This article, written by Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 100024, "Making Our Mature Fields Smarter - An Industry wide Position Paper From the 2005 SPE Forum," by R. Murray, SPE, BP plc; C. Edwards, SPE, Shell; K. Gibbons, SPE, Helix-RDS; S. Jakeman, SPE, Shell; G. de Jonge, SPE, Chevron; S. Kimminau, SPE, Schlumberger; L. Ormerod, SPE, Weatherford; C. Roy, SPE, Total; and G. Vachon, SPE, Baker Hughes, prepared for the 2006 SPE Intelligent Energy Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, 11–13 April.

This paper summarizes findings of the SPE Making our Mature Fields Smarter Forum, September 2005. Participants in the Forum granted permission to present this paper on the basis that the authors represent the views of neither SPE nor of the participants' companies. We are delivering smarter fields to add value to our business. But companies do not have a common vision of what a truly smart field will look like, which contributes to the difficulty of assigning a value to "smartness." Collaboration and visualization technologies are enablers required to integrate across the core business processes and permit people working with these processes to assimilate the huge and diverse volumes of data and information.


During the past decade, the smart-field concept has developed sufficiently that several operators, notably BP, Chevron, Norsk Hydro, Saudi Aramco, Shell, and Statoil, have flagship fields where many, but probably not all, of the smart-field technologies have been deployed. The development and deployment of these technologies normally has been in partnership between a major operator and one or more key suppliers.

Major operators have specific terminology for smart fields as listed below. In this paper, the term "smart field" is used to mean any of the following terminology.

Operator: BP, Terminology: "Field of the Future"; Operator: Chevron, Terminology: "i-field"; Operator: Shell, Terminology: "Smart Fields"

During the past decade, there has been an increasing appreciation within the industry that much of the future lies with the effective management of existing production and the continued development of mature fields. What may not be so clear is how to apply smart technologies to mature fields that have legacy infrastructure and a long production history. Participants felt that maturity in itself makes a challenge for deployment and enforces the need for effective change management.

The full-length paper summarizes the findings from this forum. Fifty people attended the forum. Representation included six operators, several major suppliers, eight specialist suppliers, and three consultancies.

Vision and Value

Despite development and deployment of smart technologies, companies do not have a common vision of a truly smart field or of the value that can be assigned to the deployment of smart technologies. The industry has been slow to take up many of the smart-field technologies. Standardization of the basics and more sharing of experiences could help break a perception that smart fields are complex, expensive, and unreliable.

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