December 2007

What's new in production

Biosurfactants at work

Vol. 228 No. 12  

Biosurfactants at work. It is amazing to what lengths this industry will go to bring more oil to the surface. It will even enlist the help of the world’s most populous nation-bacteria-to solve oil production problems and increase oil flow.

Last August, this editor presented some information on the US industry’s investigation of biosurfactants, based on a recent DOE/NETL project with the University of Oklahoma and Arrow Holding. Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR), a blending of oilfield and biological technology, is a reality and at work in the US and other regions.

This past month, I received a call from Charles Siess, director of sales and marketing with GloriOil, a two-year-old oil service firm located on the southern edge of Houston near Pearland. The company is applying MEOR lessons to oilfield problems in Texas’ Frio trend. Soon, I was at their facility, meeting with their key people: Stuart Page, CEO, Jack Babcock, president and Bhupendra Soni, director of microbial research and development.

Their story begins in 1997 when ONGC began working with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, India, to solve oilfield problems with microbial treatments. TERI research found ways to collect and culture anaerobic bacteria, tease out their differences and grow bacterial consortia to solve oilfield problems and increase production. Over the next few years some 25 wells were treated and produced with good results, increasing oil production up 200% for 6-10 months with a single treatment. That approach is now being commercialized in the US by GloriOil.

Their process begins with a water sample extracted from the producing zone, so that the native anaerobic bacteria can be identified and cultured. Then, depending on the well problems being addressed, a bacterial consortium is blended to overcome wax plugging, scaling or to reduce the surface tension in the immediate area of the well bore, so that more oil can flow.

The anaerobes are cultured in large sealed vessels, avoiding all contact with air. To inoculate a well, the concentrated culture is blended with a nutrient stream, while the mixture is being pumped downhole. Standard oilfield injection methods are used. The well is shut-in for a week or two to give the microbes time to establish themselves, and then the well is opened and produced.

The huff-and-puff method is used at present, but Page’s goal is to move toward microbial floods that will reach deeply into the reservoir to release oil. The company is trying to aggregate MEOR technology and experience through acquisition and partnering to improve microbial-flood efficiency. Soon the mature fields of Texas and other regions will have an extended producing life.

Slimhole tractor. At the recent SPE convention in Anaheim, California, a new device for horizontal work caught my eye. Western Well Tool is in final field trials of their CTTS, Coiled Tubing Drilling Tractor, which is being developed with funding from the US Department of Energy. The Model DT-338 has a collapsed diameter of 3.38 in., but can work in holes of up to 4.2-in. diameter. It is designed to operate in wellbores up to 300°F, pull 3,500 lb at 1,000 psi and move at up to 1,000 ft/hr, making it suitable for much CT work in horizontal and extended-reach wells. The tool is scheduled to enter the market next year.

New output. Imperial Energy began pumping 6,000 bopd from four horizontal wells in Mayskoye field, Tomsk, Western Siberia. The company plans to bring online another four wells (three horizontals) before the end of the year.

Esso Exploration Angola (Block 15) Ltd. began production from the Marimba North project some 90 mi (145 km) offshore Angola. The field is tied-back to the Kizomba A TLP. The project includes subsea wells, a single drill center, over 18 mi (30 km) of flowlines and a riser system. At its peak the field will add around 40,000 bopd to Block 15 production. Esso is operator (40%) with partners BP Exploration (Angola) at 26.67%, ENI Angola Exploration with 20% and Statoil Angola holding 13.33%.

CNOOC started production at Phase II of the Southeast Sumatra Gas Project some 74 mi (120 km) offshore western Java (Indonesia), The gas delivery rate is contracted for 78.4 MMcfd (2.22 MMcmd). Facilities include a production/processing platform, gas plant, gas compression/processing platform and three subsea pipelines. The natural gas produced will be supplied primarily to PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the state utility company, for its the power plant. CNOOC Ltd. is operator with 65.5% and has partners INPEX Sumatra Ltd., KNOC Sumatra Ltd., Orchard Energy Sumatra BV, Fortuna Resources (Sunda) Ltd., Talisman UK (Southeast Sumatra) Ltd. and Talisman Resources (Bahamas) Ltd.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. started producing some 30 MMcfd of natural gas from 11 Barnett Shale wells on its 18,000-acre Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport lease in north Texas. The company plans to drill 300-325 wells.

Gazprom began production from the Yuzhno-Russkoye oil and gas condensate field in the Krasnoselkupsky District of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia. The field is producing 5.3 MMcfd (15 MMcmd) from 26 wells. It is being developed by Severneftegazprom, a wholly-owned Gazprom subsidiary.

Pan Orient Energy began producing from two wells Na Sanun East Field, Thailand. The Well NS2-D1 deviated well was drilled to 2,838-ft (865-m) TVD into volcanic rock and is flowing at 260 psi through a 32/64-in. choke. The well tested 1,920 bopd, but will be constrained to 1,800 until additional storage capacity is installed. The second well, NS8-D1, is producing 1,480 bopd of 35° API oil. The well is flowing at 190 psi on a 25/64-in. choke. The well penetrated 102 ft of the volcanic reservoir before reaching 2,907-ft (886-m) TVD.

Crescent Petroleum began producing 742 bopd from Well K2-ST4 in Mubarek Field, offshore United Arab Emirates. The well was drilled to 13,528-ft TD into the Ilam reservoir, acid stimulated and put on gas lift.

Anterra Energy placed Well LSD 09-19-62-11W5M on production. The well is a new pool discovery in the Judy Creek area of west-central Alberta, Canada and was drilled to 8,859-ft (2,700 m) TD. Final swab rate was 450 bopd from the Devonian Swan Hills Formation, but the flow is being choked back to 300 bopd. An extensive development program is planned for 2008. WO 

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