Featured this monthThe Keywords for Blowout Preventers Are "Trust but Verify"The Macondo accident has spawned new expectations for blowout preventers as well as design changes.
Production Method for Methane Hydrate Sees Scientific Success A production method that could unlock large reserves of methane hydrate in sand-dominated reservoirs was tested successfully from a scientific and operational standpoint in a recent research experiment on the Alaskan North Slope.
Annual Conference Focuses on Unconventional Wisdom A preview of the 2012 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
Guest Editorial As the growing global demand for energy forces operators to build wellbores of increasing technical complexity and cost, writes Brent Emerson, vice president of well construction products for Weatherford International, the need for collaboration will become more critical.
Young Technology Showcase New drilling technology allows fluid and cuttings from the bottom of the well to return to the surface through the inside of the drillstring.
SPE Distinguished Lecturer Program 2012–13 Featuring 28 speakers from various disciplines and professions, the 2012–13 Distinguished Lecturer Program emphasizes current industry trends, challenges, and technology through diverse topics.
Brian Skeels, Emerging Technology Manager, FMC TechnologiesThe post-Macondo era is starting to write a new chapter in subsea history. Subsea is still one of the more popular development methods offshore, but the reservoirs being tapped are becoming more complex and more difficult to interpret remotely than ever before, with regulatory authorities scrutinizing and challenging the norm of operations and surveillance.
Separation Technology Shrinks To Fit Subsea Development in Deep Water Better Deepwater discoveries have driven the development of new compact separation technologies, a core aspect of subsea processing. Compact separators are much smaller than conventional separators and have the potential to significantly reduce capital expenditure for deepwater developments. Unfortunately, reducing the size of separators generally reduces the separation performance and the ability to handle changes in flow [...]
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Ease Deepwater-Field Integrity Management Integrity management of deepwater fields requires routine general visual inspections of critical infrastructure. To date, the only way to conduct general visual inspection is through the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Deepwater ROV spreads are large and heavy, requiring large support vessels and a significant number of personnel at sea. The capabilities of unmanned [...]
Designing Retrieval System for Subsea Sensors Accounts for Increased Numbers, Complexity Operators face increased complexity in their subsea operations, with up to 1,500 subsea sensors and transmitters installed each year. Whereas the retrieval of topside sensors has proved to be successful, delivering significant cost savings, operators face maintenance difficulties and costly interventions in upgrading and replacing subsea sensors. Technology has evolved to enable operators to retrieve [...]
Deepwater Well Operations Could Benefit From Advances in Space Robotics Technology A number of similarities exist between applications in space and those in the oil and gas industry. In both cases, systems are deployed at remote locations with limited access for intervention, maintenance, or repair. The operational environments are often hostile, with harsh temperatures and pressures and corrosive materials. Reliability of systems is extremely important in space and [...]
Bob Harrison, SPE, Global Technical Head of Reservoir Engineering, Senergy LimitedA little bit of knowledge is not always a dangerous thing. Recently, I was reviewing some simulation models with a client’s subsurface team. They were taken aback when I asked them if they were happy with the petrophysical inputs they had been provided with. "It’s not our job to question the petrophysics," they replied in unison. However, it was obvious that they were struggling to get the simulation model to match the observed reservoir performance and could do so only by dramatically changing the input rock properties.
Advances in Measuring Permeability Address Shortcomings of Crushed-Rock Technique The most commonly used industry method for measuring permeability is the Gas Research Institute (GRI) technique or its variants, which involve the use of crushed samples. The accuracy of such techniques, however, is questionable because of a number of inadequacies, such as the absence of reservoir overburden stress while conducting these measurements. In addition to [...]
Assessment of European Shale-Gas Play Takes Social Acceptance Into Account In 2008, Shell obtained two licenses for unconventional gas exploration in the Skåne region of southern Sweden, with a total size of 2500 km2. The objective was the Cambro-Ordovician alum shale, one of the thickest and richest marine source rocks in onshore northern Europe. Concerns from the residents of Skåne regarding the visual impact of [...]
Application of Novel Technologies Helps Unlock Deep Omani Gas With unique geomechanical, reservoir, and geological properties, some of the large gas-bearing prospects within the Fahud basin in the Sultanate of Oman require innovative drilling and completion practices. A revised drilling and completion workflow, with specific technology deployment and operational flexibility, has been developed in order to account for such reservoir complexity. Introduction Early Paleozoic [...]
Health, Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility
Emmanuel Garland, SPE, Special Advisor to the HSE vice president, Total E&PSafety, environment, health, security, and social responsibility are all interlinked. It is particularly visible whenever a major accident occurs (for example, when a leak caused by a spiteful attack or wrong decisions made by exhausted, stressed, or unskilled people leads to polluting an area with consequences on the local population). To prevent these events, we need sound design of our installations, skilled and healthy teams, good planning of interventions, and so forth. It is clearly not only the responsibility of health, safety, and environment (HSE) or health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility (HSSE & SR) teams, but of all workers.
Lessons Learned Following Macondo – Safety Enhancement The US Coast Guard is responsible for protecting the marine environment, promoting the safety of life and property, and ensuring security on the US outer continental shelf (OCS). Though the Macondo incident was not initiated by failures within areas of US Coast Guard jurisdiction and safety systems regulated by the US Coast Guard generally performed [...]
Value of Dispersants for Offshore-Oil-Spill Response Each oil-spill-response option must be evaluated for operational limitations (e.g., sea state), potential effectiveness, environmental effects of the response option, applicability under various oil-spill scenarios (e.g., size and location of the spill), and health and safety of the responders. Alternative response tools are available to assist mechanical recovery in treating large offshore oil spills more [...]
Use of ROVs for Deepwater-Biodiversity Assessment: Case Study, Offshore Nigeria Very limited information is available on the deepwater biodiversity offshore Nigeria. Detailed information on seabed communities is vital for effective environmental management of offshore-drilling disturbance, but collection of environmental data usually requires a dedicated research vessel with associated high costs. An environmental-survey approach was developed that used remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) already in place on [...]
Social-Performance Indicators and Maintaining Corporate Social Responsibility Maintaining corporate social responsibility is vital in securing a stable operating environment. The selection of social key performance indicators is crucial to promote long-term strategic goals, set targets, track performance, proactively identify triggers for change, and drive future improvement in performance. A range of indicators was developed to support the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of [...]
Cross-Industry Hydrocarbon-Release Analysis An analysis was made of hydrocarbon releases (HCRs) occurring on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) during the period of 2008 through October 2010. The analysis included the type of hydrocarbon released, operating mode during which a release occurred, release site, age of installation, type of installation [manned or unmanned; floating production, storage, and offloading vessel [...]
Real-World Application of the Bow-Tie Method Also known as barrier diagrams, bow-tie diagrams provide an understandable visualization of relationships between the causes of business upsets, the escalation of such events to a range of possible outcomes, the controls preventing the event from occurring, and the preparedness measures in place to limit consequences. Preventive and mitigating measures are linked to tasks, procedures, [...]
Aging and Life Extension: KP4 Inspection Program – The First Year With a significant proportion of the UK’s offshore infrastructure having exceeded the original design life, the aging population of offshore installations presents a growing challenge to safety. Aging is characterized by deterioration that, in the severe operational environment offshore, can have serious asset-integrity consequences if not managed properly. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) [...]
Key Elements of a Migrant-Worker Health and Welfare Program The Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project required construction of a state-of-the-art hydrocarbon-processing facility with, at peak, 55,000 employed on site. The company created a worker health and welfare program, with a goal to enhance health and performance by creating a culture of care and concern for the wellbeing of workers throughout construction and to mitigate projected [...]