Shell and Schlumberger join R&D forces to better understand earth’s subsurface
• Goal is to speed development of oil and gas resources to meet increasing demand
• New generation of tools is needed to extract higher percentage of oil and gas from existing reservoirs
• High-performance computing and scanning technology to better track flow of fluids miles inside the earth
Shell and Schlumberger recently announced a multiyear research technology cooperation agreement focusing on improving the recovery factor of oil and gas reservoirs and extending the life of existing oil and natural gas fields.
“This agreement marks another step towards executing our technology strategy by driving delivery of energy solutions through open innovation. The cooperation will enable us to continuously improve recovery factors while at the same time lowering unit costs,” said Gerald Schotman, chief technology officer for Royal Dutch Shell.
The combination of Schlumberger formation evaluation and reservoir characterization knowledge with the subsurface laboratory and reservoir expertise of Shell will result in the development of better tools and methods to obtain improved field data, better and more efficient numerical models, and enhanced field development methods. The research collaboration is an expansion of the joint work on several fronts Shell and Schlumberger already conduct together, and it will initially focus on two specific projects: Reservoir surveillance for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects, and Digital Rock for detailed numerical modeling of reservoir rocks.
“With much of the world’s existing reserves only producible through enhanced recovery techniques, this joint approach aims to unlock these resources in a smart and efficient manner and to shorten time to full field development,” said Ashok Belani, president, Schlumberger Reservoir Characterization Group.
The key target of the cooperation is to shorten development cycles, increase production, and enhance ultimate oil and gas recovery. To achieve this, the Surveillance project will explore the design, development and testing of a new generation of tools specifically focused on EOR applications. These new surveillance tools and techniques are expected to deliver more accurate field data and to accelerate EOR feasibility studies and pilot projects.
The Digital Rock project targets development of better methods to forecast displacement and recovery at the macroscopic pore scale, as well as methodologies to scale up core and pore-scale work to reservoir level for both sandstone and carbonate fields. The related work builds on recent developments from Shell and Schlumberger in the areas of novel laboratory scanning technology, fluid dynamics modeling, and high-performance computing.
“As most of the easily accessible oil and gas is gone, both projects are highly relevant for the oil and gas industry. To meet future demand more hydrocarbons have to be produced from existing fields and to do so, it requires the combination of advanced science, innovation potential, and a track record in technology delivery,” said Jeroen Regtien, vice president, Hydrocarbon Recovery Technologies in Shell. “The combination of Schlumberger’s and Shell’s strengths covers all of these requirements.”
As part of this joint cooperation agreement, Schlumberger and Shell research scientists will work closely together in several research facilities in the US, UK, Russia, Oman and the Netherlands.