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BP is selling its 27.5% stake in the Shell-led Shearwater field to private-equity-backed producer Tailwind Energy for an undisclosed sum. Shearwater is in the UK North Sea and currently produces about 18,000 BOE/D. BP had agreed in January 2020 to divest Shearwater along with its Andrew projects to Premier Oil for $625 million, but the deal was never finalized. Later in the year, Premier merged with Chrysaor Holdings. The combined entity was renamed Harbour Energy.
Abstract During well planning, drillers and petrophysicists have different principle objectives. The petrophysicist’s aim is to acquire critical well data, but this can lead to increased operational risk. The driller is focused on optimizing the well design, which can result in compromised data quality. In extreme cases, the impact of well design on petrophysical data can lead to erroneous post-well results that impact the entire value-chain assessment and decision making toward field development. In this paper, we present a case study from a syn-rift, Upper Jurassic reservoir in the Norwegian Sea where well design significantly impacted reservoir characterization. Three wells (exploration, appraisal, and geopilot) are compared in order to demonstrate the impact of overbalanced drilling on well data from both logs and core. Implications for reservoir quality assessment, volume estimates, and the errors introduced into both a static geomodel and dynamic reservoir simulation are discussed. This case study highlights the importance of optimizing well design for petrophysical data collection and demonstrates the potential for value creation. Extensive data collection was initially carried out in both exploration and appraisal wells, including full sets of logging while drilling (LWD), wireline logging, fluid sampling, and extensive coring. Both wells were drilled with considerable overbalanced mud weights due to the risk of overpressured reservoirs in the region. The log data was subsequently corrected for significant mud-filtration invasion, with calibration to core measurements guiding the interpretation. Geological and reservoir models were built based on results from the two wells, and development wells were planned accordingly. A thorough investigation of core material raised suspicion that there could also be a significant adverse effect of core properties resulting from overbalanced drilling. The implications were so significant for the reservoir volume that a strategic decision was made to drill a geopilot well close to the initial exploration well, prior to field development drilling. The well was drilled six years after the initial exploration phase with considerably lower overbalance. Extensive well data, including one core, were acquired. The recovered core was crucial in order to compare the reservoir properties for comparable facies between all three wells. The results from the core demonstrate distinctly different rock quality characteristics, especially at the high end of the reservoir quality spectrum. Results of the core study confirmed the initial hypothesis that overbalanced drilling had significantly impacted the properties of the core as well as the well logs. The study concluded that the updated reservoir model properties would significantly increase the in-place volumes compared to the pre-geopilot estimate. This study shows how well design adversely affected petrophysical measurements and how errors in these data compromised geological and reservoir models, leading to a suboptimal field development plan that eroded significant value. This example provides a case study that can be used to improve the well design so that petrophysicists and drillers can both be part of the same value creation result. Future work will include further laboratory investigations on the effects of high overbalanced drilling on core and possible “root causes” for compromised core integrity.
Abstract Full-physics models in history matching and optimization can be computationally expensive since these problems usually require hundreds of simulations or more. We have previously implemented a physics-based data-driven network model with a commercial simulator that serves as a surrogate without the need to build the 3-D geological model. In this paper, we reconstruct the network model to account for complex reservoir conditions of mature fields and successfully apply it to a diatomite reservoir in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) for rapid history matching and optimization. The reservoir is simplified into a network of 1-D connections between well perforations. These connections are discretized into grid blocks and the grid properties are calibrated to historical production data. Elevation change, saturation distribution, capillary pressure, and relative permeability are accounted for to best represent the mature field conditions. To simulate this physics-based network model through a commercial simulator, an equivalent 2-D Cartesian model is designed where rows correspond to the above-mentioned connections. Thereafter, the history matching can be performed with the Ensemble Smoother with Multiple Data Assimilation (ESMDA) algorithm under a sequential iterative process. A representative model after history matching is then employed for well control optimization. The network model methodology has been successfully applied to the waterflood optimization for a 56-well sector model of a diatomite reservoir in the SJV. History matching result shows that the network model honors field-level production history and gives reasonable matches for most of the wells, including pressure and flow rate. The calibrated ensemble from the last iteration of history matching yields a satisfactory production prediction, which is verified by the remaining historical data. For well control optimization, we select the P50 model to maximize the Net Present Value (NPV) in 5 years under provided well/field constraints. This confirms that the calibrated network model is accurate enough for production forecasts and optimization. The use of a commercial simulator in the network model provided flexibility to account for complex physics, such as elevation difference between wells, saturation non-equilibrium, and strong capillary pressure. Unlike traditional big-loop workflow that relies on a detailed characterization of geological models, the proposed network model only requires production data and can be built and updated rapidly. The model also runs much faster (tens of seconds) than a full-physics model due to the employment of much fewer grid blocks. To our knowledge, this is the first time this physics-based data-driven network model is applied with a commercial simulator on a field waterflood case. Unlike approaches developed with analytic solutions, the use of commercial simulator makes it feasible to be further extended for complex processes, e.g., thermal or compositional flow. It serves as an useful surrogate model for both fast and reliable decision-making in reservoir management.
Al Kalbani, Mandhr (Heriot–Watt University) | Al Shabibi, Hatem (Heriot–Watt University) | Ishkov, Oleg (Heriot–Watt University) | Silva, Duarte (Heriot–Watt University) | Mackay, Eric (Heriot–Watt University) | Baraka-Lokmane, Salima (Total) | Pedenaud, Pierre (Total)
Summary Injection of low-sulfate seawater (LSSW) instead of untreated full-sulfate seawater (FSSW) is widely used to mitigate barium sulfate scaling risk at the production wells. LSSW injection may no longer be required when the barium concentrations in the produced water drop below a certain threshold. Such a trigger value could be estimated from the barium sulfate precipitation tendency. Relaxation of requirements for the sulfate reduction plant (SRP) can significantly reduce operational costs. This study investigates the impact of several parameters on the timing and degree of relaxation of the output sulfate concentration by the SRP. Finally, the optimal switching strategy is proposed for a field case. The strategy for switching from LSSW to FSSW (e.g., time and method; direct or gradual increase in the sulfate concentration) was initially investigated using generic 2D areal and vertical models. The sensitivity study included the impact of reservoir heterogeneity and the initial barium and sulfate ion concentrations. Findings were later applied on a full-field reservoir simulation model followed by a mineral scale prediction software to investigate the specific switching strategy for a field that has multiple wells and significantly more complex heterogeneity. The results show that barium concentrations in the formation brine affect the choice of switching time more than the output sulfate concentration produced by the SRP. The degree of heterogeneity around the producers also has a significant impact on the switching time. Another parameter is the contrast in the permeability between layers; higher contrast allows a longer period of coproduction of the scaling ions and thus delays the switching time. In the field case, switching to FSSW at early times allows higher consumption of barium ions because of its in-situ precipitation. Barium is no longer a limiting ion, and so a higher degree of deep reservoir precipitation reduces the requirement for prolonged LSSW injection. Another strategy is a gradual relaxation of LSSW output, which allows even earlier buildup of the injected sulfate concentration compared with the direct FSSW switch. The study investigates the reservoir parameters that affect sulfate relaxation of LSSW injection for a field. After the proposed workflow, the optimal relaxation strategy can be designed for other field cases.
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. For a long time, the Fruitland formation coals were recognized only as a source of gas for adjacent sandstones. 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. Coals in the fairway typically have low ash and high vitrinite contents, resulting in large gas storage capacities and excellent permeabilities of 10 md from well-developed cleat systems. 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.
BP has relaunched the sale of its stakes in a number of North Sea oil fields, according to Reuters. The news agency reported that BP has called for interested parties to send in bids with no deadline. BP agreed 1 year ago to sell its interest in the fields in the Andrew area and in the Shearwater field to Premier Oil for a total of $625 million as part of its efforts to sell $25 billion in assets by 2025 to reduce debt and transition toward low-carbon energy. The companies later agreed to restructure the deal and BP lowered its cash value to $210 million because of Premier's financing problems. The transaction finally fell through after Premier was taken over by Chrysaor in October 2020.
Wells in the South China Sea are characterized by high depletion and narrow drilling windows which exponentially increase the risk of incurring severe losses. Mud density, sufficient to maintain well control, typically exceeds the fracture gradient of the clastic and coal formations. Therefore, operators face a dilemma in balancing the need for mud weight (MW) to remain below the fracture gradient to avoid losses, while also providing sufficient density to block influxes into the well. The Alpha field, with a water depth of approximately 26 m (85 ft), is located in Sarawak Basin, offshore Malaysia. This area has historically been classified as a "high risk" drilling environment due to clastic deposition and unstable coal formations.
In response to incidents such as the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in April 2010, the oil and gas industry has worked to generate methods that help ensure safe and environmentally responsible offshore operations. Despite these efforts, a research fellow at the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI) argued that incident prevention methods will not be effective unless industry generates facility, equipment, and system designs that consider potential human-factors issues. At a joint forum titled "Human Factors To Support Safer and Effective Offshore Energy Operations," held by OESI and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, S. Camille Peres spoke about the progress being made in researching the effects of human factors in offshore projects. Peres is an assistant professor of educational and occupational health at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. In her presentation, Peres discussed the role human factors can play in major incidents, focusing primarily on the issues surrounding the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
The Way Ahead Interview invites senior figures who shape our E&P industry to share their wisdom, experience, and deep knowledge with the young E&P professional community. For this interview, we travel to BP's London headquarters, just minutes away from the colorful and vibrant Piccadilly Circus, in the leafy and historic St. James's Square. This juxtaposition reflects BP's current state with both its venerable history and a bold and dynamic business culture set for the future. Please join us for an inspiring conversation with Tony Hayward, BP's Chief Executive for Exploration and Production. This interview reveals both his inclusive leadership character and his warm and engaging personality. Hayward shows how important it is to learn to think with your heart as well as your head. He also demonstrates that you can be passionate about your work while enjoying life outside your career.--John
This paper discusses the use of clamp-on sonar flowmeters to minimize losses associated with well testing and to gain the subsequent benefits seen with respect to production optimization and well deliquefication. Clamp-on sonar flowmetering is a nonintrusive technology that measures the flow velocity of the fluid stream. This intensive well-management strategy has assisted in reducing the production decline of the East Brae field in the North Sea. The East Brae platform (Figure 1 above) is located 275 km northeast of Aberdeen in Block 16/3a in a water depth of 110 m. The reservoir comprises high-permeability sands deposited by turbidity currents.