SPE Technology Updates

Industry and Society news grouped by SPE technical discipline

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Bit Technology and Bottomhole Assemblies

The last decade has seen significant change in many areas of the drilling business, particularly with bits and bottomhole assemblies. Rising drilling costs, more-complex and -demanding drilling environments, and the ever-present stimulus of provider competition are continuing to drive improved understanding and decision making in this area. The days when bits were seen as simple commodities, with their leverage on well time and cost unrecognized, are fading. And this is long overdue.

Particularly encouraging is the growing use of field-behavior modeling of the bit and drillstring under realistic conditions, and the development of knowledge- based tool-selection techniques, refined by an intensive study of field data. The migration toward deeper or more-tortuous well designs, often accompanied by simultaneous drilling and hole opening in regions in which vibration effects are prolific and are more punishing, is leading to more understanding and rigor. These are admirable trends that more-traditional operations can and should capitalize on, and sometimes are.

My learned colleague Graham Mensa-Wilmot wrote of these trends a year ago in this feature, correctly pointing out to us that “We have the key, let’s open the door.” Perhaps we can claim to have done so with some challenges and in some geographical areas (e.g., vibration diagnosis and mitigation in deepwater Gulf of Mexico operations). However, with other equally important challenges (quantitative optimizing of the rate of penetration comes to mind), fundamental understanding and rigorous methods are not so widespread; we are still operating with “pockets of excellence.” So, it is appropriate to lay another challenge to those managing drilling operations and providing drilling services–if your teams are relying on a fuzzy definition of downhole processes or on trial and error to deliver drilling performance, it is time to modernize–let’s have the current pockets of excellence show the rest of us the way.

Read the paper synopses in the December 2011 issue of JPT.

Martyn Fear, SPE, is General Manager of Drilling & Completions for Husky Energy’s Atlantic Region, Canada. He has more than 25 years’ experience in drilling optimization and operations management across a wide variety of international locations. Fear serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. He earned a BSc (Honors) degree in geological sciences from the University of Birmingham, England.

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Production Facilities

Every year, SPE organizes more than 30 conferences worldwide. Critical issues of current interest to the oil industry are reflected in the SPE papers presented at these conferences. When selecting papers for this feature, I was not surprised that many papers deal with topics related to safety in facilities design and to asset integrity.

With recent publicized accidents and the industry’s continuing concern about its public image, operating companies are focusing on process safety and improving asset integrity, and are addressing these issues early in facilities design. Indeed, it can be argued that enhancing safety performance and dealing with the increased environmental risks remain the key challenges facing the industry today. Some concepts relevant to these topics are briefly outlined.

Asset integrity can be defined as the ability of the asset to perform its required function effectively and efficiently while managing health, safety, and the environment. In this context, asset integrity refers to hydrocarbon systems and includes support systems and infrastructure, such as platform structures.

Critical safety elements are those systems and equipment that prevent, control, or mitigate major accidents. They include elements such as pressure-relief valves, shutdown systems, fire- and gas-detection systems, and firefighting equipment.

Safety instrumented systems (SISs)—since its publication in 2003, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61511 standard is becoming the basis for the specifications and implementation of SISs in the oil industry. Initially, the industry was relatively slow to adopt this standard. A dilemma facing operating companies is what to do about the existing shutdown safety systems that were installed before 2003 and that are not in compliance with IEC 61511.

Papers selected for this feature along with those recommended for additional reading highlight industry progress in these issues. I hope that they will be of interest to you.

Read the paper synopses in the December 2011 issue of JPT.

Hisham Saadawi, SPE, is Vice President (Engineering) for Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO). He has more than 30 years’ experience in the design, construction, startup, and operation of oil- and gas-processing facilities. Saadawi’s current areas of interest include multiphase pumping, CO2 enhanced oil recovery, technical safety, as well as training and development. He is a recipient of the 2011 SPE Regional Projects, Facilities, and Construction Award. Saadawi is a 2010-2011 SPE Distinguished Lecturer and an SPE course instructor. He has served on several committees and subcommittees of SPE conferences and workshops, and he serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. Saadawi holds a PhD degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Manchester, UK, and is a Chartered Engineer in the UK.

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Reserves/Asset Management

As a member of the JPT Editorial Committee, I am privileged to review papers presented at SPE events during the last year in the area of Reserves and Asset Management. I am always impressed by the highly skilled, innovative members of our Society who address the constant change in our industry in these papers.

Recently, many of the reserves papers have focused on changes in reserves and resource estimation resulting from the introduction of the Petroleum Resource Management System (PRMS) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Modernized Rules. Last year, many of the papers dealt with theoretical aspects of reserves estimation in unconventional plays. This year, most of the papers dealt with unconventional reserves, focusing on integration of theoretical and practical aspects of the engineering principles used to estimate reserves and resources. Several papers went full circle to address how issues around PRMS or the SEC’s Modernized Rules affect reserves and resource estimation in unconventional resources.

There was a similar shift in asset-management papers. Prior years were weighted heavily toward theoretical-optimization approaches, primarily focused on surface facilities. This year, there were many excellent papers addressing the practical application of those principles in technically challenging, high-cost environments. Integration of surface and subsurface components to improve efficiency was another recurring theme.

The fact that I could select only a few of the many outstanding papers that I reviewed highlights the importance of attending the venues at which these papers are presented. The insight provided during the presentation’s opportunity to ask questions yields valuable information that cannot be obtained by reading the paper alone. I selected the papers for highlighting and those recommended for additional reading with a view to the needs and interests of the membership of our global society. I hope I found something that will benefit each of you.

Read the paper synopses in the December 2011 issue of JPT.

Delores Hinkle, SPE, is Director, Corporate Reserves, for Marathon Oil Company. She has worked for Marathon for 25 years and has 35 years of experience in the oil industry, including positions at Atlantic Richfield Company and Sun. Hinkle has served as Chairperson of the SPE Oil and Gas Reserves Committee and served on the 2010 SPE Hydrocarbon Economics and Evaluation Symposium Steering Committee and the 2009 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition Management Program Subcommittee. She serves on the JPT Editorial Committee and on the SPE Gulf Coast Section Scholarship Committee. Hinkle earned a BS degree in petroleum engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and an MBA degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

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SPE Production and Operations: featured papers

View the entire November 2011 issue.

140937-PA – Review of Electrical-Submersible-Pump Surging Correlation and Models
Jose Gamboa and Mauricio Prado, The University of Tulsa

142764-PA – Assessing Gas Lift Capability To Support Asset Design
James W. Hall, SPE, and Mubarak A.M. Jaralla, Qatar Petroleum

144573-PA – World’s Deepest Through-Tubing Electrical Submersible Pumps
J.Y. Julian, SPE, BP; J.C. Patterson, SPE, ConocoPhillips; and B.E. Yingst, SPE, and W.R. Dinkins, SPE, Baker Hughes

140228-PA – Case History: Lessons Learned From Retrieval of Coiled Tubing Stuck by Massive Hydrate Plug When Well Testing in an Ultradeepwater Gas Well in Mexico
Victor Vallejo Arrieta, Aciel Olivares Torralba, Pablo Crespo Hernandez, and Eduardo Rafael Román García, PEMEX; and Claudio Tigre Maia and Michael Guajardo, Halliburton

134483-PA – New Perspective on Gas-Well Liquid Loading and Unloading
C.A.M. Veeken, SPE, NAM, and S.P.C. Belfroid, SPE, TNO

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SPE Economics & Management: October 2011

View the October 2011 issue of SPE Economics and Management.

133044-PA – Valuation of Swing Contracts by Least-Squares Monte Carlo Simulation
B.J.A. Willigers, SPE, Palantir Economic Solutions, S.H. Begg, SPE, University of Adelaide, and R.B. Bratvold, SPE, University of Stavanger

147910-PA – Optimization of Equity Redeterminations Through Fit-for-Purpose Evaluation Procedures
Paul F. Worthington, SPE, Gaffney, Cline & Associates

125178-PA – Improving Allocation and Hydrocarbon Accounting Accuracy Using New Techniques
R. Cramer and D. Schotanus, Shell Global Solutions; K. Ibrahim, Brune Shell Petroleum; and N. Colbeck, Hess Corporation

146530-PA – Demonstrating Reasonable Certainty Under Principles-Based Oil and Gas Reserves Regulations
R.E. Sidle, SPE, Texas A&M University, and W. John Lee, SPE, University of Houston

154056-PA – Unconventional-Natural-Gas Business: TSR Benchmark and Recommendations for Prudent Management of Shareholder Value
Ruud Weijermars, Delft University of Technology, and Steve Watson, Ashridge Business School

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SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering: featured papers

View the entire October 2011 issue of SPE Reservoir Evaluation & Engineering.

Seismic Data Integration

131310-PA – Preselection of Reservoir Models From a Geostatistics-Based Petrophysical Seismic Inversion
M. Le Ravalec-Dupin, SPE, G. Enchery, A. Baroni, and S. Da Veiga, IFP Energies Nouvelles

131538-PA – Seismic History Matching of Nelson Using Time-Lapse Seismic Data: An Investigation of 4D Signature Normalization
Alireza Kazemi, Karl D. Stephen, SPE, and Asghar Shams, Heriot-Watt University

Advanced Numerical Techniques

141207-PA – Near-Well-Subdomain Simulations for Accurate Inflow-Performance-Relationship Calculation To Improve Stability of Reservoir/Network Coupling
B. Gűyagűler, SPE, and V.J. Zapata, SPE, Chevron; H. Cao, SPE, Total; H.F. Stamati and J.A. Holmes, SPE, Schlumberger

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SPE Production & Operations: featured papers

View the entire August 2011 issue of SPE Production & Operations.

Scale Inhibition

98774-PA – What Would Be the Impact of Temporarily Fracturing Production Wells During Squeeze Treatments?
Abdul Al-Rabaani, PDO, and Eric J. Mackay, Heriot-Watt University

141384-PA – Modeling the Application of Scale-Inhibitor-Squeeze Retention-Enhancing Additives
O. Vazquez, Heriot-Watt University; P. Thanasutives, PTT Exploration and Production Plc; C. Eliasson and N. Fleming, Statoil; and E. Mackay, Heriot-Watt University

Stimulation

132535-PA – Laboratory Study of Diversion Using Polymer-Based In-Situ-Gelled Acids
A.M. Gomaa, SPE, M.A. Mahmoud, SPE, and H.A. Nasr-El-Din, SPE, Texas A&M University

133380-PA – Methods for Enhancing Far-Field Complexity in Fracturing Operations
Loyd East Jr., SPE, Halliburton; M.Y. Soliman, SPE, Texas Tech University; and Jody Augustine, SPE, Halliburton

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SPE Economics & Management: July 2011

View the July 2011 issue of SPE Economics and Management.

148542-PA – Discretization, Simulation, and Swanson’s (Inaccurate) Mean
J. Eric Bickel, SPE, and Larry W. Lake, SPE, University of Texas at Austin; and John Lehman, Strategic Decisions Group

134811-PA – Stochastic Analysis of Resource Plays: Maximizing Portfolio Value and Mitigating Risks
Paul D. Allan, SPE, Portfolio Decisions International

130089-PA – Survey of Stranded Gas and Delivered Costs to Europe of Selected Gas Resources
E.D. Attanasi and P.A. Freeman, US Geological Survey

134237-PA – Qualifying Seismic as a “Reliable Technology” — An Example of Downdip Water-Contact Location
R.E. Sidle, SPE, Consultant; and W.J. Lee, SPE, Texas A&M University

127761-PA – Probabilistic Modeling for Decision Support in Integrated Operations
Martin Giese, University of Oslo, and Reidar B. Bratvold, SPE, University of Stavanger

144490-PA – Moving the Energy Business From Smart to Genius by Building Corporate IQ
Ruud Weijermars, Delft University of Technology

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SPE Drilling & Completion: featured papers

View the entire September 2011 issue of SPE Drilling & Completion

134563-PA – Continuing Application of Torque-Position Assembly Technology for API Connections
James P. Powers, SPE, ExxonMobil Development Company; and Michael S. Chelf, SPE, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company

135462-PA – A Major Advancement in Expandable Connection Performance, Enabling Reliable Gastight Expandable Connections
Richard DeLange, SPE, Raju Gandikota, and Scott Osburn, SPE, Weatherford International

119468-PA – New Standard for Evaluating Casing Connections for Thermal-Well Applications
Jaroslaw Nowinka, SPE, and Dan Dall’Acqua, SPE, Noetic Engineering 2008

139829-PA – Casing Design With Flowing Fluids
Robert F. Mitchell, Halliburton

139824-PA – Lateral Buckling–The Key to Lockup
Robert F. Mitchell, Halliburton, and Tore Weltzin, Statoil

 

 

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Gas Production Technology

It was not long ago that finding a natural-gas field beneath your property was viewed universally as a stroke of good luck. Now, local natural-gas development is feared by many who assume the “new technology” of “fracing” is environmentally harmful. In reality, the first hydraulic-fracturing treatment was tested in a North Carolina granite quarry way back in 1903. Hydraulic fracturing has been used successfully in more than a million wells since then, and, currently, hundreds of fracturing stages are pumped every day. Very impressive for a “new” technology!

Partly because of these very successful and trouble-free wells, natural gas has enjoyed an enviable reputation as a clean, cheap, and abundant energy source. However, we need only to look to the nuclear industry to see that a hard-won reputation can be ruined by false rumors, isolated incidents, or the worst examples of safety, environmental, and reporting practices. If we always strive to be good neighbors in the communities in which we work, we can remain proud natural-gas producers for years to come.

Because stimulated wells make up an increasing portion of supply with each passing year, we have become dependent upon wells that require additional attention and often exhibit high decline rates. To buffer the supply/demand swings, gas-storage wells are used for both injection of dehydrated pipeline gas and production of newly saturated formation gas. Water-vapor equilibrium will reduce the water saturation around injection wellbores but may increase salt precipitation in the same region. A new study from the Middle East describes a means of maximizing sand-free gas-production rates from wells in unconsolidated zones, without a difficult-to-place hydraulic fracture. A third paper describes a means of identifying well candidates that may need a second treatment because of deterioration of the original fracture or the need to access additional reservoir. A downloadable full-length technical paper provides a new decline-curve functional form that can match unconventional wells with long transient-flow periods w hile honoring late-time interference and depletion. These papers provide some legitimately new technology.

Read the paper synopses in the November 2011 issue of JPT.

Scott J. Wilson, SPE, is a Senior Vice President of Ryder Scott Company. He specializes in well-performance prediction and optimization, reserves appraisals, simulation studies, software development, and training. Wilson has worked in all major producing regions in his 25-year career as an engineer and consultant with Arco and Ryder Scott. He is Cochairperson of the SPE Reserves and Economics Technical Interest Group and serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. Wilson holds a BS degree in petroleum engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA degree from the University of Colorado. He holds two patents and is a registered professional engineer in Alaska, Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming.