Session Managers: Matthew Jackson, Imperial College London; Roman Berenblyum, IRIS
As an industry and arguably in academia also, we tend to get attracted to the “next big thing” and search for how we can apply this knowledge to various applications. Nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, deep-imaging, intelligent field—all are terms we have become accustomed to.
However the fundamental questions remain largely unanswered—It is physics and chemistry at the molecular level between the rock surface, the various components within the oil and water fluid phases that control the processes and need to be fully understood. What drives the conditions of wettability, interfacial, or capillary forces, adhesion, and relative permeability? Could those conditions be changed? What are the mechanisms? Colloidal science, molecular chemistry, and geo-chemistry, all play a huge role in understanding this over time scales that necessarily have to cross from the geological to that of the displacing fluids within a primary, secondary, or tertiary recovery scenario.
Session Managers: Ali Abdelkerim, ZADCO; Raj Tewari, PETRONAS
Reservoir characterisation tools have been around since the early 1900s. Yet we still can only see the first few inches to maximum feet away from the wellbore. Is this sufficient to determine the quantity and the location of the remaining oil in place? Well construction technologies have allowed vast improvements in accessing reserves. But at what level is the current limit on well spacing in carbonate fields appropriate for correlating fluid saturation across a field? What breakthroughs or innovations in existing technology are needed that might help resolve the location, quantity, and interfacial status of the remaining oil in place to the resolution required to know what to do about it?
Session Managers: Ali Yousef, Saudi Aramco; George Hirasaki, Rice University
If we knew the condition of the fluids residing in the pore space and how they were locked in place, how could we impact these? Chemistry at the fundamental level must play a huge part here. At the pore level it is about getting these “agents of recovery” to act at the right place and right time, and preferably coming back with the crude to re-cycle. What are the molecules that might offer a step change in recovery fundamentals for the future, and how do they address the physic-chemistry discussed earlier? How do we assure ourselves they will do the right thing in situ in field conditions, and how could we demonstrate this?
What are the processes in the pipeline? (1) Low salinity or altered electrolyte waterflooding (2) Thermal recovery in stylolite formations (3) Acid gas (CO2 and/or H2S) miscible displacement (4) Surfactants for low IFT (5) Foam mobility control.
Session Managers: Eric Delamaide, IFP Technologie; Fred Arasteh, Weatherford
Identifying chemicals able to increase recovery in the lab at the core scale is only the first step in increasing recovery. The second step is being able to deliver those chemicals where they need to go. In fractured reservoirs, chemicals must be able to enter the matrix in a “reasonable” timeframe. This may not be possible if the rock is oil wet or the target area is too large. The existence of a fracture network can facilitate chemical delivery farther away from injectors but may bypass oil in the matrix surrounding the well.
Conversely in non-fractured, low permeability carbonates, fluid mobility is very limited and may require high injection pressures.
Another key challenge is how to determine whether the chemical or other agent has actually reached their target. It is quite possible to manage their diversion inside or proximal to the wellbore, but controlling them beyond remains a major challenge.
Session Managers: Fred Arasteh, Weatherford; Kassem Ghorayeb, Schlumberger
Are the current available saturation measurement technologies sufficient to determine how well our EOR agents are performing? If not, then what else is needed? And where does the industry R&D stand in this regard? The producing streams will, at some point, be impacted by the improved reserves recovery, but what other issues should be brought to the table that have to be managed, and how should we manage them (e.g. environmental issues)? The statement “how do we double carbonate reservoir recovery” should drive the question—Do we actually know when we have recovered double the original estimates? Are there novel ways we could measure or “tag” each barrel of additional oil produced due to the improved recovery method employed?
Session Managers: Hamid Behzadi, Oxy; Steve Dyer, Schlumberger
Production assurance challenges tend to increase when adding agents to the injection scheme. How could these agents of the future affect our production systems, and the associated hardware required to move crude from the reservoir to the stock tank? What are the key challenges that need solving today to create the production (or injection) wells and pipeline facilities of the future? Surveillance is crucial in recovery optimisation especially in fractured reservoirs since the flood front breakthrough can be sudden and in unexpected locations. The question remains - How we can have comprehensive and efficient surveillance while providing the level of control needed to positively impact recovery without becoming too extravagant?
Session Managers: Bruno Lalanne, Total; Shaikhan Khadhuri, Petroleum Development Oman
The oil industry has a long history in producing carbonate fields with many good practices and technologies that can be used as learning for other fields with similar characteristics and challenges.
Still, numerous challenges remain. For example, the domains of tool resolutions, characterisation and upscaling of heterogeneity, tracking preferential flow paths and by-passed areas, optimisating well placement, to name a few. R&D innovations and advances in understanding the physic-chemical interactions at various scales should offer new perspectives in chemical, polymer and salt water injection, thermal, or biotechnologies.
This session provides a platform to address new and emerging sciences and innovations in fields such as nano or bio-technologies, material, computational science, physics and chemistry that significantly impact the ways we characterise and manage our reservoirs, discussing, and focusing on future needs and opportunities.