Field Development Projects

As the most strategic aspect of the energy sector, the forecasting of oil and gas production has acquired an extraordinary importance, not only with respect to the huge fluctuations in the price, which affect development plans, but also with respect to the reshaping of economic reserves concepts as new challenges and technologies propel new strategies and enable unprecedented accuracy. Hence, all elements related to field development studies have been placed at the focus of management, and it is rare to find an executive leader in any producing company that does not master concepts such as reservoir monitoring, 4D seismic, enhanced oil recovery, production plateau, or dynamic simulation and use them to challenge, modify, and optimize plans and roadmaps for the company’s oil and gas assets.

Currently, field development studies are shifting from the conventional primary- or secondary-depletion plans on the basis of static and dynamic models to the realm of more-complex scenarios:

Advanced and dynamic reserves booking—All subsurface disciplines are used and integrated smartly to understand the details of the production mechanism and reservoir characteristics and their dynamic changes induced by production through time.

Remote/sensitive areas—The consideration of environmental impact is a prime concern. Innovative solutions and technologies are increasingly applied to ensure maximum recovery factors from very early phases of exploitation and accelerating production schemes.

Aging assets—Field development strategies for assets already under intensive, long-term, conventional production schemes require plans that integrate subsurface/surface elements and that, in very specific manners, include facilities revamping, risk assessment, surface space optimization, and precise forecasting to ensure attractive returns and extended production life.

Expanding production plateaus—Efforts to maximize the recovery factors to unprecedented levels for carbonate and sandstone reservoirs are based on the application of new technologies and uncertainty assessments to produce ever-more-accurate forecasts and strategies to maximize the depletion of the reservoirs.

The three papers selected typify these main trends.

As economic considerations become increasingly important and the price of oil commands decisions in relation to facilities adaptation to cater to new production schemes, it is important to know the new field development trends, grounded on integration and technology. The integration work flows are not fully well-understood or implemented in all companies, yet experts involved provide very valuable insight, although in their own discipline. More is needed to identify effective ways to integrate monitoring expertise from different disciplines, and industry and academic sectors will both play a key role.

Recommended Additional Reading

OTC 25712 Broad Strategy To Face With Complex Reservoirs: Expressive Results of Production in Presalt Area, Offshore Brazil by Marcelo Curzio Salomão, Petrobras, et al.

IPTC 18243 Reservoir-Engineering Aspect of Well Construction for Cost-Effective Field Development: Advances in Drainage-Point Selection by Bengsoon Chuah, Petronas, et al.


Maria A. Capello, SPE, is an executive adviser with the Kuwait Oil Company for the Greater Burgan Asset, working with the planning and strategic initiatives of the directorate. She is an experienced consultant for the oil and gas industry and an expert in field development and monitoring strategies. Capello has worked in Latin America, the United States, and the Middle East. She holds a licentiate degree in physics from Simon Bolivar University and an MS degree in geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines. Capello holds an honorary lifetime membership from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and has received its Distinguished Member and Regional Service awards. She serves on the JPT Editorial Committee.

Field Development Projects

Maria A. Capello, SPE, Executive Adviser, Kuwait Oil Company

25 September 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 10

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