OG21 Strategy - A New Chapter

Drilling, completions, intervention, and P&A

Although drilling performance has improved substantially over the last 6 years, Drilling & Wells is still the main cost element on the NCS, representing 28% of estimated expenditures on the NCS for the 2021-2040 time period (Rystad Energy, 2021).

The prioritized technology and knowledge areas for TG3 are:

  • Data gathering and optimization of drilling operations.

  • Improved drilling equipment.

  • Advanced well construction and methodologies.

  • Subsea well intervention technologies.

  • Recompletion and multilateral technologies.

  • Challenging reservoirs.

  • More efficient P&A.

All TG3-priorities have the potential to cut costs on the NCS significantly (see Figure 42). In addition, most would contribute to adding significant volumes. Most of the priorities would also have a potential positive impact on CO2-emissions.

"Challenging reservoirs" are with current technologies associated with higher CO2-emissions than conventional reservoirs. Considering the large volumes on the NCS in such reservoirs, the R&D efforts should be aimed at reducing CO2-emission to at least the same level as for conventional reservoirs. We believe such reservoirs could potentially be drained with technologies that are not necessarily very energy consuming, e.g. more mechanical technologies can be developed, and fluid pumping methods could be advanced.

Common for most of the evaluated TG3 priorities is that they can be adopted fast – often they would yield saved costs or added volumes within a year from investment decision. This make such technologies especially attractive in a business environment where fast returns are favored and may explain why such technologies had a relatively high adoption rate during the petroleum recession period 2014-2018.

We have seen some technology development for rig equipment over the last years, but there is still scope for further improvements. Making use of sensor data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve automation and make the rig operate more towards optimum performance every time, will improve the efficiency and as such minimize the carbon footprint of the operation. This combined with improved and modernized drilling equipment has a considerable potential.

When it comes to well construction, new drilling methods and optimized well design combined with intelligent utilization of existing wells have been demonstrated by some of the operators on the NCS. There are however several new technologies where the full potential is still not harvested. Further development and adoption of such technologies could reduce the number of days per well, and facilitate cost and volume optimized wells, i.e. maximizing the value of each well.

P&A of wells on the NCS is a considerable challenge ahead. We need step change technologies to make these operations as effective as possible to minimize future expenditures. The market volume is increasing, and several service companies are very creative in this arena and should be stimulated to advance these technologies to minimize rig days, emissions, and costs.

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