The new dynamics and strategies of field development are marked more than ever by the profitability considerations imposed by an extended period of low oil prices. The new market scenario has apparently cornered producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain their production volumes because reducing production to raise oil prices would trigger profitability levels for shale oil and nonconventional producers. Interweaved forces of precarious equilibrium affect field development and redevelopment plans.
The papers presented at main SPE conferences are grounded in this reality, and I found that a staggering number of articles by researchers and service and producing companies are related to theoretical and real-data economic modeling, with approaches rarely seen before, where the long-term profitability has acquired prime weight. Early assessments of the future reservoir response to enhanced-recovery systems need more-detailed, -reliable, and -precise forecasts to enable decisions of ever-more-demanding investors and stakeholders in international and national oil companies.
Development/redevelopment plans for new and established oil fields of any kind undergo a detailed screening of future performance in low-price scenarios, and further challenges to cost arise when producing from frontier areas or from reservoirs with different maturity levels at the same time or with environmentally challenged production systems.
The papers selected typify this new trend and exemplify several of the challenges experienced in new and mature oil fields. Paper SPE 181598 showcases challenges for offshore redevelopment in the Middle East to extend production for 25 years. Paper IPTC 18984 accounts for an incipient shale development in China, and paper SPE 182269 departs from the conventional net-present-value maximization and capital-expenditure minimization to explore alternative options for subsea-production-systems design.
The industry is evolving to a more factual approach to profitability, with emphasis in modeling the long-term scenarios with detail. And this applies for developments in both mature and new fields.
SPE 182632 Model-Based Well-Location Optimization—A Robust Approach by B.A. Ramirez, Shell, et al.
OTC 27592 Johan Sverdrup—Creating a Unique Environment for Successful Drilling Operations in an Accelerating Spotlight Project by Jákup Øregaard, Statoil, et al.
SPE 184848 Optimizing Well Spacing and Well Performance in the Piceance Basin Niobrara Formation by N. Li, Black Hills Exploration and Production, et al.
Field Development Projects
Maria A. Capello, SPE, Executive Adviser, Kuwait Oil Company
01 October 2017