New solution boosts output

May 4, 1999, 14:00 CEST

New downhole equipment to improve oil production has been installed on Statoil's Gullfaks C platform in the North Sea.

This installation in production well C-29 marks the group's first use of the surface-controlled reservoir analysis and management system (Scrams), which controls simultaneous oil production from different reservoir formations.

Developed by PES/Haliburton, the technology has previously been adopted off Norway by such companies as Norsk Hydro and Saga Petroleum.

"We're already producing from several reservoir zones simultaneously," explains Ole Petterson, manager of the petroleum technology (Petek) department in the Gullfaks operations organisation.

"With Scrams, however, we can regulate production from the various zones more effectively.

"Existing technology has clear limitations. If we discover today that a zone is producing water, time-consuming and expensive work is required to shut in that part of the formation.

"The new solution means that such operations can be conducted from a PC in the platform's control room."

Installing Scrams is an expensive business and requires major work. But Petek sees a big potential for future earnings, and hopes this solution will spark a minor revolution in production and reservoir management.

Scrams makes it possible to produce more oil by preventing unwanted water or gas flow.

The system also provides safety benefits. At present, 20-30 people often have to be mobilised to a platform for complex operations associated with production and reservoir management.

Such jobs often run over several weeks - but Scrams makes it possible to do the work quickly from a computer.

"We must expect a brief period of trial and error, since this is new and complex technology," observes Mr Petterson. "But we hope this will be a one-off investment which is rapidly recovered. The aim is to accelerate oil production from the Statfjord formation in the C-29 well by up to three years."

New candidates for Scrams installations are now being evaluated on the basis of experience from C-29.