Another tough year has passed since the last coiled-tubing feature in JPT. As mentioned in last year’s feature, the coiled tubing industry is adapting to the changing environment. The next 12 months could bring upturns and downturns and greater or lesser volatility. Whatever may happen, the coiled-tubing industry’s record last year indicates that it will still be moving forward.
Matrix stimulation remains a critical technology for delivering barrels at minimum cost. It is finding application in unconventional- as well as conventional-reservoir development. Chemical formulations and theoretical models continue to develop, sometimes incrementally and sometimes in step changes, to broaden the scope of application, improve effectiveness, reduce cost, and reduce HSE impact.
Recent oil-industry technical publications are filled with a wide variety of applications of models, tools, and techniques being developed and applied to the drilling, completion, intervention, and even wellbore-abandonment arenas, allowing us to be more efficient by driving costly nonproductive time out of our operations. While the development of innovative technologies is critical, their correct and cost-effective application is even more important. No matter how good, technically impressive, or even innovative a technology is, if its application is not operationally practical as well as cost-efficient, then in the end it is just a cute widget.
In the US, there has been a gradual shift in the balance of enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) production between thermal and gas-injection projects. Since 2006, production from gas injection has outstripped that from thermal, and it is continuing to grow. Worldwide, gas-injection EOR is established as a successful, robust, commercial technology deployed in a wide range of operating conditions from onshore to shallow offshore and, more recently, deep water. A key differentiator of gas injection, compared with other EOR techniques targeting light oils, is the ability to overcome some of the variability in reservoir geology by recycling back-produced injectant.