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‘Take courage’ and

are key messages for our North Sea industry ‘fear not’ By Cristian Masini, SPE London Continuing Education Committee

We all have heard the buzzwords before: ‘disciplines integration’, ‘cost efficiency’ and ‘time-to-market’. The novelty of SPE London’s Continuing Education seminar, ‘Re-developing the North Sea’, was hearing all of them in a few talks, under one roof.

On 13 February, a variety of professionals with various backgrounds and experience, ranging from students to the more-seasoned, gathered at the Geological Society for a series of interesting presentations on the future prospects for the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The challenges are known: ageing infrastructure, shrinking ‘size of the prize’ and competition for talent. And while the basics stay the same – “get the engineering right, before going out there with a rig,” ADIL reminded us – the solutions to some of the problems may involve new approaches. These range from complex EOR schemes or tailored ERD wells, to simpler (but still very effective) solutions, such as installing jet pumps to resolve bottlenecking and back-out issues.

Overall, it was recognised that with maturity of assets technical challenges increase, and sometimes the subsurface still presents unknowns, even after years of production. That is when integrating the inputs from all disciplines becomes essential, and South Arne, with 4D seismic and geomechanical input into the dynamic simulation, was a perfect example of this. Another field case was offered by BP in their talk on Schiehallion, highlighting that there are still a few big reserves out there. What is required is the courage to commit to big investment decisions.

The keynote speeches from Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey offered an illuminating perspective – at least a novel viewpoint for the Engineer or Geoscientist – of the current business environment. As an industry there are still a few areas for improvement, supply chain being one of them – but the overall message was “fear not, as there is still business for years to come!”

The event was kindly sponsored by Caltec, whose representatives and other attendees are pictured with Continuing Education Committee Chair, Alejandro Primera (far right).


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