SAUDI ARAMCO. Saudi Aramco’s Exploration and Producing chief detailed the company’s Intelligent-Fields (I-Fields) successes and future challenges at the Intelligent Energy 2008 Conference recently in Amsterdam.
Amin H Nasser told delegates at the Intelligent Energy Conference about Saudi Aramco’s long-range vision of increasing the Kingdom’s resource base and hydrocarbon recovery return rates. The conference took place in Amsterdam.
In the conference, under the theme 'The Future is Here — the Value of Innovation and Integration', presenters addressed the ways I-Fields can improve the management of hydrocarbon resources. Aramco's Nasser was joined at the event by CEOs Helge Lund of StatoilHydro and Andrew Gould of Schlumberger, along with Royal Dutch Shell E&P Director Malcolm Brinded.
Citing a growing global increase in population and energy demand, Nasser said hydrocarbons would continue to be the world’s primary energy source for some time to come, prompting producers to look for new reserves and maximum returns on existing reservoirs through advancements in technology. He noted that Saudi Aramco’s current plans are to increase production capacity by 20% through the largest capital expansion programme in the company’s 75-year history.
In the long-term, Nasser highlighted plans to substantially increase the resource base and hydrocarbon recovery factors of existing fields.
Nasser told conference delegates about the company’s investment in intelligent fields and their implementation, through an integrated process of real-time measurement, optimisation and control. He detailed the use of subsurface and surface sensors, which transmit well and field production data in real time to data centers and asset teams.
In addition, earth models are continually updated to reassess optimisation strategies using integrated simulation environments that combine reservoir, well and surface characteristics.
He also shared Saudi Aramco’s successes with intelligent Maximum Reservoir Contact. “In particular,” he said, “all of our new fields are intelligent fields. The latest is the Abu Hadriyah–Fadhili–Khursaniyah field development (AFK), which is slated to commence production at 500 million barrels per day in about two months.
Wells in this field are equipped with remotely operated chokes, emergency shut-down systems, permanent downhole monitoring systems, compact multiphase flow meters and where applicable in some wells, variable speed drive pumps and smart well completions.” He also noted the field development savings created, citing the example of Haradh Increment-III, in which 32 such wells are doing work that otherwise would require 280 conventional wells.
Another benefit he highlighted is in sustainable field performance and reducing water cut. Nasser said the Ghawar Field’s water cut, which after more than 50 years of production, is less than half of the world average. This is a testament to the superior and long-term focused reservoir management practices at Saudi Aramco.
The E&P chief explained the company’s plans for an Upstream Professional Development Centre, which will train its professionals in an immersive and integrated manner. That will help young professionals hit the ground running and quickly become productive contributors in this new era of intelligent fields.
Looking ahead, Nasser told delegates about some of the new technologies Saudi Aramco is pursuing, including extreme-reservoir-contact wells; passive seismic monitoring; gigacell simulation; and nanorobotic field monitoring and control.
“In the future, intelligent fields will be much more sophisticated,” Nasser said. “They will eliminate the mundane tasks of monitoring and running optimization systems, creating truly innovative and creative environments that bring out the true capabilities of our talented professionals. The intelligent field journey so far has been an interesting and exciting one, but we are only at the beginning of that journey.”