Topside payloads range from 5 to 50,000 tons, producing oil, gas, or both. A vast array of production systems is available today (see Figure 1). The concepts range from fixed platforms to subsea compliant and floating systems. In 1859, Col. Edwin Drake drilled and completed the first known oil well near a small town in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. This well, which was drilled with cable tools, started the modern petroleum industry.
Assuming that the amplitudes are accurately rendered, a host of additional features can be derived and used in interpretation. Collectively, these features are referred to as seismic attributes. The simplest attribute, and the one most widely used, is seismic amplitude, and it is usually reported as the maximum (positive or negative) amplitude value at each sample along a horizon picked from a 3D volume. It is fortunate that, in many cases, the amplitude of reflection corresponds directly to the porosity or to the saturation of the underlying formation. Attributes can be obtained from typical post-stack seismic data volumes, and these are the most common types.
This field produces from a structure that lies above a deep-seated salt dome (salt has been penetrated at 9,000 ft) and has moderate fault density. A large north/south trending fault divides the field into east and west areas. There is hydraulic communication across the fault. Sands were deposited in aeolian, fluvial, and deltaic environments made up primarily of a meandering, distributary flood plain. Reservoirs are moderate to well sorted; grains are fine to very fine with some interbedded shales. There are 21 mapped producing zones separated by shales within the field but in pressure communication outside the productive limits of the field. The original oil column was 400 ft thick and had an associated gas cap one-third the size of the original oil column. Porosity averages 30%, and permeability varies from 10 to 1500 md.
Subsea processing using subsea separation and pumping technologies has the potential to revolutionize offshore oil and gas production. Between 1970 and 2000, millions of dollars were spent to develop subsea separation and pumping systems. But because of unresolved technical issues, along with a lack of confidence and clear understanding of the costs and benefits, industry did not rush to deploy the technology on a commercial basis. However, as the industry has moved into remote deep and ultradeep water, various degrees of subsea processing are becoming more common. The benefits of subsea processing have been recognized for several decades.
The numbers come from different sources. Take the red jack example. There are 52 cards in a poker deck (excluding the jokers), two of which are red jacks. We simply take the ratio for the probability. Similarly, when we toss two fair coins, we know that there are four outcomes, and we believe that they are "equally likely," for that is indeed what we mean by a fair coin.
Wells producing water are likely to develop deposits of inorganic scales. Scales can and do coat perforations, casing, production tubulars, valves, pumps, and downhole completion equipment, such as safety equipment and gas lift mandrels. If allowed to proceed, this scaling will limit production, eventually requiring abandonment of the well. Technology is available for removing scale from tubing, flowline, valving, and surface equipment, restoring at least some of the lost production level. Technology also exists for preventing the occurrence or reoccurrence of the scale, at least on a temporary basis. "Temporary" is generally 3 to 12 months per treatment with conventional inhibitor "squeeze" technology, increasing to 24 or 48 months with combined fracture/inhibition methods. As brine, oil, and/or gas proceed from the formation to the surface, pressure and temperature change and certain dissolved salts can precipitate. If a brine is injected into the formation to maintain pressure and sweep the oil to the producing wells, there will eventually be a commingling with the formation water. Many of these scaling processes can and do occur simultaneously. Scales tend to be mixtures.
Case studies can be instructive in the evaluation of other coalbed methane (CBM) development opportunities. The San Juan basin, located in New Mexico and Colorado in the southwestern U.S. (Figure 1), is the most prolific CBM basin in the world. It produces more than 2.5 Bscf/D from coals of the Cretaceous Fruitland formation, which is estimated to contain 43 to 49 Tscf of CBM in place. In the 1970s, after years of encountering gas kicks in these coals, operators recognized that the coal seams themselves were capable of commercial gas rates. CBM development benefited greatly from drilling and log data compiled from previous wells targeting the deeper sandstones and an extensive pipeline infrastructure that was built to transport conventional gas. These components, along with a U.S. federal tax credit and the development of new technologies such as openhole-cavity completions, fueled a drilling boom that resulted in more than 3,000 producing CBM wells by the end of 1992. The thickest Fruitland coals occur in a northwest/southeast trending belt located in the northeastern third of the basin. Total coal thickness in this belt locally exceeds 100 ft and individual coal seams can be more than 30 ft thick. The coals originated in peat swamps located landward (southwest) of northwest/southeast trending shoreline sandstones of the underlying Pictured Cliffs formation. The location of the thickest coals (Figure 1) coincides with the occurrence of overpressuring, high gas content, high coal rank, and high permeabilities in the San Juan fairway ("fairway"). The overpressuring is artesian in origin and is caused by water recharge of the coals through outcrops along the northern margin of the basin. This generates high vertical pressure gradients, ranging from 0.44 to 0.63 psi/ft, which allow a large amount of gas to be sorbed to the coal. Coal gas in the San Juan basin can contain up to 9.4% CO2 and 13.5% C2 . Chemical analyses suggest that thermogenic gases have been augmented by migrated thermogenic and secondary biogenic gas sources, resulting in gas contents ranging up to 700 ft 3 /ton. Coal rank in the fairway ranges from medium- to low-volatile bituminous and roughly coincides with those portions of the basin that were most deeply buried. Southwest of the fairway, Fruitland coals are typically 20 to 40 ft thick and are considerably underpressured with vertical pressure gradients in some areas of less than 0.20 psi/ft. The low gradients are attributable to low permeabilities, low recharge rates along the southern rim of the basin, and hydraulic isolation from the fairway area.
The ability of seismic reflection technology to image subsurface targets is possible largely through the geometry of sources and receivers. A method similar to triangulation is used to place reflections in their correct locations with (more-or-less) correct amplitudes, which can then be interpreted. The amplitudes are indicative of relative changes in impedance, and the seismic volume can be processed to yield impedances between the reflecting boundaries. These traces were recorded at different offset distances, and the travel times for seismic waves traveling to and from a given reflecting horizon varies with that distance (Figure 1). If the overburden through which the seismic waves pass is of constant velocity, then the time-variation with distance is a simple application of Pythagorean geometry, and the shape of the reflector on a seismic "gather" of traces is hyperbolic.
For a low-pressure well with solids and/or heavy oil at a depth of less than approximately 6,000 ft and if the well temperature is not high (75 to 150 F typical, approximately 250 F or higher maximum), a PCP should be evaluated. Even if problems do not exist, a PCP might be a good choice to take advantage of its good power efficiency. If the application is offshore, or if pulling the well is very expensive and the well is most likely deviated, ESPCP should be considered so that rod/tubing wear is not excessive. There is an ESPCP option that allows wire lining out a failed pump from the well while leaving the seal section, gearbox, motor, and cable installed for continued use.