Coupled, full-field, integrated, holistic, or asset: Call it what you will, this class of modeling is becoming increasingly commonplace. The ability to interrogate the response of a system, from the reservoir to fiscal meter, is quite potent and encourages integration in all senses of the word—technically, operationally, and organizationally. I am genuinely optimistic about the potential these full-field models will bring and the insights they can deliver.
I have been in the oil-extraction business for a long time, and I have seen more boom/bust cycles than I care to remember. We have started another down cycle, but I have hopes that the rapid decline rate of horizontal wells will make it a short one. One thing this cycle has in common with all of the other down cycles the industry has been through is that most companies ignore the opportunities a down cycle presents.
History shows that technology adapts to the economic conditions. What is the optimum technology in a high-price environment is not optimum for a low-price scenario. The only limit to unconventional development is our imagination. So, with a dramatic drop in oil price, unconventional-reservoir development is again ripe for innovation. The path to developing these new technologies requires a sustained focus on innovation and resilience to potential early setbacks.
As I was looking through petroleum journals, an article on the pending oil shortage caught my interest. The author outlined how, at current or increasing production rates, current development scenarios, and current prospective of new discoveries, oil production would soon peak. Thus, with increasing oil demand, a world oil shortage was imminent. This article was written in the early 1920s. This was not the last such article in the last 100 years. The combination of technology advances and world politics results in oil supply-and-demand cycles that have occurred repeatedly over the past 100 years and that have affected and will continue to affect our careers.