Petroleum system modeling has mostly been the preserve of exploration departments in major oil companies, which have the specialist resources to execute these studies. However, as it is a dynamic tool for petroleum system analysis, it also has significant applications in the development stages.

It may provide information on several different aspects of the areas surrounding a discovery:

  • show which other closures were located on the same migration pathways from the same source and highlight the likely oil and gas distributions in these closures.

  • show which satellite accumulations were effective traps and their hydrocarbon composition.

  • The chance that the structure has been flushed with another hydrocarbon type, breached and re-charged, or only contains residual hydrocarbon may also be predicted.

The compositional information from a 3D petroleum system model can be valuable in:

  • Planning appraisal and satellite exploration drilling,

  • Facilities planning where the hydrocarbon composition and the number of satellites that will contribute to the plateau are important to design vs. economic decisions, and

  • Relinquishment decisions.

A discovery well has encountered oil and there is a significant volume of the reservoir updip of the well. 3D petroleum system modeling can be used in determining the possibility of a gas cap and the necessity of the investment in an updip appraisal well. Furthermore with multiple compartments of which only one has been tested the understanding of the effectiveness of the fault seal is critical to determine if the closure may have different hydrocarbon compositions.

The 3D petroleum system modeling can prioritize appraisal drilling to test structures that are most likely to have the desired fluid fill. Furthermore in the case of parts of the concession area has to be relinquished the 3D petroleum system modeling can be used to determine which areas has the lowest economical value in the development.

The high-resolution charge, thermal and pressure histories are important boundary conditions which are required to understand the genesis of the field and the original properties of the oils, and then to obtain an improved understanding of the conditions under which the development hydrocarbons could have taken place (e.g.biodegradation, multi-phase hydrocarbon filling, thermal maturation, water washing, gravitational segregation, hydrocarbon migration along faults, etc).

This provides the best possible definition of the charge, temperature and pressure histories, which will then be available to improve analyses of the genesis and distribution of Hydrocarbons.

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