Schlumberger 2012 Annual Report - page 7

Technology for Hydrocarbon
Production and Recovery
The quantity of oil or gas recovered from a reservoir
depends on a wide variety of factors—both technical
and economical. Today, the average recovery from an
oil reservoir is about 35%, a figure that has slowly been
rising as new technologies make their mark. This
means that approximately two-thirds of the oil that has
been discovered is currently left in the ground. For nat-
ural gas reservoirs, recovery figures are typically much
higher—approximately double those of oil reser-
voirs—although unconventional gas reservoirs have
not been in production long enough for their potential
to be fully known; however their recovery is currently
thought to be lower than that of oil.
The technical limit of what can be recovered from
a hydrocarbon reservoir is based on the total reservoir
volume, the fraction of that volume that is porous, how
much of the porous volume is filled with hydrocarbon,
and a coefficient known as the recovery factor. This
factor accounts for physical phenomena such as rock
wettability, capillarity, and permeability while other
factors affecting how easily reservoir fluids will flow
are fluid-related, such as phase behavior and critical
saturation. Many of these phenomena are largely out of
our control, but well placement, increased reservoir
contact, and injecting liquids or gases into the reser-
voir can increase recovery.
In addition to the technical aspects of increasing
recovery, the economics of oil and gas production
demands that the cost per barrel of oil or cubic meter
of gas be as low as possible. The resulting goal of opti-
mizing production by both maximizing recovery and
lowering cost drives the technology development
needed to ensure that hydrocarbon supply meets
Much of this technology is targeted at new wells and
new fields. However, many of the same technologies
are used to prolong reservoir production, which over
time inevitably declines. In fact, over two-thirds of oil
production today comes from fields that have been in
production for more than 30 years—and that require
ever more intensive efforts to slow their decline.
Within Schlumberger, the Production Group leads
development of the technology needed to optimize pro-
duction and improve recovery. As one of three groups
that make up the company’s portfolio of products and
services, the Production Group brings together the
technologies required to ensure efficient and cost-
effective production of oil and gas over the life of the
reservoir. These include reservoir stimulation, well
completion, artificial lift, production monitoring, well
intervention, and technology solutions that improve
reservoir recovery and optimize production from
subsea fields.
The individual product lines of the Production
Group are leaders within their chosen markets,
supplying services and products that meet customers’
specific production needs. But the
complexity of today’s operations
increasingly demands an integrated
approach. To this end, not only do
the Production Group product lines
enable customer production work-
flows, they also integrate seamlessly
with other Schlumberger Technolo-
gies, such as Wireline, Testing,
Information Solutions, and PetroTechnical Services.
The resulting synergy within and between
the Schlumberger product lines combined with our
technical and scientific expertise and our international
presence makes it possible for us to effectively leverage
technology—doing more with less to economically
optimize production and improve recovery.
Unlocking Reservoir Hydrocarbons Efficiently
Applying production technologies begins with “unlock-
ing” the hydrocarbons from the rock pores and facili-
tating their flow from the reservoir into the well.
The rate at which flow occurs is dictated by Darcy’s law
for porous media, in which flow is a function of fluid
viscosity, permeability, surface area open to flow, and
two-thirds of the
oil that has been
discovered is
currently left
in the ground.
Seen through the window of a Schlumberger FracCAT*
fracturing computer-aided treatment system, Field
Engineer Cecilia Menichetti and Field Specialist
Osvaldo Alarcon prepare for a stimulation job on a
well in the Neuquén Basin in Argentina.
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