In our close collaboration with asset teams, we’ve noticed three oil and gas technology trends, all related to the role of data in helping increase economic returns from hydrocarbon assets. The instrumentation of assets involved in the exploration and production generate significantly greater volumes of detailed geophysical and operational data than ever before. Geoscientists are taking advantage of best-of-breed software that enables them to analyze and interpret data volumes in support of better quality decisions. And, with the wealth and variety of data available, teams are continually looking for better ways to use data to improve productivity and profitability. The common theme across these oil and gas technology trends: data can drive greater efficiency throughout all phases of exploration, drilling, and production.
Oil and Gas Technology Trends Improving the Industry
1. The Availability of Greater Volumes of Geophysical and Operational Data
The latest instrumented exploration, drilling, and production technologies generate significantly greater volumes of data. For example, petabytes describe 3D geophysical characteristics obtained from seismic surveys. Downhole data tracks depth, direction, location, gamma ray, perforations, packers, shoe casings, and bridge plugs. Laboratory analysis of drilling cores characterizes the porosity, permeability, density of reservoir rock. Time-series (4D) geospatial data show how reservoir characteristics, such as fault geometries and fluid migration, change during the course of recovery. Production data tracks pressure, percentage saturation, water cut, and fluid recovery.
To truly benefit from the inherent value of these data, asset teams must make the investments in innovative, instrumented technologies, as well as the IT infrastructure to efficiently and securely capture, transmit, and store such large volumes of data.
2. The Use of Best-of-Breed Software and Analytical Tools
With the wealth of detailed data, geoscientists, and production engineers are turning to best-of-breed software to analyze geophysical and operational data. Software products like ELFEN, ESRI, LandMark Graphics, OpenWorks, Schlumberger, and SeisWorks are taking advantage of ever-increasing processing power to transform raw data into:
- field-scale 2D and 3D seismic interpretations and mappings.
- accurate fault mapping, critical flowing, or sealing windows definitions along faults.
- history matching comparisons of historical field production and pressures with values calculated from reservoir simulation models.
- geophysical models that characterize subsurface volumes, including formation shapes and thicknesses, lithologies, and permeability and porosity distributions.
These vendors continue to enhance the functionality of their products by taking advantage of new processor architectures and more efficient algorithms to give geoscientists greater analytical capabilities to obtain ever-greater insight from data. Despite the advantages of each of these products, individually they provide only a partial view of the characteristics, attributes, and performance metrics of hydrocarbon assets.
3. The Need for Collaborative Analysis
There may be as many as 20 different software products or tools used to analyze a single oil field. Often, the data format is unique or proprietary to the software. Although essential, isolated data hinders a multidisciplinary asset team from obtaining the maximum value and benefit from the data.
Forward-thinking team members are overcoming these limitations using visualization and analytic software that readily integrates multidisciplinary datasets and presents them in an environment that facilitates collaborative analysis and decision-making.
With a common environment for visualizing information geoscientists can:
- compare temporal seismic data with simulation models for more accurate history matches and a better understanding of the 4D seismic response.
- discover correlations that would have been missed looking at individual datasets alone.
- monitor tracers to track flow and determine if there is infiltration into other wells/areas.
- compare a reservoir simulation model against the actual reservoir performance to fine-tune the model.
- optimize wellbore placements with, geologic and driller’s targets, ellipsoids of uncertainty, alerts for horizon intersections, and faults below a user-specific angle.
- analyze field development over time, comparing estimated recovery with actual recovery and identifying changes in subsurface factors that influenced production.
The ability to integrate multidisciplinary datasets and visualize the information in an environment where every member of the asset team can readily analyze the interactions and effects of changing reservoir characteristics facilitates significantly better decisions at all stages of planning, drilling, completion, and production processes.
Integrate, Visualize, and Analyze Data with CoViz 4D
CoViz 4D answers the need to obtain even greater value from the wealth of subsurface and production data generated by multiple software packages as it integrates, visualizes, and analyzes diverse spatial and temporal datasets using sophisticated quantitative visualization methods. This software facilitates the integration of a wide range of industry-standard data and formats via a data registry module. Once integrated, the data are immediately available to all members of an asset team. Asset teams can view and interrogate datasets, filter data to focus a few key reservoir characteristics, and collaboratively determine the best course of action.
CoViz 4D helps asset teams maximize the value of diverse geophysical and production data, giving every member the ability to collaboratively make well-informed decisions.