Greater efficiencyMarch 9, 2017
TOGY talks to Ziad Jeha, Schlumberger’s vice-president and general manager in Kuwait, about seismic operations in the Partitioned Neutral Zone (PNZ), the services and products the company offers to Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) and new technologies the company has introduced across the world and in the Kuwaiti market. Schlumberger is an oilfield services provider that has operated in Kuwait since 1939.
Schlumberger’s activities in Kuwait span exploration, production and drilling in the upstream sector and include seismic, reservoir evaluation and well construction. The company benefits from a strong relationship with KOC, sharing its technology and getting involved in training programmes and CSR initiatives. In May 2011, the company launched a mobile training centre. Schlumberger has also expressed interest in pursuing heavy oil opportunities.
• On new technology for heavy oil: “We are currently discussing a new technology for heavy oil with KOC whereby we can image the movement of the steam that is injected under the ground in the heavy oil formations.”
• On 4D at the Burgan field: “The 4D-seismic survey is not new in the industry or for KOC but this is the first time this method will utilise a high-resolution seismic acquisition system.”
• On activity in the PNZ: “We are hoping that activity in the PNZ will resume and Schlumberger is ready to help our client with the resources we have in Kuwait to restart their activity.”
How did the halt in operations of Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) affect your seismic project in the PNZ?
Most of the operations in the PNZ zone were shut down more than a year ago and therefore had a big effect in our business since most of our services halted. The only project that continued is the seismic operations because of its strategic nature and since the planning of this project by our client started many years prior to its execution.
Additionally, the capital expenditure and the operational planning for this seismic project would require months to resume in case of shut down due to its complexity and operational requirements.
The Joint Operations management, together with the non-operators management, decided wisely not to stop this project, understanding its complexity and the future expectations. The operations continued in a very efficient manner and were completed without a major safety incident. This is a point of pride due to the job’s specific challenges, such as the sabkhas, which are water areas that require specialised equipment and a considerable amount of labour – more than 1,000 employees – to execute this survey.
We completed the acquisition for this project a couple of months ago and the seismic data is being processed in our data processing centre. The feedback that we have received from our clients on this project has been very positive with the preliminary results of such a high-resolution seismic survey.
We are hoping that the activity in the PNZ will resume and Schlumberger is ready to help our client with the resources we have in Kuwait to restart their activity.
Could you update us on your ongoing lump sum turnkey project with KOC?
The lump sum turnkey project is a fully integrated drilling services project and the first of its kind in the country, and will provide direct access to well construction expertise, services and technologies linked through multidisciplinary work processes. I am glad to let you know that the project is going extremely well and we are ahead of time in delivering the wells.
This is a pilot project for KOC to examine the value of delivering wells under this new integrated approach, rather than having a drilling contractor and other oilfield services contractors perform work on the same well. The feedback from our client on this project is very positive and KOC are considering adopting this model for future work.
Did KOC initiate this type of operation to become more efficient?
Being an integrated project, there is a room for being more efficient to deliver wells to our clients. The model has been implemented in many parts of the worlds including neighbouring countries where there is enough evidence through track records that this approach is efficient.
The client’s objective is to complete wells ahead of time in a cost effective way. To support this, Schlumberger provided a technical team, an operations team and a safety team that look after operations from a contractual perspective, manage the contract and ensure that the job is fulfilling the standards of both Schlumberger and KOC.
Schlumberger has been awarded major production facilities in the Jurassic gasfields of North Kuwait. Can you let us know the progress of these projects?
In 2016, Schlumberger was awarded the construction of two facilities in the northern gasfields of Kuwait as early production facilities. With Schlumberger’s acquisition of Cameron Company in 2016, we will be able to serve better KOC with the process facilities.
The scope includes design, engineering, fabrication, installation, testing and commissioning of the two facilities, which will process both oil and gas. Schlumberger will operate and maintain these production facilities afterwards for a period of five years. The facility shall consist of oil and gas processing and treatment sections with associated systems to receive and process high-pressure sour gas reservoir fluids from onshore production wells, with sulphur recovery units.
The construction of these facilities is ongoing and all efforts are in place in order to deliver these projects on time.
Will heavy oil be a focus for Schlumberger in the near future?
Schlumberger continues to invest in new technologies to help our clients in many challenging aspects, and heavy oil is one of them. We introduced a new technology for Kuwait in 2016 that is the first tool that can obtain a good volumetric sample of the heavy oil. It has already been deployed successfully in Kuwait and will continue to be used.
Moreover, we have deployed the multi-phase meters for the highest quality testing in heavy oil.
We are currently discussing a new technology for heavy oil with KOC whereby we can image the movement of the steam that is injected under the ground in the heavy oil formations. For this, we are deploying a 3D vertical seismic profile, or VSP, a tool that goes underground to measure velocities while simultaneously doing surface high resolution seismic surveys. With these combined integrated data sets, KOC are able to get high-quality data which could be a solution for the challenge that KOC faces today in monitoring the injected steam in heavy oil formations.
KOC is embarking on a time-lapse seismic. What is the importance of this?
Schlumberger has just completed a 3D-seismic survey using the UniQ single sensor technology providing high resolution seismic for the Burgan field. The seismic data is being processed. Following the 3D-seismic survey, KOC embarked on conducting a time-lapse seismic survey as a 4D pilot over part of the Burgan field. The intention is to measure the changes in the reservoir over time utilising a 3D-seismic design.
The 4D-seismic survey is not new in the industry or for KOC but this is the first time this method will utilise a high-resolution seismic acquisition system.
What is new in Schlumberger when it comes to the supply of drilling rigs?
Schlumberger has been an active player in the land rigs business for more than 50 years. We operate rigs in North America, South America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. It is our stance that the rig is an integral part of the well delivery process and Schlumberger Land Rigs was created to develop a step change in what is available on the market today.
We have developed a complete rig engineering and manufacturing capability. Cameron brings industry-leading expertise in rig equipment engineering and manufacturing. Products include pressure control devices, control systems, pipe handling equipment and top drives.
“Rig of the Future” is the name of an engineering project to develop a next-generation system. Software and hardware technology provide a well delivery platform. This platform integrates drilling services to provide a step change in drilling performance.
Our portfolio of products and services spans from the drill bit all the way to the rig at the surface. The “Rig of the Future” brings these discrete pieces together. We take an integrated systems approach and engineer the complete drilling system.
“Rig of the Future” is a showcase for the latest drilling and automation technologies. It provides improved mechanisation and equipment automation. It also provides process automation and collaborative workflows for the well construction process.
We have recently conducted a technology day for KOC demonstrating the “Rig of the Future.” The workshop was well attended and had good traction from our clients. We are waiting for the right time and opportunity to deploy this new technology in Kuwait.
What are other new technologies Schlumberger has recently deployed in Kuwait?
In 2016, KOC and Schlumberger established an in-house Artificial Lift Surveillance Center – the first of its kind in Kuwait. In other words, this is the first digital oilfield for artificial lift. The main objective of this centre is to monitor online around the clock selected electric submersible pumps (ESPs) across KOC oilfields. Monitoring the ESPs will minimise ESP shutdowns and trips, increase ESP uptime and maximise oil production.
This is achieved through an advanced and proven workflow based on technical experience, smart event recording and classifying, constant communication and team work between KOC field engineers and Schlumberger surveillance experts. A good number of young Kuwaitis are being trained to handle this centre and will eventually run this centre on their own. KOC is very satisfied with the performance and the value that this centre brings them.
What is Schlumberger’s involvement in promoting local nationals?
We have been present in Kuwait since 1939 serving our clients and collaborating to serve the industry in the oil and gas industry. One of our philosophies in Schlumberger is to recruit, train, develop and promote from where we operate. Therefore, recruiting of Kuwaitis is one of our top priorities.
At the same time, KOC has been very active in promoting and encouraging the young Kuwaitis to work in the oil and gas industry. Schlumberger’s employment of Kuwaitis has been our commitment to the in-country value for many years. We have been recruiting, training and developing young Kuwaitis and I am proud to state that we currently have a good number of Kuwaiti nationals in middle and senior managerial positions in Kuwait and internationally.