibly marginal economics and require new concepts in completion, including safe but low cost methods of accessing and isolating tight and isolated reservoirs, HP, HT, and highly corrosive produced fluids.

How can the industry evolve to satisfy this wide range of requirements?

Session 5: Can We Develop Environmental Waste Solutions?

Session Managers: Mark Brinsden, Shell; Dave Clark, Baker Hughes

The petroleum industry must effectively fulfill its responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of exploration, development, and production of hydrocarbons, while continuing to meet energy needs. How can our industry reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and minimise environmental impacts as we operate in more extreme environments?

New technologies will need to be used or developed to reduce, reuse, recycle waste in extreme environments and meet evolving regulations. What are innovative step-changes in waste management that industry should support? What processes or technologies should be adopted or improved to plan for generated waste volumes and types, simplify waste processing, tracking, and full compliance with laws and regulations?

Discussions will include the project planning process, operational improvement opportunities, site management practices, and disposal methods.

Session 6: How Can Autonomous Processes Improve How We Handle/Recycle Produced Fluids?

Session Managers: Salim Taoutaou, Schlumberger; Tony Michael Addis, Baker Hughes

Managing produced fluids has been a fact of life in the oilfield for years; the currently used techniques involve separation, treatment, and disposal of these produced fluids such as water; it is estimated that globally, oil wells produce about 220 million barrels of water per day. As the industry is moving toward unconventional and harsh environment the need to control the produced fluids is even more challenging. Looking at the next decade, the oil and gas industry will need autonomous/intelligent processes to improve the handling, recycling, and reuse of the produced fluids to meet the environmental needs, operations efficiency, and people's safety.

Session 7: What is Needed to Have Wells that Only Produce Hydrocarbons and Data?

Session Managers: John Allen, Saudi Aramco; Chimerebere Nkwocha, Geopro Technology Ltd.

Everything we want and nothing we don't—that's the dream. Along with the hydrocarbons and data we want, during drilling we get tons of cuttings and thousands of barrels of liquid waste. We do need cuttings for data, but we don't need that many tons of it. How many barrels of drill-in fluids are discarded during operations because the PSD of the bridging solids has degraded over time? During production, we often get unwanted fluids and solid fines along with our precious hydrocarbons.
Is there a better solution than our current practice? What is the shape and form of this solution?
How do we draw a box around our real requirements in order to come up with a proper direction and scope for our researchers? Can we accurately define our actual requirements to create a joint vision of the direction to go in search of a solution?

Session 8: Future Technologies and Systems for Smart Production

Session Managers: Ridha Abid, Weatherford; Sami Eyuboglu, Halliburton

Smart production has established its value in conventional oil and gas fields and is helping achieve increased field production while maintaining good economics. We will look in this session into how future technologies and integrated systems could help the adoption of smart production in more extreme environment fields. This starts with the simple task of smart and remote control of the downhole production to more challenging tasks such as in-situ downhole fluids separation, downhole controlled injection, real-time dynamic reservoir characterisation coupled with automated production control at the well and the field levels and many other innovative processes of production.

Another aspect will be how future technologies would help create fully optimised artificial lift processes that can address the challenges of aging and challenging fields? What are the future technologies that have the potential of lifting marginal reserve, UHPHT and deep multilateral wells? 

How can we implement the concept of intelligent fields or fully automated fields with sophisticated modelling and optimisation solutions in challenging fields such as deep subsea, arctic fields, or remote fields?

Is the adoption of smart production going to be a straight expansion from conventional to extreme fields? Or it will represent a major culture shift of the oil and gas from an operation oriented industry to an R&D oriented industry?