North Sea Spots Wells by Following Oil

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1/11/2012

Bravo platform in the North Sea

North Sea spots wells by following oil

Apache’s North Sea Region technical teams continue to breathe new life into the behemoth Forties Field by stepping into the fourth dimension – time.

The field’s biggest well in more than 20 years – the Charlie 4-3 – commenced production in June at 12,567 barrels of oil per day. The Charlie 2-2, completed in March, had initial production of 11,876 barrels per day, while another secondquarter well, the Delta 3-5, commenced production at 8,781 barrels per day.

The recent wells were identified using Apache’s latest 4-D seismic survey – a geophysical technique that compares data from a series of 3-D surveys to track the movement of oil within the formation.

“The Forties rock properties provide an excellent seismic response to see fluid changes in the reservoir due to production,” explained Jeff Towart, region exploitation manager. “In 2010, Apache acquired a new 3-D snapshot over Forties and these data were processed, along with the previous vintages, to give an improved image of the reservoir through time.”

When Apache acquired Forties in 2003, the field had been in production for nearly 30 years and had given up more than 2 billion barrels of oil; proved reserves were estimated at 144 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Since then, Apache has drilled about 100 wells. Through 2010, the North Sea region had produced more than 150 million barrels – and proved reserves stood at 155 million barrels.

“Initially, Apache’s drilling targets were predominately defined by a successful integrated interpretation approach that focused on direct hydrocarbon indicator and lithology volumes,” Towart said. “However, with the improved 4-D seismic volumes, the geoscientists have been able to better define and target unswept oil accumulations in Forties.”

Klaas Koster, geoscience adviser, served as the exploitation manager and was responsible for the latest 2010 acquisition and the 4-D processing. Other geoscience members of the Forties team – Gregg Barker, Phil Rose and Jeff Pyle – focused on incorporating the 4-D results into the interpretation process and delivering the development well targets. Paul White, reservoir engineer, also worked closely with the team to select and prioritize drilling targets.

The region’s 2011 program anticipates drilling 16 development wells at Forties. “We see a long future ahead for Forties,” Towart said.

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