Do you think low oil prices will affect the ongoing technology developments that are aimed at tackling the challenges the industry faces, particularly those related to unconventional, deep, and ultradeep offshore exploration?
I think, on the contrary. I do not view what is happening now as a downturn; I see snow coming after a nice bubble. In the last 10 years, we enjoyed very high prices, which made us a bit lazy intellectually, as everybody was doing well.
The industry as a whole has a cost issue, and it needs to be solved, but this cannot be accomplished just by cutting costs through laying off people, etc. For example, in unconventional plays, we need to go back to the basics to understand the science of it, because despite the fact that we drill fast, much of what we do is still not very efficient. Nothing is as inefficient as drilling, fracking, and completing a well, and then not producing it, or having half of your zone not producing.
This is not about technology, but it is about going back to basic science to understand why, when you drill a well and completely frack it, it does not flow. We have always called it reservoirs. I think that is a misnomer, because reservoir is about permeability. We measure conventional reservoirs in darcies. Unconventional formations are so low in permeability that the standard darcy measurement cannot explain the ability of fluids to flow through them. The only way to get these rocks to flow is through hydraulic fracturing. Yet, each time we frack, we create a little artificial reservoir that is unstable....
Q&A: Mario Ruscev, CTO, Baker Hughes
Abdelghani Henni, JPT Middle East Editor
01 October 2015