The hydrocarbons development in the petroleum system has shown that it evolves day by day towards an environmentally sustainable operation. Each methodology and analysis that is proposed allows to identify synergies and important technological advances that are becoming better practices.

This study is carried out in an area where hydrocarbon resources converge: source rock and conventional reservoirs, with important water sources (Figure 1). The research is focused on proposing a conceptual field development plan for an organic rich mudstone play with a conventional hydrocarbon field that is starting its Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). The operational synergy scope was concentrated in the areas with highest hydrocarbon potential and important resources, as: water, land, and gas use, as the optimal operation of facilities that generate a significant costs reduction.


Rich organic mud plays resources and the oil reserves in the conventional fields represent significant hydrocarbons volumes. However, the oil and gas industry requires more efficient and environmentally sustainable projects.

The topics of greatest importance in sustainability, such as the water footprint, knowledge of aquifers, the use of gas, the correct use of the land and the well integrity were treated in detail in order to determine synergy actions that allow the continuity of the conventional operation supported by the new knowledge provided by the source rock resources in the same area of operation.


In order to analyze the possible synergy, the methodology was divided into three main parts (Figure 2). Initially, identify the critical points for the development of Unconventional Resources. The second consisted in identifying the current operations in the development of Conventional Reservoirs, and identifying the best practices that could be implemented to obtain a process optimization. Lastly, apply the Low Impact Technologies implemented in the sustainable development of hydrocarbons. Finally, the identification of prioritized actions is achieved as a result of the interception of the activities carried out.

Mitigation of Environmental Impact and Risk Reduction. A few years ago Ecopetrol carried out an interesting investigation analyzing a large number of incidents that occurred in the main areas of shale development in the United States between 2014 and 2018 (Figure 3). In total, more than 16,000 operational incidents were analyzed in the basins with public information from the states of Colorado, Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

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