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JANUARY 2014

Processing & Interpretation HP/HT Drilling Surface Systems/ Solutions Rig & Drillship Innovations

REGIONAL REPORT:

West Africa

pushing boundaries
NOCs advance global R&D

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EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION WORLDWIDE COVERAGE


A H A R T E N E R GY P U B L I CAT I O N

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PROCESSING & INTERPRETATION

COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

50 56

The value of an integrated G&G interpretation system Improvements in seismic interpretation

HP/HT DRILLING

26
NOCs push R&D boundaries
From subsea advances to nanotechnology, NOCs are contributing their fair share to the global R&D spend.

63 68

Ultra-high temperature drilling fluid provides stable rheology Integrated methodology devised for ultra-HP/HT completion tool

SURFACE SYSTEMS/SOLUTIONS

72 74

Advances in technology enhance permanent completion safety New approach to production well testing in mature fields

RIG & DRILLSHIP INNOVATIONS

82

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

98

REGIONAL REPORT: WEST AFRICA

IndustryPULSE: Russia considers new subsoil legislation

The potential loosening of Russian red tape could provide enough slack for both foreign and domestic oil and gas companies to increase profits and build partnerships.

10

WorldVIEW: South Atlantic in the spotlight

Industry attention is increasingly focusing on the Falkland Islands as they attempt to emerge from decades of political friction to sit on the cusp of becoming a viable world-class oil and gas province.

Unconventionals: Argentina Flogging an Argentinian dead cow could be profitable

78

Lack of foreign investment hampers Argentinas efforts to jump-start Vaca Muerta shale development.

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DEPARTMENTS AND COMMENTARY

AS I SEE IT
Innovation drives the industry 7
14 16 19 21 23 25 40 42 46 48 87 88 92

MANAGEMENT REPORT
Complex planning benefits from experienced consultants

MARKET INTELLIGENCE
Marcellus market report

EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY
Marine sources poised for breakthroughs

DRILLING AND COMPLETION


Whole lotta shakin goin on in the oil patch
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PRODUCTION OPTIMIZATION
New subsea factory presents glimpse into future

OFFSHORE ADVANCES
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Integrating geomechanics improves drilling performance

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cutting performanceUnique, central conical element increases ROP.


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Drilling in the land-locked Caspian Sea poses challenges

96 102 106-107
108

COMING NEXT MONTH

The February issue of E&P looks at the state of the art in hydraulic

fracturing. Other features will examine reservoir characterization, drilling fluids and oilfield chemicals, NGL, and subsea production systems and tiebacks, and regional reports will focus on the Arctic and on unconventional gas development in the UK. As always, while youre waiting for the next copy of

E&P, remember to visit EPMag.com for news, industry updates, and unique industry analysis.

ABOUT THE COVER New technologies such as Saudi Aramcos ResBots


promise to revolutionize the way the industry finds and produces hydrocarbons. Left, West Africa continues its prominence as a world-class oil and gas province. (Cover photo courtesy of Saudi Aramco; left image courtesy of Repsol. Cover design by Laura J. Williams)

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E&P (ISSN 1527-4063) (PM40036185) is published monthly by Hart Energy Publishing, LP, 1616 S. Voss Road, Suite 1000, Houston, Texas 77057. Periodicals postage paid at Houston, TX, and additional mailing offices. Subscription rates: 1 year (12 issues), US $149; 2 years (24 issues), US $279. Single copies are US $18 (prepayment required). Advertising rates furnished upon request. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to E&P, PO Box 5020, Brentwood, TN 37024. Address all non-subscriber correspondence to E&P, 1616 S. Voss Road, Suite 1000, Houston, Texas 77057; Telephone: 713-260-6442. All subscriber inquiries should be addressed to E&P, 1616 S. Voss Road, Suite 1000, Houston, TX 77057; Telephone: 713-260-6442 Fax: 713-840-1449; custserv@hartenergy.com. Copyright Hart Energy Publishing, LP, 2014. Hart Energy Publishing, LP reserves all rights to editorial matter in this magazine. No article may be reproduced or transmitted in whole or in parts by any means without written permission of the publisher, excepting that permission to photocopy is granted to users registered with Copyright Clearance Center/0164-8322/91 $3/$2. Indexed by Applied Science, Technology Index and Engineering Index Inc. Federal copyright law prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means and imposes fines of up to $25,000 for violations.

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ONLINE CONTENT JANUARY 2014

RESISTIVITY - AND IMAGING-

Microscope

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PREMIUM CONTENT

Subscribe @ EPmag.com/explorationhighlights

North Energy gains operatorship in North Sea


Norwegian authorities have approved the transfer of 40% interest and operatorship in production licenses 509S and 509BS from Wintershall Norge AS to North Energy, according to a press release.

Noble makes discoveries in GoM, offshore Israel


Noble Energy Inc. announced discoveries at the Dantzler exploration well in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and at the Tamar Southwest exploration well offshore Israel.

South African president favors shale pursuit


President Jacob Zuma said South Africa must pursue the potential for shale gas drilling in the Karoo region because it may transform the countrys economy. The government will decide whether to allow shale gas exploration after consulting local communities.
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North American shale revolution has 'staying power'


By Velda Addison, Associate Online Editor
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The drilling boom continues in the US and Canada, but challenges remain.

Tanzania leads activity in East Africa


By Steve Hamlen, Special to E&P

Active players include Ophir Energy, which spudded a high-risk frontier well in November.

LWD resistivity images help place horizontal well 100 % in zone.


MicroScope hi gh-resolution resistivity images identified dips , faults , and fractures along the lateral section of a PetroChina well , increasing geosteering accuracy and improving reservoir understanding . With clear the 810-m section was drilled 100% in zone . Better reservoir understanding allowed optimized completion design , thus enhancing production.

Pavilion eyes overseas gas assets for LNG play


By Ravi Prasad, Special to E&P

identification of structural features ,

The company strives to meet Asian demand for clean energy.

Pakistan works to lure E&P investors


By Velda Addison, Associate Online Editor

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Executive Editor
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SEE IT

Editor in Chief Executive Editor Group Managing Editor Senior Editor, Drilling Senior Editor, Offshore Senior Editor, Production Chief Technical Director, Upstream Associate Managing Editor, Special Projects Associate Managing Editor Associate Online Editor Assistant Editor

MARK THOMAS RHONDA DUEY JO ANN DAVY SCOTT WEEDEN JENNIFER PRESLEY AMY LOGAN RICHARD MASON MARY HOGAN BETHANY POLLER VELDA ADDISON ARIANA BENAVIDEZ

Read more commentary at

EPmag.com

Innovation drives the industry


The goal of our magazine is to stay abreast of new technology developments. Sometimes its tough to keep up!
s we take a look at some of the latest developments in R&D this month, Im reminded of a couple of rather tired clichs: Necessity is the mother of invention and Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Tired, perhaps, but oh so true. Lets look at the first clich. If oil and gas were still to be found in plentiful quantities in highly porous and permeable sandstones onshore at 600 m (2,000 ft) beneath the surface, we wouldnt have deepwater drillships or subsea factories or multistage fracturing because we wouldnt need them. Why go after the hard stuff when the easy stuff is still out there? The second quote, attributed to Thomas Edison, is equally true. Edison, who had one of the earliest R&D labs in the world, is credited with a number of inventions and patents, but in fact he had a team of researchers who worked tirelessly to bring his (and their) ideas to life. A recent article in Time magazine examining the concept of inventiveness indicated that determination may be just as important a factor in innovation as creativity. Its easy enough to recognize a prolific inventor when we see one; if nothing else, just count the patents, Jeffrey Kluger wrote. But its far harder to define what the act of invention is how it springs into being, how it visits some of us and not others, how an idea that seems so obvious after the invention has been conceived and built was so opaque, so elusive before. Inventiveness can hit when were thinking about inventing, or it can come in sideways, flashing brilliantly on the periphery when were focused on something else. While that kind of comet strike makes for nice tale-telling invention is just as often the result of mere doggedness, even cussedness, grinding away at a problem until it finally yields. Whether the innovations outlined in this issue are eureka moments or the result of cussedness is probably a secret only the inventors know. But I think youll agree that the results are staggering. Take, for example, Saudi Aramcos ResBots (depicted nicely on this months cover). They represent reservoir characterization on the nanoscale. The goal is to gather in situ information about the reservoir by sending down tiny sensors that can move through the pore space. Why is Saudi Aramco spending valuable R&D dollars on nanosensors? To increase recovery rates. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.
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industry
PULSE

Russia considers new subsoil legislation


The potential loosening of Russian red tape could provide enough slack for both foreign and domestic oil and gas companies to increase profits and build partnerships.
the changes being considered is the raising of the existing threshold of foreign interest up to 25% in addition to the abolishment of the special state commission approval requirements for development. The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources was the main initiator of the proposed amendments. A spokesperson with the ministry said investors have repeatedly called on the Russian government to abolish restrictions placed on their operations in the countrys oil and gas industry, all to no effect. As a result, foreign investment in the Russian oil and gas industry has declined in recent years. We put forward an initiative to make amendments in the current Russian legislation in the field of development of the countrys subsoils because we are aware that it currently restricts operations of foreign investors in this field, said Sergey Donskoy, Russias minister of natural resources. According to a proposal from the ministry, there also is a need to allow companies with foreign participation to automatically convert their exploration licenses into production licenses in the case of discovery in oil and gas fields considered of strategic importance. The ministry also proposes to restrict the current right of the state to terminate E&P licenses without any solid reasons for the action. If the development of the field could pose a threat to Russias security, a foreign investor will be given a year to sell its rights to the state or to one of the local companies. The state also will have the opportunity to buy the rights or shares from foreign investors at market price if the sale of shares to a third local party cannot be completed within a year. Presently, foreign investors could lose their rights for the development of the strategic oil and gas fields even in the case of their discovery and completion of exploratory works because the state has the right to refuse the conversion of their licenses from exploratory to production if the reserves of the field exceed the existing limit. In the future, foreign investors will be allowed to bid in auctions for the development and production rights of strategic fields. This measure, according to the Ministry of
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

Eugene Gerden, Contributing Editor

he Russian government is considering liberalizing national legislation in the field of subsoils with the aim to attract foreign investors in the domestic oil and gas industry. Through the adoption of a set of amendments to the existing federal law on subsoils, legislators hope to make it easier for foreign investors to gain access to E&P activities in Russia. The amendments are expected to eliminate the existing bureaucratic hurdles foreigners face in gaining access to those fields that have the status of strategic importance. According to Russian legislation, the fields are given this status if the volume of reserves exceeds 70 million tons (500 MMbbl) in the case of oil fields and 50 Bcm (1.8 Tcf) in the case of gas fields. Currently, all companies with foreign equity in which the stake exceeds 10% do not have a right to develop local oil and gas fields that have the status of strategic importance. The same rules apply to fields considered to be of federal importance, where reserves are not as large as those of strategic importance but are significant. The development of such fields currently requires foreign companies to obtain an approval of special state commission for foreign investments, which may take as long as four months.

Cooperative agreements
Due to these restrictions, many foreign investors have not considered the possibility of independent expansion in the Russian oil and gas industry. Instead, they have preferred to cooperate with local companies that develop such fields. Cooperation usually takes place through the provision of necessary technologies as well as drilling and other services that are associated with exploration and development. However, times are changing. With the new amendments on the table, foreign oil and gas companies may soon be allowed to conduct full-fledged operations within the large Russian oil and gas fields. Among the most important of
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Natural Resources, will reduce the risk of corruption while also providing special competition for oil and gas fields of strategic importance. Foreign investors could, however, still lose their oil and gas field development rights, including those of strategic importance, if a court decides: They are in violation of the terms of the development of the field; They default on the mandatory payments for the exploitation of the field; or They are carrying out activities that are contrary to the agreed-upon conditions of the contract. In other cases, including environmental violations, foreign investors could incur economic sanctions. Some Russian analysts believe the initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources will facilitate the inflow of foreign direct investments into the countrys oil and gas industry. The 10% stake foreign investors had in Russian companies to develop strategic oil and gas resources was not enough to sell their stakes at a premium or when it came to the distribution of profits from the development of such fields, said Ilya Rachkov, a partner with King and Spalding Russia. That is why other Russian analysts believe foreign investors should demand a further increase of the threshold to at least 49% because the 25% limit will still not allow them to make key decisions regarding the development of their strategic oil and gas field investments.

If the changes are adopted, foreign investors will likely be attracted to the development of the Trebs and Titov strategic oil fields located in the Timan-Pechora basin in Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia. These fields have 1.1 Bbbl of estimated oil reserves. Oil and gas investors could likely be interested in the Chayandinskoe oil and gas field in Siberia as well. It has gas reserves of more than 1 Tcm (35 Tcf). In addition to attracting foreign investors, Russian analysts believe one of the reasons the state is considering easing legislation is its desire to make it more attractive for leading domestic oil and gas companies to keep their business local. In recent years, many of these companies have changed their residency from domestic to foreign due to taxation issues. Representatives of some leading foreign companies like BP already have welcomed the new state plans, hoping they can now accelerate their Russian expansion. According to analysts at the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, this influx of interest from foreign companies could solve an acute need for the development of some of the countrys strategic oil and gas fields. For example, through partnerships domestic companies can gain access to the modern technologies they need to develop the fields.

Russian oil fields, such as this field in Tatarstan, stand to benefit from new legislation that makes investment more attractive to foreign companies.

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

world
VIEW

South Atlantic in the spotlight


Industry attention is increasingly focusing on the Falkland Islands as they attempt to emerge from decades of political friction to sit on the cusp of becoming a viable world-class oil and gas province.
Mark Thomas, Editor in Chief

or those pioneering companies that have led early exploration activity in the frontier waters of the Falkland Islands, otherwise known as the Malvinas in the South Atlantic, this highly controversial and remote outpost is on the threshold of a whole new phase in its upstream evolution. One of those in the vanguard has been Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd. (FOGL), a UK independent in the midst of finalizing the last details of a merger with one of its fellow pioneers, Desire Petroleum. Amidst increasingly jingoistic and public threats made by Argentinas political leaders toward all companies participating or considering taking part in the fledgling activity around this chain of small islands some 480 km (298 miles) from the nearest landfall in South America and the equally blunt responses from Britains leaders over their sovereignty, the companies themselves are keeping their heads down and getting on with the longterm job of driving forward plans that could see this province produce first oil and gas as soon as 2018.

Tim Bushell, Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd. CEO. (Image courtesy of FOGL)

FOGL-Desire merger
FOGLs CEO, Tim Bushell, is focused very much on guiding his company toward being part of that dream. Since joining in 2006 from Paladin Resources, where he was managing director of that companys Norwegian activities for five years, he has helped bring FOGL to a point where it is now involved in all of the key areas to the north, south, and east of the islands. Prior to Paladin he also served as general manager for the South Atlantic business unit at Lasmo, which included a drilling campaign in the North Falklands basin in 1998, giving him vital experience with the regions potential. FOGLs recent approximate US $100 million merger with smaller independent Desire and a simultaneous and conditional farm-out deal announced in parallel with fellow Falkland players Premier Oil and Rockhopper Exploration were pretty much no brainers, he said. The deals give FOGL near-term exposure to a fivewell, fully funded high-impact exploration program
10

across all the major basins and plays in the Falklands that is scheduled to get under way later this year or early 2015, depending on rig availability. According to Bushell, the combination with Desire was a compelling opportunity to consolidate the portfolios of the companies, diversifying the risk profile for their shareholders and enabling the combined group to move forward with an active, long-term program for growth in the Falkland Islands. He added, The transaction provides FOGL with access to Desires interests in the North Falkland basin [including the Sea Lion area], which we believe are highly complementary to our existing exploration portfolio in the south.

Five-well exploration program


Bushell, who is CEO of the newly formed group in which FOGLs original shareholders now own 60% and Desires the remainder, said the acquisition leaves it with $170 million in cash to help fund the five-well exploration program. The company will need a good chunk of that money to do that, although the farm-out agreement it signed with Premier and Rockhopper for its interests in licenses
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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PL004a and PL004c has helped to ease the financial burden. These two will enter the licenses in exchange for fully funding the newly combined entitys share of the cost of a pair of wildcat wells one in each block. FOGL/Desire will hold 40% in both of these North Falkland licenses, having previously held 92.5% of PL004a and 75% of PL004c. The overall drilling program will see five wells spudded, including a total of three in the North Falkland basin, with one targeting the Zebedee prospect. Two will be spudded in the South Falkland basin in partnership with Noble Energy and Edison International (targeting the Jayne and Isobel prospects), Bushell said. The wells will be drilled across three basins, all testing different play types. Since earlier in 2013, Desire had been seeking investment to be able to finance further exploration to the north of the Falklands, close to the Sea Lion oil field.

FOGL will contribute about $20 million to a fifth well targeting Zebedee in partnership with Premier and Rockhopper. The difference in the well costs is mainly because of the water depth, Bushell added. The south has much deeper water, so the wells are more expensive. Reserves potential is something that the islands have in abundance, but their remote location, deep waters, harsh environmental conditions, and lack of infrastructure are considerable challenges faced by oil companies.

UK-Argentine tension
Another challenge is the continued threat emanating from Argentinas leaders, who have stated that compa-

km [3,861 sq miles] of high-quality 3-D data, which is imply introducing unilateral modifications into the situequivalent in area to more than 40 North Sea blocks. ation of the Malvinas Islands while the sovereignty disThis illustrates both the scale of our assets and the pute between the two countries is still pending. commitment of the joint venture to the ongoing exploThe UK Foreign Office insists the activities are wholly ration program. legitimate and legal on the island a British overseas territory that voted to stay that way in a referendum last year. A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said, Hydrocarbons activities by any company operating on the continental shelf of the Falkland Islands are regulated by legislation of the Falkland Islands government, in strict accordance At Lynden,we understand that plans change but deadlines don't. That's with the United Nations Convenwhy we proudly offer our exclusive Dynamic Routing system . Designed tion of the Law of the Sea. As such, these activities are wholly legitimate to work around your unique requirements, Dynamic Routing allows you and legal. The UK government to choose the mode of transportation - air, sea or land - to control unequivocally supports the right of the speed of your deliveries so they arrive just as they are needed. the Falkland Islanders to develop With Lynden, you only pay for the speed you need! their natural resources for their own economic benefit.

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Sea Lion FPSO


Premier and Rockhopper are already heavily occupied by their more advanced plans for a two-phase development of Sea Lion, which was discovered in 2010 and is intended to be the islands first flagship oil project. It is being studied for development, most likely via an FPSO vessel, with first oil to flow as soon The PGS Ramform Titan is shooting a 3-D survey over FOGLs licenses to the north of the Falklands, as 2018. the final survey before drilling operations get under way later this year in a five-well exploration FOGL, which before program. (Image courtesy of PGS) the Desire deal had held licenses to the south of the Falklands, not only gained nies seeking to operate there will face 15-year jail terms, acreage to the north of the islands but also a minority huge fines, confiscation of assets, and banning from any stake in the Sea Lion project. activity in Argentina, where unconventional exploration A rig-share agreement is expected to be put in place and development activity is on the rise. for all the operators with drilling plans in the Falklands The long-running depth of feeling within Argentinas area to spread the mobilization costs. populace and government about the Malvinas should Noble and Edison will fund the two wells to the south not be underestimated. The government of President and east of the Falklands at a cost of about $100 million Cristina Fernandez has issued repeated written legal per well, while Premier and Rockhopper will fund warnings to firms, saying the UKs licensing of activity two more targeting the Isobel/Elaine and Jayne East there is manifestly contrary to Resolution 31/49 of prospects further to the north at an estimated cost of the UN General Assembly, which requires the UK and about $50 million per well, according to Bushell. Argentina to refrain from taking decisions that would
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Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

Business as usual
Bushell is apparently unperturbed by such language. FOGL recently confirmed the latest 3-D seismic shoot was under way, with the PGS Ramform Titan shooting a survey within the northern area. The survey, expected to take up to four months, is being operated by Noble Energy. Fast-track data from two previous surveys also are being interpreted. The data have enhanced understanding of potential prospects within the area adjacent to the Darwin gas condensate discovery. A full assessment of all the prospects covered by both surveys will be undertaken using the fully processed 3-D data expected to become available this month. The interpretation results should be available by the end of that quarter. This is our final survey prior to the commencement of drilling operations in late 2014, Bushell said. Upon completion, we will have acquired more than 10,000 sq
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

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management
REPORT

Complex planning benefits from experienced consultants


Consultants should demonstrate strong relationships, proven communication skills, a reputation for quality, and a passion for project management.
Matt Bruckner, Rettew

s E&P companies continue to explore shale plays and new drilling opportunities throughout the US, the reality is that each different play and region has its own set of challenges and requirements. And while E&P firms have moved into more rewarding areas, so has the army of consultants that provide the necessary expertise to achieve success. Since each new well pads logistics and details can vary significantly, firms can partner with an experienced consultant to manage the many moving parts of initiating drilling production, keeping projected milestones on schedule, and mitigating issues as they arise. The best consultants will anticipate all potential roadblocks and planning steps so that when drilling operations begin, they can ramp up effectively and continue without delay.

mine if stabilization measures are needed to avoid future soil slides. Consultants not only evaluate water source options but can recommend the most cost-effective methods to convey the water to a drilling pad via a temporary or permanent pipeline, from a centralized water impoundment, through rate lines, or through trucking efforts. Most of those options necessitate technical investigations, reporting, permitting, and sometimes remediation plans to be in place.

Environment and resources


With any type of land development, state and federal regulatory agencies are involved to protect wildlife and the environment through permitting and reporting. As E&P companies explore potential drilling sites, pipeline routes, and water impoundment locations for development, proximity to wetlands and streams can become a concern. Consultants can perform investigations to identify project alternatives that avoid or minimize impacts to aquatic resources. When avoidance is not possible, consultants submit permit applications for proposed stream and/or wetland encroachments to state and federal regulatory agencies. Compensatory mitigation is sometimes required by the agencies to offset stream and wetland impacts caused by natural gas development. The presence of rare, threatened, and endangered species also should be researched before any development begins. State and federal authorizations for proposed natural gas activities will be contingent upon demonstrating that such development will not adversely affect these species or their habitat. Prior to permit authorization, E&P companies must also show that cultural resources will be avoided and adequately protected. Other activities protecting the environment include baseline water quality sampling in surrounding areas, stream gauging and flow monitoring, and land surveying.

Land development
Three major attributes of a proposed well site must be explored from the very beginning of the development process: road access, water sourcing, and site grading. Proximity of a proposed well pad site to nearby roads will dictate what costs might be involved in accessing the site and building a dependable transportation network. Building new roads or maintaining and repairing existing ones can cost millions of dollars for a remote location often much more than the funding to build a drill pad. Water sourcing is by far the largest and most costly factor in determining the possible success of a potential location. To begin drilling, some wells will need up to 7.5 million gallons of water over the span of their timelines. Water sources can include public water supplies, local streams and rivers, recycled fluids from previous drilling use, or a combination of these. Site grading and stability are important first steps after a location is selected, particularly in areas with rolling hills and mountain ranges such as Colorado, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Consultants can perform geotechnical investigations to discover the soil and bedrock components and, in turn, deter14

Logistics
Along with these activities, detailed plans take shape concerning the logistics and schedule for a well pad. Pipelines might be routed and truck routes outlined. Impoundment designs and mitigation efforts will be finalized.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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THE APP

LEFT: Impoundment is one method for managing water for pad drilling operations. BELOW: E&P companies should discuss water treatment options with treatment consultants in the early stages of planning. (Images courtesy of Rettew)

If an operator is considering recycling its flowback and production waters, the E&P company should discuss water treatment options with treatment consultants in the early stages of planning. Freshwater quality is not always consistent, and in some states recycled water cannot be transferred between sites without an extensive permitting process. Depending on the shale play and location, operators can consider either recycling straight flowback to blend with freshwater by using a simple filtration process of solids and disinfection or installing a primary treatment solution to treat the fluids further before reuse. Soil evaluations should be conducted prior to design and construction, particularly for water impoundments. If the soil textures are unsuitable, these will need to be amended to attain the right consistency. Geologists also can provide due diligence investigations for sites that might contain any plugged and abandoned wells or other potential environmental liabilities associated with past land use. Operators must develop pollution protection plans, often before construction can begin, in case of any accidental spills or leaking of substances on the surface to an outlet such as a creek or wetland. The plan details identify what risks can be anticipated, any chemicals that might be involved, and site layouts and substance storage. The complexities of designing a well pad site and the ongoing support needed to keep production on schedule translate to the need for experienced consultants. Operators should award projects to consultants that demonstrate strong relationships, proven communication skills, responsiveness to schedules, a reputation for quality, and a passion for project management.

Case study
An oil and gas operator purchased land previously drilled in West Virginia. The engineering consultant first perEPmag.com | Januar y 2014

formed due diligence to determine liability and any necessary remediation activities. Following the formal report and clearance to begin the planning phase, geoscientists conducted subsurface and soils investigations, identifying multiple well pads in need of stabilizing measures. Land development specialists provided cost estimates on building heavy-duty access roads for sites between 1.6 km and 2.4 km (1 mile and 1.5 miles) from the main road as well as road maintenance and repair costs. As a result of the report, certain well sites were targeted for further development and production. The client decided to lay temporary water lines to pump water from nearby streams into a centralized impoundment. Qualified bat surveyors investigated the area according to the guidelines established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether endangered Indiana bats were present; none were. Wetland biologists also investigated the area to delineate any wetlands that might be present. The scientists identified two wetlands along the proposed pipeline route and secured encroachment permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Geoscientists provided soil classification to determine necessary steps for the impoundment installation, and team members formulated erosion and sediment control plans for construction as well as pollution protection. The client planned to recycle flowback water with a simple filtration system, so the consultant included the equipment, permit for reuse, and timing into the schedule. Drilling operations ran smoothly on schedule.
15

market
INTELLIGENCE

Marcellus market report


Growing Utica activity may slightly boost business in the Marcellus formation this year.
tering stimulation stages closer together. In doing so, they are keeping sand volumes static at around 2 MMlb per lateral, depending on the number of stages. Closer spacing means less sand per stage but more overall stages than prior completion techniques as a way of increasing well productivity. Operators also are reporting a slight increase in the use of sliding sleeves, though plug-and-perf completions remain the predominant methodology. One operator reported productivity improvements by using a toe prep tool and sliding sleeves at the end of each lateral. Meanwhile, pad drilling and batch completions have become the most common procedure on completions, with operators drilling a single lateral per well but clustering multiple wells on a single pad and using zipper fracs or stacked fracs to allow simultaneous operations. Pressure pumping. With 2014 budgets mostly set among oil and gas operators, demand for well stimulation services will match 2013 in the Marcellus. A majority of service providers noted that the region still suffered from excessive capacity, and a few have sent equipment and crews to other regions awaiting an activity uptick in the Utica. Service providers report capacity of 1.9 million in hydraulic horsepower spread across 50 fleets in the Marcellus/Utica market, with 40% of capacity marketed by Halliburton, Schlumberger, and Baker Hughes. Operators and service providers report average lateral lengths in the neighborhood of 1,524 m (5,000 ft) with an average 20 stages per lateral. Stimulation costs on a perstage basis border on US $80,000, and nearly all companies expect pricing will remain flat in 1Q 2014. Drilling market. Operators are expressing a preference for higher horsepower drilling rigs as lateral lengths increase, creating a modest tight-supply situation. Rigs with walking packages are in particular demand because of mobility and terrain issues in the Marcellus. The increase in pad drilling as a percentage of all drilling in the region means individual rigs are becoming more efficient in terms of the volume of wells generated in a year. However, the interest in higher specification rigs has sidelined a lot of traditional lower horsepower rigs. There may be a bright light for smaller units yet since many of the original five-year leases are destined for expiration in coming months, prompting a late flurry to generate production and extend the lease at favorable terms.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

Richard Mason, Chief Technical Director

arcellus madness may have softened since the decline in natural gas prices in 2012, but operators and service providers are looking for a modest uptick in 2014 business on the basis of expanding activity in Ohios Utica shale, according to Hart Energy surveys in the region. Results from those surveys include: Well servicing/workover. A rising pool of new wells is increasing demand for maintenance work. Contractors report demand for workover services is strong, though there are adequate equipment and more than enough service providers to supply the market and keep pricing from rising. The region has witnessed the arrival of coiled tubing for completions, though recent trends toward extended-reach horizontal laterals mean well service rigs still remain a preferred solution for horizontal completions. Service providers indicated they are working to push pricing, but an abundance of competitors means rates will remain flat in 1Q 2014. Downhole completions. Slickwater fracs still dominate the completion picture in the Marcellus, although operators use crosslinked gel or hybrid solutions primarily in the Utica shale. The trend in the Utica, according to oil and gas operators in the Hart Energy survey, is toward a greater share of hybrid completions. Since the Utica is the source of regional activity growth in 2014, crosslinked gels and hybrid completions will gain regional market share. Operators are experimenting with longer laterals but clus-

(Data courtesy of US Energy Information Administration)

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Marine sources poised for breakthroughs


Long overshadowed by sexier technology, marine sources are starting to get the attention they deserve.
ithin the past decade, exploration technology advances have really ramped up. One area that has seen vast improvement is the area of marine seismic acquisition, and it was there that Society of Exploration Geophysicists Honorary Lecturer Nick Moldoveanu chose to devote his 2013 lecture. Titled Evolution of marine acquisition technology after wide azimuth, Moldoveanus lecture examined some of the amazing acquisition breakthroughs that have taken place since BP shot the first wide-azimuth survey on its Mad Dog field in 2006. But what I found most intriguing was his list of coming up next technologies that are not that far in the future. Moldoveanu noted that the airgun, invented in 1960, has never been the ideal marine source due to issues in reliability; lack of power; and narrow bandwidth, particularly at lower frequencies. To date, only the reliability issue has been addressed. He said that acoustic energy generated by airguns is quite weak below 6 Hz to 7 Hz. These frequencies are important for deeper penetration and imaging of steep dips, for better inversion, for improved vertical seismic resolution, and for velocity model-building based on full waveform inversion. It also would help to have a more environmentally friendly source. The high frequencies that the airguns emit are within the hearing range of marine mammals that communicate at these frequencies, and it has been suggested that these guns could harm hearing or affect

RHONDA DUEY
Executive Editor rduey@hartenergy.com
Read more commentary at

EPmag.com

Marine vibrators such as this prototype from PGS would be more environmentally friendly than airguns. (Image courtesy of PGS)

feeding and mating cycles. Bolt is currently designing an airgun with a limited high-frequency output. Another breakthrough would enable simultaneous source shooting in towed-streamer surveys. Simultaneous source shooting is already used on land and is becoming more widely used with ocean-bottom and node technology, but its a challenge with marine streamers. It requires more source arrays, meaning more source vessels with a dual source array on each vessel and larger separation between arrays in the crossline direction. It also requires continuous recording, source encoding to minimize the crosstalk between seismic sources, and accurate amplitude processing for timelapse and reservoir characterization studies. Another interesting approach is a marine vibrator source. Because of increasing environmental restrictions on airguns, several companies have examined the concept of having a source near the seabed. More recently, a consortium comprising ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total has worked to develop an electric marine vibrator. A paper presented at the 2013 European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers annual meeting announced that the consortium is now splitting this project into two phases: design, build, and test a prototype and then build a full array of marine vibrators. Three companies have been selected to go into the prototype phase, and contracts are being negotiated. This is just marine, its just seismic, and its just seismic sources. We could go on to talk about receivers, processing, interpretation, land, geology, petrophysics, well testing And Id never stress over a column topic again! Keep up the good work.

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

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Whole lotta shakin goin on in the oil patch


The geoscience of saltwater injection wells will need to tackle the challenge of reducing induced earthquakes.

hen Jerry Lee Lewis had a whole lotta shakin goin on, as he sang the rock n roll song in 1957, a lot of young people were enjoying it. Fast forward 57 years, and there is a whole lot of shaking going on in the oil patch from earthquakes induced by saltwater injection wells. However, there arent any people enjoying todays rock rolling. The epicenter of the earthquake activity is focused in Oklahoma at the moment, although Texas is getting its share of tremors in the Fort Worth basin. The anecdotal information on injection wells leading to earthquakes is piling up rapidly. The scientific community is engaged in sorting out what is really causing the earthquakes. Earthquakes are measured on the Richter scale, which is a logarithmic scale. Generally, earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 (M2.5) or lower are not felt at the surface, but earthquakes of M3 or greater often are. Since the start of 2009, Oklahoma has jumped in the number of earthquakes M3 or greater, meaning that folks on the surface can feel the movement. From 2009 to 2013 the state has recorded 240 M3 or greater earthquakes approximately 10% of the US total, ranking the state No. 2, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). California is No. 1 with 60% (1,486 earthquakes). During 2011 an M5.7 quake occurred near Prague, Okla., causing damage. Art McGarr, head of the USGS Induced Seismicity Project, told E&P that there is, so far, no consensus in the seismological community concerning the cause of the Prague earthquake sequence. Some have argued that this earthquake sequence is natural, whereas others have proposed that these earthquakes were the result of wastewater injection in the vicinity of the earthquakes. More research is needed to resolve this ongoing debate among seismologists. There are some folks near Marietta, Okla., that have no doubt that injection wells cause earthquakes. On Sept. 9, 2013, a disposal well began operations. Six days later, the shaking started. One womans flat-

SCOTT WEEDEN
Senior Editor, Drilling sweeden@hartenergy.com
Read more commentary at

EPmag.com

screen TV fell down, and her chimney collapsed after the well began injections. The injection well was shut down, and the shaking stopped. Why is this important? Several groups opposed to hydraulic fracturing are blaming the earthquakes on fluid injection operations related to hydraulic fracturing activities. Saltwater injection occurs over extended periods of time, leading to a continued increase of pore pressure on faults that sometimes leads to earthquakes. The E&P industry questions why earthquake activity in Oklahoma showed such a dramatic increase beginning in 2009 whereas wastewater disposal well activities began several decades earlier. More research is needed to address this important question. Seismological evidence points out that hydraulic fracturing operations have caused tremors large enough to be felt in only a few cases. Nearly all earthquakes from oil and gas activities are the result of deep injection of wastewater. There are about 150,000 disposal wells. Roughly 30,000 of these wells inject into undepleted formations, and a very small percentage of these induce earthquakes large enough to be of concern to the public. Scientists in industry, academia, and government agencies are attempting to understand better how deep injection induces earthquakes to find ways to solve this problem. However, the negative publicity is one more strike against the industry. It is time that the industry focuses more technology to solve this problem either reusing the water or reducing the shaking going on.

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

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OPTIMIZATION

New subsea factory presents glimpse into future


Statoil teams with NASA to explore new frontiers and improve productivity.
hen I attended my first media briefing for E&P magazine, I wasnt expecting to see a rendering of something that looked like it was meant for the moon. I had to wonder how far off something so out of this world could be from completion. The rendering was of a subsea factory a fullfledged processing facility built entirely on the seafloor and the briefing was to discuss the role this latest innovation in offshore technology would play in Statoils future. The factory, set for completion in 2020, is being built on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Once it has proved successful, the company plans to replicate it in the arctic region and offshore Brazil, Tanzania, and elsewhere. Statoil is known for its advanced technology and its ability to produce in extremely difficult environments. Its also known for its spirit of innovation, which pervades its corporate culture. Encouraging its people to collaborate, push boundaries, and think outside the norm has resulted in an engaged workforce with an impressive toolbox to use in production. In turn,

AMY LOGAN
Senior Editor, Production alogan@hartenergy.com
Read more commentary at

EPmag.com

Statoils subsea factory looks like something out of a sciencefiction film. This complete processing facility, built on the seafloor of the Norwegian Continental Shelf, is scheduled for completion in 2020. (Image courtesy of Statoil)

dreams like Statoils subsea factory are quickly becoming reality. During the briefing, Margareth vrums passion for the subsea factory her baby, she calls it shone through. vrum is Statoils executive vice president of technology, projects, and drilling. For vrum, completing the subsea factory will be the culmination of her Statoil career, which spans 32 years. vrum said the technology being developed for Statoils subsea factory is extremely important to the companys future plans for growth. The factory is expected to increase oil recovery and energy efficiency in subsea environments, where this is often a challenging task. All of our fields, both the new ones and existing ones, need subsea technology to accelerate and enhance production going forward, she said. Subsea is perfect; its where well find our future oil and gas reserves. They are farther from land, in deeper water, and in colder and harsher environments. Because the rich reserves are located in these harsh subsea environments, vrum said developing new technologies to produce them is business-critical. Statoil recently announced its new partnership with NASA to explore a wide range of technologies that can assist the energy company in its subsea efforts. As Statoil continues to push its boundaries and explore new frontiers for production, who better to partner with than NASA, which is known for its ability to develop technology and materials that can withstand harsh conditions? Its only logical.

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

23

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offshore
ADVANCES

Stimulating times in the GoM


GoM operators will soon have a new option for meeting their well stimulation needs.

aker Hughes Inc. recently provided the media JENNIFER PRESLEY with a sneak peek at the newest addition to its Senior Editor, Offshore fleet of stimulation vessels. The StimFORCE well stimulation vessel, dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico jpresley@hartenergy.com (GoM), will provide customized, on-demand pumpRead more commentary at ing, fracturing, and stimulation solutions. EPmag.com The 78-m (257-ft) long vessel, which was docked at the Bordelon Marine Shipyard in Houma, La., at the time of the tour, is the companys eighth vessel and third in the GoM. We arrived for the tour just as the barge, or offshore rig. A specially engineered grid crew was installing the StimFORCE stimulation system framework secures the pumping equipment to the onto the M/V Connor Bordelon. vessel or barge, according to the company. Baker Hughes has a one-year agreement with BordeThe vessel is equipped with five 15,000-psi triplex lon Marine for use of its recently completed Connor pumps and carries two flexible steel umbilical lines that Bordelon. According to the yard, the Connor Bordelon is allow up to 70 bbl/min pumping rates. The vessel can its first Stingray 260 Class store up to 99 cm (3,500 2 Dynamic Positioning cf) of proppant above deck (DP) vessel. In addition and an additional 113 cm to a thinner bow for (4,000 cf) below deck. Up increased fuel economy to 10,400 bbl of fluid also and speed, each of the can be stored below deck. vessels two propulsion The StimFORCE veschains is made up of a sels pumping capacity of 2,200-hp Cummins QSK8,800 hhp combined with 60 Tier 3 diesel engine the large flexible deck shafted to a Schottel 1215 configuration allows mulZ-drive, making it possible tiple well acid or chemical for the Connor Bordelon to treatments in a single trip Baker Hughes StimFORCE modular well stimulation system is reach a top speed of 14 without the need to a customizable pumping package that can be shipped to a knots. Up to 52 crew and return to the dock and location and reassembled on a platform supply vessel, barge, passengers can call the resupply, said Kevin or offshore rig. (Image courtesy of Baker Hughes) vessel home when at sea. Wetherington, the comThe StimFORCE stimulapanys managing director tion system that is now installed on the Connor for the GoM. The vessels fluid system, quality-control Bordelon provides a cost-effective and operationally laboratory, and remote data acquisition services flexible pumping package designed for offshore and ensure critical pumping information is available inland water pumping projects, according to the comduring all operational phases. pany. The beauty of the system is in its design. Because The StimFORCE vessel provides operators with it is modular, the arrangement of the skid-based pumpanother option to choose from and provides the ing equipment can be customized to fit the needs of industry with yet another positive the client. This stimulation system can be shipped to a sign that activity in the GoM is location and reassembled on a platform supply vessel, bouncing back.

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

25

COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

NOCs push R&D boundaries


From subsea advances to nanotechnology, NOCs are contributing their fair share to the global R&D spend.
STAFF REPORT

ational oil companies (NOCs) have long been motivated by different metrics than their international cousins. Typically, they are more concerned about long-term sustainability than short-term gains. But they face the same challenges as any other energy company when it comes to tackling stubborn subsurface challenges. And they respond the same way by funneling money into R&D to create new innovations to solve these problems. Here is a snapshot of how three NOCs are focusing their research.

Saudi Aramco
Energy giant Saudi Aramco prominently figures R&D into its transformation program, which is turning the NOC into a fully integrated energy and chemicals company. Contributing to Saudi Aramcos strategy for future success is R&D. The company clearly has embraced the strategic goal of becoming one of the worlds leading creators of energy technologies by 2020. It is multiplying

funding for in-house R&D while forming world-class strategic alliances as part of its R&D global expansion. Saudi Aramcos annual capital budget has increased tenfold from US $4 billion to $40 billion in the last 10 years. Part of this increase has been in the form of investment in talent, R&D, and technology. We need all energy sources, all industry players, all governments, all academic and research institutions, and all energy bodies working together in the global energy village, said Saudi Aramcos President and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih during the keynote address at the World Energy Congress in Daegu, Korea, at the end of last year. He outlined four prerequisites for success: pragmatic global energy policies, long-term industry investment, R&D and technology, and collaboration. The company has been focused on crude oil and gas, and R&D efforts have now broadened and expanded as it explores areas such as unconventionals and chemicals.

26

Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

27

COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

Upstream R&D outlook


The companys outlook on R&D and technology development continues to be strategic and long-term. During the Offshore Technology Conference, Saudi Aramco executives offered their outlook specifically on upstream R&D and its associated technology development. The takeaway for industry was clear: Saudi Aramco is pushing forward from a traditional role as consumer of technology to becoming an enabler and creator of new technologies to bring about breakthrough achievements. The high-impact R&D taking place continues to support these three strategic aims: increasing oil and gas reserves, improving recovery rates, and developing improved refining processes. The current upstream roadmap includes the characteristic subsurface technology domains of the geosciences, both geophysical and geological; drilling; production and reservoir engineering; and computational modeling. If anyone doubts that R&D investment has paid off for the NOC, currently Saudi Aramco is on track to increase the average of its conventional oil recoveries to 70%, which is more than double the current world average. Saudi Aramco researchers are asking tough questions as they look to maximize oil and gas reserves: Can we acquire four times the data yet reduce acquisition time and cost by 50%? Can we achieve 1.5-m (5-ft) seismic resolution at 4,572 m (15,000 ft) deep? Can we invert the full waveform in just a day instead of weeks? These questions will bring about new offshore seismic acquisition platforms to reduce cost and time while providing enhanced subsurface imaging. In terms of reservoir engineering, focus areas include EOR, pore-scale physics, waterflooding using modified water or smart water, and unconventional resources. Again, questions being asked by Saudi Aramco researchers are intended to drive new innovations: Can we increase recovery by 15% to 20%? Can we measure reservoir data with high accuracy? Finding novel approaches to maximizing the potential of its oil and gas reserves has been a hallmark of Saudi Aramco. Its in-house initiatives in areas such as SmartWater Flooding, GigaPOWERS, MRC Complex Well Design and Optimization, and Quantitative Remaining Oil Saturation and Intelligent Field Technology drew the interest of the industry and provided topics of dis28

Saudi Aramcos reservoir robots, or ResBots, represent breakthrough discoveries in the area of oil reservoir management. These nanorobots, which are close to 1/1,000 the size of a human hair, are designed to be injected into the reservoir to analyze reservoir pressure, provide temperature measurements, and assess fluid type. Once recovered at producing wells, the information stored in their onboard memory provides a great amount of detail about the reservoir, creating highly effective reservoir maps. (Image courtesy of Saudi Aramco)

cussion and technical paper highlights for industry conferences such as that of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The sophisticated techniques and processes were born from innovative thinking, and the company now enters a new era of challenging itself even further.

Global R&D network expands


Key to this challenge is further extending its global R&D network. The company has two main R&D centers located in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center Advanced Research Center (EXPEC ARC) and the Research & Development Center (R&DC) both conduct pioneer research into cutting-edge technologies and energy research. These centers are further supplemented by research centers in Aberdeen, Scotland; Delft, Netherlands; Paris; Beijing; and Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. This global R&D network recently expanded with the addition of three new R&D facilities in the US. The Aramco Research Centers in Boston, Houston, and Detroit are operated by Saudi Aramcos US subsidiary, Aramco Services Co. (ASC), headquartered in Houston. The three centers were operational at yearend 2013 and strategically positioned to further strengthen Saudi Aramcos R&D capabilities. The US-based centers will help us leverage scientific expertise and bring solutions to the challenges of energy exploration and production, said Mustafa Ali, director of R&D at ASC. The expansion is about collaboration, establishing strong, strategic relations with specialized centers of excellence to address more far-reaching challenges. It will accelerate and expand the companys capabilities by bringing together top global talent.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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Aramco Research Center-Houston has become the companys largest R&D center in the US. Located in the citys energy corridor, the 4,180-sq-m (45,000-sq-ft) facility is focusing on upstream oil and gas R&D. Teams of researchers, scientists, and engineers are working through a variety of approaches in the areas of geology, geophysics, reservoir engineering, and production technology to bring about new advances. With much discussion taking place on unconventionals, the Houston location will be key to developing a fundamental understanding of the geochemistry of unconventionals to describe the transfer of bioto, or the ecology of a geographic region, into recoverable oil and gas. This initiative will involve integration with other disciplines such as geophysics and geomechanics to take a holistic approach to unconventional R&D initiatives. Saudi Aramco, now just two years into its unconventional gas program in Saudi Arabias frontier Northern Region, has found great potential. The company recently announced it has committed gas for the development of a 1,000-MW power plant, which will feed a massive phosphate mining and manufacturing center, driving that regions development and prosperity. The center in Boston, the first to open in 2013, supports computational reservoir modeling, nanotechnology, and advanced separation technology systems. The research encompasses materials synthesis, characterizations, and evaluation of novel functionalized nanomaterials with the focus on applications in separations, low-energy chemical conversions, and reliability enhancement of metal structures.

R&D focused on commercial application


While tackling a broad range of R&D activities, the companys focal points of research are carefully selected through a rigorous process based on the greatest potential of business impact addressing the highest business priorities. Saudi Aramco innovation has led to patented inventions, including a tool for locating and plugging lateral wellbores, flare stack and combustion apparatus, automated real-time reservoir pressure estimation, and advanced petrophysical algorithms fostering the shift from well-centric to model-centric workflows. The commitment to commercializing R&D activities is further evidenced in the establishment of Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, established in 2012 as a venture subsidiary to invest globally in start-up and high-growth companies with technologies of strategic importance to Saudi Aramco. North American and European venturing activities figure prominently into this strategy. With the long-term commitment and investment being made through expansion in North America and continued development of R&D alliances and collaborations throughout the world, Saudi Aramcos R&D efforts will continue to bring forth new technologies with commercial applications in the foreseeable future.

Petrobras
R&D activity has been an integral part of Petrobrass business plans since the companys formation in 1953. With the NOC having averaged an annual spend of almost $1.2 billion on R&D between the years 2010 and 2012 and more than $800 million per year on average over the four

Nanotechnology
Saudi Aramcos pioneering efforts in the application of nanotechnology for the oil and gas industry are well known. Its in-house developed reservoir simulator tool, GigaPOWERS, allows engineers to virtually look inside a reservoir to view a reservoirs formations, oil and gas pockets, faults, and other characteristics in a timely manner. The simulator tool uses 1 billion cells, allowing a clear and detailed picture of the reservoir to be painted, much like the many pixels on a high-resolution computer monitor or television. The Aramco Research Center staff in Boston is dedicated to building on this robust tool as reservoirs become more complex with multiple wells.
30

Petrobrass CENPES R&D hub is the largest in Latin America. (Image courtesy of Petrobras)

Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

Recent Progress in the RPSEA Ultra-Deepwater Program


The Ultra-Deepwater Program at the Research Project to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) has been busy managing a multitude of projects in its portfolio. Even as RPSEA continues to manage ongoing projects, its member subject matter experts are evaluating bids from the most recent round of requests for proposals.
By James M. Pappas, RPSEA Ultra-Deepwater Program

New projects Some of the projects expected to begin soon are: Marine sources for airgun substitution; Pressure prediction and hazard avoidance through improved seismic imaging; Subsea produced water sensor development; Subsea DC connectors for environmentally safe and reliable powering of ultra-deepwater (UDW) subsea processing; Development and qualification of a subsea produced water treatment system for UDW reinjection or subsea discharge; Real-time acoustic oil-water separation in oil production; Methodology and algorithm development for the evaluation of UDW or arctic floating platform performance under hazardous sea conditions; Development of advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools for the enhanced prediction of explosion pressure development in early project phase and deflagration to detonation transition risk on US Gulf of Mexico (GoM) drilling and production facilities; Reliability of annular pressure buildup mitigation technologies; Development of best practices and risk mitigation measures for deepwater cementing in syntheticand oil-based muds; BOP shearing device technology development; Early kick detection technology/demonstration; Dynamic appraisal with significantly reduced environmental impact on drilling or completions; and Ultra-deep in situ spectrographic and multiple physical sample capture system for autonomous underwater vehicles. Final reports Several milestone reports were completed in 2013, and final reports have been issued. Each of these

studies can be found and downloaded online by project title at rpsea.org/projects/search/. The titles of the research projects and the lead researcher include: Geophysical modeling for studying acquisition and processing methods in the deepwater GoM, SEAM; Displacement and mixing in subsea jumpers experimental data and CFD simulations, University of Tulsa; Intelligent production system for UDW with short hop wireless power and wireless data transfer for lateral production control and optimization, Tubel; Gyroscope guidance sensor for UDW applications, Laserlith Corp.; Phase I: Corrosion and scale at extreme temperature and pressure, Brine Chemistry Solutions; Phase I: 10121-4302-01, Ultra-high conductivity umbilicals: Polymer nanotube umbilicals, Nanoridge; Phase I: More improvements to deepwater subsea measurement, Letton-Hall Group; Phase I: Qualification of Flexible Fiber-reinforced Pipe for 10,000-ft Water Depths, GE Global Research; Phase I: Qualification of Flexible Fiber-reinforced Pipe for 10,000-ft Water Depths, Deepflex; Phase I Progress: Smart cementing materials and drilling muds for real-time monitoring of deepwater wellbore enhancement, University of Houston; Phase I Interim: Deepwater Reverse-Circulation Primary Cementing, CSI; Phase I: Coiled-tubing drilling and intervention system using cost-effective vessel, Nautilus; and Phase I: Operational Concept and Requirements, Autonomous Underwater Inspection Using a 3-D Laser and Phase III Report: Lab Simulation Demonstration, Lockheed Martin MST. n

32

Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

Geoscientists and petroleum engineers remotely guide drillbits from the Geosteering Center in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. (Image courtesy of Saudi Aramco)

include Schlumberger, FMC, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, GE Oil and Gas, Siemens, and BG Group.

Procap research programs


Petrobras has been heavily involved in collaborative pan-industry technology initiatives such as DeepStar (now in Phase XI) but has in parallel pushed its own Procap deepwater technology initiatives hard since the early 90s. The first Procap program was created to develop technologies for producing fields in water depths of more than 400 m (1,312 ft), with later versions (Procap 2000 and Procap 3000) extending that water depth capability. The latest evolution of that bloodline is the Procap Viso Futuro (Future Vision), which is aimed at anticipating future needs and providing and improving the technologies required. It has brought together more than 40 institutions from around the world to tackle research into areas including logistics, reservoirs, sustainability, and well engineering. Solange da Silva Guedes, the companys E&P executive manager for production engineering, described the Procap programs as road maps that have helped Petrobras collect many robust solutions along the way. She stressed the need for collaboration throughout the process. The collaboration with universities from around the world, companies, and suppliers is something Petrobras is used to doing, and it has been very fruitful. Referring to the companys presalt projects, she added, With technology we have managed to produce 300,000 b/d in the region only seven years after its discovery. Guedes flagged technological advances driven specifically by the companys presalt push, including progress in the development of advanced solutions in reservoir characterization, well drilling and completion technologies, underwater equipment systems, the integrity of facilities, and CO2 processing and treatment. She added that joint industry projects such as DeepStar also were very important for the companys strategic development of new technologies as these accelerated the finding of new solutions while reducing overall R&D costs.

years preceding that, it has grown its research expenditure by a yearly average of 22.7% over the last decade. It remains clearly committed to the cause of developing new E&P technologies, driven almost entirely by the fact that the vast majority (currently more than 90%) of its future recoverable reserves lie in deep and ultra-deep water. It has, as a result, been a world leader in this frontier segment of the industry for almost two decades. Maria das Graas Silva Foster, the companys CEO, stressed at the recent OTC Brasil conference that a collaborative approach with Brazils universities and research institutes at home and abroad has been and remains the key to its investment in new technologies. We have spectacular universities in Brazil, we have an intelligence network, and we have invested heavily in technology in Brazil, she said.

CENPES R&D hub


Much of that investment has centered on its CENPES facility, covering 300,000 sq m (3.2 million sq ft) on Fundo Island in Rio de Janeiro. The research center has more than 220 laboratories, is the largest in Latin America, and is still expanding, while also acting as the central hub in an information network reaching out to 88 universities in the coordination of 49 thematic networks. Each network includes a range of universities and research institutions working on a technology theme directly related to the companys own business goals. And this has been helped by the presalt boom of the past several years, with the increasing scale and complexity of its project demands causing a growing number of the worlds leading oil and gas contractors to build their own research centers in Brazil close to Petrobrass own facilities or those of its partner universities. Companies that have done this
34

Future Vision portfolio


The Procap Future Vision program currently has a portfolio of 19 projects, including work in the following areas:
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

A configurable FPSO vessel a FUTURE FPSO unit that it describes as eventually having plug-andplay compact process equipment associated with subsea processing and power distribution; The use of augmented reality and robotics that is being analyzed as a way to reduce the number of personnel offshore, enhancing safety and reducing logistical costs; Laser drilling. Petrobras describes this as a very promising area that, together with riserless drilling and the use of sensors to monitor the well integrity and optimize production, will significantly improve economics. Nanotechnologies such as developing nanostructured materials and nanosensors to assure system integrity and nanoparticles to improve recovery or to help gather reservoir information. Petrobras believes the latter subject of smart nanomaterials has great potential, with the company confident of improving the performance of chemicals already

in use (polymers and surfactants) to make some procedures economically viable. Smart nanomaterials also are being developed to change rock wettability and interfacial tension between oil and water and to increase the viscosity of the injection fluid. Also, a better understanding of rock-fluid interactions and properties using nanosensors could help better define an optimized recovery strategy. The development of contrast agents for imaging methods such as seismic and electromagnetics could help locate remaining residual oil. Petrobras currently is carrying out a study evaluating the economic impact of the potential combined use of all those technologies on a presalt field offshore Brazil.

Subsea processing research


But much of the development focus within its Procap Future Vision program at present, like several of its peers, is on current and near-term projects within the fast-advancing subsea processing arena. This road map toward what would naturally result in the eventual elimi-

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EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

COVER STORY: R&D ROUNDTABLE

nation of surface platform facilities includes items such as more compact oil-water and gas-liquid separation systems, a multiphase pump with high differential pressure, and a gas compression system. The main applications are on fields with a high gas and water ratio, on remote discoveries distant from producing facilities, and for increasing reservoir recovery rates from existing developments. In terms of compact separation technology, Petrobras has been conducting several R&D initiatives for the last 10 years or so. Originally these initiatives were developed for topsides and onshore applications but always with eventual subsea deployment in mind. It has evaluated the technology via several field tests, a recent example being the Marlim three-phase subsea oil-water separation system, a solution company officials describe as a very significant example of compact subsea technology employment for a single producer well application. In the area of multiphase boosting for oil fields in remote locations, the company has invested significant sums on the development of twin screw and helico-axial concepts for multiphase pumps, targeting applications with required differential pressures up to 870 psi. Recent analysis has indicated that high differential-pressure subsea boosting (up to 2,175 psi) is economically and technically attractive for various scenarios, and because of that much R&D effort is being concentrated

in further developing this technology. Fbio Alves Albuquerque, an engineer in the subsea equipment technology sector at CENPES, spoke at OTC Brasil about the companys current activities and future vision for subsea processing and boosting. He highlighted the pioneering recent use of electric submersible pumps (ESPs) in a boosting module on dummy wells in the ultradeepwater Jubarte and Golfinho fields offshore Brazil as well as using ESPs in a mudline skid on the Espadarte field offshore Brazil and the Cascade-Chinook field development in the US Gulf. As a field progresses, we get reservoir information along with the production and identify subsea processing opportunities, he commented. This leads to initiatives such as a planned project for the use of a subsea high-pressure multiphase pump during 2014. Albuquerques subsea colleague Cezar Paulo stressed the importance of ensuring that the companys long-term R&D road map was integrated not only with its business plans but also aligned with the regions presalt challenges, such as remoteness from shore, high-pressure reservoirs, and extreme water depths.

Statoil
Innovation is a machine that can be fussy or finely tuned. Fueled by the research and development of new ideas, innovation is the continuous process that can either make or break a company. Fortunately for Statoil, its home on

R&D spend at Petrobras has shown a steady increase since 2005. (Image courtesy of Petrobras)

36

Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) provides the perfect proving grounds for pushing innovations limits in helping to stem the decline in production from the shelfs maturing oil fields. Norways oil production peaked in 2001 when the country produced 3.4 MMb/d of crude oil, according to the US Energy Information Administration. In 2011 that figure had dropped to 2 MMb/d. Statoil is looking at ways to enhance production beyond what we expected in the beginning, said Lars Hier, Statoils acting senior vice president of R&D and innovation. He added that the expected oil recovery from companyoperated fields on the NCS was initially around 30%. The current recovery rate is on average 50%, an increase he credited to significant technology development. For many years we have tested, adapted, and developed new technologies and implemented them into our fields, he said. In many ways we can say that the [NCS] has been our laboratory, meaning that we can test out many different ideas and then apply them globally. But the company is shooting for higher recovery rates. Although were proud of 50%, were aiming for Statoiloperated fields in the NCS to have on average 60% recovery. This is world-leading, he said. It is a goal that will be tough to meet, he said, adding that it will require a number of technology developments and breakthroughs within selected areas in the future, including further development of a large range of IOR methods for what we call our IOR toolbox. And as we develop the technologies, we can tailor standardized solutions for different fields with that toolbox.

Open to new ideas, partnerships


Realizing that solutions to complex problems like improving oil recovery reside both within the company and out, Statoil established the Innovation Portal. This online portal provides the public with a means to submit ideas or proposals for safer, better, and smarter solutions. Successful selection of an idea by the company could lead to further evaluation and possible codevelopment of the idea with Statoil. We post challenges within areas where we need new ideas, and we have received numerous responses, Hier said. With Statoil Technology Invest we can go in and help facilitate growth for a number of companies, but we also have brought these ideas into the R&D organization for further development to implementation because innovation is not all. We talk a great deal about the idea part, but its also about how we do business with the idea before we implement it. Im really proud of the innovation part. We see it more and more.
38

In addition to the portal, the company also seeks out and supports development efforts in academia. In June Statoil signed a four-year framework agreement for R&D with the Institute Franais du Ptrole Energies Nouvelles and a five-year academia agreement with Institute Franais du Ptrole (IFP) School. According to the school, the agreement covers research efforts in environmental technologies, petroleum geology and geophysics, enhanced petroleum recovery, drilling and intervention, processing and transport, deepwater and subsea production technologies, gas technologies, renewable energies, and more. This collaboration with academia is the companys third. It has similar agreements with the UKs Imperial College and the University of Texas at Austin. The academia agreement provides for Statoils support of the IFP Schools development and allows the Tuck Foundation to award Statoil-funded grants to students. Funding for up to eight scholarships in the IFP School exploration-production masters program were to be provided by Statoil for the 2013 academic year, according to the school. As the search for oil and gas moves into frontier regions, the need for technologies that can assist in the exploration and production of the resources is great. To help tackle this challenge, Statoil and NASA recently announced their partnership to explore how technologies and knowledge from the space and oil and gas industries can be relevant to one another. Statoil researchers will work with researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) located in Pasadena, Calif., the company said in an announcement. Searching for oil and gas resources has become so advanced technically over the past decade that new solutions and ideas are needed. To Statoil this is a significant opportunity to take technologies developed by NASA and JPL for the harsh and challenging environments of space and apply them to the equally demanding environments of oil and gas production, Hier said. Were excited to work with NASA one of the leading research organizations globally to evaluate the development and application of technologies that have more in common with outer space exploration than previously thought. Statoil is among the most technology-intensive major energy producers and annually spends $550 million on R&D and innovation. The agreement with NASA is complementary to the work Statoil already has under way, according to the announcement. The partnership is expected to run from 2013 to 2018 with the option of contract extension and will focus on supercomputing, materials, robotics, development of new tools, and communication optionality.
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shale
SOLUTIONS

Integrating geomechanics improves drilling performance


Optimized well design enables operators to reduce wellbore instability and reach planned TD without incurring losses.
Safdar Khan and Anurag Yadav, Schlumberger

hale plays have been a proving ground for breakthrough technologies as the industry continues to recognize just how complex these unconventional reservoirs are. As operators push for multistage fracturing in deeper, longer laterals and expand into new areas globally, they are learning that integrating efficient drilling practices with geomechanics is critical for addressing the unique challenges that shale gas and oil wells can present. Among the obstacles encountered when drilling horizontal shale wells are wellbore instability and lost circulation. Shales generally exhibit high degrees of heterogeneity in terms of the mechanical behavior. Most organic-rich shale formations are overlain by clay-rich mudstone with thinly bedded laminated structures, resulting in anisotropic rock strength and horizontal stresses. Wells drilled oblique to these bedding planes over a certain deviation have severe instabilities in the build section due to exposure of planes of weakness. The presence of natural fractures makes the well even more difficult to drill as the hole can cave in easily. This can potentially result in hole pack-off and stuckpipe incidents. These conditions lead to problems that impact the efficiency of the operation and nonproductive time, consequently increasing the cost. The higher the well deviation, the higher the required mud weight (MW) to avoid stuckpipe incidents stemming from wellbore instability. If MW is increased above the fracture gradient, the formation can fracture, or existing natural fractures can reopen, resulting in partial or total lost circulation. This phenomenon is particularly problematic in the lateral section, where the safe mud window is typically narrower than in the build section. Even if the MW is managed properly within the allowable limits, any surge in equivalent circulating density (ECD) due to ineffective drilling practices can lead to losses, making it more difficult to achieve a good cement bond for the casing or liner and jeopardizing the fracturing job. By effectively integrating geomechanics with efficient drilling practices throughout the well construction

FIGURE 1. The curve section was drilled with a DLS using the PowerDrive Archer RSS that builds high angles from any deviation. (Images courtesy of Schlumberger)

process, Schlumberger has optimized well design in shale wells, enabling operators worldwide to reduce wellbore instability and reach planned total depth (TD) without incurring losses.

Optimizing well construction


Lessons learned from the successful application of an integrated geomechanics approach in North American shale gas plays helped a major operator in the Middle East optimize well construction and make important adjustments to the drilling plan in its shale gas wells. By taking a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to analyze the reservoir with advanced technology, Schlumberger partnered with the client to significantly improve the efficiency of the entire operation and save considerable cost and time. The drilling plan initially called for entering the formation above the target zone at 77 to land the horizontal in the required target zone. The predrill mechanical earth model (MEM) and wellbore stability model predicted several unstable intervals or problematic zones directly above
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

40

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curve section in less than a week, representing a time savings of 15 days per curve section compared to initial plans.

Real-time geomechanics
In the lateral section, the key objective was to manage ECD and drill to planned TD. The MEM and wellbore stability models predicted a narrow mud window with a lower lost circulation MW limit. The presence of natural fractures complicates the situation as these fractures can reopen even with pressures lower than fracture gradient and lead to lost circulation. Sweep performFIGURE 2. The high-DLS design provided a wider mud window in the curve section ance was closely monitored, reducing the of the well. pill usage. Pumping after every alternate stand instead of every stand helped the target formation, which could potentially lead to hole increase cuttings recovery, and mud treatment (reducing pack-off or stuckpipe incidents if drilled at that angle. drill solids) resulted in an immediate reduction in ECD, The pre-drill wellbore stability model ran several simulawhich was the key in managing the lost circulation. tions that determined that a lower inclination in the probTo monitor hole condition and manage ECD, 24/7 lematic zone would be the best option for providing the real-time geomechanics support aided the operator in optimum MW window and minimizing wellbore instability acquiring LWD sonic data to update the geomechanics caused by thin layering of the shale. The trajectory was model in real time to better estimate stresses and fracture optimized and the plan revised to enter the problematic gradients and also predict the MW window ahead of the zone at a 65and exit at a 73 deviation, which did not bit while drilling. KLA-SHIELD, a high-performance water-based drilling leave enough room to build the rest of the angle to land fluid with inhibitive chemicals designed not to react with the well within 4.6 m (15 ft) below the problematic zone shale, was used in the lateral, which enabled acquisition of unless drilled with a high dogleg severity (DLS). a high-resolution LWD resistivity image and better underTo address that issue, the curve section was drilled with standing of the natural fractures network. This allowed the 10 per 30.5 m (100 ft) of DLS, reducing the directional operator to continuously monitor borehole conditions and work required and minimizing footage drilled across the make key changes to drilling procedures going forward. problematic zone. This higher dogleg curve was achieved The deeper understanding of this unconventional with the PowerDrive Archer, a high build-rate rotary steerreservoir was gained through the use of geomechanics to able system (RSS) that builds high angles from any deviaenhance more effective shale well planning and construction. The technology can drill through hard interbedded tion and promote better application of drilling practices formations, extending the distance of horizontal sections and technologies that improved operational efficiency. and allowing casing to be run more easily and at the The time savings for the optimized well design compared immediate exit of the problematic zone. to the conventional design was 15 days. Following this sucAs part of the trajectory optimization process, 958-in. casing was set in the vertical pilot hole at a pre-planned cessful operation, the operator applied the same approach depth, and an 838-in. hole was drilled and plugged back in six additional wells in the region, with no wellbore staafter logging. The high build-rate RSS was used to sidebility incidents that compromised the integrity of drilling track, without using a whipstock, out of the cement plug and completions operations. to drill the horizontal section. The final optimized well trajectory with less severe deviation angle across the probAcknowledgment lematic zone and high-DLS design provided a safer MW This article was adapted from SPE/IADC 166735, which was window, which allowed the operator to drill the target presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers/International zone at a lower MW and avoid any potential drillingAssociation of Drilling Contractors Middle East Drilling Techinduced fractures or lost circulation. This solution allowed nology Conference and Exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emithe operator to eliminate one casing string and drill the rates, Oct. 7 to 9, 2013.
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

41

offshore
SOLUTIONS

Calming the waters


The innovative use of technology normally associated with flight simulators is helping employees at offshore facilities walk to work by eliminating waves and other more expensive transfer options from the equation.

Mark Thomas, Editor in Chief

ost visitors to any oil and gas exhibition and pretty much any large trade event these days have at one time or another sat in a flight, race, or even a subsea simulator to visually and physically experience the thrills and spills of a breakneck race or journey. For those watching from outside, the often stomach-churning movements created by the hexapod system of six hydraulic cylinders can look pretty dramatic too. Paradoxically, that very same technology is now being used to smooth out the potentially hazardous process of boarding personnel or transferring cargo from a marine vessel to another moving vessel or a fixed facility. Accessing any offshore structure can be problematic and potentially life-threatening due to the rising and falling movements of a vessel compared to the structure, but Netherlands-based Ampelmann Operations B.V. has developed a patented solution increasingly used by the offshore oil and gas industry to overcome this challenge.

The A-Type system provides a completely stationary starting point for a gangway transfer between vessels or offshore structures of differing heights. (Images courtesy of Ampelmann)

Self-stabilizing hexapod
Similar to a flight simulator, the companys solution eliminates any relative motion by taking instant measurements of the ships motion. The system then immediately compensates them by using a self-stabilizing hexapod with six hydraulic cylinders to provide a completely stationary starting point for a gangway transfer to the structure. The inherent safety benefits of such a system are seen by many within the industry as a major advantage compared to traditional personnel access systems, while avoiding more expensive regular usage of helicopters also can substantially reduce field costs for an operator. In addition, there are clear benefits in terms of schedule reliability, project duration, and increased asset utilization. The plug-and-play hexapod system has only been in action since 2008, but majors such as Shell and Chevron have already embraced the solution for various projects. The former, for example, now has a worldwide contract in place with Ampelmann for the systems. According to Ampelmann CEO Jan van der Tempel, the systems can be installed on any vessel with sufficient
42

deck space in about eight hours and can be broken down again in half that time. No modifications are required to the receiving platforms or vessels.

Two versions, same concept


The company has two versions: the A-Type, which has cylinders of 2 m (6.5 ft) in length and is capable of compensating actual heave motions of 2.5 m to 3 m (8 ft to 10 ft); and its big brother, the E-Type with its cylinders sized up 1.5 times to cope with rougher weather, higher sea states of up to 4.2 m (14 ft), and heavier payloads of up to 100 tons. The full system is checked and certified by a third party, Lloyds Register. Ampelmann currently has a total fleet of 25 systems 22 A-Type and three E-Type with the fleet having essentially doubled every year. Van der Tempel said the original A-Type is mainly used for transferring people via gangways from a vessel or barge to fixed or floating oil and gas structures and offshore turbines and for transferring small cargo or equipment. The standalone system complete with its own power pack can be mounted on any common vessel used during offshore operations, with the gangways reaching a length of up to 25 m (82 ft).
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

BGP - Your reliable pa rtner

BGP is a leading geophysical contractor, providing geophysical services to its clients worldwide. BGP now has 51 branches and offices, 65 seismic crews , 6 vessels and 14 data processing and interpretation centers overseas. The key business activities of BGP include: *Onshore , offshore , TZ seismic data acquisition; *Geophysical research and software development; *Seismic data processing and interpretation; *GME and geo-chemical surveys; *Reservoir geophysics; *Geophysical equipment manufacturing; *Borehole seismic surveys and micro-seismic; *Multi-client services.

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offshore
SOLUTIONS

The more recently developed E-Type can act as a fully compensated base for cargo transfer systems and can potentially keep helipads stationary, although that application has not yet been used. It also has the same capabilities as the A-Type.

mode. Due to the received data, the gangway is able to compensate for the target vessels motions.

Leased systems

The company owns all its systems and leases them out. It intends to have 100 systems in operation within the Cargo transfers next two or three years. We have had interest from There are four basic options the turnkey system offers. companies about buying them, but we prefer to rent The cargo option is essentially a basket that can be them out, van der Tempel said. Each system can be mounted on the tip of the systems gangway for small built within an average of three weeks, with the usual cargo and equipment transfers up to 220 lb. Using the period being about three months from a client placing maximum inclination of 45 of the gangway, an order to load out. it enables the transfer of cargo up to 20 m (66 ft) above There are still physical restrictions to overcome in sea level, with the system always remaining horizontal areas such as offshore Norway, where the platforms are as it is controlled by two actuators. Several applications generally higher and more suitable vessels would be have been developed for small tools and larger equiprequired, van der Tempel added. ment like generators or fuel and grout hoses. Ampelmann was founded in 2008 as a high-tech The slideway is a passive gangway mounted between spin-off from the Delft University of Technology in the transfer deck of the system and the vessel or facilitys the Netherlands. deck, consisting of two sliding bridge parts to compenOur motto is offshore access as easy as crossing sate for the relative motions between the two decks. the street. We take this very seriously as day to day This provides continuous access for crew transfer. hundreds, sometimes thousands of people go to work safely using our systems all across the world, The six hydraulic self-stabilizing cylinders enable transfers to and from van der Tempel said. So far, more than 410,000 many different types of offshore structures and are able to compensate offshore transfers have been carried out using for wave heights of up to 4.2 m with the E-Type version. the systems. This activity has taken in far-flung locations as remote as Brunei, Australias southern and western coasts, and the Middle East as well as more established markets such as the North Sea, where van der Tempel said the systems can work 90% to 95% of the year.

Central North Sea application


In the UK Central North Sea, the system has been used on high-profile projects including the Captain field in 2012, where operator Chevron carried out an intensive four-month summer work program revamping some of its surface and subsea facilities, including a new module on the Captain FPSO unit. Chevron used the Walk to Work system to transfer the extra 50 required personnel accommodated on the Fugro Saltire survey and ROV support vessel to the FPSO unit at the beginning and end of each work shift. When not being used for transferring personnel, the vessel was able to carry out its workscope on the fields subsea and marine system, further improving overall use. Chevron had previously used Ampelmanns system for a program on its Erskine field in 2010, the first time the system was used in the Central North Sea.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

The butler can be used for cargo transfers of up to 661 lb and is installed at the end of the nontelescopic part of the gangway. After the cargo is secured on the butler, the gangway is positioned toward the platform underneath the crane hook position. The cargo is then kept stable so the platform crane can hoist the cargo. Ship-to-ship makes it possible to execute transfers from vessel to vessel. During these transfers, an extra sensor is installed on the target vessel that transmits motion data to the Ampelmann system in a wireless
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operator
SOLUTIONS

Standardized natural gas well pads improve production efficiency


Well pad information collected by the SCADA system from the XRC RTUs gives the operator access to a large toolbox of choices for optimization.
often use tablets anywhere in the field to log into the SCADA system to view well pad variables and change control and logic parameters.

Sheldon Ford, Peyto Exploration and Development

eyto Exploration and Development in Alberta, Canada, has experienced significant savings and natural gas production efficiencies by standardizing well pad designs. The company now has 20 identical well pads located in its Sundance fields about 282 km (175 miles) west of Edmonton. Each well pad contains two to four wellheads. Horizontal drilling permits consolidate the four wellheads into a single pad. To date, Peytos assets in the Sundance area consist of approximately 624 (2,182 stacked) net sections of land over approximately 2,200 sq km (849 sq miles). The SCADA system collects information from about 750 well sites in these fields. Each field contains a building with a control room to house computers for the SCADA system. A single remote terminal unit (RTU) controls the operations of an entire pad. Data from the RTU connect wirelessly to the companys SCADA system. Operators

Wellhead design
Raw gas from each wellhead flows through a three-phase separator. Gas, hydrocarbon condensate, and water are measured after separation as shown in Figure 1. Transmitters monitor tubing and casing pressures for each well. Turbine meters measure volumes of the condensate and water. The separated water flows to a shared water tank, and from there it is trucked for disposal. The condensate is then recombined with the gas downstream from an outlet control valve. An ABB multivariable XMV transmitter connected across an orifice in the gas line measures differential and static pressures as well as temperature. The RTU, called the Totalflow XRCG4, calculates volumetric gas flow using these variables. It contains Totalflow inputoutput modules to provide analog, digital, and pulse input-ouput as well as valve interface functions and communication ports for the entire well pad. The RTU operates a Kimray outlet control valve in the gas line to regulate gas flow rates and pressures. For intermittent and plunger well operations, it also opens and shuts the gas line. Typically, the RTU shuts the well on low gas flows and opens it based on the pressure differential between the well tubing and pipeline pressure. The RTU comes with built-in programmable logic controller software functions for intermittent and plunger wells. In some cases, the on/off well operations are simply timed. If necessary, the RTU operates emergency shutdown (ESD) valves located at each wellhead and prior to each separator. The ESD valve protecting the separator shuts down gas flow on high and low pressures. The ESD protecting the flowline downstream of the wellhead shuts down the gas flow on high and low tubing pressure as well as high and low gas flow rate. The RTU can shut down individual wells or the entire well pad, such as in instances when the water tank levels are too high. AppliJanuar y 2014 | EPmag.com

FIGURE 1. Each wellhead has a separator, producing flows of gas, hydrocarbon condensate, and water. (Images courtesy of Peyto Exploration and Development)

46

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pad runs off six 120-Amp/hr batteries and two to three 125-watt solar panels. Real-time and trend data from the XRC RTU communicate with the Peyto Cygnet SCADA system via wireless mesh network and 900-MHz spread spectrum radios (Figure 3). Recently Peyto started using ABB Tropos networks for these wireless transmissions. Well pad information collected by the SCADA system FIGURE 2. The well pads experience freezing temperatures for half of the year, so many well pad from the XRC RTUs includes functions are contained in heated sheds (background), with one for each wellhead. gas volume, gas flow rate, differential pressure, static pressure, flow time, condensate, cations for shutdown functions also come preinstalled and water volumes for the current day as well as highon the XRC RTU. resolution gas flow rate, tubing, casing, and real-time pipeline pressures and trends. Operators also can view Field well pads plunger and intermittent operational data from the About six months out of the year the well pads experiapplications on the RTUs. ence below-freezing temperatures. As a result, the sepaAdvanced options within the XRC RTU plunger and rators, orifice runs, outlet control valves, and liquid timer-control application have given Peyto an array of metering reside inside enclosed sheds, with one for tools to choose from for optimization, offering solutions each wellhead (Figure 2). Infrared gas catalytic heaters that were not previously available on all sites. Field operfueled by well gas heat the buildings. The water tanks ators now can choose from many different opening and are similarly heated to prevent freezing. closing conditions based on pressure differentials, flow Power for the well pads comes from 12-volt DC batterrates, high/low pressure, time, rise, or slopes, to name ies charged by a regulator and solar panels. Typically, a a few. These additional options have proved beneficial in optimizing well sites in different situations as well as reducing man hours spent at the site.

FIGURE 3. The ABB Totalflow XRC RTU monitors and controls all well pad functions and communicates with Peytos SCADA system through an ABB Tropos network.

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

47

operator
SOLUTIONS

Optimizing big data in the oil field


Operators can make intelligent predictions and solve their toughest problems by using mathematical optimization techniques.
Wayne Wisniewski, Eagle Energy Trust; and George E. Danner, Business Laboratory LLC

ong-term operating programs in the oil field require many decisions. Selection of timing, approach alternatives, and choices of scale just to name a few collectively present a daunting matrix of decision types to a program over its lifetime. Some programs are built on a cascading sequence of decisions for a complex and changing asset base, and any single decision in the chain can result in poor performance. As operators move into more challenging environments such as Africa and Asia, experience alone is insufficient to ensure optimal operations. A number of new technologies are available to assist operators in making their most complex decisions. Notable among them is big data the ability to apply computation across very large datasets quickly and often in real time. The energy industry is on the cusp of developing applications using big data tailored for upstream operations to make logical predictions and solve complex problems. These applications will reduce the need for operators to rely solely on intuition and clunky spreadsheet-based solutions to solve convoluted problems. When experience is combined with methods specifically designed to cut through the intricacy of the decision-making process, the right solution may be found. Optimization is one such method. There are numerous opportunities to apply optimization in the oil and gas industry, ranging from operating theater logistics to the efficient distribution of oilfield materials.

FIGURE 1. The well intervention cycle starts with the choice of one intervention among many opportunities from a hopper of candidates to execution to outcome. (Images courtesy of Business Laboratory LLC)

FIGURE 2. This graph shows the incremental production realized over a fixed period of time from a well intervention operation.

What is optimization?
The term optimization is used frequently with multiple overlapping definitions and often as a synonym for considering all available options. In this article it is used to describe the practice of mathematical optimization, a process of structuring a problem into a format that allows a computer model to explore all possible solutions so it can find the one that best achieves the desired outcome. Any optimization model consists of three fundamental features:
48

The objective function, representing the desired outcome; Constraints limiting the solution to those that are feasible; and Variables, those values that the model can change to affect the outcome. In energy operations, operators usually set their objectives to increase production, grow reserves, or free up cash flow. Companies use resources that have constraints, primarily physical capacity limitations. Finally, the areas of control, such as the number of assets or the rate of work, represent decision points in the system. Creating a mathematical optimization of an energy problem involves mapping these real-world values to their model counterparts. Engineers choose wells for intervention based on a variety of factors the age of the well, ease of access,
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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FIGURE 3. This table shows the result of an optimization run with the wells for intervention organized by available rig.

Constraints. Consider the number of rigs, crews, and operator resources available to work on intervention jobs. Variables. Keep in mind that the model may choose any sequence among the billions of possible sequences across the well portfolio. The variables reviewed in this case study represent the single file choice of well interventions over time, organized by rig.

adjacent crews, supervision and engineering, and estimated production lift. Often, these factors are worked out on a spreadsheet, but in reality there are far too many considerations for which to account when choosing the optimal sequence that will result in the greatest overall production increase. Companies benefit when using a well-designed optimization process that will enable them to control more factors than if they were to use a traditional analysis.

How optimization works


Once the problem was sufficiently structured to create a model, the optimization engine considered the combinations of factors that could provide potential solutions to finding the optimal result. Modern methods coupled with todays computing power often render solutions to even the most complex problems in a matter of seconds or minutes. In this case, the result was a sequence of well interventions as shown in Figure 3. Comprehensive simulation can be difficult to design and implement in practice and requires specific experience to devise the objective function, consider the constraints, and interpret the outputs of the optimization model. If done right, it can substantially contribute to the operational and financial success of the field. The benefit of an optimization model is not just the mathematical solution itself. The inherent debate and critical thinking that accompany the process of structuring the problem generate insights among the team that can be as valuable as the model itself. Optimization can be applied to any problem in oilfield operations that has similar attributes: complexity, scale, a defined objective, constrained resources, and large datasets. Field operations are constantly changing, which makes the ability to reoptimize quickly and frequently vital to any optimization model. Given the availability of technologies in use today, optimization is within reach of small and mid-sized firms, not just the industry giants.

Preparing for optimization


In the following example, one major oil and gas company successfully applied mathematical optimization to maximize production from its intervention operations. It sought to improve the performance of its well intervention team, and it wanted an optimization model to leverage the experience of the field team while reducing the manual workload to construct the optimal sequence. With a portfolio of 16,000 oil and gas wells across North America and thousands of opportunities for intervention at any given point in time, the company had to determine the right order of well interventions given its rig inventory, geography, crew availability, specific characteristics of the individual wells, and the extent of the intervention required. The difference in value between an optimized sequence and a random sequence was many millions of dollars annually, according to one estimate. Before it could begin the optimization process, the company needed to translate the well intervention problem into the optimization models three fundamental features: Objective. Determine the best way to maximize the production from interventions. The current baseline of performance was poor. After simulating intervention operations over a fixed period of time given the number of rigs and supervision available, the company observed the unique characteristics of each well and noted how each required a different form of intervention. The result of the simulation was an incremental production curve as shown in Figure 2.
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

Solve tomorrows challenges today


As recently as a few years ago, a solution that optimizes operations across several thousand assets each with a substantial profile of associated data and in close to real time would have been unfeasible, forcing companies to compromise on the accuracy and quality of the solution. The big data technologies available today allow us to overcome these limitations, giving us solutions with far more accuracy than before. With the complexity and scale of oilfield operations constantly increasing, the industry should embrace big data as an important element in the problem-solving tool bag.
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PROCESSING AND INTERPRETATION

The value of an integrated G&G interpretation system


Collaboration leads to better interpretations.
number of oil and gas companies have opted not to use a common geoscience interpretation platform. Instead, they have selected tools that meet the technical requirements of each discipline but offer little to no integration at the project or database level. A common scenario seen at many mid-size oil and gas companies is the geophysicists working in a standalone seismic interpretation system with its own project structure, data repositories, and seismic interpretation functionality. Similarly, geologists will work in their own geological interpretation system with a similar design and data architecture. To share their data, geologists and geophysicists rely on manually exporting and importing data from one system to another. This data transfer can sometimes be performed via dedicated connection modules, but more often than not the default data sharing mechanism is via export and import of ASCII data files. While data import and export are effective, user-driven manual data transfers provide a critical point of failure where errors can easily be introduced to a project database. The data being loaded are only as good as the data that have been exported. How many technologists will quality-check that each marker has been imported correctly or that all markers have been exported using a
Wes Hamlyn, Paradigm

n many oil and gas companies, particularly smaller and mid-size organizations, the disciplines of geology and geophysics (G&G) remain surprisingly separate in terms of the daily level of interaction. While business units maintain healthy numbers of geologists, geophysicists, engineers, and supporting geotechnical staff, the geologists and geophysicists remain relatively siloed to their technical domains. Often the primary motivation for geoscience collaboration is preparation for well planning meetings, budget presentations, and technical property reviews. Outside of such venues, geological and geophysical interpretations are often carried out in relative isolation from one another, with collaborative work being the exception rather than the norm. Seismic interpreters often wait to receive updated well marker picks, and geologists correlate markers from well to well, with little hard data on what is happening structurally or stratigraphically between wells. Many times the only integrated interpretation occurs with a geologist and geophysicist standing around a hardcopy map and annotating features by hand. This may be the final map that is used to plan drilling programs for the next 12 months. Given the significant overlap in expertise between geology and geophysics, why is the interaction between these disciplines so rare?

Different toolkits
While there may be many reasons why G&G integration is infrequent and less than interactive, a primary cause is the disparate tools and software packages used by geologists and geophysicists. A large
50

FIGURE 1. Shown left is a well section used for correlating well markers, formation tops, interpretation lithofacies, and a host of other tasks. Notice that the thick sand interval at the base of the third well is missing in the first two. How should this be correlated? By creating a geological cross section and using seismic data as a backdrop (right), it is easy to identify a body corresponding to the sand facies (outlined in red), which pinches out between the wells.

Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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common depth reference (i.e. measured depth)? What if there is a slightly different coordinate reference system used in the geologists and geophysicists interpretation systems? Would a lateral shift of tens to several hundred meters be noticeable? These are common errors that occur when manually transferring data between interpretation systems. To ease the data management burden, companies employ geoscience technologists to do much of the project maintenance and data transfer tasks. Even for experienced technologists, however, it can be difficult to catch all data issues. Given the sheer volume of data available for onshore and development fields, performing effective and efficient quality control on these datasets is close to prohibitive.

stratigraphy. If no well data are available, the seismic interpretation could be very poorly constrained and subject to considerable uncertainty. With the addition of well control, the seismic interpreter can have more confidence and a better understanding of what the features observed in the seismic dataset actually are.

Beyond data issues


A more significant consequence of separate geological and geophysical interpretation systems is the barrier that these introduce between the two disciplines. If the process of sharing data between asset team members is fast and easy, then collaboration between team members will naturally follow. If sharing data between team members requires manual operations, the pace of collaborative interpretation between geologists and geophysicists will slow drastically. This should be a major concern for interpretive teams. The process of seismic and geological interpretation is a combination of science, intuition, collaboration, and trial and error. Interpreters attempt to fit structural and depositional models to features and patterns that manifest in geological and geophysical datasets. Comparing these interpretations with modern analogues and vetting with cross-disciplinary team members, geoscientists attempt to unravel the subsurface geology. Critical to successful interpretation is the interactive ideation process that occurs when geologists and geophysicists collaborate. Each is a specialist in extracting information from specific types of data, the geologist working primarily with wells and the geophysicist with seismic data. If forced to work independently because of software tools, significantly different interpretations of the subsurface can emerge where there should instead be agreement. In such situations, significant time and effort may be required to revise and rework geological and geophysical interpretations until these point to a common model of the subsurface. For a seismic interpreter to make decisions about plausible geological scenarios, well data always play an important role. Consider the situation where a geophysicist is interpreting a seismic dataset within a zone of complex
52

FIGURE 2. This is a view of seismic and well interpretation in a 3D Canvas setting. The horizon slice through the sand body is displaying a map of seismic facies. From the facies geometry it is easy to make out a meandering channel system with what is likely a point bar deposit. Well lithofacies displayed in the 3-D scene indicate the point bar facies correspond with a thick sand interval and the channel facies correspond with a shale channel fill.

Seismic interpreters frequently work with well data through the course of seismic interpretation studies; however, their exposure may be limited to well markers and sonic, density, and gamma ray logs. Geologists, however, generate a vast array of information derived from well data. These may include facies logs, sequence stratigraphic interpretations, reservoir zone attributes, structural cross sections, and net pay maps that can be valuable assets when leveraged for seismic interpretation. Often the choice of seismic interpretation system places constraints on the types of geological data available to seismic interpreters. For example, if a seismic interpretation system does not support facies logs, the geophysicist will not be able to display or interact with these data types. Geologists often work solely with well data. While this provides a vast amount of information in the vicinity of the wellbore, the lateral resolution of well data is poor compared to seismic data. When correlating markers from well to well in geologically complex areas, geologists
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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should leverage seismic datasets to help understand when formations are thinning, thickening, faulted, eroded, or pinching out. Similarly, when performing facies interpretation based on well log data, seismic amplitude mapping can provide valuable information related to lateral changes in depositional environments.

Case study
Lets look at one example from Western Canada and how a closely integrated geological and geophysical interpretation system can improve the quality of subsurface interpretation. The left of Figure 1 shows a well section used to correlate formation tops from well to well. Notice that the thick sand interval at the bottom of the third well is missing from the other two wells. What is happening laterally between the wells? The right side of Figure 1 shows a geological cross section through two of the same wells using seismic data as a backdrop. By using seismic data, the geologist can clearly identify a body corresponding to the

thick sand facies, which pinches out to the left (outlined in red). The additional information provided by seismic data enables more accurate well-to-well correlations in a stratigraphically complex interval. Figure 2 shows the same interval and facies logs displayed in a Paradigm 3D Canvas view. A horizon slice through the sand body is colored by seismic facies generated by trace-shape classification. Visually it is easy to identify a meandering channel system and a distinctive point-bar deposit from the facies patterns. By comparing well lithofacies logs with the seismic facies maps, it is clear that the point bar facies corresponds with the thick sand body, while the channel facies is shale-filled. Through the use of an interpretation system that supports both geological and geophysical interpretation workflows, this field was examined, mapped, and interpreted in a collaborative process between geologists and geophysicists. By removing barriers to integration at both the data and application level, geoscientists are able to dedicate time to high-value interpretation activities.

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Improvements in seismic interpretation


Multiple factors are making interpretation more accurate and quantifiable.
Iain Brown, vice president of reservoir services for Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), said that broadband acquisition such as that enabled by PGSs GeoStreamer and GeoSource technology provides ghost-free data. In marine surveys using this technology, the reflections caused by the sea surface, which acts as an almost perfect mirror, are removed by using a dual-sensor recording system. The ability to remove these unwanted reflections, which interfere with the signals from the subsurface, has enabled the towing of streamers at a greater water depth, which in turn has resulted in the recording of much lower frequencies. The fundamental benefit of recording more usable high and low frequencies is that the seismic signal that is reflected in the subsurface is much sharper and has significantly reduced side lobes, he added. It is, in particular, the richer low-frequency content in broadband streamer data that significantly benefits quantitative interpretation and reservoir property estimation, making these processes more precise and reliable.
Rhonda Duey, Executive Editor

f all of the tasks that go into finding, drilling for, and producing oil and gas, seismic interpretation is probably the most qualitative process. It relies as much on instinct and experience as it does on technology and number crunching. But multiple factors are converging to make interpretation more representative of the actual subsurface information hidden in the data. Advances in seismic acquisition and processing, better data integration, and improved compute power all are playing a role in giving the interpreter the best possible tools for the task.

Acquisition
A seismic program is only as good as the raw data provided by the acquisition team. Junk in, junk out is a common term for data that are poorly acquired the best processing algorithms in the world wont make sense of data that are not representative of the subsurface. Recent advances in seismic acquisition technology have revolutionized the world of interpretation. Among these, broadband acquisition, where a broader spectrum of frequencies is recorded, has had a huge impact on the ability to better interpret the resulting data.

Processing
Processing algorithms start to sound like alphabet soup after a while, but two recent advances reverse time migration (RTM) and full waveform inversion (FWI) are revolutionizing the way seismic interpreters view the subsurface.

This dual-sensor data example from the Frigg area in the North Sea demonstrates better delineation of reservoir distribution and hydrocarbon accumulations. (Images courtesy of PGS)

GeoStreamer prestack data increase the ability to predict reservoir properties, e.g. improved definition of gas accumulation along channel sands.

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Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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Brown said that RTM is performed routinely in the PGS processing department, particularly when imaging complex geological structures. FWI is a more recent arrival on the scene, but the fact that it uses a two-way wave equation to invert for high-resolution velocity models in depth allows the creation of very accu- This Kirchhoff prestack depth-migrated image of very shallow overburden over the Utsira High offshore Norway used primary reflections only. The high-resolution FWI rate models. velocity model enabled by 3-D dual-sensor streamer data is overlain. (Seismic data The benefit of broadband acquisition courtesy of Lundin Petroleum) designs is that they provide the low frequencies that are critical to the FWI algorithm, Brown said, adding that a recent survey on the potential fields, etc. Larger companies might rely on a Johan Sverdrup field in Norway created a very precise particular platform that meets most of their interpretavelocity model for the shallow section of the field, resulttion needs, but, said Brown, Theres nothing out there ing in a much improved image of the reservoir section. that covers the whole range. I think the challenges are FWI combined with separate wavefield imaging using the both software-related and workflow-related. multiples as an extra source enabled the imaging of this He noted that the cost of moving legacy data into such shallow section very accurately, which then translates into a platform could be prohibitive. Computer operating sysimproved imaging and better depth prediction for the tems and hardware and languages all change over time. lower reservoir levels. The size of the company also makes a difference. While The rapid uptake of RTM bodes well for FWI, and the larger companies have integrated asset teams, smaller primary constraint currently is the run time. Computing companies might have one or two individuals who are is advancing so quickly with continuous improvements in forced to wear a variety of hats to meet their companies high-performance computing and storage, resulting in interpretation needs. When a specialty such as geochemfaster turnaround of these processes and making them istry or potential fields is required, they sub-contract that more accessible year on year, Brown said. project. That expertise then doesnt reside within the unit, Brown said.

Data integration
The best seismic interpretation is one that is consistent with as many different and independent measurements as possible. This integration of different pieces of information has been one of the holy grails for seismic interpreters for years, and its proving to be a tough nut to crack. But progress is being made. Brown recalled working for an operator in the 1990s where very little teamwork took place. Geologists, geophysicists, and seismic interpreters worked in their individual silos and didnt integrate their efforts until near the end of the project. That practice is very rare these days, he said. But even today there is clearly a thirst for an affordable software database platform that allows subsurface data types to be seamlessly integrated. While he noted that some solutions come closer than others, none provides a truly seamless work environment that includes all of the data types and disciplines that an interpreter might want to work with. Currently, most oil companies use a toolkit comprising different software products one for seismic interpretation, another for petrophysics, another for basin modeling, another for
58

Seeing the big picture


One advantage that a seismic data company has over operators, Brown said, is the fact that they own large data libraries that their interpreters become quite familiar with. Instead of interpreting, for example, a targeted survey of 500 sq km (193 sq miles) of 3-D data, PGS acquires huge surveys and even knits multiple surveys into what are termed MegaSurveys that cover tens of thousands of square kilometers. You can get a true basin-wide regional perspective of these hydrocarbon basins, he said. When interpreting a smaller survey, youre going to see things in those data such as part of a fan sand complex, for example. However, you will never get the whole picture, and that makes interpretation difficult. If you have access to larger datasets, you can see not only the end of the lobes of the fan system but the whole system. That brings a totally different insight into the morphology and sedimentology and how the facies developed over time. It makes play fairway analysis and hydrocarbon migration much easier to understand, he added.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

MARCELLUS-UTICA
CO NFER

MIDSTREAM
E NC E Er E X H I B I T IO N

Feat

fakers:

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Executive Vice President ,

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Chief Commercial Offi cer, Mark West Energy Partners, LP

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Crestwood Midstream

Heath Deneke Pre side nt ,

F P

Partners, LP

Coast. More gather!

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ing support continues to

Ls to the Gulf reach is being built

rage the action by hearing and meeting th key executives ,experts , investors,and potential partners at Hart Energy' s Marcellus-Utica Midstream

conference and exhibition,Jan. 28-30,2014,at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania.

Vice President , Dominion Trans rr;iss irrr la ic.

Don Raikes

Chairman and CEO , Caiman Energyand CEO , Blue Racer Midst rum

Jack Lafield

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Appalachia ' s premier midstream conference


i
2014 CONFERENCE AGENDA
TUESDAY,JANUARY 28, 2014
5:00 pm 10:15 am Networking Break

It

focused on the Marcellus- Utica region


2:00 pm Pipeline S potlight : Kinder Morgan 's Total Solution Product flows are changing across Nort h America ,and midstream firms are responding with new and modified infrastructure. Here , midstream major Kinder Morgan Energy Partners describes its latest projects in the Appa lachian Basin , including its Y-grade Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline.
Moderato r: John Harpole, Senior Midstream Advisor, HartEnergy, and President , Mercator Energy Kinder Morgan Products Pipelines

Word of mouth - many people believe this is the most credible form of advertising! Take time to mingle with the
outstanding exhibitors.

Sponsored by:

Use this opportunity to partici pate in the O pening Reception,which includes a complimentary, full-catered buffet
and complimentar y drinks.

Opening Reception

sc s
2:25 pm

10:45 am Interstate Panel: New Pipelines for Dry Gas

WEDNESDAY,JANUARY 29, 2014


1:30 am Registration Open - Breakfast in Exhibit Hall Start your day off right with a hot and cold breakfast before you ta ke a seat for an exciting and informative day of presentation s .

8:30 am Welcome & Opening Remarks The Marcellus and Utica plays are remaking the face of U.S. energy. Join Hart Energy and our guests as we explore
the projects and players driving this transformation.

are bu sy building and expanding pipelines and leveraging existing infrastructure. Learn how the long-haul business is adapting to the new reality of growing volumes of Northeastern gas. How is the national grid changing, and what role will loca l supply have going forwa rd? Moderator: John Harpole , Senior Midstream Advisor, Hart Energy , and President , Mercator Energy Peter Terranova, Vice President , Midstream Assets and Services , UGI Energy Services Inc. Pete Cianci, Pipeline President , DTEEnergy Co.
11:35 am Operator Spotlight : Seizing Opportunities

Major projects are in the wo rks to lin k burgeoning Marcellus and Utica gas supplies to markets , and midstream firms

Chris Kral, Vice President , Business Development ,

4:10 pm Processing Spotlight :The Utica Build-Out Momentum Energy Group has invested heavily in the Utica region.A flagship project is its Utica East Ohio system , which offers rich gas gathering, cryogenic processing, fractionation , NGL storage , rail loading and multiple gas and NGL redelivery options. The project is a joint venture between M3 Midstream , Access Midstream Partners and EV Energy Partners . Here 's the skinny on this brand-new
addition to Appalachia n processing.

The rap id emergence of the Marcellus and Utica plays as

Pipeline Spotlight : REX In Reverse

Moderator: Frank Nieto , Senior Editor, Midstream Business, and Editor , Midstream Monitor, Hart Energy Frank Tsuru , President and CEO,
Momentum Energy Group Inc.

major gas producers threw the existing business model of Rockies Express Pipeline into a tailspin. This senior REX executive discusses how the pipeline is adjusting to the new reality of the gas transmission business . Moderator: John Harpole, Senior Midstream Advisor,
HartEnergy, and President , Mercator Energy

4:35 pm Closing Keynote: Rejuvenation & Expansion Across Appalachia

e Matt Sheehy, President , Rockies Express Pipeline LLC

Paul Hart, Editor, Midstream Business , Hart Energy

2:50 pm

8:35 am Opening Keynote :The Appalachian Super Cycle

the Marcellus and Utica plays , including massive projects to connect North east supplies to markets outside the reing project driven by Williams and its partner Boardwalk Pipeline Pa rtners. Learn more about Williams ' mighty

The Williams Cos. are building out a large -scale position in

Here 's an update on the company 's aggressive growth strategy for its midstream , distributio n and produc to nmarketing companiesthatoperate in the prolific

Pittsburgh-based EDT Midstream is rap idly expanding.

Networking Break The more visible you are , the more successful you can be! Stretc h your legs and visitthe exhibit hall for a chance to
visit with other difflegat ps.

miles of interstate natural gas pipeline and 37 storage fields ,and deliver more than I Tcf of natural gas peryear. The company is expanding its presence in the Utica and modernizing its entire system; lea rn the details of its plan for growth. Moderator: Paul Hart, Editor, Midstream Business,
Hart Energy ChadZamarin , Chief Operating Officer ,

Columbia Pipeline Group companies operate about 15,000

g ion. Hear all about the Bluegrass Pipeline ,a game -chang-

Marcellus regio n.

Sponsored by: BAKER

Midstream Services , Columbia Pipeline Group 5:00 pm Networking Reception Hit the exhibit floor with your business cards to make connections with the key personnel you came to meet. Sponsored by: Nisource;,

Moderator: Peggy Williams, Editorial Director, HartEnergy

HUGHES

growth p lans across the reg ion, from the Constitution Pi peline to the Atlantic Sunrise and Leidy Southeast projects

Randall L Crawford, Executive Vic e President and President , Midstream Commercial & Distributio n,
EQTMidstream Partners LP

3:20 pm Analyst Spotlight : Deep Dive Into The Utica Activity and results in the Utica arc discussed by a leading
anal yst, including economics , production and recoveries.

and more.

Moderator: Paul Hart, Editor, Midstream Business,

12:00 pm Networking Luncheon 1:10 pm Afternoon Keynote :Appalachia 's Fast-Changing Markets This expert takes apart the dynamic Northeast gas and NGL holds . Learn how monster production growth is sett ing the stage for exports to the South , Midwest and Canada.
Moderator: Paul Hart, Editor, Midstream Business , markets and delivers the latest insi g hts on what the future 3:45 pm

Test rates , completion practi ces , long-term performance and the outlook for this prolific and growing play are
revea led.

Midstream

Hart Energy Alan Armstrong , President and CEO, Williams Cos. Inc.

THURSDAY,JANUARY 30,2014
1:30 am Registration Open - Breakfast in Exhibit Hall
Jump start your day with a complimentary , full-catered

9:00 am

Generous Cap ital For Midstream Growth Appalachia off ers big trends and big opportunities for midstream players , and private equity- backed firms are investing in a majorway. Here 'sa look at howthesefirms

Private Equity Panel:

Moderato r: Peggy Williams, Editorial Director, HartEnergy - Manuj Nikhanj , Managing Director, ITG
Value -Chain Spotlight : Focus On Storage and Processing

Crestwood Midstream 's merger with Inergy Midstream

breakfast in the exhibit hall . Use this time to meet with exhibitors and other industry contacts.

are financing midstream projects across the Marcellus and Utica regions.

Hart Energy Bradley Olsen,Vice President , Midstream Research ,


Tudor, Pickering, Holt& Co.

Moderato r: Chris Sheehan, CFA, Senior Financial Analyst,


Hart Energy Ben Davis, Partner , Energy Spectrum Capital Blake Webster, Director , Quantum Energy Partners

1:35 pm

LNG Spotlight : Cove Point and What it Means For The Marcellus

9:50 am The Big Dig: Appalachian Infrastructure Ahead Here , a leading engineering and construction f rm de-

Richmond , Va. -based Dominion Resources Irc. has been authorized by the U.S. Energy Departin entto export LNG to non-FTA courtries. Construction vii I start on liquefactio n trains at the company 's Cove Point facility in Maryland this

tions to producers in the region and how it plans to expand its businesses. Moderator: Frank Nieto, Senior Editor, Midstream Business,and Editor, Midstream Monitor, Hart Energy
Heath Deneke, President , Natural Gas Business Unit,

combined prime gas storage and processing assets in the Northeast. Learn how the new firm plans to deliver solu-

8:30 am

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Paul Hart, Editor, Midstream Business, Hart Energy

8:35 am Keynote Address : From Importer to Exporter

Marcellus production is shifting the landscape in the U.S.

Crestwood Midstream Partners LP

Northeast. The region, once hungryfor Canadian imports , is now looking to send its gas supplies to new domestic markets and even forei gn markets. Here 's an insider look at natural gas and NGL needs in the Northeast and beyond, the reg ion. Moderator: Paul Hart, Editor, Midstream Business,
Hart Energy and an update on a growing company making the most of

scribes eff orts e ut uss A ppa lac hia fuw geuiny hydroc arbo ns to users and forecasts for yet more work to come.

year , and fi rst product would be exported in 2017. Hear how this will impact the Appalachian region.
Moderator: Paul Hart, Editor , Midstream Business ,

Mcderator: Frank Nieto, Senior Editor, Midstream Business, and Editor , Midstream Monitor, Hart Energy
MikeFutch , Senior Vice President , Reg ional and

Hart Energy -Donald R. Raikes, Vice President ,


Dominion Transmission Inc.

Jack Lafield, Chairman and CEO , Caiman Energ y and CEO , Blue Racer Midstream
Agenda continued on next page>>

Integrity Construction , Willbros Group, Inc.

arm

MIDSTREAM

MARCELLUS-UTICA

THURSDAY,JANUARY 30, 2014 cont.


9:05 am Demand Panel : Leveraging Appalachian Fuels From 1997 to 2009, industrial demand for natural gas decreased by more than 25% fro m 23.5 Bcf per day to 17 Bcf per day. Most experts agree that an additiona l 6- to 7 Bcf per day of incremental industrial demand will be realized by 2020. Hear from the experts who have committed billions of dollars to new fertilizer and steel pla nt projects. They are Moderator: John Harpole, Senior Midstream Advisor, Hart Energy, and President , Mercator Energy
Audrea S. Hill, Senior Director ,

0
0
N C C
J

true believers in the U.S. sha le revolution.

Raw Materials and Hedging , PotashCorp Nucor Steel

Brad True, General Manager, Resou rce Development , 10:15 am Networking Brunch One of the most important reasons to attend a conference

is the networking. Visit the exhibit floor and visit with cu rrent customers and meet new prospects ,too!

YALERUS
44

EQT V
TERRAN
TABLFROCK
S E R V I C E S
' A D S 'R E A M

Willim s

10:45 am Panel : Eastern Railways on a Roll Rail traffic related to NGLs and condensates has jumped sharply in the Ea st, as manifest trains carrying Y-grade head to Midwestern and Gulf Coast markets , and propane rolls to the East Coast and southeastern states. John Murray , Assistant Vice President ,

Dura-Bond Industries
THE LIf1DE GROUP

Moderator: Chris Sheehan , CFA, Senior Financial Analyst, Hart Energy Marketing & Sales , Ohio Valley Region, Genesee&

Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc Jonathan Chastek , Executive Vice President , Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway Co. 11:35 am Closing Keynote : From Early Mover to Top Player

L A N D

This firm has grown into a dominant gas processer in the company 's aggressive growth schedule and the projects that will keep it on the top of the rankings.

Marcellus and Utica regions. Here 's an inside look at the Moderator: Paul Hart, Editor, Midstream Business, Hart Energy
Rand y Nickerson, Executive Vice President ,

0BLUErace r

=$7
BEAVE R
EXCAVATING COMPANY

Chief Commercia l Officer ,

Mark West Energy Partners, LP 12:00 pm Conference Adjourns Approved speaker pres e ntations are offere d exclusivel y to registered conferen: : c attendees and will be sent via email within

r&A . a BAKER
HUGHES
b H E ntcr pri s s

72 hours of the conference 's concl usi on.

Pipeline and "tal i nn ( nn tracto rs

A genda content and timeline subject to change

Midstream

NiSource -

Ses
Technical

L JN I I IT I) ,LLC

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HP/HT DRILLING

Ultra-high temperature drilling fluid provides stable rheology


Thin filter cake produces a slick wellbore surface and reduces NPT by avoiding stuck logging tools.
applied with various synthetic- and mineral-based fluid chemistries, providing the flexibility to meet specific downhole and environmental demands.
Ole Iacob Prebensen, M-I SWACO

he ultra-high wellbore temperatures found in many of the plays around the world today challenge drillers to maintain wellbore stability throughout the drilling and evaluation phases. For the drillbit with its associated bottomhole assembly to be able to reach formations with extreme temperatures, the drilling fluid must be engineered to withstand sustained high-temperature environments. Wells must be controlled, and it is critical to prevent drilling fluids-related issues during drilling and tripping that could lead to wellbore instability. Furthermore, wellbore conditions must be optimized so that formation evaluation can be performed with the highest quality logging measurements. To address this challenge, M-I SWACO has developed the RHADIANT ultra-high temperature nonaqueous drilling fluid system. The ultra-high temperature drilling fluid system can be
The Denition of Ultra HT Wells
600 Static reservoir temperature, F 500 400 300 200 138 MPa 69 MPa 100 0 241 MPa 260C Ultra-HP/HT 205C HP/HT 150C HP/HT-hc

Multiple benefits
While the ultimate goal of the drilling fluid system is to improve well deliverability under extreme hostile environments, the system also delivers added value in several areas. Use in wells offshore Thailand, whose bottomhole temperatures ranged from 204C to 227C (400F to 440F), showed the following results: Reduced mud losses as a result of stable rheology and enhanced filter cake quality; Enhanced reservoir characterization due to higher quality, thin filter cake; Reduced operating time affecting three activities tripping time, logging time, and cementing time all because of unique chemistry that delivers a rheologically stable fluid with reduced gel strengths and corresponding lower swab/surge pressures; and Reduced nonproductive time (NPT) by avoiding stuck logging tools as a result of a slick, thin filter cake.

How does it work?


The ultra-high temperature nonaqueous drilling fluid system eliminates thermal degradation and prevents wellbore control issues due to unscheduled events like barite sag for optimized logging conditions. The system is fully formulated to maintain a stable rheological profile with little maintenance required. It consistently produces an optimized thin filter cake that reduces filtrate contamination of formations and produces a slick wellbore surface. Because of its unique chemistry, the system maintains extreme temperature stability even during prolonged static conditions. Stable rheological properties together with ultra-thin and slick filter cake deposits on wellbore walls make for efficient logging, casing, and cementing operations. These pay off in better designed and executed completion installation and stimulation services. To accommodate environments in which high temperatures
63

5,000

10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 Pressure

The classification of environmental extremes is based on the operating limits of conventional and HP/HT well equipment. Today wells are routinely being drilled in the ultra-HP/HT area, but future activity is forecast to break into the HP/HT-hc frontier, especially for geothermal wells. (Images courtesy of Schlumberger)

EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

HP/HT DRILLING

are accompanied by corrosives, the drilling fluid system is engineered to resist fluid degradation from CO2 or H2S in addition to using a nonammonia-forming design.

4,500

Novel NAF Break Circulation Pressures


Pump Pressure Flow In
500

4,000

3,500 400

2,500

Accompanying the design of the ultra-high temperature nonaque2,000 ous drilling fluid system package 200 1,500 are three combinable products that enhance performance. 1,000 MUL XT emulsifier. This emulsi100 fier is the principal reason this 500 evolutionary system is able to withstand ultra-high bottomhole tem0 0 9700 9738 9788 9809 9835 9874 Depth (ft) peratures. It also contributes to the systems very low HP/HT fluid loss Equivalent circulation density does not spike when circulation is resumed following an values. The emulsifier contains no compounds that can break down at interruption for pipe connections. This is a direct result of improved gel structure with RHADIANT drilling fluid. elevated temperatures and release harmful ammonia. was suspected. Considerable NPT and lost logging tools ONETROL HT fluid-loss additive. This component funcencouraged the operator to request a redesign of the tions as the primary fluid-loss control agent. It is stable in drilling fluid package. temperatures that exceed 260C (500F), with minimal A team of M-I SWACO engineers performed tests on effect on the rheological properties of the drilling fluid. several different drilling fluid formulations and deterECOTROL HT fluid-loss additive. This is the secondary mined that the new emulsifier designed for thermal stafluid-loss control agent that also retains stability in bility in excess of 288C (550F) and a filtration control extreme temperature environments. additive comprised of a synthetic polymer coupled with The systems gel strength is carefully balanced to prea modified naturally occurring polymer provided the vent cuttings accumulation and pack-off during connecmost stable solution. The combination was tested to tions and also to reduce the surge effect when the pumps 274C (525F) for stability. are restarted. Unless controlled, progressive gel strength Meanwhile, the team tested the ability of a variety could result in a spike in the breaking circulation presof products to form a thin, tight filter cake at 216C sure at the toolface, potentially causing lost circulation (425F) and rejected any that could not deliver this with resulting formation damage, especially in wells result. In a 16-hr test at 204C, conventional fluids prodrilled with tight margins. duced a thick filter cake. The filter cake produced by Gulf of Thailand example the new formulation was no more than 18-in. thick and One of the areas of sustained ultra-high bottomhole temwas slick and tight after 16 hours. peratures is offshore Thailand. Out of 178 wells drilled, Lastly, the static shear strength of the new non-ammo33 exceeded 204C at reservoir depth. The pay sections nia-forming drilling fluid was tested to determine its were drilled using 618-in. bits. Well deviation reached 60, condition after exposure to ultra-high temperatures. and there was possible CO2 and H2S. An extensive logging The shear strength correlated well with the pressure and testing program was planned that would result in used to break circulation after a static period such as static mud conditions for up to four days. making a connection. When circulation was resumed, Conventional drilling fluid systems have worked well no pressure spike was observed. in the Gulf of Thailand in the past. However, when botResults show value tomhole static temperature exceeds 204C, logging tools After four days of drilling, total depth of the well have become stuck. Differential pressure sticking mode
64
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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Fluid loss and electrical stability values were improved after the ultra-high temperature chemicals Conventional uid ltercake after 16 hours Optimized uid ltercake after 16 hours were added. This boded well for the logging operation. at 204C, 15/32-in. at 204C, 15/32-in. The first field trial was performed at 210C (410F). It was deemed Conventional fluid filter cake is compared with RHADIANT filter cake after 16 hours at a success. There were no drilling204C. related issues while drilling the 618-in. section. Optimum borehole cleaning was mainreached 2,835 m (9,300 ft), and it was time to switch from conventional drilling fluid to ultra-high temperatained and conformed to prejob hydraulics simulations. ture fluid. When the high-temperature chemicals were Good borehole conditions were experienced during added, there was a significant decrease in the yield point logging and testing operations. and the 6-rpm dial reading. The RHADIANT ultra-high temperature nonaqueous Even when the drilling fluid contained 20% corrected drilling fluid system confirmed expectations and delivsolids and 4.5% low-gravity solids, the gel structure ered excellent rheological properties, filtration control, remained nonprogressive, meaning that breaking circulaand wall cake quality. tion would not cause a pressure surge at total depth. Subsequently, additional ultra-high temperature wells Equivalent circulating density spikes when pumps were were drilled. Each exceeded 204C bottomhole static restarted were negligible. temperature.

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HP/HT DRILLING

Integrated methodology devised for ultra-HP/HT completion tool


Success of new permanent bridge plug and production packer hinged on layered design verification and optimization standards.
lation is commonly used to identify critical compressive buckling load for tubing with complicated features. Thermal-mechanical coupling. Thermal-mechanical coupling has to be conducted by linear elastic analysis or elastic-plastic analysis. This procedure serves two purposes: How much does the tubing size change because of temperature variance from ambient temperature to 280C (536F)?; and are expanded components interfering with surrounding components and resulting in malfunction? Collapse and burst under combined loadings. A new approach that integrates design of experiments (DOE) and stochastic study is used for collapse and burst under combined loading. The DOE provides an efficient methodology to study the effects on collapse or burst ratings due to geometric imperfections such as ovality, eccentricity, size variance caused by thermal expansion or manufacturing, and thickness tolerance. Stochastic study gives explicit quantitative evaluation of the confidence level of the pressure ratings when imperfections and manufacture tolerance are explicitly taken into consideration for calculation. Subsystem design. The most critical subsystems in an ultra-HP/HT completion and production tool are the slip system and the seal system. Slip system analysis. A reliable slip system is critical to a packer or bridge plug-type completion tool. First, a slip system will expand against the casing during and after setting. A good grip on the casing will prevent the seal system from damage. Second, a slip system provides hanging support to the tailpipe below the production packer. A 3-D contact model is set up to determine: Can this slip system be set by the specified setting force?; and is it strong enough to resist the specified hanging capacity? Seal system analysis and optimization. The seal system is an essential part of any ultra-HP/HT completion system. To reduce cost and time, elastic-plastic and hyperelastic finite element analysis (FEA) were relied upon greatly for design verification and optimization. To be considered as a viable design, the following criteria are
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

Guijun Deng, James Doane, Antonio Ruffo, Goang-Ding Shyu, and Scott Collins, Baker Hughes Inc.

here are many technological challenges that must be overcome for downhole service and completion tools to operate successfully in the ultra-HP/HT environment. The first challenge is the shortness of effective design verification codes because ultra-HP/HT is new territory to anyone in the field. API 5C3 provides some design verification formulae to calculate collapse, burst, axial buckling, etc., but there are no compelling cases that qualify those formulae to be used to predict design failure in ultraHP/HT environments. It is recommended that current design verification codes using API 5C3 need to be re-evaluated for systems beyond 15,000 psi and 169C (300F). The second challenge is that there are fewer options for elastic sealing and metallic material for ultra-HP/HT well completions. Fluoroelastomers such as Aflas and Viton are normally chosen because of superior chemical resistance and flexibility at temperatures up to 232C (450F). Fluoroelastomers are not applicable as seal elements at temperatures exceeding 232C; the elements become pasty, making them extremely difficult to contain with an anti-extrusion system (especially in as-rolled casing). For Baker Hughes, perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) was chosen as the elastomer seal element because it has the highest temperature rating more than 232C compared to other elastomers currently available on the market, and it is stable up to 288C (550F). Nickel alloy C276 (UNS N10276) was chosen as the seal element carrier because it excels in all aspects in terms of mechanical material properties and chemical stability in ultra-HP/HT harsh corrosive environments.

Component design
Axial buckling. Most components in the completion tools are long tubing strings, and often those tubing strings encounter the axial loading more or less during the operation cycles. A tubing component design with protection against axial buckling has to be satisfied. Numerical simu68

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to be met: The equivalent plastic strain in the metal should not exceed the maximum allowable plastic strain, and the maximum elastic strain in the seal should not exceed the maximum allowable strain; and the seal has to set and then withstand specified differential pressure from above and below with combined tensile and compressive loading from the boost load acting on the tool without packing element extrusion. System integrity verification. A few analyses have to be done to verify the system integrity and determine any potential risks during deployment and production. Dogleg analysis. Wells have different well profiles; therefore, it is necessary to have a final design verification analysis to make sure the tool can pass the most severe dogleg area without excessive torque, bending, tension, or compressive force.

and an ISO 14310 V3-rated 263C (470F) 20,000-psi permanent production packer for as-rolled casing. The 280C 25,000-psi permanent bridge plug underwent two types of tests. First, it was tested in maximum casing inside diameter with nitrogen as the medium. The maximum temperature was 280C. Maximum temperature swing and multiple pressure reversals were applied on the bridge plug. It passed multiple V0 qualification tests per ISO 14310/API11D1. Second, it was tested in as-rolled casing with water as the medium. The maximum temperature was 280C. Maximum temperature swing and multiple pressure reversals were applied on the bridge plug. It passed multiple V0 qualification tests per ISO 14310/API11D1. The 263C 20,000-psi permanent production packer also was tested in as-rolled casing with water as the medium. The maximum temperature was 263C with

The 280C 25,000-psi permanent bridge plug (top) and 263C 20,000-psi permanent packer (bottom) successfully completed the described design verification and optimization processes. (Image courtesy of Baker Hughes)

Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) analysis. To enhance reliability, it is recommended to run NVH analysis. During production, there is noise generated from above or below the production tools. For example, an electrical submersible pump is sometimes installed below the production packer, and its generated noise could cause resonance if the natural frequencies of the tool are close to the electrical submersible pumps operating frequency. Design verification and optimization were embedded in multilevels (component, subsystem, and system). In each levels thermal-mechanical coupling, elastic analysis, elastic-plastic, and hyper-elastic analysis were conducted extensively. Time and cost were greatly reduced by implementing this design verification and optimization process involving intensive structural simulation.

temperature cycles, multiple pressure reversals, and combined tension or compressive loading per ISO14310/ API11D1. It passed modified V3 validation.

Results
The successful launch of the the permanent production packer and bridge plug is attributed to the following: New metallic and polymeric materials are used to mitigate the ever-increasing temperature, pressure, and associated negative impacts on the reliability of the well completion; The state-of-the-art FEA, which integrates design of experiments, thermal mechanical coupling, largescale 3-D contact, and elastic-plastic analysis, is an indispensable tool for design verification and optimization; Design verification and optimization are conducted in a systematic way that starts from component levels and works up to the assembly system level; and Test facilities able to test up to 371C (700F) and 30,000 psi are keys to validation of the ultra-HP/HT tools.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

Test validation
Two products that went through the described design verification and optimization processes were an ISO 14310 V0-rated 280C (500F) 25,000-psi permanent bridge plug
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SURFACE SYSTEMS/ SOLUTIONS

Advances in technology enhance permanent completion safety


How stricter legislation, safety initiatives, and the drive to gather more downhole data are affecting the industry.
a fail-safe method to hold back the pressure in the wellhead, thus preventing leakages. API 6A is the standard that sets the requirements that all wellhead connections must adhere to in the US. The standard API product requirement for design that the majority of companies comply with is Performance Requirement 1 (PR1). Adhering to these standards ensures validation of equipment through objective evidence such as pressure testing, finite element analysis, and calculations. In addition, API 6A also details a more stringent level of design validation in API PR2 (also referred to as Annex F). By far the largest component of this level of validation is pressure and temperature testing, which must follow a specific cycling pattern (Figure 1). Every wellhead connection must be tested for its ability to function at a variety of temperatures and pressures as well as adhere to the pre-set cycling pattern. For example, a wellhead outlet which continuously monitors pressure and temperature in the wellhead must have its flanges tested for pressure and temperature in this manner to ensure that they will not collapse.
Tim Mitchell, AnTech Ltd.

s reaction to the Macondo disaster continues to put safety standards in the spotlight, the drive to ensure that every well, every platform, and every pipeline operates safely is at an all-time high. As a result, efforts to improve safety are emerging in the form of new and enhanced codes of safety practices and technologies, especially those that monitor permanent completions around the clock. Companies today are no longer relying solely upon industry standards set by government agencies and trade organizations to police safe operating practices but are taking it upon themselves to create their own detailed requirements by drawing upon these existing industry standards. Some are even helping to interpret the standards by providing requirements that are often more stringent than the base standards. In a break from standard practice, some operators are requisitioning bespoke, highly specified pre-safetycertified equipment. For example, in the Middle East where there are many HP/HT wells, operators are requesting that wellhead interfaces are manufactured using high-specification materials that resist the often high concentrations of acidic fluids found downhole. Although such materials cost 10 times that of others on the market, these operators are taking the long view by making certain that their wells will operate smoothly and adhere to increasingly stringent safety legislation.

Safety standards evolving


In a bid to ensure that all wells operate with reliable fail-safe systems in place, some operators now require redundant metal-to-metal barriers to be installed. In the event that the first barrier (or seal) should fail, the additional barrier provides
72
FIGURE 1. To be validated, pressure and temperature must follow a set test-cycling pattern. (Images courtesy of AnTech Ltd.)

Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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The industry is beginning to witness a rise in the number of companies requesting wellhead connections to this higher level of design validation. In regards to fire testing, operators need to ensure that in the event of a serious fire, equipment will remain safe and hold pressure for at least 30 minutes to allow workers to evacuate the well site/rig. It is becoming increasingly common to test equipment to API 6FB, the standard that addresses product performance capabilities under extreme fire conditions. Under these standards, equipment such as christmas trees and wellhead outlets must be fire-tested to more than 900C (1,652F). Fire-testing of this nature has been a requirement in the North Sea for many years but is now on the rise on a global scale, especially in the US and Canada. Along with the European standard for equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX), companies are increasingly requiring new systems to comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission Explosive (IECEx) certificate and recently introduced North American AEx regulation. For some operators in the Gulf of Mexico, it is not uncommon to request ATEX- and IECEx-certified equipment to be recertified to AEx standards. Although each of these standards has similar requirements, they are discreetly different with no clear read-across and will commonly require testing regimes such as testing in different types of gas environments.

Demand for data drives advances in technology


While operational safety is a significant factor affecting the type and quality of equipment selected, there are also other forces at work. For example, the rise in the number of HP/HT wells is having a dramatic effect. Due to the severe downhole conditions found in these wells,

FIGURE 2. Although the vast majority of wellhead outlets are used to monitor offshore wells, they are being used increasingly in onshore wells in the US and Australia, particularly in coalbed methane wells.

fluctuations in pressure and temperature must be closely monitored at all times by operators and service companies. This information is crucial not only for safety purposes but also to maintain control and ultimately production. This demand for constant flow of data is driving advances in technology, particularly for wellhead outlets, which monitor conditions downhole and transmit data back to the surface via downhole lines that travel through a pressure barrier. To achieve this, different types of downhole lines must be used. The use of fiberoptic lines has increased dramatically because they allow faster transmission of greater volumes of data than copper lines. As a result, demand for fiber-optic wellhead outlets that cope with a range of downhole surface cables is increasing. The market has provided a solution by developing reliable, fully certified wellhead outlets that can adapt to every need, ensuring continuous connectivity to keep production flowing. For example, a wellhead outlet can be hybridized so that it can run a combination of electrical and fiber-optic lines downhole simultaneously, making it possible to monitor electrical and fiberoptic gauges and equipment. Although the vast majority of wellhead outlets are used to monitor offshore wells, these are being used increasingly in onshore wells in the US and Australia, particularly in coalbed methane wells. The wellhead outlet is the standard method of connecting downhole sensors with surface monitoring equipment. The majority of operators use a flanged or bolted system such as those offered by AnTech Ltd. These include the Type X wellhead outlet or standard threaded connection such as the Type C wellhead outlet (Figure 2). The move toward intelligent completions also is having an effect. These sophisticated systems can utilize up to three conductors to remotely operate valves and shut down various zones of the well when necessary. As a result, these require gauges and fiber optics to monitor and transmit downhole data, triggering even greater demand for these technologies. The continual drive to improve wellsite safety is having an effect across the oil and gas industry. Safety practices are improving, and technologies continue to evolve in response to market demand for systems that adhere to stricter standards of practice. This safety driving force, coupled with the demand for more data that must be reliably monitored, is good news for the industry. The ability to operate wells safely and efficiently is no longer just a vision for the future; it is a reality.
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EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

SURFACE SYSTEMS/ SOLUTIONS

New approach to production well testing in mature fields


Method using new clamp-on tool shaves days off the production testing process.
Nigel Webster, Expro Meters

onitoring produced oil, gas, and water rates from individual wells plays an important role in reservoir management and production optimization. While monitoring is beneficial, obtaining timely and accurate well test data can be challenging due to a range of factors. Typically, day-to-day production well testing is performed by utilizing test separators installed at the time the facility was built or by transporting portable well test separators and the associated pressure control equipment to the well site to perform a well test. Both techniques rely on gravity-based well test separators and swinging the well from a production mode to a test mode.

Disadvantages in current technique


While this is a tried and trusted technique for testing wells on an individual basis, there are some disadvantages associated with this method because it relies on the premise that a complete or at least an efficient separation takes place between the produced fluids. However, process fluids very often need conditioning and are treated to achieve optimum separation, requiring a significant amount of ancillary process and pressure control equipment. Where the separation is inefficient or the separator experiences an upset condition for example, liquid slugging or foaming there is an opportunity for carryover or carry under, which lead to downstream process management issues and inherent errors in the singlephase metering. This process can add complication and risk because of the operations and logistical needs of delivering heavy and bulky equipment to the well site. An upset to the process conditions that breaks into the production line or diverts the well to a test header to facilitate the well test and the associated handling or disposal of the nowseparated test fluids also can cause issues. The size and cost associated with mobilizing and operating portable test separator packages in the field may also limit the number of wells to be tested. Therefore,
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Expro Meters uses both types of clamp-on sonar flow measurement products (in blue) to address the wide range of flowline conditions encountered in oil and gas applications. (Images courtesy of Expro Meters)

for field management purposes operators often develop various schemes and models to infer the production rates for each well. Operators may use these models to predict individual well performance and make intervention and workover decisions based on incomplete data with regard to actual well performance. All models require a minimum of data inputs, which are used to tune or validate predicted vs. actual well performance. Typically, only pressure and temperature data are available, and access to flow data is dependent on well test frequency. Assuming that each producing well should be tested at least twice a year, a field with 100 wells would require more than 200 well tests to be performed per calendar year. Considering the fact that each test takes an average of three days a day to mobilize the equipment, divert, and rig up the well test equipment; a day to test the well; and a day to rig down and return the well to production this would take in excess of 600 days to meet the surveillance requirements.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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The only way to meet the objectives on well testing would be to run multiple test packages and crews throughout the field, which can be impractical from a cost and operations perspective.

Case study
An operator working on the redevelopment of a mature field onshore in the Middle East was struggling with completing well tests using conventional trailermounted test separators and multiphase meters. It needed to sweep all the producing wells in the field to establish a baseline on field production on an individual basis and establish a program of work, prioritizing the wells that required intervention or workover to improve field production. Expro Meters successfully tested 100 wells in 108 days, with eight nonproductive days due to national holidays or periods of production curtailment when the field was
The SONARtest validation system uses a conventional trailermounted well test separator on temporary pipework.

New technology
To combat these issues, Expro Meters has successfully introduced SONARtest, a new service that uses a smallfootprint clamp-on sonar flow meter to facilitate well testing on an individual well basis. The technology uses a sonar flow meter to clamp on to wellhead piping to measure the mixture volumetric flow rate at actual conditions. Clamp-on sonar-based flow meters utilize sonar processing techniques to determine the speed at which naturally occurring coherent flow structures convect past an array of sensors clamped externally to the pipe, and from this a mixture velocity can be determined. This velocity measurement is then combined with existing customer measurements of the process pressure and temperature and compositional information to determine individual phase flow rates. During the SONARtest, periodic samples are taken of the fluids at line conditions, and a base sediment and water test is made to determine watercut. The flow computer then calculates the liquid volume fraction at actual conditions within the process flowline using a black oil model. Gas, oil, and water rates are then reported at standard conditions using input watercut. Gas and liquid rates reported by the sonar meter are within 10% or better of the well test separator. The sonar-based technology eliminates the need to divert the well to test in existing or temporary well test packages, which significantly reduces the amount of equipment or disruption on day-to-day process operations. This new approach requires approximately 90 minutes for installation and commissioning, which allows the possibility to perform multirate testing of the wells in one day. Therefore, the sonar clamp-on methodology offers the opportunity to increase the well test frequency at a field-wide level, allowing better field/production management. The efficiency can be realized not only on land-based operations but also offers savings for marine, swamp, or jungle well test operations where the logistics of moving heavy equipment around the field or to an offshore facility are significant.
76

shut in. This activity was successfully completed with one crew and one set of sonar meters. A key aspect of realizing this efficiency is in making the well site operations simple and repeatable. While individual flow rates are available at the well site during the test, the final report is created offsite in a data processing center, which is staffed with data analysts and petroleum engineers who replay and validate the raw data gathered in the field. They then create a final report using pre-agreed customer inputs and datasets gathered onsite. The field engineers who collect the data are removed from the reporting chain and are free to continue to the next well and harvest new data for processing and reporting. This reporting happens offsite, and depending on the given time zone, the final report is delivered the next working day after the well test.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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Expro Meters has developed a collaborative environment software tool Well Test Studio to manage the task of processing raw data from multiple data sources into a final and published well test report. This efficiency allows subsurface teams to update reservoir models and identify wells that require remedial treatment or intervention in a regular and timely manner before production levels decline significantly. The ability to predict not only production figures but also utilization of workover and intervention equipment improves overall efficiency. Additionally, rapid mobilization of equipment and personnel is made possible compared to conventional mobile separator-based testing, where more detailed planning is required, deferring the opportunity to mobilize quickly. The portability of the sonar meters and ability to clamp and test on the existing piping significantly reduces this planning overhead while eliminating the risk associated with well control during conventional mobile testing-based operations.

Wells are tested at the actual production conditions using the existing infrastructure, chokes, valves, and flowlines rather than at a pseudo set of test conditions and temporary flow control equipment that doesnt reflect production conditions. With no change in process conditions, there is no additional or nonproductive time required before stable conditions can be reached to start measurement. There also are no additional requirements for disposal of hydrocarbons or produced fluids at the well site. Because all process fluids are produced through to production, there is no impact or disruption to the production separators or permanent process plant. Typically, to gain an understanding and confidence in the product and service, the customer will run a series of tests against the traditional well test separator, where the multiphase sonar measurement can be compared to separated single phase measurements. This SONARtest well testing production service has been successfully adopted by both international oil companies and national oil companies in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

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77

UNCONVENTIONALS: ARGENTINA

Flogging an Argentinian dead cow could be profitable


Lack of foreign investment hampers Argentinas efforts to jump-start Vaca Muerta shale development.
The discoveries since 2010 have the potential to increase Argentinas hydrocarbon production 50% by 2019, claimed Sebastian Eskenazi, YPF CEO. He was quoted in Business Report in October 2013 saying he views development of Argentinas unconventional resource as our top challenge and the key to our oil and gas independence. Almost a century after its first oil discovery, a new exploration frontier has opened in Argentina offering the prospect of a shale energy revolution comparable to that of North America. The largest shale play lies in the Neuqun basin, where YPF discovered 127 Bcm (4.5 Tcf) of shale gas in the Loma de la Lata block of the Vaca Muerta formation in December 2010. The area has transportation and field service infrastructure that was developed for conventional oil and gas fields.
Nicholas Newman, Contributing Editor

he discovery of world-class shale oil and gas in Latin Americas second biggest economy offers an opportunity to reverse the downward trend in conventional oil and gas output as well as to transform Argentinas economy. Industry insiders suggest that Argentinas shale formations are checking many of the right boxes despite its political risk, energy policies, and regulatory environment, which at first sight appear daunting to potential investors and the foreign energy majors. However, as Joe Amador, managing director at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., observed, Argentina is too important a prospect to pass by for international oil companies because it has a good domestic market and offers great export opportunities in the neighboring Southern Cone countries with pipelines waiting to transport the gas. Political and financial uncertainty remain stumbling blocks. Argentinas inability to access international financing at reasonable terms following its default on nearly US $100 billion in debt in 2001 limits state energy company YPF in raising the capital it needs to develop its one-third share of the Vaca Muerta acreage. To attract foreign investment, technology, and knowhow, Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchners government has recently introduced a few fiscal and regulatory measures designed to foster rapid exploration and development in the most promising of Argentinas four shale formations, namely the Neuqun basins Vaca Muerta, which is Spanish for dead cow.

Four shale basins


Argentinas four shale oil and gas plays lie in areas far from main population centers. The three prospective and mainly untested basins are the Chaco basin in the north, the Golfo San Jorge basin in the south, and the Austral basin in the far south close to Antarctica. The largest shale oil and gas play is located in the arid expanse of the Neuqun basin in the west. The basin contains two main formations. The first is the Los Molles shale, which is said to contain some technically recoverable resources of 7.8 Tcm (275 Tcf) of shale gas and 3.9 Bbbl of shale oil. The second and biggest formation, the Vaca Muerta, is spread over some 22,000 sq km (8,500 sq miles) with estimated technically recoverable reserves of 8.7 Tcm (308 Tcf) of shale gas and 16 Bbbl of oil and condensate. Discovered in July 2010 by Repsol and YPF, this rich, giant shale oil and gas formation represents for Argentina new energy, a new future, and new expectations, said Eskenazi.

Resources: shale oil and gas


Argentina is endowed with world-class conventional and unconventional plays of oil and gas. The US Energy Information Administrations (EIA) June 2013 report states that Argentina has some of the worlds biggest and best-quality reserves of shale hydrocarbons, ranking Argentina behind only the US and China with its 22.7 Tcm (802 Tcf) of technically recoverable gas resources and fourth behind Russia, the US, and China in shale oil with an estimated 27 Bbbl.
78

Features of Vaca Muerta


Argentinas shale developments overlap existing oil and gas production areas and are suitable for the application of US technology. However, the Vaca Muerta formations depth of 3,000 m (9,840 ft) is greater than that of the US
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

UNCONVENTIONALS: ARGENTINA

Barnett at 2,286 m (7,498 ft) and much deeper than the Bakken field at 1,829 m (6,000 ft), adding to drilling costs. Based on 15 vertical wells drilled, YPF concluded that this shale has better properties than counterparts in North America. It ranges from 30 m to 450 m (98 ft to 1,476 ft), thicker than, for example, Eagle Fords range of 10 m to 80 m (33 ft to 262 ft). In terms of scale, the Vaca Muerta at 5.72 million acres is smaller than the US Bakken play (7.32 million acres) but bigger than Eagle Fords formation at 4.1 million acres. In terms of drilling strategy, horizontal well drilling is ubiquitous in the US. However, Brenda Rangel, Dow Chemical Co., explained that local operators in Argentina have prioritized vertical wells, which cost about $10 million compared to $30 million for horizontal wells. These features have acted as a magnet for foreign independent E&P companies, galvanizing YPF and local companies and attracting global energy service companies. Despite its considerable attractions, development of the Vaca Muerta field is still in the preliminary stages, and progress has been slow. By September 2013, only around 90 wells had been drilled. In July 2013, YPF was producing 8,000 b/d of shale oil with an expectation of 17,000 b/d by year-end 2013, rising to 38,000 b/d in 2014.

The majority of the Vaca Muerta shale is in Neuqun Province in western Argentina. (Map courtesy of Hart Energy Consulting)

Constraints
Constraints on shale development include anticipated higher costs than in the US, shortages of equipment, insufficient infrastructure of services and transport, and water scarcity. According to the Financial Times, even a small section of the Vaca Muerta field will need 1,500 wells costing $15 billion in total to reach the production target of 75,000 boe/d. These costs will multiply with extensive development. The crucial challenge is Argentinas shortage of key shale E&P equipment. First and foremost is a lack of drilling rigs suited to shale gas applications. According to Baker Hughes, in October 2013 the number of rigs operating in the US was 1,742, while in Argentina only 83 rigs in total were in action. Of those, only 20 were dedicated to shale. It is expected that 10 more rigs will be added over the next year, but imported, advanced high-tech rigs will require a significant investment in local training. There also is the lack of suitable infrastructure. Argentina lacks developed service infrastructure for unconventionals that is required for exploration, drilling, and extractions, so the speed of development has been
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

slower until now, Rangel said. Additionally, trucks are in short supply, and transport is subject to a strong trucking union. As Silvio Bresciai, vice president of Nabors International, pointed out, Argentina has access to suitable roads and spare parts. But even so, Argentina has a lot to catch up on. Last, hydraulic fracturing requires huge amounts of water. Argentinas first shale gas well required the simultaneous use of 16 water tankers, according to Argentinas National Academy of Engineers. Potential solutions to the scarcity of water include a proposal to channel water from a desalination plant some 400 km (250 miles) away via an aqueduct that has yet to be built. An alternative solution is to use less water as David Aron, managing director of PDC Energy, suggested, either through recycling produced water or using propane for fracturing.

Business environment
Political and economic risk, along with lack of finance
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UNCONVENTIONALS: ARGENTINA

for investment, haunt the countrys drive to develop the Argentinas reserves have dropped below $35 billion, Vaca Muerta and achieve energy self-sufficiency by 2030. the lowest level in more than six years, reported The EconoArgentinas dispute with holders of its defaulted sovermist, putting pressure on the government to liberalize the eign bonds constrains YPFs ability to raise capital. economy. The government has begun to offer a series of Shortly after the shale oil and gas discoveries, the govpolicies designed to attract foreign investment and to raise ernment expropriated Repsols 51% stake in Argentinas returns for oil and gas companies. YPF without compensation and nationalized it. The cruFor example, in Decree 929 energy companies that meet cial lack of money is perhaps the main reason the governArgentinas $1 billion, five-year investment requirements ment reportedly offered Repsol $5 billion less than half will be able to sell 20% of the production in international of the companys $10.5 billion claim payable in governmarkets without paying export taxes and keep export revment bonds during the last week in November 2013. enues from 20% of output outside Argentina. In effect, According to a press release issued by the governments this raises oil exporters cash payments by 67%, benefiting of Argentina, Spain, and Mexico, An agreement in princiexisting players including BP, Pan American Energy, and ple has been reached over the compensation for the Sinopec. In addition, companies also will be able to sell expropriation of 51% of YPFs shares in April oil and gas originally destined for export in the 2012. The agreement will imply fixing a domestic market at international prices compensation figure and its payment when local supply is insufficient. These with liquid assets and that both parare carrots instead of sticks. ties will end their respective legal To drive shale field exploration actions. The sides involved coinand development, the government cide that the current agreeestablished a commission to overment in principle contributes see oil companies business plans to normalize and strengthen with powers to fine companies the historic links between that fail to meet the investment the three countries. commitments to shale developOn Nov. 27, 2013, Repsols ment. And to ensure cooperation board of directors said in an of and share the benefits with has access to suitable roads official notice that it reviewed shale-endowed provinces, YPF has and spare parts. But even and views favorably the heads of signed an agreement with Santa so, it has a lot to agreement announced by the Cruz Province to pay 15% in royalties Argentine government related to the for its oil and gas output and 10% in catch up on. compensation of 51% of YPF. Repsol has royalties for its shale production. decided to start in due course conversations Unconventional oil and gas boom by 2017? between its teams and those of the Argentinian governYPF has issued its first overseas bond offering since its ment with the objective of finding a fair, effective, and nationalization in a bid to raise $37 billion to finance a quick solution of the controversy. step change in exploration and development of the Vaca Lack of finance is only one of the problems facing the Muerta. Since the Vaca Muerta requires around $42 bilcountry. Inflation of around 25%, strict currency controls, lion in investment to be divided into $28 billion for oil high taxes, populist price controls on energy, regulatory production and half that for gas, it has announced a fivecontrols, and even import restrictions on essential equipyear planned (2013 to 2017) aggressive factory drilling ment have contributed to slow and limited foreign investprogram target of 48 horizontal and 84 vertical wells. YPF, ment in Argentinas shale discoveries. However, the together with foreign partners and their investment of business environment is becoming more favorable. $4.6 billion, hopes to increase production of oil and gas Amador continued, Unfortunately, the past price conby 50% by 2017. trols caused problems, and now these are being relaxed According to a Reuters study, four major companies sufficiently to attract international oil companies. control nearly 80% of the Vaca Muerta shale. SpearheadIndeed, the government tripled wholesale gas prices ing development are YPF, Apache, ExxonMobil Explorto encourage conventional and shale drilling. Compation Argentina, and Americas Petrogas. Apache at this nies such as Total, YPF, BP, Pan American Energy, time is working on an agenda for Phase II of exploration Petrobras, and Apache Corp. have already benefited in the Vaca Muerta. The company has a net total of from such a move.

Argentina

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Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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1.2 million acres, with 950,000 acres in the oil/wet gas window of the shale. YPF has concessions on 3 million acres and 1 million acres on joint concessions. In the last year, YPF has approached a number of foreign energy companies to jointly develop the Vaca Muerta, including Petrobras, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil. Breaking ranks with its peers, Chevron has become the first major oil company to commit to YPF. The deal, worth an initial $1 billion, entails YPF transferring a 50% interest in its Loma de la Norte and Loma Campana fields to Chevron in return for 100 to 110 wells drilled in a 5,000acre tract. YPF and Chevron will split the expenses and profits 50:50 on an expected output of 11 MMbbl of oil in the first year, rising to 50,000 b/d and 3 MMcm/d (106 Bcf/d) of gas by 2017. As a reassurance, the agreement will be governed by US and Argentinian law, and disputes will go to the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Another partnership soon followed: YPF and Dow Chemical agreed to

Americas Petrogas Inc.'s Los Toldos concession consists of four blocks. The company has a 45% working interest in the blocks, which are prospective for both unconventional shale and tight formations as well as shallower conventional targets. (Image courtesy of Americas Petrogras)

invest $188 million to jointly develop shale gas from the Vaca Muerta formation. Acquisition of acreage, exploration, and drilling has been stepped up by companies already present in Argentina, including Americas Petrogas, Gas Y Petroleo De Neuqun, Total, Madalena Energy, EOG Resources, Tec Petrol, and Royal Dutch Shell. Apache is a significant player with exploration rights on 1.3 million acres, including areas held jointly with partner companies. Apache has an interest in 32 concessions, exploration permits, and other interests in an area totaling 4.4 million gross acres in four of the main Argentinian hydrocarbon basins: Neuqun, Austral, Cuyo, and Noroeste. In 2012, Apache committed to investing $250 million for one horizontal and four vertical wells. Halliburton completed South Americas first-ever horizontal multistage hydraulic fracture of a shale gas well on behalf of Apache. The well was drilled horizontally at a measured depth of 4,400 m (14,432 ft). Apache is a participant and beneficiary of the governments Gas Plus Program introduced in 2008, which was designed to encourage new gas supplies through development of unconventional assets. Under the program, Apache can sell gas from qualifying projects at above the regulated price. In fall 2013, Wintershall concluded a 50% joint venture agreement with Gas y Petroleum de Neuqun to explore for oil in 97 sq km (37 sq miles) in the Vaca Muerta. Wintershalls $150 million commitment over two years toward exploration allocates $120 million for drilling two vertical and four horizontal wells. The agreement could be extended to some $3.35 billion for drilling 120 wells over 10 years. Local Argentinian-Chinese group Bridas recently announced an investment of $500 million to explore for shale oil in the Vaca Muerta. The activities of local and foreign independent exploration and development companies in Vaca Muerta have acted as a magnet to attract oil and gas field service companies such as Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Calfrac Well Services to Neuqun Provice. Oil service companies are expected to invest around $111 million to build an industrial park in Neuqun to support shale exploration and development. The dream of energy self-sufficiency and the hope of fulfilling the promise embodied in Argentinas shale oil and gas resource is ubiquitous. The signs are good. The Argentine government has significantly improved the business environment by introducing regulatory, fiscal, legal, and economic measures designed to attract and reassure foreign and indigenous energy companies willing to commit money, know-how, equipment, and people to Argentinas new exploration frontier.
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EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

RIG & DRILLSHIP INNOVATIONS

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow


Offshore mobile rigs have come a long way since the days of Mr. Charlie, but just how large, high-tech (and unavoidably expensive) can they be?
That rig [Ocean Apex] has cost $370 million to build and has a 6,000-ft [1,829-m] maximum water depth, Plaisance said. The unit was originally built in 1976, with its latest incarnation as the Ocean Apex expected to be delivered by 2Q 2014. This was done, Diamond said, at the time of the contract award to Jurong to help reduce the cost as well as the time required to construct the rig. The Ocean Apex has been designed to surpass the specifications for a fourth-generation newbuild unit and can carry a variable deck load of 7,840 tons. The rig with a crew capacity of 140 also will include a 15,000-psi, fiveram BOP and will be able to drill wells to a total depth of 9,144 m (30,000 ft). It also will feature a hookload capacity of a maximum 2 MMlb as well as one of the largest deck areas of any semisubmersible rig in the world, according to Diamond. Diamond has another rig, the Ocean Onyx, also going through the same process at a yard in the US but at a more advanced stage. That similar-specification rig has already landed a contract for $490,000 per day starting during 1Q 2014.
Mark Thomas, Editor in Chief

ts astonishing to see how the capabilities of the latest semisubmersible drilling rigs and drillships have transformed over the years. Mr. Charlie, the industrys first mobile submersible drilling unit, was a technological marvel at the time of its creation in 1953. It arrived in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) in 1954 to start work for Shell Oil near the mouth of the Mississippi River in East Bay. It was able to accommodate a crew of 58, while the rig barge itself was approximately 67 m (220 ft) long and 26 m (85 ft) wide. It drilled hundreds of wells over a career spanning nearly four decades before it was put out to pasture as an exhibit at the Rig Museum in Morgan City, La. Thats enough reminiscing. Fast forward to the present time, and the scale and expense of the latest generation drilling units as well as their technological advances are on another planet. The subject of these advances came up during the recent Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technology Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in New Orleans, very near to where Mr. Charlie now sits.

Build cost of $750 million


Moving up to the top of the food chain, Plaisance discussed the latest sixth-generation unit the company is building, pointing out a harsh-environment semisubmersible that will be used offshore South Australia and will cost around $750 million to build. One of its latest fleets of drillships also under construction will cost around $650 million to build, he added, with both units having the ability to drill wells in water depths of up to 3,658 m (12,000 ft) not a bad increase compared to Mr. Charlies maximum effort. Diamond has been one of the busiest rig players in terms of lining up the latest generation newbuilds to tackle the demands of the ultra-deepwater market. In 2011 it ordered three ultra-deep drillships: the Ocean BlackHawk, Ocean BlackHornet, and Ocean BlackRhino. The following year it ordered the two deepwater semisubmersibles mentioned earlier, the Ocean Onyx and Ocean
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

Latest generation units


Diamond Offshore is one of the companies at the forefront of the push to add more of the latest generation ultra-deepwater drilling units to the global fleet. Its vice president, Moe Plaisance, highlighted some of the innovations that have changed the face of the offshore rig business during one of the ATCE panel discussion sessions. If you look at the old rigs such as Mr. Charlie, it cost US $1 million to build and had a maximum water depth capability of 40 ft [12 m], Plaisance said. He then compared Mr. Charlie to todays fourth- and fifth-generation rigs such as Diamonds Ocean Apex semisubmersible, which is currently being revamped and upgraded into a deepwater unit using the hull from the older cold-stacked unit, the Ocean Bounty, at Jurong Shipyard in Singapore.
82

RIG & DRILLSHIP INNOVATIONS

Saipems Scarabeo 9 drilling rig was Frigstads firstever D90-design semisubmersible unit and is tailormade for ultra-deepwater drilling. Two more units are under construction in China, with Frigstad saying the rigs are the largest semisubmersible drilling units based on combined power and capacities. (Image courtesy of Saipem)

Apex, as well as another ultra-deep drillship, the Ocean BlackLion. And last year it placed yet another order for a further ultra-deep harsh environment semisubmersible rig, the Ocean GreatWhite (due for delivery in 2016). The Ocean BlackHawk and Ocean BlackHornet will start operations for Anadarko in the US GoM in 2014, while the Ocean BlackRhino (to be received in 2014) and Ocean BlackLion (2015) are both currently available.

Collaboration is key, he said. We need to be in on the design phase; we are not just drillers anymore.

CAT I drillship
When it comes to harsh-environment units, Statoil obviously believes the limit has not yet been reached. It is still looking to push the boundaries, especially with its eyes turning increasingly to the worlds icy northern waters. It awarded a contract in September 2013, after a sixmonth design feasibility competition, to fellow Norwegian company Inocean for the conceptual study and an option for a FEED study for the operators CAT I drillship. Being developed for arctic operations, we are probably speaking of the most advanced and sophisticated unit evolved within drilling operations, said Inoceans CEO Jon Erik Borgen. Having this opportunity to develop the drillship of tomorrow is a big recognition of our design and engineering capabilities. The CAT I drillship is being tailored for Statoils Arctic step-up program through the development of suitable winterization, increased capabilities, and a hull suitable for operations in ice-infested waters. Based on Inoceans INO-80 drillship design, the further concept design and option for the FEED is planned to go on until year-end 2014. Statoil wants the drillship to be tailor-made to operate across its arctic acreage. It has ongoing R&D activities under way to qualify drilling and other critical support technologies.
83

Fleet changers
Diamond describes these four identical ultra-deep drillships, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and based on a variant of the Gusto P-10,000 design, as fleet changers for the company, featuring the latest state-of-the-art equipment. This includes all of the features that an oil company now demands for its ultra-deep rig requirements dynamic positioning (DP), dual-activity capability, a maximum hookload capacity of 1,250 tons, and two seven-ram BOPs. All will have the same water-depth capability of up to 3,658 m and a total drilling depth capability of up to 12,192 m (40,000 ft). Aspects such as the dual BOP capability are a must for the latest generation rigs in todays maximum utilization drive by the operators. Plaisance said that being able to carry out the required maintenance when pulling a BOP by immediately taking one out and putting another one straight down produces a tremendous saving for operators. He also expressed the need for rig contractors to be in at the design phase of a field development.
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

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Inoceans drillship design, dubbed IN ICE, is based on the compact INO-80 ultra-deepwater design, which features dynamic positioning and large free deck areas for year-round operations. The design was first unveiled at the Offshore Technology Conference in 2011.

Seventh-generation semisub
Frigstad is another player looking to establish itself Diamond Offshore sees its identical ultraat the top end of the rig market in terms of the deepwater drillships based on a specifications of its units. variant of the Gusto P-10000 design being built at Hyundai Heavy It has two seventh-generation drilling units of Industries in South Korea as fleet changers. It has four on order. its own Frigstad D90 design on order. These units (Image courtesy of Diamond Offshore) are developed by Frigstad Engineering and tailormade for exploration and development drilling in ultra-deep waters. The rigs will be capable of operating in cranes. Other features include a large moonpool opening water depths of up to 3,658 m and drilling to a total depth of 42 m by 8 m (138 ft by 26 ft) and a fully integrated cutof 15,240 m (50,000 ft). tings storage and handling system. The units also will be outfitted with a DP3 system with Frigstad said the rig is simply the worlds largest semieight thrusters, a full dual-activity hydraulic drilling packsubmersible deepwater exploration and development age each with a 1,400-metric-ton (mt) hoist, and sevendrilling unit based on combined power and capacities. ram BOPs. Its all a far cry from the days of Mr. Charlie. Then again, The first two units are being built under turnkey con60 years is a long time in any industry if we take just a struction contracts by the Yantai CIMC Raffles shipyard quick look over our shoulders at what has happened over in China, with options for another four units. The first the same time period in the aviation, automobile, and pair are scheduled for delivery at the end of 4Q 2015 computing sectors. and 2Q 2016, respectively, with the total project cost put However, there may be a limit to just how far, how large, at approximately $1.3 billion. The construction, marketand how complicated the industry and the contractors ing, and operation of the rigs will be managed by within it can make their rigs. As Moe Plaisance said in his Frigstad Offshore. closing remarks at ATCE, We cannot keep building bigThese rigs represent yet another significant step forger hammers. We are going to have to slim these down at ward in terms of equipment specifications, operational some point to get the job done. efficiency, flexibility, and reliability, said Simen Skaare Eriksen, CEO of Frigstad Offshore. We will be well positioned to take advantage of a strengthening ultra-deepwater market.

Worlds largest semisub


The company has, of course, already built one unit of the proprietary Frigstad D90 designs the Frigstad Oslo, which was acquired by Italys Saipem in 2007 and renamed Scarabeo 9. The D90 rigs have specifications including vertical racking capacity for 3,078-m (10,100-ft) drilling risers in 30-m (100-ft) stands and 15,240-m drillpipe in 28-m (93-ft) stands as well as a variable deckload capacity of more than 8,000 mt and two 150-mt platform
84

Inoceans CAT I design, being developed with Statoils arctic drilling plans in mind, will be the most advanced and sophisticated unit evolved within drilling operations, according to the company. (Image courtesy of Inocean)

Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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Honoring the industry's best new tools and techniques for finding, develop ing, and producing hydrocarbons.

Submit entries online at

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Deadline: January 31 , 2014

industry

IMPACT

Wellbore strengthening toolkit enables depleted zone drilling


Technology seals drilling-induced fractures to prevent lost circulation.
Mary Hogan, Associate Managing Editor

hen M-I SWACO, a Schlumberger company, introduced its I-BOSS wellbore strengthening-whiledrilling solution suite, the oil and gas industry sought a way to restore well stability and prevent lost circulation due to induced fractures. The industry issue was essentially [being able to] successfully drill through depleted zones [sands] to access reservoirs that were previously inaccessible, said Jim Friedheim, Ph.D. and corporate director for fluids research at M-I SWACO. The technology works to seal drilling-induced fractures and isolate fracture tips from further elongation and reopening using continuous application of bridging particles, according to the companys website. As a result, operators see a reduction in fluid losses and a strengthened wellbore, enabling construction with low fracture gradients and a decrease in costs. In 2009 the I-BOSS suite of solutions won the drilling fluids category of Hart Energys Meritorious Awards for Engineering Innovation. Since its introduction the technology has experienced much success in the industry. While drilling offset wells in the Mississippi Canyon block of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, an operator identified mud losses and wellbore stability as challenges to drilling a section above the salt, the salt layer itself, the zone below the salt, and deeper zones, according to an M-I SWACO case study. The operator used the I-BOSS suite to strengthen the wellbore in intervals above, within, and below the salt layer. The technique of choice in all five intervals was circumferential stress enhancement, or stress caging, which is attained by inducing shallow fractures in a formation using elevated wellbore pressure and simultaneously forcing wellbore strengthening materials into the fractures to keep them propped and in a stressed state, according to the case study. Using wet sieve analysis, the correct concentration and sizes of the wellbore strengthening materials were maintained, with each of the five intervals targeted requiring a different wellbore strengthening materials blend. As a result of applying this technology, there were zero mud
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

I-BOSS wellbore strengthening technology seals drilling-induced fractures and isolates fracture tips from further elongation and reopening. (Image courtesy of M-I SWACO)

losses in the well while drilling the permeable zones of interest using the continuous application of wellbore strengthening materials, according to the case study. The use of the I-BOSS suite also enabled the operator to reduce cost in materials and rig time. Since the technologys introduction, M-I SWACO has added OPTISTRESS software, built a new fracture tester, developed several new additives for fracture sealing, and developed a new theory for wellbore strengthening known as fracture propagation resistance. Friedheim noted that the technology has been continually improved, adjusted, and updated with new findings, techniques, and products. The industry is even more interested in wellbore strengthening since the issue of depleted zone drilling has increased with a greater depletion factor, he said. The company is currently conducting Phase III of its research cooperative agreement on fracture sealing and wellbore strengthening. We are looking at larger fractures, fractured shale, and the use of fibers as possible additives to the current product mix, Friedheim said.
87

tech

WATCH

Efficiencies of improved 3-D printing inspire innovation


As 3-D printing technology advances and becomes more widespread, the possibility of moving from prototype production to manufacturing high-quality parts fast and on site is not far off.
Anthony Vicari, Lux Research

Industrial benefits of 3-D printing


Rapid prototyping making single, unique parts for the testing of new designs remains the primary industrial application for 3-D technology. Producing a traditional machined mold or other tooling for a single prototype can require tens of thousands of dollars and weeks or months of time, but 3-D printing enables production of the same part, often overnight, for only the cost of materials. This accelerated production cycle means engineers can test more ideas and pursue more design iterations to ultimately develop superior parts. As 3-D printers decline in cost and improve in resolution and as materials selection and properties improve, these are beginning to move beyond R&D groups into low-volume manufacturing applications (tens to a few thousands of units) where the process costs for producing new parts are particularly high. For example, jet engines contain high-performance titanium, nickel, and cobalt-chrome alloy parts that are particularly difficult and expensive to machine. Currently, the complex shapes needed can only be made by casting, machining, and then assembling multiple pieces, often throwing away as much as 90% of the high-performance alloys used in the process. In contrast, 3-D printing technologies can produce the final part structure in a single step with greater than 90% material utilization, saving on tooling, assembly, and materials costs. GE is using 3-D printing for the nozzles in its next-generation jet engines, set to fly in 2014. These advances will shift 3-D printing from a prototyping tool to a production one. Overall, the market for 3-D printed parts will grow to US $8.4 billion in 2025, of which $4.4 billion will be for production parts rather than prototypes.
Among the many benefits associated with 3-D printing today are advances in 3-D technology and its reduction in cost, which allow engineers the ability to develop more prototype iterations of their latest innovations and, in some cases, to manufacture parts for production. (Images courtesy of Lux Research)

rom personalized medicine to drones, 3-D printing the additive fabrication of objects by depositing and patterning successive layers of material has been touted as an enabling platform for applications ranging from the universally desirable (lighter, more efficient aircraft) to the inevitably controversial (printed firearms). While it has become a hot topic in the press only recently, 3-D printing began in the 1980s with the invention of stereolithography, which works by patterning layers of a liquid photopolymer resin using an ultraviolet laser. This approach sparked the invention of a plethora of other 3-D printing technologies that have enabled the on-demand production of physical objects of virtually any shape directly from digital models. Since 2006, the emergence of low-cost 3-D printers aimed at consumers and hobbyists has led to a surge of public interest. Meanwhile, the use of 3-D printing continues to spread to new sectors, and expanding capabilities are making the technology attractive to major players in industries like medicine, electronics, and oil and gas.

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Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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Challenges to wider adoption


Despite its appeal, 3-D printing is still too expensive to make additive manufacturing truly ubiquitous. The most advanced 3-D printers today cost more than $1 million. In addition, 3-D printing processes are slow production can require hours per vertical inch of part, which may be sufficient for prototyping but is impractical and costly for large-scale production. Materials required for 3-D printing also cost 10 to 100 times more than their bulk resin or powder counterparts. This is due in part to the tight purity, composition, and size uniformity requirements of printing processes. However, much of the high cost comes from the fact that most 3-D printer manufacturers require users to buy their own branded-material feedstock, sold at a high margin, similar to the ink cartridge revenue model used by inkjet printer manufacturers. The performance of printed materials particularly polymers cannot match the same material made with traditional processes. For example, the z-axis strength of printer plastic tends to be lower than injection-molded polymer due to weaker interlayer bonding. In addition to this issue, sloped edges on 3-D printed products typically exhibit a staircase effect, which must be smoothed out by post-processing steps. Finally, a printer companys materials selection is limited to a tiny fraction of the options commonly available for traditional production methods. This makes 3-D printing a difficult proposition for many companies considering the technology for their manufacturing.

waiting for replacement parts can be extremely costly, sometimes as much as $500,000 per day. In the long run, the greatest value associated with 3-D printing may be that it enables the manufacturing of products not able to be manufactured by any other means. Even low-end 3-D printers have demonstrated that they can produce multifunctional objects in a single step with no assembly required. As a result, developers are targeting composites, or metamaterials, that obtain unusual properties by patterning objects composition at the 10-micron to 100-micron scale. Just in the past year, MIT researchers showed how conventional polymers were able to increase in toughness by a factor of 20 when mimicking the microstructure of bone. At the University of Colorado, researchers printed an elastomeric material with thermally activated shape memory for folding, stretching, curling, or twisting. More recently, an as-yet-unnamed Canadian startup announced that it has invented a process for printing continuous fiber-reinforced plastics, which would allow for 3-D fiber placement patterns previously unavailable for conventional molding.

Unlimited potential for innovation, efficiency


Though it is unlikely to replace traditional processes for high-volume production, 3-D printing has the potential to reshape the supply chain and economics of manufacturing processes while expanding the range of manufactured materials and structures. Since the technology can be used to produce parts on demand, on site, and as needed, it has the potential to simplify the supply chain

Materials, printer development


Challenges notwithstanding, enterprising users are finding valuable uses for 3-D printing outside of prototyping. Some uses are high-end: Current 3-D printers using process know-how and the best available materials aerospace- and medical-grade alloys as well as high-performance polymers like PEEK and PEI already outperform traditionally manufactured parts in niche applications. As these capabilities mature, the rapid onsite manufacturing of highquality parts in any industry becomes a greater possibility. This possibility, in turn, has sparked interest though not yet use in production applications such as those that may be required on an offshore rig, where downtime while
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

By 2025, the 3-D printed parts market is projected to grow to $8.4 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate of 18%.

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WATCH

and enable reduction of expensive and energy-squandering inefficiencies such as transportation fuel consumption, idle equipment, and idle inventories. Such improvements go beyond the walls of any individual entity or industry since 3-D printing enables instantaneous sharing and delivery of code, material recipes, process variables, and fabricated parts across companies and continents. As material developers, printer companies, and end users work to realize that potential, they will not only need to address technical and commercial challenges but also create new business models, design paradigms, and partnership networks to support their endeavors.

The greatest value associated with 3-D printing may be that, in the long run, it could enable the manufacturing of products not able to be manufactured by any other means, and it has the potential to reshape the supply chain and economics of manufacturing processes.

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Promise and potential of accessing big data in the digital oil field
As a new wave of data-driven, technology-based tools moves into the energy ecosystem, organizations have an opportunity to profit in big ways.
Curtis Thompson, Dell Services

he deployment of digital oilfield solutions has taken an enormous step. While organizations historically have had to rely exclusively on field professionals to interpret and act on the physical characteristics of their environment, they are finding todays new wave of digital oilfield solutions helpful in both capturing this data and using it to build complex, actionable models. The amount of data being generated is almost beyond comprehension as the number of connected devices continues to grow. The industry also is moving rapidly from big data dimensions (gigabytes, terabytes, and petabytes) to Big Analog Data scales (exabytes, zettabytes, and yottabytes). This means decision-makers across operations, quality management, maintenance, training, safety, geoscience, and even IT now have both unprecedented opportunities and unprecedented challenges. For my job at National Instruments, I travel the world and see firsthand how engineers and scientists are acquiring vast amounts of data at very high speeds and in a variety of forms, said Tom Bradicich, R&D fellow and corporate officer at National Instruments and the father of Big Ana-

log Data. Ive seen how tens of terabytes can be created in just a few seconds of physics experiments and similar amounts can be created in hours by taking measurements of jet engines or testing a turbine used for electric power generation. Immediately after this data acquisition, a big data or Big Analog Data problem exists. From my background in the IT industry, its clear to me that advanced tools and techniques are required for data transfer, management, and analytics as well as systems management for the many data acquisition and automated test systems nodes. All of these analog data points are being generated along with hundreds of thousands more every second or tenth of a second or hundredth of a second. Companies are asking, How do we harness all of the information and begin to unlock the value in the data? Is there a business case for investing in the effort?

The promise
One global oilfield services company recently claimed it was retaining about 5% of the data being generated by its equipment and only using the data for post-event diagnostics. While the company is deriving value through component-level, post-mortem diagnostics and feeding that information into R&D for future product development improvements it is falling short of what can be achieved in this new arena of digitized analog data. This approach results in a muted impact to the multibillion dollar maintenance and warranty budget and only takes into account the archived data, missing out on a large value opportunity for the organization. The streams of data being generated today can be considered in three categories of use or value: real-time (in equipment monitoring), near-time (immediate adjustment of complex systems), and archival. While the ability to capture data from sensors and equipment in the field is maturing rapidly and being used for monitoring and alerts, the untapped value is in the prescriptive analytics using near-time response, which will increase production and efficiency, said Aron Bowman, portfolio management leader for Dells Product and Process Innovation group.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

This chart, by Dr. Tom Bradicich of National Instruments, demonstrates how Big Analog Data is characterized. (Image courtesy of National Instruments)

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digital
OIL FIELD

environmental aspects and the results that were achieved. Companies are able to look for the same characteristics in their next action and apply the lessons theyve learned to get a slightly better result. In the near-time model of analytics, it will be possible to monitor these production indicators and make suggestions about adjustments that will impact the current result rather than having to wait for the next appearance of this type of environment.

Training
Training is not an area that most people relate to digital oilfield discussions, but consider a case in which normal monitoring of a drill site shows an unusual pattern for pressure at a set of pumps. The increased pressure starts to impact the projected life cycle of the seals and bearings of the system, but the pressure is not something that can relate directly to other elements in the physical data, such as a drop in temperature or changes in gas composition. Its only when the staffing schedules from the HR management platform are added that it becomes apparent that a specific operator, or group of operators, is overtaxing the machinery in order to hit the shifts goals. That information can trigger retraining requests as well as alerts to the appropriate supervisors in the field, allowing the future monitoring of indicators to ensure compliance.

How companies manage big data and Big Analog Data is changing. As new methods are proposed and implemented, companies will need the right tools and people in place to reap the rewards. (Image courtesy of Dell Services)

The analysis of archival data, normally within a purposebuilt data repository, is fairly mature although still very expensive to license and operate.

Safety
Safety is paramount across every aspect of the energy industry. The post-event feedback loop is a critical component of making incremental improvements in safety by design, but companies need to know how it can make quantum improvements. The answers may lie in the evaluation of complex systems of physical attributes all being considered in relationship to one another in the moment of operation.

The potential
The future of digital oilfield technologies may lie in a new domain that Ron Pecunia, global director of end-to-end solutions at Dell Business Innovation Services, has coined as engineering intelligence and analytics. With advances in big data know-how we can bring in vast amounts of rich engineering information along with robust analog data to exploit possibilities enabled via advanced analytics, Pecunia said. The resulting new business processes will reshape the energy industry over time. The digital oil field has the potential to change all aspects of business in the oil and gas industry. To be successful in this next evolution, companies will need to unite engineering and data science and keep in mind that the models will need to continuously evolve to improve and adapt to changes in technology and environments. This will require companies to partner with firms that understand and excel in the four dimensions of the digital oil field: engineering, data science, business, and operations. These areas correlate to the acquisition of data, analysis of the data, action taken from the data, and the assessment of impact to the business. If any of these components is underrepresented, companies run the risk of being less safe, less efficient, or less profitable than they could be.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

Operational
Through big data or Big Analog Data, companies now have the ability to examine a wider variety of physical characteristics in the environments where they work, which gives them an opportunity to do predictive and prescriptive maintenance. They can see the earliest stages of wear and then issue maintenance tickets or recommendations against the manufacturers recommended cycles. This is perhaps the biggest opportunity that awaits the industry. If problems are germinating, they can be discovered earlier and managed according to safety, operational, and financial priorities. Reduction of unplanned downtime is only one obvious result.

Efficiency
The post-event analysis also is fairly mature and allows organizations to draw a relational link between physical
94

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tech

TRENDS

PDC bit design allows operators to drill longer and faster


Ulterra introduced polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits that incorporate the newest FastBack technology, allowing operators to drill longer and faster runs than with traditional PDC designs, according to an Ulterra press release. The Ulterras PDC bits with FastBack designs smaller FastBack technology are profile eliminates wasted energy pushing a bits blade designed to let operators surface, instead focusing all drill longer and faster runs. energy on the diamond cut- (Image courtesy of Ulterra) ting surfaces. The blade configuration opens up the junk slot area for optimal hydraulics and enhanced cuttings evacuation, according to the release, and the new FastBack blade design has surface coatings that provide erosion control without sacrificing strength. According to the release, a FastBack bit drilled a Marcellus well 56.8% faster than average, proving its ability to improve efficiency in drilling operations. ulterra.com

are eight times faster on average than other systems and deliver 2 Mbps at the port, according to Rodney Cronin, director of product management at Redline Communications. The benefits of this increased speed and lower latency, even with large volumes of SCADA data, include faster polling, more timely data, greater visibility, and improved management of devices, Cronin said. rdl.com

Remote system makes driving piles subsea safer, faster


The new remotely operated Subsea Piling System introduced by Conductor Installation Services Ltd. (CIS) can drive piles as large as 36 in. in diameter in water depths up to 300 m (984 ft). The systems self-tensioning hydraulic winches automatically lower and raise the hydraulic hoses and electrical cables that connect to the hammer The CIS Subsea Piling Hammer is based on sea conditions. part of the companys remotely This makes the process operated Subsea Piling System, safer and more efficient which drives piles into the seabed than having technicians using self-tensioning winches. (Image courtesy of CIS) manually operate the winches, according to CIS. The process is carried out by an experienced piledriving engineer from a control unit and monitoring system onboard a vessel or barge. The engineer can continuously monitor and control the operation as the hydraulic hammer is lowered into the water, accurately positioned, and heaved onto the piles. By doing so, every blow is delivered with greater accuracy. It also reduces the time it takes to drive the pile, according to James Chadd, technical sales manager for the CIS Group. The system is modular, making it easy to assemble and deploy, and only uses the highest quality of biodegradable hydraulic oil to guard against a negative impact on the environment in the event of oil leakage, according to the release. c-i-services.com

Networking products speed up SCADA communication


Redline Transport Gateway (RTG) Connect, a new family of wireless networking products designed to securely connect industrial SCADA systems, is now available from Redline Communications Group Inc. RTG Connect enables high-speed wireless communication between serial and TCP/IP-based SCADA field devices and a remote control center, which allows real-time data collection from different devices such as programmable logic controllers, remote terminal units, natural gas meters, and pump controllers, according to a Redline Communications press release. The data are delivered to and from the SCADA RTG Connect increases host system, which can be speed and lowers latency of hundreds of miles away, via SCADA data. (Image coura wireless broadband backtesy of Redline Communicabone. Wireless networks tions Group Inc.) powered by RTG Connect
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Generator offers customization, power


The new QAC 1200 1-MW generator from Atlas Copco was specifically engineered for the US and Canadian market, with a wide variety of options that make it customizJanuar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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With a wide variety of options, customers can customize the QAC 1200 1-MW generator based on their situation. (Image courtesy of Atlas Copco)

able for the customers needs, according to an Atlas Copco press release. The generator can be customized for situations like high altitudes or extreme weather conditions and can be used for either prime power or critical standby power. The QAC 1200 features a Cummins QST30G5 diesel engine that is EPA Tier 2-certified and provides 1,140 kVA/912 kW prime power rating (60 Hz). The integrated fuel tank provides a minimum run time of eight hours, and the generator was engineered with 500-hour service intervals, resulting in low life-cycle costs, according to the release. Customizable options include a Qc4002 controller that allows a user to parallel two or more generators for loads beyond 1 MW, creating a power management system and enhancing the core value of predictable power. atlascopco.us

physics, and inversion to help lower exploration risk and quantify reserves. The plugin will form part of the latest version of the companys seismic interpretation software, OpendTect 4.6, and can be used in qualitative and quantitative seismic interpretation studies, according to a dGB Earth Sciences press release. Users can use simple wedge models and cross sections created from pseudo wells to build workflows and hypothetical scenarios or more complex stochastic simulations. Model parameters also can be varied stochastically and run to create a database of pseudo wells representative of the expected geologic and seismic variations at target level, the release said. SynthRock allows users to make Monte Carlo-style simulations; generate prestack synthetic seismic data using stateof-the-art ray tracing, reflectivity calculations, cross-over handling, and frequency-domain convolution; and modify parameters to instantly analyze the response on the seismic data. dgbes.com

Tube-bending process boosts construction of subsea wellhead trees


All-electric tube-bending machines from Unison Ltd. are being used to reduce build times and improve manufacturing capacity for subsea wellhead trees, according to a press release. The technology is being used by FMC Technologies in a production method pioneered by its employees. By using 3-D modeling of tubing, the tubing system for subsea tree orders can be designed and bent in advance and delivered to the A new automated tube-bending manufacturing process using Unisons all-electric tubecells ready for bending machines is speeding the proimmediate assembly. The all-electric duction of FMC Technologies hydraulic architecture of the control systems for subsea wellheads. (Image courtesy of Unison Ltd.) Unison machine has greater precision and repeatability than traditional hydraulically powered bending, according to the release. This produces less scrap than less accurate methods, saving money on the often expensive alloys used. FMC Technologies has been able to cut the time required for tubing assembly by about two-thirds. unisonltd.com
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Centrifuge improves precision, performance in solids control


CRS Reprocessing Services LLC unveiled THE BEAR, a new centrifuge for better precision and performance in solids control, according to a press release from the company. The centrifuges proprietary design includes lower side differentials for drier letdown and the industrys longest bowl configuration for longer dwell time and maximum extraction. It has up to 100 hp for more torque. The centrifuge can be used for the management of drilling fluids, including top hole, water-based, and oil-based muds. CRS delivers the centrifuge to the customers drilling site on an innovative skid that requires only a small footprint, according to the release. CRS service also includes 24/7 onsite coverage, remote monitoring, and onsite lab capabilities that alert personnel to changing fluid conditions. thebearsonit.com

Software plugin combines forward modeling, rock physics, inversion


dGB Earth Sciences launched its new SynthRock plugin, a software module that combines forward modeling, rock
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

REGIONAL REPORT: WEST AFRICA

Presalt pursuit drives West African exploration


West Africas shining offshore potential beckons, and companies respond.
so there will be a real uptick in West Africa for us, Lluch said. If we have success there, it is going to be a huge move because Angola can be a game changer. We want to use our know-how from Brazil and all the advantages we have because of our technology. Repsol hopes to find at least a few hundred million barrels of oil offshore West Africa. The upside is unknown because it is a new play, Lluch said. But we believe by analogy the Kwanza can deliver as much as Brazil. We know that these countries [Brazil and Angola] have been next to each other. Therefore, they can offer the same type of play and the same kind of rewards. But this is only the beginning of this story. We will learn a lot from each well as we did and still do in Brazil because of the complexity of the geology there. The continental margins of Brazil and West Africa share similar statigraphic units and tectonic history due to their proximity before the split of Africa and South America in the Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous time, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). The lacustrine oils of the southern part of the Congo basin and of the Kwanza basin of West Africa were generated from brackish lacustrine source rocks and can be correlated to the Recncavo and Alamda-Camamu basins of Brazil. Lacustrine oils from the South Gabon sub-basin also seem to correlate to oils in the Recncavo basin of Brazil, the USGS reported in a study on West African petroleum systems. Migration pathways are predominantly faultrelated and generally nearly vertical in the West-Central Coastal Province. Salt windows provide the major migration pathways for syn-rift oils into the post-salt reservoirs.
Velda Addison, Associate Online Editor

ooking across the South Atlantic Ocean at the presalt potential offshore Brazil, oil and gas companies are hopeful that the same opportunities exist offshore West Africa. And this Atlantic breakup analogue has companies small independents and majors, diversified and otherwise chasing the same play in what has been called a brutally competitive environment. Giving them confidence are finds by Cobalt International Energy, which has taken the lead in the Kwanza presalt basin with its Cameia, Mavinga, and Lontra discoveries offshore Angola. The company has drilled four wells in the northern part of the basin and has had success each time. A production test carried out by the Cameia #1 presalt well revealed the well could produce more than 20,000 b/d of hydrocarbons, Cobalt said. Attention in West Africa has traditionally been in marshy areas in the Niger River delta and offshore Nigeria. However, some of the largest oil companies operating in Nigeria including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell are scaling back assets in Nigeria as the country grapples with crude oil theft, declining output from some fields, and revamps to its Petroleum Industry Bill, a process that has dragged on for years. The renewed interest offshore West Africa is expected to lead to a surge of activity this year. The potential has companies devising exploration drilling campaigns offshore not only Angola but also Ghana as they test concepts in hopes of striking oil in the Transform Margin. For Repsol, hopes are high in the Kwanza basin. In 2014, the company plans to drill three wells offshore Angola, two wells offshore Liberia, and one well offshore Namibia, said Didier Lluch, Africa exploration director for Repsol. The company also anticipates entering Gabon this year. Africa will take up a large part of Repsols exploration budget in 2014. Drilling a single presalt well alone could run an estimated US $120 million for the simplest well and up to $200 million for the more complex ones, depending on water and final drilling depths. We are going to have a lot of drilling activity to try to prove our concepts in the coming year and the year after,

Challenges demand technology


Brazils presalt formations are believed to hold at least 50 Bboe, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). And if Angolas presalt geology is highly comparable to Brazils, challenges are sure to follow. Among these are seismic and drilling obstacles considering that the potential bounty in Brazil is buried deep, below 2,000 m (6,562 ft) of water, a layer of rocks, and up to 2,000 m of shifting salt. Technical difficulties already have plagued companies that have made discoveries in Angolas presalt reservoir,
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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REGIONAL REPORT: WEST AFRICA

the EIA said, adding that this should serve to temper expectations about the viability of the developments. But it is driving oil and gas companies to develop new technology or tailor existing technology in hopes of unlocking hydrocarbon reservoirs. Repsol plans to use technology developed as part of its Kaleidoscope project, which features a supercomputer that manages complex mathematical algorithms to create high-resolution seismic images needed to see below the Earths surface. This has proved to be the key to success in Brazil. The imaging of the reservoir below the salt is extremely difficult, Lluch said, adding the same technology is applied in the US Gulf of Mexico (GoM) where salt is present. Kaleidoscope imaging also is used to help ensure wells are properly positioned. We do know that this is also key to success in Angola. The Repsol Sherlock project, combining experts and out-of-the-box thinkers with a suite of high-technology rock analysis tools a unique combination not available in the market was recently used in two unconventional licenses in Morocco. We took a lot of cores to analyze the potential of the source rock called the Silurian hot shale, which is basically the source rock that fed most of the fields in Algeria and Libya, Lluch said. We are also using the Sherlock project in Brazil, especially because the presalt carbonate reservoir is rather difficult to understand. We will also use it in Angola, which will allow us to draw conclusions on both sides and see the differences. The Kaleidoscope and Sherlock projects are two keys for our understanding of the geology of West Africa. Geir Tungesvik, senior vice president of drilling and well technologies for Statoil, said, To us, West Africas challenges are pretty much comparable with Brazil. At Statoils largest heavy crude oil field, Peregrino offshore Brazil, the company is using horizontal drilling techniques applied at other sites such as the North Seas Grane heavy oil field. The technology, according to Statoil, allows several wells to be drilled from the same position, and it improves field drainage nearly 2,300 m (7,546 ft) beneath the seabed. Plans are for 30 horizontal oil producers and seven injection wells to be drilled on Peregrino from two platforms with a ship between the two to receive and process the wellstreams. Because its so heavy and viscous, oil will flow less easily than water through the Peregrino reservoir. The wellstream will therefore contain a high proportion of water, with substantial treatment capacity needed to deal with it, Statoil reported on its website. Heating the wellstream in huge tanks on the production ship will make
EPmag.com | Januar y 2014

it easier to separate the water, which will then be pumped back to the reservoir. That maintains pressure and helps draw oil with it back to the production wells. Use of horizontal drilling has in turn boosted recovery from about 10% to 20% at Peregrino. This is very promising, Tungesvik said.

Repsols Sovex rig operates in the Santos basin offshore Brazil. The area offshore Brazil and Angola have similar geological characteristics. (Image courtesy of Repsol)

Statoil has operated in Angola for more than 20 years; however, the presalt play is a new frontier. Statoil-operated presalt assets include blocks 38 and 39, and the company is a partner in three additional presalt blocks. Tungesvik said he thinks Statoil will start drilling in the presalt blocks in April. We know there are a lot of challenges. We will try to be as prepared as possible. We have done all of the seismic interpretation, and we have picked where we want to drill, he said. The rig will be available in April. But there are some tough salts. So trying to find the right solutions is extremely important.

Gabon, others entice


The years 2014 and 2015 are going to be key years for exploration in West Africa not only for Repsol but for all the companies that are involved in the same presalt play
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REGIONAL REPORT: WEST AFRICA

in Angola, Lluch said. More recently, the industry has shown more interest for deep offshore Gabon, where the same carbonate reservoir could be present. Looking at the Transform Margin, companies are chasing Cretaceous turbidites from Ghana up to Sierra Leone, he added. Repsol and Anadarko were among the first to enter this play in these areas. Repsol is targeting oil not only offshore Angola but also offshore Namibia, Gabon, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The interesting thing about this country is that other companies will be active in Liberia, he said. Youve got Exxon, Eni, and Chevron. Many companies will drill wells in the near future, so it will be interesting to see the outcome. We have already fulfilled our commitment in Block 15 in Liberia. We also fulfilled our commitment in Sierra Leone. The key activity and core activity for us there in the coming year will be in Block 10.

In a nutshell, the big headline is were dealing with 2 Bbbl to 4 Bbbl of oil in place, in all of the eight discoveries.
Darrell McKenna, Kosmos COO
Kosmos Energy anticipates making a return to the Transform Margin in 2014. The company takes a streamlined approach to operations, targeting a specific geographic region the Atlantic Margin, central Atlantic with Morocco, and lower Atlantic. Following the success of its Jubilee discovery in Ghana, Kosmos has tweaked its portfolio, building around the Cretaceous stratigraphic and subsalt/presalt plays. Its not our play. Its the industrys play. It got exported from the gulf [GoM] to Brazil to Angola and now Gabon, Kosmos CEO Brian Maxted said during a technical update. He added there are only two presalt basins left to drill offshore Nova Scotia and offshore Morocco. Kosmos has opted for Morocco given the countrys attractive contract terms and warmer, less windy offshore environment. During what Kosmos deemed the first inning, everybody was exploring Nigeria and Angola. We go out and play the Cretaceous and Transform Margin. What youll see now is a similar setup but doing some different things than the rest of the industry. Our opportunity window keeps getting narrower and narrower. What were finding is as soon as we go to a place we find a lot of the rest of the industry is coming close in behind us. Second-inning work for Kosmos has included acquiring more than $100 million worth of seismic data, including
100

offshore Mauritania, which is the companys first attempt to return to the Transform Margin in search of the next giant Cretaceous combination stratigraphic trap. We are particularly pumped up about that opportunity, said Maxted. We think there are another two or three opportunities that we have already seen along that margin that we are aggressively chasing as new ventures. Kosmos said its northwest Africa portfolio contains acreage that could offer significant frontier basin opportunities. The area includes three large potential petroleum systems Moroccos offshore Agadir (North) basin and offshore Aaiun (South) basin along with Mauritanias salt basin each holding multibillion barrel potential. All three basins will be tested with multiple wells in 2014 to 2015. The company aims to drill its first well offshore Mauritania in the West Africa Transform Margin in late 2015. Already, a 2-D and 3-D seismic program has been completed, according to information presented during the technical update. The early seismic results were called very encouraging.

Proven track record evolves


Overall, Kosmos drilling program during the next three years includes at least eight wells, but that could grow to 13, far less than that of some of the giants seeking hydrocarbon pay in some of the same areas. When you are working in frontier and emerging basins, the key differences between winners and losers is not how many [wells] you drill. Its been proven time and again that to do exploration by statistics, yes, it can be successful, but its not going to lead to low finding costs, Maxted said. If you are going to drill 15 dry holes and one success, you have got to burden the finding costs of that success with the 15 dry holes. So our approach for efficiency is to do a lot of homework, make some big bets on a few choices, have a concentrated portfolio, and then drill a handful of wells. The company has an emerging/frontier basin petroleum system success rate of one in five. Evidence of what is possible when a company gets it right can be seen in Ghana, the site of Kosmos colossal Jubilee discovery in 2007. The field is operated by partner Tullow. Anadarko also has interest in the project. In Ghana, were dealing with eight hydrocarbon discoveries now, Kosmos COO Darrell McKenna said during the technical update. They are all in various stages of development and appraisal. In a nutshell, the big headline is were dealing with 2 Bbbl to 4 Bbbl of oil in place, in all of the eight discoveries. So its a substantial size. Well deliverability exceeds FPSO capacity at the Jubilee field, with average production consistently above 100,000 b/d and well deliverability at 155,000 b/d. The well producJanuar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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tivity/reservoir issue experienced during Phase 1 has been resolved, as acid treatments have restored productivity and the near-wellbore scaling issue has been addressed. Additionally, Kosmos said use of horizontal wells has the potential to lower the well count and maximize recovery. The first Jubilee horizontal well was completed in the Phase 1A program with tubing constrained at 27,500 b/d of oil. The high-value barrels found in multiple discoveries Mahogany oil, Teak oil and gas condensate, and Akasa oil discoveries, will be tied back into the Jubilee FPSO unit, Kosmos said. The latest appraisal activity includes reports of strong flow rates from the Akasa-1 drillstem test and completion of the Akasa-2A appraisal, with plans for additional appraisal activity in 2014. More than 82 MMbbl have been produced, said Eric Haas, senior vice president for production and technical services at Kosmos. He added that they have advertised ultimate recovery to be 600 MMbbl, which could be evaluated upward with successful implementation of EOR techniques and horizontal drilling.

The plan of development for Kosmos and partners deepwater Tweneboa, Enyenra, and Ntomme (TEN) complex also is progressing given its approval by the government of Ghana. All the major contracts have been let for the TEN development. The FPSO is in the shipyard in Singapore under construction as we speak. So it looks like we are still on track for our midyear 2016 first production for TEN, McKenna said. Phase 1, which requires a capital commitment of $4 billion, includes 17 wells with first oil anticipated in mid-2016. Phase 2 includes seven wells with first oil in 2018. From a Ghana perspective we are in a position where we have a tremendous amount of reservoir and production info. So we can see farther into the future in terms of what that offers, Maxted said. After three years into production, 82 MMbbl as of today, we have really started to understand what the real Jubilee field and the Ghana asset as a whole offers. And it is significantly more of an opportunity than conveyed and articulated in the market up to this point.

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HIGHLIGHTS

For additional information on these projects and other global developments:

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objective, flowing gas from the Patchawarra formation at a rate of 20 Mcm/d (0.7 MMscf/d). Additionally, the well flowed oil at a stabilized rate of 670 b/d, the release said. Fugro adds vessel for Asia-Pacific region Fugro Voyager, a purpose-built DP2 geotechnical drilling vessel, is entering service with Fugros offshore geotechnical division to expand its operations in the frontier areas of the Asia-Pacific region, according to a news release. The vessel was specifically designed and built to address the varied demands of the regions deepwater markets. At 83 m by 20 m (272 ft by 66 ft), with a twin tower drilling derrick over a centrally located moon pool, the vessel has automated pipe and tool handling equipment to promote safe drilling floor operations. A large soil laboratory is centrally located next to the drill floor giving a unique open-plan working environment for the geotechnicians.

EPmag.com
AFRICA

Tullows Agete-1 well hits oil onshore Kenya Tullow Oil Plc announced in a press release that the Agete1 exploration well in Block 13T onshore northern Kenya has discovered and sampled moveable oil with an estimated 100 m (328 ft) of net oil pay in good-quality sandstone reservoirs. The Agete-1 wildcat well is part of a major exploration campaign and has made the fifth consecutive oil discovery in the first of a chain of multiple rift basins across Tullows acreage in the region. This discovery derisks several follow-on prospects located to the north and is on trend with the Twiga South, Ekales, and Ngamia oil discoveries, Tullow said. Tullow operates the Agete-1 well with a 50% interest, and Africa Oil (50%) has the remaining interest. Horizon reports gas flow during Ketu-2 testing Horizon Oil Ltd. announced in a press release that it has recorded strong gas/condensate flows during production testing of the Ketu-2 appraisal well in PRL 21, Papua New Guinea. The flow test confirmed the high deliverability of the Elevala sandstone reservoir and that the condensate/ gas ratio is consistent with that of the nearby Elevala and Tingu accumulations. Participants in the PRL 21 joint venture include operator Horizon Oil (Papua) Ltd., a subsidiary of Horizon Oil Ltd., with a 45% interest; Talisman Energy Niugini Ltd., a subsidiary of Talisman Energy Inc., with 32.5%; Kina Petroleum Ltd. with 15%; and Diamond Gas Niugini BV, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., with 7.5%.

CENTRAL ASIA
Azerbaijan 10-month oil output grows Azeri oil production from January 2013 through October 2013 rose for the first time in three years as a BP-led group stabilized output at the nations largest deposit. The Caspian Sea nation pumped 36.1 million metric tons (258 MMbbl) of oil in the first 10 months of 2013, up 0.2%, the State Statistics Committee in the capital of Baku said on its website. It fell 7.5% in the period in 2012 and 9% before that. Marketable natural gas output also grew, by 1.9% to 14.6 Bcm (515 Bcf), the Statistics Committee said Nov. 14, 2013.

MIDDLE EAST
Kentz wins Dukhan contract from QP Kentz Corp. Ltd., the holding company of the Kentz engineering and construction group, announced in a press release an award by Qatar Petroleum (QP) for the engineering, procurement, installation, and commissioning for wellhead industrial control systems, alongside corrosion protection, for approximately 775 wells across the Dukhan oil field in Qatar. The contract, valued at US $190 million, builds on Kentzs previous working relationship with QP and will be executed by the engineering, procurement, and construction business unit, running for three years until 2016.

ASIA-PACIFIC
Senex makes oil find at Worrior field Senex Energy Ltd., as operator of southern Cooper Basin permit PPL 207 (Senex 70%, Cooper Energy Ltd. 30%), has discovered a new oil accumulation in the Patchawarra formation at Worrior oil field, Senex said in a news release. The Worrior-8 development well was drilled in June 2013 to a total depth of 1,778 m (5,833 ft) and intersected a net pay originally interpreted as up to 18 m (59 ft) across the McKinlay member, Namur sandstone, and the Patchawarra formation. The production test has achieved the primary
102

NORTH AMERICA
ConocoPhillips adds rig to Kuparuk field ConocoPhillips Alaska has signed a contract to bring an additional drilling rig to the Kuparuk River field on
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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Alaskas North Slope, the company said in a news release. This is the second rig that will be added to Kuparuks rig fleet since spring 2013 when state SB21, the More Alaska Production Act, was passed by the legislature. Nabors 9ES will begin drilling at Kuparuk this month. It joins Nabors 7ES, which has added production of 1,600 b/d since it began working in late May 2013. After the passage of SB21, the company also announced plans to pursue two new projects on the North Slope.

located 225 km (140 miles) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in a water depth of 2,128 m (6,982 ft). Colombia targets Pacific coast oil exports Colombia is planning to build a new pipeline to export oil via its Pacific coast to Asia, as increased production from US shale fields forces South Americas third-largest crude producer to seek new markets. China and India represent important growth markets, with Colombia planning to connect its Cano Limon pipeline with Venezuelas Guafita in the short term and build a separate pipeline to the Pacific coast in the medium to long term, Amylkar Acosta, Colombias mines and energy minister, said. The route of the new pipeline is being studied.

GULF OF MEXICO
PGS will conduct new GoM survey Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) will offer the Triton GeoStreamer full-azimuth survey, a new solution to complex imaging problems in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GoM), according to a company press release. This survey will cover approximately 350 OCS blocks totaling 8,100 sq km (3,127 sq miles) in the Garden Banks and Keathley Canyon areas of the GoM. Within the limits of this survey are BPs subsalt Tiber discovery in Keathley Canyon 102 and several significant wildcat wells, including BPs Gila well in Keathley Canyon 93 and Chevrons Oceanographer well in Garden Banks 973, according to the release. The new survey will image the extent of the Wilcox play to the north of Tiber and to the west of Cobalts North Platte discovery in Garden Banks 959. Siem charters subsea vessel for Harkand in GoM Harkand has entered into a charter agreement with Siem Offshore for the offshore subsea construction vessel Siem Spearfish, Harkand said in a press release. The agreement covers a firm period of five years with three yearly options and will begin in May 2014. The vessel will support the development of the Harkand group in the provision of inspection, repair, and maintenance services in the deepwater GoM. The Class 2 dynamic positioning vessel, built by Vard in Norway, has a 250-ton crane and will be fitted with two Triton XLX ROVs as well as a complete survey spread.

EUROPE
Statoil, partners will extend Statfjord production Statoil, Centrica, and ExxonMobil have decided to extend production from the Statfjord A platform in the North Sea until 2020, Statoil said in a press release. The company noted that the platform actually should have been shut down several years ago. Originally, the partnership hoped to recover 40% of the oil in the Statfjord field. The outcome so far is a record 66%, according to the release. The global average for oil fields is 35%. The goal is to recover 74% of the gas from Statfjord. Statfjord has gone from its original status as an oil field to the present, where mainly gas is produced.
Statoils Statfjord A platform will continue production in the North Sea until 2020. (Image by Harald Pettersen, courtesy of Statoil)

SOUTH AMERICA
Petrobras hits oil column, will test Iara presalt probe Petrobras will carry out a formation test on its ultra-deepwater Iara presalt discovery in the Santos basin offshore Brazil after hitting a 310-m (1,017-ft) hydrocarbon column. The company said in a press release that it had completed the drilling of the fifth exploration well in Block BM-S-11, which contains Iara. Well 3-RJS-715D (3-BRSA-1181D-RJS), informally known as Iara Alto ngulo (Iara High Angle), is
104

Italy plans to sell 3% of Eni to reduce debt Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta plans to sell 3% of Eni SpA as part of a program to raise as much as US $16 billion by disposing of state assets to reduce Europes secondbiggest public debt. Italys 30% stake in the oil company, which is split between the Treasury and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, wont fall below that level because of an Eni buyback that will reduce the shares outstanding, Letta said at a press conference. Italy also plans to sell stakes in STMicroelectronics NV, Grandi Stazioni SpA, Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani SpA, and Sace SpA.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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MOVE

PEOPLE
Oil States International Inc. appointed Bradley Dodson president and CEO of the accommodations business upon completion of its planned spin-off. Calfrac Well Services Ltd. welcomed Michael J. McNulty as CFO. Duma Energy Corp. named Pasquale V. Scaturro CEO and Charles F. Dommer president and COO of the company. Omega Completion Technology promoted John Donachie (left) to the role of managing director. Sami Iskander has taken over the role of COO of BG Group plc. Pellerin Energy Group named Cheri Baddock (left) head of marketing for the company as well as making her an account manager within Pellerin Water Solutions for the greater Houston region. Mark Bullmore (top right) joined ROMAR International as operations manager. The company appointed Zander Duncan (lower right) workshop supervisor. Magda Manosalva took over the position of CFO for Ecopetrol. Roger Keyte was promoted to senior advisor to the CEO of FairfieldNodal, and Morgan Gilmore moved up to sales manager for the data licensing division. Crane Worldwide Logistics welcomed Cedrick Young as global director of trade compliance and promoted Harry Gerritsen to customs and compliance
106

director of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Centrifuges Un-Limited appointed Davie Thomson (left) operations manager. Eve Sprunt (right) was honored as the 2013 recipient of the Society of Women Engineers top award, the Achievement Award. Robert L. Parker Jr. (left) retired from Parker Drilling after more than 40 years of service. He will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors. Statoil appointed ystein Michelsen (right) Tanzania country manager in Development and Production International, Sub-Saharan Africa. Paul Atkinson joined Lundin Petroleum as general manager for Malaysia and managing director for the companys Southeast Asia business. Concho Resources Inc. promoted Joe Wright and Will Giraud each to the position of executive vice president of the company and Steve Guthrie to senior vice president of business operations and engineering. Clay Bateman became vice president of the companys Texas business. CONSOL Energy announced the retirement of Randy Albert from his position as COO of the gas division after 34 years with the company. Clarence P. Cazalot Jr. was appointed to the board of directors of Spectra Energy Corp. Simon James became the operations director of DeepOcean UK.

Consumers Energy selected Ronn Rasmussen as vice president of strategy and research; Patty Poppe as vice president of customer experience, rates, and regulation; Garrick Rochow as vice president of customer operations and quality; Mary Palkovich as vice president of energy delivery; Rich Ford as vice president of transmission; and Guy Packard as vice president of generation operations. Chris McPherson (right) has taken on the role of director of sales for the Americas at ExproSoft AS. Willbros Group Inc. appointed Dan Hubbard (left) vice president of Tulsa operations for gas processing. Transocean Ltd. named Lars Sjbring senior vice president and general counsel. John Ebert moved up to the position of vice president of finance and business development for Saratoga Resources Inc. ABS named Dr. Richard Korpus (right) chief scientist of computational fluid dynamics.

COMPANIES
GE Oil & Gas celebrated the grand opening of its newly expanded Batam Island subsea manufacturing facility in Jakarta, Indonesia. The facilitys new high bay workshop will allow the company to begin manufacturing its first vertical subsea production trees in the Asia-Pacific region and increase local content in Indonesia. Schlumberger opened the Schlumberger Reservoir Laboratory in Brisbane, Australia. The 929-sq-m (10,000-sq-ft) facility offers a comprehensive set of rock mechanical evaluation services including
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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RUSSELL LAAS Tel: 713-260-6447 rlaas@hartenergy.com

Associate Publisher
DARRIN WEST Tel: 713-260-6449 dwest@hartenergy.com

tight rock analysis, field core handling, model calibration, and interpretation. The new laboratory is part of a global network of Schlumberger Reservoir Laboratories that focus on reservoir rock and fluid analyses. Legacy Measurement Solutions Inc. announced the opening of its newest facility in Brookfield Township, Ohio. The new manufacturing plant encompasses approximately 6,782 sq m (73,000 sq ft) and is part of a series of manufacturing expansions the company is undergoing to assist its customer base in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. HCL Technologies formally announced the opening of its Michigan Technology Development Center in Jackson, Mich. HCL will provide IT services to Con-

United States Canada / Latin America


1616 S. Voss Road, Suite 1000 Houston, Texas 77057 USA Tel: 713-260-6400 Toll Free: 800-874-2544 Fax: 713-627-2546

sumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, at this facility. The center will also serve as HCLs center of excellence for application- and infrastructurerelated operations, working with the HCL Global Learning & Development academy to provide training and development for next-generation IT technologies for its Michigan-based employees. Safetec, part of the ABS Group, opened a new competence center in Bergen, Norway, to provide education and training to organizations in the onshore and offshore markets. The center will provide clients with training in risk management, safety, and emergency management. Training methods will include a combination of scenario-based training, role play, skills training, workshops, and lectures.

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107

last

WORD

Drilling in the land-locked Caspian Sea poses challenges


Two jackups were built in modular form in Sharjah, shipped through the Volga-Don Canal System, and assembled in Astrakhan, Russia.
Tom OGallagher, Eurasia Drilling Co.

he Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world. It is, in fact, salty but is not connected to nor does it drain into an ocean. Its sea level is regulated by evaporation and is just under 30 m (98 ft) below sea level. Its 7,000-km (4,200-mile) coastline encompasses Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan. The sea has an average depth of 190 m (623 ft), and its deepest point is 1,025 m (3,362 ft). In winter almost one-third of the northern Caspian Sea freezes over. In summer the Iranian sector sees water surface temperatures of around 30C (86F). The major commercial activities in the Caspian Sea are oil and gas, tourism, and fishing. Since 90% of the worlds sturgeon population lives in the Caspian Sea, protecting the natural environment is very important. Hence, all oil and gas activities must obey a zero-discharge policy during drilling operations. Eurasia Drilling Co.s (EDC) offshore division, known as BKE Shelf, has its origins in Lukoil Shelf Ltd., which itself was founded in 1999. EDC entered the offshore drilling market in 2006 with the purchase of Lukoils Astra jackup in the Caspian Sea. BKE Shelf has since grown to be the largest independent offshore operator in Russia and currently has three jackups operating the Astra in Kazakhstan and the Saturn and Neptune jackups in Turkmenistan waters. A fourth jackup, Mercury, is under construction. EDC also provides drilling services on Lukoils ice-resistant offshore platform LSP-1 on the Korchagina field in the Russian sector. The contract for that rig is a life-ofdrilling contract. Since the start of drilling on this platform, more than 16 wells have been completed, and many of these are extended-reach wells with the longest being more than 7,600 m (24,928 ft). The Astra is a Baker Marine Services BMC-150-H design capable of drilling to 4,878 m (16,000 ft) in water depths up to 38 m (125 ft). It has been drilling in Russian and Kazakh waters and has been the workhorse for many discoveries, including the eight fields discovered by Lukoil. To date, the jackup has drilled 41 new wells and one workover.
108

Nineteen exploration and appraisal wells were drilled for Lukoil. A further exploration well was drilled for the KNK Consortium (Rosneft/Lukoil). Astra also drilled 11 directional development wells and performed a workover for Dragon Oil in the LAM field in the Turkmenistan sector. The jackup has also been used in the Kazakhstan sector, drilling 10 exploration and appraisal wells across the following fields: Tub-Karagan field for KMT and Rosneft; Kurmangazy field for KMG and Lukoil; Auezov, Khazar, and Tulpar fields for CMOC, KMG, Shell, and Oman Pearls Co.; Atash field for KMG and Lukoil; and NBlock for N-Operating Co. As of Aug. 1, 2013, another well was drilled on Pearls Block (Naryn-1) for CMOC. The Saturn was purchased from Transocean in 2011. Since then, this rig has drilled 34 new wells and performed 14 workovers. Thirty of the wells and all of the workovers were for Petronas in Turkmen waters. The year 2013 marked the beginning of a three-year contract to drill wells for Petronas in Turkmen waters. Saturn also drilled two exploration wells for Japan Azerbaijan Oil Co. offshore Azerbaijan and two exploration wells in the Kazakhstan sector one for AGIP KCO in the Kalamkas Block and one well for CMOC in the Pearls Block. BKE Shelf was recently awarded a three-year development drilling contract by Dragon Oil for its Cheleken development in Turkmenistan waters. BKE Shelf will service this contract with its two newbuild jackups. These LeTourneau S116E rigs were built by Lamprell in modular form in Sharjah and shipped through the Volga-Don Canal System for final assembly in Astrakhan, Russia. The rigs are capable of drilling to 9,146 m (30,000 ft) in up to 107 m (350 ft) of water. Neptune, the first newbuild, was recently completed and commissioned. The rig started work in November. It will be replaced by Mercury when the latter is completed in November 2014. Neptune has a commitment to drill for another client in Russian waters at the end of 2014. The future for the Caspian Sea looks very bright due to the large number of exploration licenses yet to be drilled. And if this leads to more discoveries, there will be a significant amount of development drilling required to put these fields online.
Januar y 2014 | EPmag.com

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