A Long-Term View From Multiple Angles
- Stephen Rassenfoss (JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 44 - 49
- 2014. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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SPE Technical Directors' 2014 Outlook
A condensed version of what is on the minds of SPE’s technical directors is: The industry needs multidisciplinary, data-driven ways to adapt to what is ahead, focus on what is critical for decision making, and take a long view as another generation takes over.
In other words, this group of six representing key industry disciplines has a lot of ideas. When SPE’s technical directors met in October 2013, they discussed two big ideas that may become group projects: better management of critical processes to ensure they are done safely, and caring for aging fields.
A discussion of whether managing aging fields is worthy of greater attention brought up the challenge of permanently plugging offshore wells not designed with current technology in mind, whether worn tubulars in old wells can withstand the stress of life-extending fracture treatments, and estimating how long a well is likely to be producing.
“It crosses disciplines. There are problems, and opportunities to get more out of fields, that cross the lines,” said Roland Moreau, SPE technical director for Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility, who has taken a personal interest in process safety.
Smarter, faster use of data is a common theme. David Curry, SPE technical director for Drilling and Completions, wants to see drilling systems that are wired to manage the data needed to observe what is ahead and intelligently respond to it. Olivier Houzé, SPE technical director for Reservoir Description and Dynamics, sees the need for better systems to highlight critical bits of information from all the data flowing in as more sensors are built into wells.
Shauna Noonan, SPE technical director for Production and Operations, is interested in better long-term production management of unconventional wells. Her concern overlaps Houzé’s work on predicting reservoir life for unconventional wells because “part of the plan is for retirement, but how do you do that when you do not know what the retirement age is?”
When it comes to petroleum engineering educators, the average retirement age is uncomfortably close for two-thirds of those in academia. The academic crew change comes at a time when there has been a surge in the number of students enrolled, putting stress on institutions that are struggling to keep up. Cindy Reece, SPE technical director for Management and Information, said SPE needs to actively foster new ideas and greater cooperation between academia and industry to ensure a quality education for future petroleum engineers. “When we look at what is needed in the future, what we have today is not sustainable,” Reece said.
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