There is no question that deepwater production will play a very important part in meeting the world’s future energy demand. The challenge for the oil and gas industry is to meet this demand safely, efficiently, and profitably. This is not an easy challenge in deep water, given the limited margin for error. The technical complexity and multibillion-dollar development costs require a robust development strategy that allows a project to deliver the promised value within the constraints of time.
Artificial-intelligence (AI) -based methods have become mainstream engineering, and we as practitioners need to have a firm understanding of the principles and be ready to apply them when the opportunities arise. AI has emerged as a go-to solution type to help us build physical insight into problems where the complexity or heterogeneity of the problem makes a comprehensive physical model still too difficult to pose.
The development of multilateral wells and long-reach wells has become important to maximizing recovery for many oil fields. These technologies are often applied in offshore environments, where large reservoir areas are drained from one or more platforms. There is considerable development around these technologies. Those that help clear the challenges such as those related to wellbore stability, wellbore friction, equipment limitations, and operational aspects can be considered mature technologies today.
Our industry’s demonstrated ability to innovate and continually improve well-construction technology will be all the more valuable to all plays if low oil prices persist, but especially so for shale and other high-cost-per-barrel plays. With rig counts decreasing, smart, effective workovers of existing wells will be even more important to maintaining production levels.