The e-Field -- (The Electric Oilfield)
- Ian Jack (BP Exploration)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Middle East Oil Show, 17-20 March, Manama, Bahrain
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2001. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.1.9 Four-Dimensional and Four-Component Seismic, 3.3 Well & Reservoir Surveillance and Monitoring
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Time lapse seismic ("4D") shows an impressive growth curve. Recent work on multi-component data ("4C") also shows good potential for the future. These technologies offer ways in which we could improve our reservoir management. For time lapse work, new techniques should allow us to improve the threshold for detection of the seismic effects of pressure and fluid changes. Furthermore, these techniques will allow re-shoots at minimal cost, on a schedule driven by the needs of the reservoir engineers. For multi-component technology, the benefits of imaging with shear waves through gas-filled sediments are already well demonstrated. However, gas clouds are only one of several problems which can be impacted -- there are many potential benefits to be had from this technology, especially in the marine environment.
It seems very likely that these two major new technologies will merge. A strong enabler would be the availability of affordable emplaceable seismic detector systems. For example, if a system could be installed for not much more than a conventional towed-cable seismic survey, it would be irresistible and would open up an entirely new market. We will then have the beginnings of what we might call an "electric oilfield" or "e-field". Our vision is that by combining the imaging techniques above with continuously available engineering data such as pressure, temperature, and saturation coming from emplaced downhole instrumentation, we will achieve a step improvement in reservoir surveillance and thus allow our engineers to improve the management of their reservoirs. The challenges will be to speed the implementation of these systems and to integrate the data successfully, because historically new technologies take years to achieve acceptance. "Cost" and "value" have to be understood and reconciled, and this takes time.
Time lapse seismic ("4D") is a relatively new technique which has not yet reached the state of maturity enjoyed by the conventional 3D seismic method. However, the use of 4D technology is growing rapidly both in our company and within the industry, and for good reasons - mostly because, in suitable cases, we can see the effects of fluid and pressure changes within the reservoir.
Furthermore, data between wells is already scarce, and in new reservoirs with fewer and more complex wells, it is becoming even more scarce. 3D seismic data helps to provide information between the wells, and 4D makes this additional data dynamic.
Two 3D data sets offer advantages over one, in terms of reducing ambiguities in interpretation - an unexpected benefit which we have found from 4D.
Thus, 4D technology is already in use and we will be conducting an increased number of these surveys in our company this year.
Multi-component data, although not a new concept in the seismic world, has seen a resurgence of interest, mainly offshore where the data quality is generally better than on land and where new underwater detector technology has made the implementation of the technique more feasible. In the marine environment the detectors consist of motion sensors for the three orthogonal directions, plus pressure, hence the term "4C".
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