2021 SPE President Thomas A. Blasingame
Tom Blasingame will take office as 2021 SPE President during the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition to take place in October. He shares his views of the key challenges facing SPE and the industry and what his goals will be during his presidency.
Managing Pressure To Mitigate Environmental Impact
Discussed are real-world examples of the less often considered but valuable environmental benefits delivered via MPD.
SPE Honors 2020 International Award Recipients During Annual Meeting
The SPE International Awards honor members whose outstanding contributions to SPE and the petroleum industry merit special distinction. Recipients of the 2020 International Awards will be recognized during the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
Solving the Gummy Bears Mystery May Unlock Greater Shale Production
The source of gummy, damaging polymer gunk that has flowed from Oklahoma oil wells is becoming clear, and one of the lessons learned is that shale plays require petroleum engineers to learn more about chemistry.
Water, Water Everywhere: Using ML and Game Theory To Win at Produced-Water Forecasting
Advanced machine-learning methods combined with aspects of game theory are helping operators understand the drivers of water production and improve forecasting and economics in unconventional basins.
Petrobras Trims Drilling by Months With Software That Will One Day Automate Its Offshore Rigs
Brazil’s national oil company details the results of 6 years of real-time drilling monitoring. The next step is to move toward optimization, then automation.
New Fracture Diagnostic Test Delivers Tight Reservoir Data in 2 Hours or Less, Bolsters Future of Engineered Completions
Unconventional producers around the world have been hamstrung by expensive and cumbersome options when it comes to obtaining reservoir data. Among the latest ways to break past these barriers is a new method developed by Canadian researchers and field tested in Australia’s unconventional frontier.
SPE Honors 2020 International Award Recipients During Annual Meeting – Part II
The SPE International Awards honor members whose outstanding contributions to SPE and the petroleum industry merit special distinction. Recipients of the 2020 International Awards will be recognized during the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
Online Top Picks
In this feature, we highlight some of the best stories from our SPE magazine websites.
H2 Economy: Hype, Horizon, or Here?
Hydrogen is big news, and not for the first time. But this time could be different. This article looks at the current state of enabling technology, obstacles to a hydrogen economy, and signs that the hydrogen economy could be emerging.
Using a Digital Twin in Predictive Maintenance
Often it is too difficult to create the fault conditions necessary for training a predictive maintenance algorithm on the actual machine. A digital twin generates simulated failure data, which can then be used to design a fault-detection algorithm.
Canadian Oil Sands Output Cut 1 Million B/D: What Could Go Wrong?
Oil sands producers predicted they could reduce production by 300,000 B/D by turning down steam injection. This will test methods to reduce, rather than stop, injection to avoid the damage caused by rapid cooling in some wells.
Online Top Picks
In this new feature, we highlight some of the best stories from our SPE magazine websites.
Cybersecurity: Preventing Infection in a Body of Data
The oil and gas industry is increasingly characterized by complex connectivity, but our digital dependency brings a new realm of cyber risks. Are we cyber-ready?
Aker Solutions Shares New Details of Unmanned FPSO Concept
While it remains today only an idea, there are but a few barriers keeping an unmanned floater from being realized, according to one of the world’s leading offshore engineering firms.
Gaining a Competitive Edge by Digitalizing Subsurface Operations
The E&P subsurface sector today faces the lowest reserve replacement ratios in decades as well as an increasing need to maximize recoverable oil and gas from developed fields.
Application of Multizone Water Injection Downhole Flow Control Completions With Fiber-Optic Surveillance
A multizone water-injection project has ultimately proved a method of using intelligent completion interval-control valves in place of traditional sand-control completions in soft sand reservoirs.
Adaptive Drilling Application Uses AI To Enhance On-Bottom Drilling Performance
An intelligent drilling optimization application performs as an adaptive autodriller. In the Marcellus Shale, ROP improved 61% and 39% and drilling performance, measured as hours on bottom, improved 25%.
Head of Chevron Technology Ventures on the Realities of Investing Amid a Pandemic
Barbara Burger says the key interest areas for the supermajor’s portfolio of startup investments remains unchanged despite a new industry downturn. However, the environment is tighter and the way in which deals are made has already seen notable change.
Use of Low-ECD Synthetic-Based Mud During Topdrive Failure
While drilling in deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a topdrive failure forced the shutdown of all drilling operations for the rig operator and lasted for 114 hours.
Legends of Artificial Lift
Each year at the SPE Artificial Lift Conference and Exhibition, energy professionals convene to connect, grow, and learn—and also to laud outstanding innovators in their field.
Hit by the pandemic, the oil market crash, and the transition to a low-carbon energy future, exploration companies are spending bare budgets on near-term production and high-impact exploration.
The Digitalization of Bottle Tests: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Evaluation of Emulsion Stability
Bottle tests are the preferred method to test petroleum emulsion stability in the industry today. A new technique using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is available to evaluate both stability and demulsification behavior of emulsions.
Understanding Well Interference and Parent-Child Well Relationships With Liquid Molecular Chemical Tracer Technology
In an era where capital markets are hitting the brakes on funding the US shale sector, operators have increasingly pivoted from production growth to maximizing the rates of return via lower-cost wells.
AI Meets HMI: Next-Gen Robots Take on the Tough Tasks To Reduce Risks on Rigs
With their gee-whiz—albeit artificial—intelligence, robots may be the industry’s answer to jobs deemed dangerous, dirty, distant, or dull.
Macondo Changed BOPs, but There Is a Limit
A lot about the blowout preventers used for offshore drilling has changed since Macondo in 2010, but the essentials remain. This evolution serves as a case study on why some oilfield technology is hard to change.
The Chow Pressure Group: Shut-In Wells Offer Case for a New Approach to Interference Testing
As wells across the US shale sector are brought back onto production, they may want to do so strategically to learn about the connectivity of their wells. One challenge will be in selecting a model that delivers the most insight.
Autonomous Valve Controls Excess Water, Gas Production To Increase Oil Recovery
Autonomous Inflow Control Valve technology demonstrates significant benefits within first year.
OTC 2020 Tech Papers Offer a Look Into the Future of Offshore
The Offshore Technology Conference was cancelled for the first time ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the flow of ideas continues. As proof, this curated summary of technical papers highlights unique concepts that might someday reduce the offshore sector’s heavy cost burdens.
OTC Names Winners of Spotlight on New Technology Awards
The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) selected 12 new technologies for its 2020 Spotlight on New Technology Awards. The annual awards program recognizes innovative technologies and allows companies to showcase the latest advances in offshore exploration and production.
Hard Times in Canadian Oil Could Be Useful Experience
Its reward for years of struggling to adapt to low prices and weak demand for its oil and gas has been an epic crash. Canadians selling change say it is time to consider possibilities that seemed inconceivable in the past.
ESG and Energy Transition: Balancing Values in a Post-Pandemic World
Environment/social/governance (ESG) represents the integration of human values into the financial value of investments. The energy industry that emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic will be different from the one that entered it.
Reservoir Commentary: Potential Implications of Long-Term Shut-Ins on Reservoir
New commentary from the SPE Reservoir Advisory Committee (RAC) provides key high-level insights on the potential consequences of long-term shut-ins on conventional and unconventional reservoirs.
ADNOC’s New CTO Shares Innovation Philosophy
Alan Nelson is not only the new chief technology officer at ADNOC, he is the company’s first person to hold the title at the integrated oil company.
Texas Says No to Oil Production Quotas, Yes to Well-Plugging and Pit-Cleanup Delays
The Texas Railroad Commission finally ended its uncomfortable flirtation with limiting production by declining to set quotas, but it changed rules to speed oil storage construction and allow companies to conserve cash by giving them more time to plug wells and clean up waste pits.
Human Rights as a Sustainability Goal
While sustainability is approached through various means within the industry, at its core is the welfare of human beings. Recent SPE papers demonstrate the importance of human rights in the industry’s drive toward sustainability.
Three Money-Saving Ideas To Frac Faster
Faster drilling speeds have become one of the major obsessions of the shale sector in recent years. But since completions represent up to 70% of a new well’s cost, maybe this side of the business needs more attention now.
Keys to Better Water Management: Seeking Sustainability Amid the Chaos
The room for error and cost overruns just got a lot smaller with the escalating need to make operations more efficient and leaner with fewer resources and investors continuing to prioritize ESG alongside profitability.
Finding Oil Is Really Hard, Making Money Even Harder
Putting together the billions of dollars needed to develop deepwater finds has become tougher, but when the discoveries are huge, companies will make every effort to find a way to tap what may be a cheap source of oil.
Asphaltenes: A Complex and Challenging Flow Assurance Issue To Measure and Quantify Risk
Researchers use novel methodology to measure the thermo-electric properties of native crude.
Feeding the Growing Appetite for Reality-Based Drilling Data
Drilling still depends on human judgment to solve many problems. Some of the problems are big, and others are related to niggling details. This article discusses three innovations aimed at improving the data flows.
Offshore Enters Uncharted Waters
For the offshore sector, the collapse in oil demand and prices came just as the market was beginning to look up. Now many companies are focused on survival. This article discusses how various market segments, regions, and companies are faring in “the new reality.”
The Great Shale Shut-In: Uncharted Territory for Technical Experts
As tight-oil producers move to curtail production, hard-to-answer questions are being raised about how shuttered wells will come back. The issue reveals key uncertainties about the delicate flow paths that define unconventional reservoirs.
Post-Macondo Focus on Safety
Following the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico, the industry put in place comprehensive initiatives to improve offshore safety. This article outlines the status of two initiatives, a summary of the current focus areas to enhance safety, and SPE’s contribution to them.
OPEC+ Moves To End Price War With 9.7 Million B/D Cut
Reductions will begin next month and last until June. After that, major oil producers around the world plan to step down from the cuts in phases that extend to 2022.
In Search of a Flowmeter That Is Sensitive but Tough
Measuring the flow of water, mud, and cuttings from a well is critical, and difficult. A new flowmeter design that promises to be both accurate and durable is one of three technologies featured in a JPT series on drilling measurement innovation.
There’s More to Dull Drill Bits Than Meets the Eye
The best way to know how drilling affects drill bits is to visualize the bits. A device that creates high-resolution images for precise measurements is one of three technologies being featured in a JPT series on drilling measurement innovations.
SPE Board Announces Nominees: 2022 President and 2021 Directors
Kamel Ben-Naceur is the nominee for 2022 SPE President. He and seven others make up the new slate of nominees recommended for positions open on the SPE Board of Directors.
Upstream Digitalization Is Proving Itself in the Real World
For the upstream industry, where improvement in efficiency or production can drive significant financial results, there is no question that the size of the digital prize is huge. So are the challenges.
How SPE Board Members Are Selected
SPE is governed by a Board of Directors comprising 22 members from around the world. Each SPE super region and board-endorsed technical discipline is represented by at least one director.
A Digital Edge for Wireline Logging
Edge—or, in-field, device-level—computing is being driven by the need for data from individual wells to be analyzed and processed at the wellsite instead of in data centers for early and accurate decision making.
Subsurface Compression Lifts Liquids, Increases Gas Production in Unconventional Well Trial
A downhole compressor solution based on advanced magnetic technologies completed its first field trials in an unconventional gas well. It resulted in a 62% increase in gas production and significant increase in liquid production compared to using a rod pump previously in the well
Components of Real-Time Flowback Analysis, With a Focus on Full Value Chain
Improved collaboration and more integrated workflows.
Sealed Wellbores and the Unlikely “Breakthrough” Behind Cheap, Accurate Fracture Diagnostics
When engineers went searching for clues on how fractures move beneath the surface, they expected to uncover important learnings. They did not know they were on the path to a new invention.
Ask the Experts: Better Foresight Comes With Strong Flowback Philosophies
Every horizontal well must pass through the flowback phase before it becomes a true producer. A wealth of insights are generated during this period, but they only matter if an operator knows how to listen and interpret the data sets correctly.
A Drilling Automation Idea a Driller Could Appreciate
A group of people who really care how drillers code the memos added to the daily drilling report is the data scientists—who find that the coded tags do not match the activity. A program that helps drillers code is one of three technologies featured in a JPT series on drilling measurement innovation.
What is the Future Demand for Petroleum Engineers?
Artificial intelligence can do some things faster and better than humans can. But that may allow engineers to focus on higher-value tasks.
Succeeding at Petroleum Engineering in a Digital Age
Digital advances allow computers to do many of the tedious tasks once done by engineers, which frees them to focus on more interesting tasks.
A Career in Three Stages
Hon-Chung Lau, professor of petroleum engineering at the National University of Singapore, offered a short guide to a successful career in petroleum engineering at the 2019 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition.
Innovators Seek To Transform Flaring Into Money and Power
Instead of burning money, why not make electricity? This is the big pitch being made by a growing number of technology companies who see green every time they see a red-hot flare burning associated gas.
Effective Treatment and Handling of Produced Water
Produced water is an inevitable byproduct of oil and gas production. The use of online oil-in-water monitors plays an important role in the management of produced water.
Man vs. Drilling Machine Can Be a Productive Thing
Hess is testing whether it can drive drilling improvement by combining drilling rigs equipped with automated functions and humans determined to find a way to beat the programmed drilling.
With Automation in Hand Drillers Demand a Raise
Rigs drilling faster earn less money per foot because they are contracted by the day. But at least they are still working. Now service companies are developing new rigs with more automated functions, and want increased rates based on the productivity gains achieved.
Life After 5: How Tight-Oil Wells Grow Old
Production data from the oldest horizontal wells in the three largest oil plays in the US show that annual decline rates remain relatively high for a long period of time. This challenges assumptions held about production after 5 years and directly affects reserve and ultimate recovery estimates.
Want More Production? Try Taking a Break
Oil companies are considering whether shutting in a well for a month or so may mean stronger production later by allowing more time for water to soak into the rock, which gets it out of the way of the oil and gas. But this is not always effective, and additional work is needed.
Heavy Oil Innovation Haunted by Low Oil Prices and Bad Memories
Heavy production spiked in two Canadian wells heated by an electric cable, but it is hard to find customers there at a time when Canadian oil prices and customers remember cables in the past that died young.
Sustainability Is the New Safety
Integrating sustainability in the core business is not a quick fix but a complex journey that touches all parts of the business and requires new ways of alignment and cooperation. Safety has gone through similar challenges, and we can learn a lot from that journey.
What’s the Difference Between Tier 1 and Tier 2? Not Much
The formula for value in a shale play used to be simple, lease acreage in the best quality rock based on Tiers cover large areas. That standard is fading as it has become obvious that the rock is highly variable and the drilling and completion designs are just as important.
An Unconventional Challenge: Can Casing Failures During Hydraulic Fracturing Be Stopped?
The shale sector is seeking answers to a complex issue involving casing deformations that block access to long sections of a lateral. As opposed to frac hits, this rising problem is considered to be an intrawell phenomena.
SPE Technical Directors’ Outlook: Tearing Down the Walls Among Disciplines
Merging new knowledge and technological capabilities among the disciplines—and beyond—will be crucial to sustaining the industry for the long term.
Permian Basin Decline Rates Have “Increased Dramatically” Amid Ongoing Slowdown
A new report says that production growth in the world’s most prolific unconventional basin is on the verge of stalling out.
Digital Twins Mature in the North Sea
A proving ground for the use of digital twins has emerged in the North Sea. There, operators Total, Aker BP, and Shell have each developed and deployed twins that they expect to pay big dividends.
As Industry Changes, So Does Petroleum Engineering Education
The industry is becoming increasingly complex, leading to changes in how universities approach education for undergraduate study.
Fracturing Creates Hundreds of Fractures—Only a Few Matter
ConocoPhillips’ one-of-a-kind test site in the Eagle Ford studied core, image logs, proppant tracer, distributed temperature sensing, distributed acoustic sensing, and pressure, which shows that not all hydraulic fractures are created equal.
Questions Over Permeability Prompt Producer-Led Group To Rebuild Key Fracture Diagnostic
For the past 20 years, the diagnostic fracture injection test has been used across the frontlines of the shale revolution to paint a picture of what cannot be seen. However, that picture has not always been so clear in the eyes of subsurface engineers.
Industry Continues To Make Progress on Carbon Capture
Rapid scale-up of carbon capture, use, and storage is essential for meeting climate and emissions targets while not crippling economic growth. Yet, its potential remains largely untapped because of reasons that include growing pains of immature technologies and uncertainty around public policy.
Industry Salaries Continue to Inch Up
Total compensation for SPE members this year has risen to its highest level since 2016, as the oil and gas industry continues to recover from the steep oil price downturn that began mid-decade.
Flowing Shale Wells Sooner Would Add Billions to Sector Cash Flow
The time it takes for a shale producer to drill a well has been a major focus for the past decade. A new report says the industry should place equal weight on how long it takes a well to actually deliver first oil.
Shale Producers Adopt Geochemistry Fingerprinting to Quantify Cross-Well Production
Knowing which horizon crude oil flows from and in what proportions has been a major challenge for shale producers. Increasingly, they are turning to new technology to find the answer.
To Spark Real-Time Revolution, Fracture Diagnostic Firms Partner Up and Innovate
The types of advancements made in real-time drilling data acquisition and processing are now on the doorstep of the North American completions sector. Technology developers are banding together under the umbrella of “coopetition” in a bid to change the way producers fracture tight reservoirs.
Report: “Simple” Well Spacing Calculations Are Inaccurate and Costly
Figuring out how far apart to place horizontal wellbores remains one of the biggest challenges facing the future of the shale revolution. One roadblock appears to be the way in which the sector has traditionally measured these distances.
Testing a System Where Machines Decide How Much to Pay a Trucker, and Send a Check
Ten big names in the oil and gas business created a group to try out ways to use blockchain in the oil business, and test if the record keeping and automatic data collection software can track water shipments more efficiently.
Shale Sector’s Switch to Slickwater Highlights Compatibility Issues with Produced Water
Not all friction reducers are created equal. With dozens of varieties on the market, industry research suggests that oil and gas companies be choosy.
Motivating Innovation on the Rig Floor
Occidental drillers and engineers figured out that it is faster and cheaper to reduce the weight on bit (WOB) than speeding ahead, which increased the risk of a breakdown and time lost for repairs.
Drilling Change Requires Changing Drillers
Drilling change requires training drillers. Leadership matters, as does motivation, engaging displays, and understanding office politics. Four different looks at the human side of drilling productivity improvement.
Colombia’s New Ambitions Include Caribbean and Shale Development, But Are They Achievable?
Colombia is walking a thin line between becoming another fading petroleum province and Latin America’s next big success story. Its aces in the hole: unleashing its nascent offshore and unconventional sectors.
Slipping Past Human Barriers to Change
When Apache rolled out a digital system delivering real-time drilling data and advice, the reactions from workers were strong, and conflicting.
Selling Drilling Data like a Smart Phone
Corva’s challenge is to change the behavior of drillers who work for somebody else. The fast-growing company has no shortage of users.
To “Right Size” Fractures, Producers Adopt Robust Monitoring and Custom Completions
If you can see it, then maybe you can control it. This sums up the latest quest that the unconventional engineering community embarked upon to get a better understanding of proper well spacing and how fractures really interact.
SPE Honors 2019 International Award Recipients at Annual Meeting
Recipients of SPE’s 2019 International Awards will be recognized on 1 October, during the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Calgary.
Q&A With 2020 SPE President Shauna Noonan
Shauna Noonan will take office as 2020 SPE President during the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in October in Calgary. In this interview, she shares the key issues she will emphasize during her term, the challenges facing SPE, and the growth plan for the Society.
US Fracturing Test Data Trickling Out With a Lot More Promised
A fracturing test site in West Virginia has quietly made a data trove available on the website of the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Lab.
Anadarko’s Digital Legacy Offers a Template for Others
The large independent put together a team of data scientists, software developers, and petrotechnical staff to create a forward-looking vision for how to use digital technology to solve problems.
Workshop in Kuwait Lifts the Bar in Digital Transformation for Oil and Gas
To analyze the status of digital transformation strategies and the pace of implementation in the Middle East, an SPE Applied Technology Workshop brought together operating and service companies and consulting firms for a discussion.
Event Covers State of the Art in Plugging and Abandonment
An SPE Forum held recently in The Hague, The Netherlands, brought together professionals from production and service companies, regulators, and stakeholders to discuss issues that are shaping the well plugging and abandonment sector.
These Five Companies are Reinventing the US Frac Fleet
Pressure pumping equipment has been one of the most neglected areas of technological advancement. This has started to change as innovative developers push out new technologies that are slowly modernizing fracturing fleets, delivering major fuel savings, and creating other tangible efficiencies.
Shale Producers Piloting Downhole Compression To Solve Liquid Loading
Using maglev technology, a new artificial lift system seeks to boost production output by sucking down reservoir pressure from inside the wellbore and from inside the reservoir.
LNG at a Crossroads
In its first 50 years, LNG has become the world’s fastest-growing gas supply source and is now part of an upheaval in the global energy market. Today, the sector stands at a crossroads, and the industry must adopt new thinking to address current and future needs of buyers, sellers, and consumers.
Big Data vs. Diverse Data: Confidential Databases Lack Performance Benchmarks
A study by a real-time monitoring company showed that many coiled-tubing strings are retired with a lot of life left in them. It suggested companies could lower costs by using pipe for a longer time and could benefit from multicompany studies showing how their decisions compare to the competition.
Report Recounts the Missed Signals Leading to a Blowout that Killed Five
Regulators say the blowout that killed five workers on a Patterson-UTI rig in Oklahoma was the product of a slow-moving series of missed signals, misleading testing, and miscalculations that failed to control a natural gas influx.
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