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Experts emphasise new data, models in oil exploration, investment

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Stakeholders in the petroleum exploration industry have reiterated the need to harness opportunities offered by new data and modelling techniques in making key investment and well drilling decisions.

According to them, access to data, either seismic, facies or spatial, helps geologists make better informed decisions in assessing a well or location for development.

Indeed, they noted that the stage of well development also determines the model that can be deployed to manage costs and efficiency.

NAPE noted that the numbers of facies modelling techniques and algorithms have increased in the last two decades, as a result of increasing computing power allowed to run calculus-intensive algorithms, and secondly, facies has always been one of the cornerstones of integrated reservoir modelling workflows.

In parallel, data quality and quantity were increasing, whether seismic or well-related, and it is necessary to provide techniques allowing their integration in the models.

Speaking during the August Technical meeting of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), themed, “Geological Facies Modelling: Why Should we Care?,” a Geophysics and Geology Manager, Egina GSR, Total E&P Nigeria, Eric Tawile, emphasised the need to utilise emerging data and modelling scenario to guide investment decisions for oil fields.

According to him, data and modelling forecast helps geologists to determine how the fields we are developing will behave in the future.

He explained that while reservoir models are akin to weather forecasts used for production forecasts, build development schemes and make investment/divestment decisions; to achieve this model, a lot of considerations are checked through the seismic data and history matching. Uncertainties are equally accounted for by balancing the risks and benefits of investments.

He added that facies modelling is a key step in the modelling workflow and advised that integration of available data and geological knowledge remains essential for producing consistent and robust models needed in making key decisions.

Furthermore, he stressed the need to bridge the gap between the naturalist world and the numerical world, noting that proportion cubes are great tools and maths and statistics are essential for translation.

He also urged geoscientists to avoid volume bias as different proportions of facies impact volumes, while highlighting the need to convert naturalist information to numerical format, geological spatial organisation.

“Combining techniques and integration of different data types and scales offer room for innovation. It is one piece of the puzzle and not the only data needed.

“The focus on facies modelling is not surprising as it has an important impact on static and dynamic rock properties’ spatial distributions which control fluid flow simulations. Of course, it needs integration with other disciplines to ensure consistency, from geophysical characterization of the reservoir all the way to its dynamic description through the Rock Types, PVT, Capillary Pressure and Relative Permeabilities.

“Achieving this level of consistency is crucial to building robust reservoir models. The combination of “classical” techniques and innovative approaches are the key to reaching this objective”, he added.

Comparing petrophysical modelling with facies modelling, he noted that the former depends more on the latter data to make good meaning and decision out of the model, especially focusing on the spatial distribution of the field.

Chairman, NAPE technical business meeting, Biodun Adesanya, noted that the quality of data, especially the seismic data, helps to determine where to drill in the oil field.He urged explorationists to apply the knowledge shared in making critical decisions that would affect their businesses.


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