Opinion

Understand your reservoir!

Posted by David Bamford

21-Mar-2017

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Some of you may have already browsed the OGA's five year review of (UKCS) major oil and gas projects.

It is a sobering read, chronicling the various mishaps that beset 58 major projects executed between 2011 and 2016. On average:

  • fewer than 25% of projects were delivered on time (average of 10 months delay), and
  • projects were 35% over budget compared to estimates made in Field Development Plans.
In shape, these conclusions are similar to those of IPA in reviewing ~250 global FPSO projects.

QED: In the UKCS, and globally, major development performance is pretty miserable, with misses on 1st Oil/Gas timing and/or budget and/or production delivery, sometimes all three.

The IPA study pointed to under-appraisal, that is, lack of understanding of the reservoir, its geometry and dynamic characteristics, as a key driver of poor project performance – in essence many folk designed the wrong production facilities.

The future of the UKCS relies in good part on the successful development of marginal discoveries – see OGA's recent review. These leave no room at all for error and so getting your understanding of your reservoir spot on will be absolutely key.

In my humble opinion, our prediction, description and understanding of reservoir geometries, rock physical properties and dynamic performance remains weak – “could do better” would be written on our school reports.

During the appraisal stage I think we can do a lot more with the combination of 3D seismic + logs + core + fluid analyses than we do and, as production develops, a lot more with 4D seismic/permanent reservoir monitoring and down-hole technologies.



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