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Subsurface

Reservoir interpretation solutions: the five questions to ask.

The opportunity for sub-surface optimisation in reservoir production is a significant one; McKinsey analysts estimate an analytical approach to production could improve underground recovery by 10%. That's an extra one trillion barrels of oil.

At a time when resource capture strategies are placing greater emphasis on getting more from existing fields and pushing for faster returns with shorter investment cycles, the potential to dramatically improve exploration and production outcomes is substantial. At the same time, the industry is moving away from giant fields developed at all costs, towards smaller fields and phased activity.

The data-driven, analytical approach has never been more appropriate. In practice, E&P firms need to choose the right petrophysical analysis tools, to both understand the potential of a new well or basin, and optimise production from existing reservoirs. To do that, here are five questions to ask:

  1. Does this solution offer real value for money?
    A simple price comparison is not enough, and neither is a simple ‘tick box’ comparison of functionality. The efficiency of the workflows is fundamental to the productivity of the team, so instead of asking ‘can this software do xyz’ you should be asking ‘how effectively does this software do xyz”.

    To really add value, your solution should deliver advanced functionality as standard. It should be able to work on live well data and enable your geologists, petrophysicists and engineers to combine their understanding and refine their analyses in real-time.

    Your solution should provide exceptional mathematical accuracy and precision, without having to purchase additional modules or extra services, and it should be able to perform all this on a single well, or thousands of wells, with efficient workflows.

  2. Does it make it easy to do the right things?
    For operators and investors to get insight quick, they need software that is not only accurate and precise, but intuitive, and easy to use, and as immune to ‘fat-finger’ error as possible.

    Choose solutions that come with pre-built roadmaps to speed up formation, evaluation and geomechanics. Ensure it’s compatible with a wide range of file formats and can accept and work on all data types without harmonisation.

    When it comes to user’s workloads, keep it easy and intuitive.

  3. Is it independent and interoperable?
    While it might be tempting to opt for components from the same vendor, you can end up with confirmation bias in the results: the software confirms that the hardware is ‘correct’, and the hardware doesn’t deliver the measurements that challenge the software. Equally, it may limit your choices when it comes to data inputs from other vendors.

    There are plenty of independent, interoperable solutions now available meaning this doesn’t need to be the case.

  4. Does it offer surety of insight?
    One of the best assessments you can make is to look at who developed it and their values and approach.

    The best reservoir and petrophysical analysis tools are developed by those who work in the field, who can make the link between what is going on in the reservoir and what it means for the E&P business as a whole.

    The second assessment to make is, how open is your solution? If the developer lacks transparency and hides their assumptions in a black-box model, you are taking a risk on their expertise. Instead, choose vendors who value transparency – that way your expertise and theirs can test each other and work together for better outcomes.

  5. Is it future proof?
    E&P is facing an unpredictable future of energy transition, changing public opinion and new cost pressures. Investing in the right software ensures that while you remain rooted in experience you and your organisation can innovate for the future. The very best solutions will come from those providers that are primed – with sector expertise, commitment and curiosity – to take that innovation journey with you.

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