Imagination, Purpose, and Vision
- Behrooz Fattahi (Aera Energy)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- December 2011
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 18 - 21
- 2011. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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- 32 since 2007
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With the changing landscape of reservoir management, SPE has made dissemination of emerging technology a high priority. SPE meetings are excellent venues where you listen, debate, and discuss with some of the best brains in the industry on what will become the “next big thing,” possibly the game changer. We also look at what challenges the industry must face, and what technology can provide to help meet those challenges. This is a priceless experience. Whether it is a futuristic look at evolving reservoir surveillance and management technology (including data acquisition, high performance computing, processing, integration, visualization, and modeling), or what automated and intelligent applications of technology can do, SPE plays a key role in examining the path of progress toward the future of using game-changing technologies.
The balance between the global supply and demand for crude oil is becoming tighter, increasingly requiring our industry to face new and unique challenges. The significant challenges are in the areas of operation in the inhospitable deepwater Arctic and economic recovery of unconventional oils.
More than two-thirds of the remaining known world oil reserves are in the unconventional form that mostly comprises heavy, extra-heavy and oil sands, and bitumen. With the estimated proven oil reserves at approximately 1.2 trillion bbl, the current unconventional oil reserves add up to roughly 800 billion bbl. This is a large figure, but we must remember that the world’s remaining oil in place probably amounts to 6 trillion to 7 trillion bbl. The technical and environmental challenges of recovering this oil are immense.
While we will not run out of oil anytime soon, the significant challenge will be to produce oil at a pace to meet the energy demand from the growing global economies led by China and India. The US Energy Information Administration predicts that the demand for energy will rise to 700 quadrillion BTUs or by more than 50% by 2030. The same outlook also projects that more than 80% of this future energy consumption will be from fossil fuels.
A recent study by Energy Files shows that the gap between the oil supply and demand will grow dramatically to as much as 20 million B/D even with painful conservation measures in place. The alarming report requires our immediate attention.
The immense challenges ahead are global, multidimensional, complex, and interlaced. Failure in one area will have detrimental effects on others, posing a serious threat to our growth. These issues are many and some of the most critical ones we are clearly experiencing today, namely management of human assets, technology from development to application, process optimization, collaborative efforts, and managing risk and uncertainties. These are not new issues, but ones that have become the most critical to the future of oil supply.
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