Legends of Production and Operation
- _ JPT staff (_)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2009
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 33 - 47
- 2009. Copyright is held partially by SPE. Contact SPE for permission to use material from this document.
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During the 2009 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in October, JPT honored eight industry pioneers of production and operations for their outstanding contributions. As 2009 SPE technical director for Production and Operations, I was honored to host the luncheon and present awards to the attending recipients. Satish Pai, vice president of Worldwide Operations with Schlumberger, spoke on behalf of his company, which made substantial contributions to the event.
Production and operations is known as the backbone of the E&P industry. Simply put, it pays the bills. It involves complex mixtures of ﬂuids and compounds, utilizes energy to extract more energy products for everyone’s use, and frequently also produces unwanted byproducts.
A concise history of production and operations helps bring its advances into perspective:
In the storage and transportation area, it began as dikes and ponds for storage, and barrels loaded onto wagons or rail cars. It progressed into storage tanks and transportation by trucks. It has since evolved into the use of pipelines.
Measurement has gone from the strapping of tanks to meters, lease automatic custody-transfer units, and, most recently, to intricate chemical ﬁngerprint and compositional measurements with physical attribute identiﬁcation.
While much early production ﬂowed naturally, more advanced means of artiﬁcial lift have become necessary to extract ﬂuids with increasing efﬁciency.
Stimulation methods have gone from bullet perforation, through the use of nitroglycerin, to acid and other chemical means. It now includes various forms of hydraulic fracturing, gravel packs, and the like. The latest means are taking advantage of more sophisticated ﬂuids and proppant materials, as well as more precise measurement and placement methods.
It includes development and utilization of secondary and tertiary means of recovering hydrocarbons, including waterﬂooding, steam injection, chemical ﬂoods, surfactant ﬂoods, and microbial injection, to name a few techniques. There is no doubt that advances in these methods have greatly improved the proﬁtability of many a ﬁrm.
As the costs of power and scarcity of labor continue their rise, production and operations personnel have used their innovative senses to stay ahead of the curve. New techniques and a “can do” attitude have resulted in many creative ideas, turning into items that the industry now simply cannot do without.
The legends, and countless others like them, are quite special. They may be known as petroleum engineers. However, much like the makeup of SPE, there may be a little mechanical, chemical, electrical, civil, or industrial engineer in them, too, as well as an understanding of geosciences, operations management, and economics.
The JPT Legends of Production and Operations program recognized remarkable achievements and eight extraordinary people—people who deserve our gratitude for making our jobs easier and everyone’s life better through their efforts to improve productivity. Our hats are collectively off to you.
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