November 2002

What's new in production

SPE meeting in San Antonio; new reservoir simulation development

Nov. 2002 Vol. 223 No. 11 
What's New in Production 

Robert E. Snyder, 
Executive Engineering Editor  


SPE Annual Meeting. San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center was the site for the September 29-October 2, SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. The event officially drew 8,704 attendees from around the world. Some 400 companies, subsidiaries and divisions were represented in the 200 exhibits covering more than 100,000 ft2 of exhibit space. The Convention Center is a great facility, located on the River Walk. While the exhibits and meetings were spread out over four floors of the building, SPE did a good job of organizing the events and posting signs all over the place. 

The attendance was off some from the 9,283 average of the previous 10 annual meetings. This is, I believe, the effect of the recessed spending by the oil companies this summer – as further evidenced by more than 400 stacked U.S. rigs. In technical sessions, more than 380 papers were presented on a broad range of subjects. It was my perception that these sessions were somewhat lacking in drilling and production operation reports this year. I believe that is because oil companies did not encourage the contribution of case history reports this year due to tighter budgets, time constraints for their reduced staffs, and new responsibilities for “consolidated” operations. 

The Society of Petroleum Engineers remains active, serving its more than 53,000 members, representing more than 100 countries. It sponsors more than 35 conferences and exhibitions each year. 

Faster reservoir simulation. Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) announced, on September 30, the availability of its flagship product ECLIPSE reservoir simulation parallel solution (ECLIPSE Parallel) on high-performance Intel-based platforms, including Intel Pentium 4 processors and the Intel Xeon processor family. ECLIPSE Parallel will also soon be available on the Intel Itanium 2 processor. 

Oil and gas companies depend heavily on computer simulations of oil/gas reservoirs to maximize reserve profitability. Efficient reservoir management is a team effort involving engineers, geoscientists and economic analysts, all of whom need to see a simulation of how the reservoir might function under changing conditions. The new simulation solution runs on open standards -based Intel architecture, rather than supercomputers. It brings scalable speed at an affordable price to the simulation by spreading computations over multiple central processing units (CPUs). Rapid iterative simulation of reservoir properties increases model accuracy, thus providing better reserves forecasting and improved economic performance. 

Companies are now focusing attention / spending on more complex reservoirs that require models to be built on a finer scale to achieve accurate forecasting. Five years ago, a model of 100,000 cells was considered large; but today, that number approaches one million, the developer says. As the number of cells increases, the computation power required to produce a solution also rises. To help oil/gas companies achieve large-scale, overnight simulation runs, SIS has developed a solution that is able to spread numerical reservoir simulation computations over many Intel
Xeon processors.

 ECLIPSE Parallel splits a single simulation run into many smaller computations that are each processed by individual processors, thus reducing the time to run any given simulation. To the end user, the only noticeable difference over conventional processes is the decrease in time of the computation run. The ability to use this solution in conjunction with standard hardware and operating systems improves price / performance. 

The new system is beneficial when faster simulation turnaround is required. Large compositional models traditionally require several days of processing. Now, these models can be processed overnight, enabling better results analysis and faster decisions of field operating practices and options. And "off the shelf" hardware can be built into a large processing cluster, providing cost efficient parallel simulation solutions for use in multi-user environments. ECLIPSE Parallel is licensed and supported by GeoQuest, the software division of SIS. For general information visit:; or

Early-warning system for pipeline corrosion. Expensive, corrosion-related pipeline failures could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new software tool being developed by Shell Global Solutions. Highlighting changes in the internal corrosivity of a pipeline system, the new tool performs calculations and warns operators of upward trends, allowing them to investigate causes and take immediate corrective action. If, for example, there was a problem with the chemical inhibitor, or if the amount of water in the line increases, this new software would warn the operator instantly. 

As the developer explains, “When a pipeline fails, the corrosion engineer can often look in the operations database to find out what went wrong. We’re bringing together all the relevant data in our new tool to identify corrosivity trends so that operators can start investigating immediately.” The tool, to be jointly developed with the licensors of Shell’s new hydrocarbon accounting system, TietoEnator, will be a time-based version of the company’s pipeline corrosivity estimation software packages, Hydrocor and Corat. Shell Global Solutions comprises six independent technology companies within the Royal Dutch / Shell Group. For projects in the U.S. that entail engineering services, Shell Global Solutions (US) will retain appropriately licensed engineers as necessary. 

Optimizing the North Sea infrastructure. Kerr-McGee Corp. has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Kerr-McGee Oil (U.K.) has successfully commenced production from Tullich and Maclure fields, utilizing the company’s existing infractructure in Quadrant 9 in the UK sector. Both fields were developed as subsea tiebacks to the company’s Gryphon ‘A’ FPSO facility. Tullich field, in Block 9/23a, 100% owned / operated by Kerr-McGee, achieved first production August 28 and is producing at 7,500 bopd from two wells. Production is expected to peak at 15,000 bopd from four wells in early 2003. Maclure (Kerr-McGee 33.33%) came onstream as a tieback to Gryphon in July. The BP-operated field in Block 9/19 is producing through a single well at 12,000 bopd.

In addition to the Gryphon tiebacks, Kerr-McGee installed a new gas pipeline system linking Gryphon, Tullich and Maclure to the SAGE gas export system at the Beryl Alpha platform operated by Mobil North Sea. UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson, said, “This combined project is an excellent example of UK operators maximizing the value of existing assets and bringing forward undeveloped discoveries to production.” WO


Comments? Write:

Related Articles
Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.