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The Economics of Late Field Life Production

The development and up gradation of mature fields depends on the transformations in the balance

In case of mature field system and equipment upgrades, the two bottlenecks are:

- Managing created water when the normal design capability is exceeded

- Increasing solids production - sand/scale/corrosion by products influence separability of fluids (through interactions) and equipment efficiency (via fouling/accumulation).

Optimizing the design of late-life facilities and maximizing the recovery of hydrocarbon

The initial assessment would be mature field upgrades can be considered to be not a good value for money in comparison with previous field modifications wherein a marginal increase in production can result in a tremendous increase in recovery over the life of the field. Mature field upgrades face the disadvantage of resulting in an unequal increase in produced water throughput. Hence, the outlook of key Oil & Gas stakeholders with regards to mature field management is of minimum investment and breakdown maintenance.

Though late-life oil production is lesser than peak production, accomplishing a reasonable enhancement in production can increase revenue/economic field life and improve field recovery. However, accomplishing the outcomes needs a mind-set that looks at mature facility in terms of an asset with potential for ROI.

Upstream Separation

The outcome of modifications in production profile are witnessed throughout the facility, upstream separation vessels like the slug catchers and first stage separators are the ones that get affected mostly. The water cut increase in a mature oil field affects the separation due to increasing emulsion viscosity till an emulsion inversion point is overtaken.

A Robust Solution

The changes in production profile of a field across the life of the facility, updating a separator data sheet to outline new flow rate needs could be a traditional method. This results in an inefficient solution and not utilizing the opportunity to achieve optimal separator performance. An in-depth method that accomplishes detailed specifications for system upgrades, thereby enabling operators to progress with mature facility changes.

- Jess Potts
Published on:
June 9, 2015
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