This theoretical study about the development of a turbidite reservoir is unique because it considers the combination of the surface and the health, safety, and environment (HSE) constraints of the urban overlying the reservoir. Although geology poses deep challenges in terms of reservoir heterogeneity, anisotropy, compartmentalization, and pressure drives, the attempt to develop oil fields in an urban environment makes it very difficult to plan facilities, transport, services, and operations because of HSE issues. This study is a continuation of a previous study in which the background, modeling, and economic analysis of the earlier study is combined with stronger HSE concepts to make the study more holistic.
With a strong focus on health and environment, this paper establishes guidelines for managing the risks of urban development. Reservoir management is guided by sensitivities and uncertainties on CAPEX and OPEX, establishing novel ways of optimizing infill well locations, drilling practices in a city, and enhancing hydrocarbon production through reservoir simulation practices. The geological, geophysical, and engineering data for the study are generated to represent analogous turbidite reservoirs whereas the HSE well planning recommendations are derived from urban oilfield developments in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.
The methodology of dynamic modeling is nonconventional in terms of analyzing the field for forecasting immediately after initialization followed by a detailed history match considering the numerous hurdles of turbidite environment. This allows greater time for field development planning, which is conventionally given the least attention because of time constraints. Therefore, the prediction comprises a no-further-action case, an infill wells case, and waterflood scenarios, with a combination of vertical and horizontal well trajectories exhibiting the best output in a span of vast economic sensitivities over multiple scenarios. The most noticeable part of the study is the wide range of realizations on well trajectories, well placement, optimizing drilling, and production services. Our modeled city was Houston, Texas, a well-known urban environment. As a result of the modeling, a technique was developed to guide for environmentally safe development within this example.
The technological and economic conclusions make this a foundation study for profitable development of reservoirs underneath a populated area. The study may also be instrumental in exploitation of turbidite reservoirs, which present challenges in current North Sea and Brazil offshore development and in recently discovered submarine fans in the Gulf of Mexico deep marine environment.