EXECUTIVE PLENARY SESSION
STAYING THE COURSE AND MOVING TO NEW FRONTIERS
Moderators: Saleh bin Ali Al Anboori, Director General of Management of Petroleum Investments, Ministry of Oil and Gas; Sultan S. Al-Shidhani, Petroleum Engineering Manager, Petroleum Development Oman
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) methods and technologies have been in development, evaluation, and steadily increased implementation in recent years, which has brought about further advancements in both understanding/conceptualisation and the implementing/operating levels. Hence, consolidating EOR has become a vital part of oil extraction methods in many parts on the world.
The recent significant and longer lasting reduction in oil price posed major challenges to EOR applications that are highly variable, capital intensive, challenging to operate, and in most cases field specific. However, the oil industry has responded to these challenges by stepping up efforts and optimising development, improving unit technical costs by advancing technologies and extractions methods, EOR applications are benefiting most from new realities.
There is a need for the industry to stay the course for existing EOR applications, to ensure that they continue to thrive, whilst progressing to new frontiers to unlock further hydrocarbon resources. These frontiers are targeting resources that are extremely difficult to access and extract, as well as new technologies and methods. While the main EOR methods (thermal, chemical, and miscible gas) increase recovery by improving oil mobility and displacement, further enhancements could be achieved with the combination of improved productivity and increased accessibility to oil resources through the application of novel methods.
Staying the course and moving to new frontiers requires the sharing of EOR developmental efforts, industrial experience and new advances by addressing the emerging and implementation challenges more effectively. The Middle East region, Oman in particular, is achieving major advances in EOR developments and addressing the challenges of moving to new frontiers.
In this major executive panel session, distinguished industry leaders will share their assessment of the industry’s successes and progress made in the EOR journey, highlighting its importance and impact on the energy sector and the economical/technological developments at large. Center to the panel discussions is how and what it takes to stay the course and to make significant strides in progressing into new frontiers.
PANEL SESSION 1
FROM CONCEPT TO PRODUCING, HOW CAN WE MAKE IT FASTER?
Moderators: Mohammed Al Qassab, General Manager—Production Operations, Tatweer Petroleum; Gregor Brodt, Vice President Technology Scouting & Innovation, BASF
EOR Project development and turnaround cycle from a conceptual phase to realisation and production varies between companies and business cultures. What makes some companies faster than others in successfully developing an oil field by implementation of an EOR project and progress this from a concept to full production?
In some companies it takes years to implement an EOR project to full field production. These companies go through prolonged assessment periods including carrying out field and lab work, analysing the results before implementing a pilot. Based on the results and the company strategies and priorities, only then can implementation begin on a small or field/reservoir wide scale.
In other companies, it may be more critical to progress the implementation of such projects at a fast pace and employ dedicated resources to ensure early and successful realisation. For these companies, the task can be a more challenging. Starting with the decision to outsource the whole work to a specialised consulting firm or to carry it out with their own resources. Initially the selection of the right consultant is critical for success, even though the project objectives, goals and targets are clearly defined and adhered to throughout the whole project. If the project is going to be carried out with internal resources, selection of the project team, the need to employ additional expert resources, team members coherence, dedication and discipline, team and company leadership style, company business processes, clear objectives and targets, etc. need to be taken into account.
Organisational soft characteristics like culture, and its business processes are critical to success, but meticulous project planning, project management and execution are important in implementing and maturing the concept quickly.
In this session we will hear from experts in this field and learn from their experiences to efficiently progress an EOR project from concept to production.
PANEL SESSION 2
EOR: WHERE ARE WE NOW? TAKING STOCK OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS
Moderators: Moudi Al-Ajmi, Team Leader Reservoir Studies (North Kuwait), KOC; Zeinoun Klink, Vice President, Halliburton
Modern society is heavily dependent on petroleum and its products. From fuelling jets to band-aids, petroleum is the source of almost everything that human beings use today. This highlights the importance of petroleum in our life today and puts pressure on maintaining its supply. Most oil companies realise that new giant fields are difficult to find. The consensus therefore is to maximise the recovery factors. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is the geoscience community’s response to meet this objective.
The concepts of popular EOR methods are known to the industry for several years. What has however prevented their mass application is the oil price. It is an open secret that development costs in the Middle East are much lower and therefore a barrel of oil here is cheaper providing a leverage towards application of EOR methods more than elsewhere. Countries looking to take advantage of the potentially available technology as well as oil-price, can also look at EOR as a production-enhancement process in short-term rather than recovery-enhancement process in long-term alone. Even in a conventional sense, low secondary recovery due to reservoir heterogeneity suggests that a large EOR prize may still be achievable.
EOR, irrespective of its time of commencement, requires an in-depth knowledge of reservoir architecture and flow behaviour. Some of Middle East reservoirs that have been under waterflood for more than 15–20 years have plans to field test some of the EOR methods, mostly chemical. Different EOR mechanisms have been piloted in GCC reservoirs. Oman is at a very advanced stage of implementing a chemical EOR project. The EOR activities are on a fast track across different assets in Kuwait. Kuwait has already started miscible gas injection in West Kuwait. Chemical EOR and LowSal will follow, including the first chemical (ASP) EOR pilot for a carbonate reservoir in North Kuwait in a couple of months. Abu Dhabi has also reported very promising results for CO2 and chemical floods at both lab and field pilot scale.
Lowering the cost of EOR oil is the key to its popularity and field application anywhere. This can be achieved by either securing low-cost injectants and by lowering the cost of operations and EOR facilities. EOR is coming of age in the Middle East. The next 10–15 years would see field-wide expansion of present EOR pilot projects to create an impact on any organisation’s balance sheet. In the meantime, companies should prepare to deal with subsurface and surface challenges arising out of more complex EOR operations than waterflood in terms of manpower, material, money and HSE.
PANEL SESSION 3
EFFECTIVE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND CAPABILITY DEVELOPMENT
Moderators: Clare Billeau, Manager Shell Technology Oman, Shell; Azzan Al-Yaarubi, Wireline Petrophysics Principle & Domain Champion, Schlumberger
For the development of any field, management of resources is important but with field development that includes enhanced oil recovery (EOR), then resource management becomes even more critical. The aim of this panel is to consider all resources, in the widest sense, related to EOR projects, which could include water, energy, chemicals, people, data, financial and hydrocarbons. In addition, waste streams and emissions (e.g. GHG) are also resources that need to be included in resource management plans. For every EOR development, the resources need to identified and carefully managed to ensure a holistic and integrated management plan is implemented.
For water management it is essential to consider the full water cycle, potential water sources, water treatment of the produced fluids, reuse of the produced water and disposal options. It is important that a fully integrated view is considered, not only of the water cycle, as just described but also across other field, assets, licence blocks or even on a country basis.
For thermal EOR, management of the energy requirements and understanding the energy balance is important. From considering alternative energy sources (e.g. renewables), utilising heat recovery technology, implementing effective WRFM to manage conformance to steam optimisation through additives and hybrid technologies.
For any project, sufficient skills and competencies are required across a broad range of disciplines. To implement EOR projects additional skills and competencies are needed, many of which can only be developed while actively involved with an EOR project or development. It is important to ensure an integrated data management plan is in place including data gathering, data storage, integration of different data sources, and visualisation.
In this panel session, industry leaders will share their views on how to manage resources in challenging EOR developments and the different approaches needed compared to conventional developments.
PANEL SESSION 4
NEW FRONTIERS AND BEYOND, THE FUTURE FOR SUSTAINED PRODUCTION (EOR STRATEGIC THINKING)
Moderators: Salim Al Salmy, Reservoir Characterisation Manager—Mukhaizna & Chief Petrophysicist, Occidental Mukhaizna; Mustafa Al Lawati, Production Team Leader, CC Energy Development
The recent long lasting reduction in oil price and the primary success of unconventional reservoirs in the United States have driven global EOR projects to operate at a higher level of efficiency. The new baseline for project economics in primary recovery is trending towards unconventional reservoirs. This means, in short-term the new growth potential for the EOR projects may experience more competition with portfolio of unconventional reservoirs.
The Middle East region, and Oman in particular, is achieving major advances in EOR developments and is addressing the challenges of moving to new frontiers. Further enhancements could be achieved by the combination of improved productivity and application of novel methods.
This session will accommodate case histories, performance improvement initiatives, technology breakthrough, innovative ideas, short-term and long-term plans to assist EOR projects in becoming more efficient with time.