Key technology for characterisation in QatarFebruary 4, 2019
Amit Singh, Schlumberger’s managing director for Qatar, talks to TOGY about the most needed services in the market, future trends in offshore drilling and how Qatar can enhance and sustain its production. Schlumberger’s oilfield services include drilling, well characterisation, completions, subsea works, production, well intervention and well testing.
• On gasfield challenges in Qatar: “On the gas side, Qatar has the biggest non-associated gas reservoir, which has high-H2S and high-CO2 content. This adds its own unique challenges and operational constraints in everything we do, from completions to drilling practices and well-test practices. “
• On the impact of technology in the Qatari market: “Technology plays a big role in reducing the cost of development and finding and characterising reserves. Today, there are a lot of workover and production enhancement projects on the way. Technology is a huge differentiation for us, which is why we have been very successful. “
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Which services are most needed in this market, and do you expect to see a shift in the type of activity with the development of the North Field?
Our most prolific activity has conventionally been in the characterisation side with wireline logging and services and testing. We have been a key partner with QP and all the affiliates in acquiring test data during the appraisal well drilling campaign in the North Field.
We will continue to see expansion in the reservoir characterisation space, where we are currently engaged with subsurface data acquisition and expansion in drilling from new projects. And then lastly, a lot of stimulation is needed to produce from the reservoir. Schlumberger Qatar has stimulation vessels operating in the waters today – fully dedicated to Qatar.
So, we feel those three places are the biggest contributors to activity today, and obviously we provide a lot of completion hardware and digital solutions to the industry as well.
But in terms of growth, that is going to happen across all the streams from characterisation and drilling to production because there will be a lot of need for understanding the reservoir and subsurface. We believe we have the most important technology to understand and characterise the subsurface through our wireline and testing suite of technologies and feel we will be playing a very important role in contributing to that understanding of subsurface.
Some studies suggest that the global offshore drilling market will almost double by 2026. How will Qatar feature in that expansion?
I think Qatar has a big part of it. The Qatari market is primarily offshore driven. If you look at the rig count today, it will increase. In fact, it’s among the largest expansions in the world in terms of gas development projects. The oilfield services industry in Qatar will have to scale up and be ready for the next round of expansion.
How can Qatar enhance and sustain its current production levels and maximise returns?
The production of gas from the North Field is the highest in the world. The reservoir quality is very good and as a result of that, the economics of the gas are very lucrative.
One thing that I have noticed in many of the places where I have worked is that projects can get delayed by a few weeks or a few months for different reasons. In Qatar, they accelerate. Therefore, things happen earlier than you forecast.
We have been challenged, sufficiently, to deliver things at the fastest rate possible. Some of the mobilisation works can take a fairly long time but working collaboratively with our client we were able to do it much quicker and deliver it on the well site and start the work. So frankly, with the talent we have, the team and the very collaborative spirit with the customers, we feel a lot can be achieved by this.
Given QP’s ambitious plans, how are oilfield services providers preparing to meet the demands imposed upon them?
The country and all the oilfield services companies will have to have their own scalability and investment plans. Resource allocation and competent human resources will have to be mobilised for the increase in capacity. We have grown significantly in the last year and we expect that to be growing multiple-fold for the next few years.
We have adopted different ways of working and we have modernised our systems not just in Qatar but globally to improve and be more efficient in our operating and delivery model.
This entails how we use standardised tools, improve reliability, reducing our transport and mobilisation costs, making a faster turnaround of tools to the well site, so we believe that our ability to scale up is the best in the industry today because of our own internal processes. We can mobilise at very short notice and scale up much faster.
In light of the scale-up, what is Schlumberger Qatar doing to achieve efficiencies in the country?
We are investing in expanding into a new centre of efficiency base, which will start up soon. It is primarily for maintenance and testing of technology before going to the field. For instance, when you put a wireline down hole, with all the vibrations and shock these things don’t come back the same way they went in, so they need to be maintained before you can send them back for the next job. Many companies don’t do it locally but at Schlumberger we do. This allows us to be both in-country self-sufficient and also reduce the time it takes for the tool to rotate between the jobs.
We have inherent inefficiencies managed and in fact we are proactively working with our suppliers and logistic partners to see how we can help them to scale up as well so that the whole ecosystem grows and improves. Additionally, we are proactively looking at making partnerships with engineering companies in Qatar to handle the scale.
What are the greatest oil and gasfield challenges in this market?
On the gas side, Qatar has the biggest non-associated gas reservoir, which has high-H2S and high-CO2 content. This adds its own unique challenges and operational constraints in everything we do, from completions to drilling practices and well-test practices.
With high corrosion, these wells must be very regularly monitored for well integrity issues in order to understand if there are any issues with the casing or the well bore. There are also a lot of geomechanical issues while depleting the reservoir. These giant reservoirs could have potential subsidence on the surface; you could have potential issues across the reservoir and it could damage the reservoir, so that must be proactively managed. Reservoir management continues to be critical to long-term exploitation of the asset.
Oilfield challenges centre around managing the water that comes along with the oil, entailing how to delay the water or reduce the water that is being produced so a lot of technologies around that are very useful. We also use artificial lift techniques to maximise production using some of the cutting-edge rigless technologies called ZEiTECs. These are proving to be very useful and successful along with other techniques for water management.
There’s an obvious need for EOR coming up so we will be a part of the surveillance and characterisation of those wells. There are also a lot of reservoirs where there are long laterals, but they are very slim, so technologies such as GeoSphere, which helps you to place the well in those very narrow reservoirs at a very precise location, are critical.
How has the Qatari market evolved in terms of its receptiveness to new technologies?
Technology plays a big role in reducing the cost of development and finding and characterising reserves. Today, there are a lot of workover and production enhancement projects on the way. Technology is a huge differentiation for us, which is why we have been very successful.
Whether regionally or globally, Qatar is one of the hubs of technology. In fact, the technology used here is more prolific than in many other parts of the world and the reason being is that first of all the flow rates of gas and the content are different.
To manage that, you have to innovate way beyond what anyone else needs, so you have to almost be steps ahead of anyone else because this is the biggest in the world; you can’t find something that is even close to this. This means you have to reinvent yourself and have very close collaboration with our customers and our technology centres in wireline logging and stimulation.
We provide software such as INTERSECT and ECLIPSE for reservoir simulation and Petrel for geological modelling, so we have lots of software solutions which are currently used by our clients to make their decisions.