Thursday, March 22, 2018

Exploration Technology in an Era of Change

"We've got to be careful how we define economic. Advances in technology make what is uneconomic today economic tommorow. Take deep water development. Five years ago we would have said a water depth of 4000 ft [1220 m] in the Gulf of Mexico is a no-no. Now, no problem. So when we talk about economic elephants, we are often talking about waiting for development technology to catch up to make those elephant economic. And the technology is catching up rapidly."

 "I'd like to offer a dissenting opinion and address the onshore prospects that a smaller company can deal with. I believe that if there are large fields left in the US, they are probably low-resistivity pay and stratigraphic traps that are virtually invisible to conventional technology. A lot of bright people have looked for oil and gas in the US, using mostly 1975-vintage technology. Very few explorationist have been equipped with a scanning electron microscope,modern seismic surveys, and expert petrography and log analysis. Very few know how to apply hydrodynamics or surface geochemistry. This is one of the great opportunities still left for "value-added production" - perhaps not on the scale of finds in Indonesia or Africa, but important nonetheless." 

" We think of multidisciplinary integration as a core competency - we are only as good as our ability to develop options based on our multidisciplinary evaluation of data. Accessing technology, with a capital "T", we do mainly by looking to the outside world. 
We think about exploration Technology in broad terms. We line up our technology under three banners : (1) techniques that reduce finding and development costs, (2) those that shorten the time between discovery and production, and (3) those that improve fluid recovery. For us, 3D seismic plays a role in all three categories and increasingly is routinely integrated with other data. "

" I think the major change for us was the power of integrating geochemical with geological, reservoir geophysical and other kinds of data on the workstation and the linkage of many workstations and data bases. The interpreter or interpreting team has access to a variety of information and modeling software, including balancing geologic sections, basin modeling. This approach requires more teamwork and further integration of staff specialist in the exploration and development process."

"There is another technical challenge that I alluded to earlier: finding all those now-invisible stratigraphic traps. Sequence stratigraphy is a key to some problems. For gas wells, an understanding of overpressure is essential. "

"We bypassed several reservoirs in Nigeria and the US Gulf Coast because they were not recognized on the logs. We discovered them by doing reservoir geochemistry on cores. The methods don't work so well on cuttings, so we are trying to collect more sidewall cores in problematic areas. The geochemistry itself is cheap- about $150 per sample."

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