AGR’s Rita-Michel Greiss and Roger McIlroy sat down with InnovOil to discuss the company’s integrated approach to production efficiency – and how that knowledge can be passed on
Communication and collaboration are often perceived as overused buzzwords within the industry. Yet these actions have never been more necessary than right now. As AGR production technologist Roger McIlroy acknowledges: “These are very hackneyed phrases these days but it’s true!”
The company is known for its subsurface, well and field optimisation engineering expertise – skills which are increasingly being used by operators looking to maximise production from their existing assets. The approach, as McIlroy explains it, is informed by four main principles: examining existing well stock, improving sweep optimisation in the reservoir, optimising well delivery and investigating potential near-field assets.
In terms of the former, he adds: “The AGR view is that all mature wells will have at least one opportunity to increase productivity, and often these opportunities are at low cost or at no cost at all.” This new “injection of life,” as BD manager for AGR’s Reservoir Management UK unit, Rita-Michel Greiss adds, can be as simple as adjusting or replacing a choke valve on an older well, or redistributing gas between wells as part of gas lift optimisation.
Key to its work in sweep optimisation is “locating the remaining oil,” or LTRO. This, Greiss adds, is “very much an integrated subsurface activity... We look at geological features as well as seismic, and look at reservoir engineering sweep calculations and core tests to decide how best to locate and recover the remaining oil, which, by the way, can often be as much as 70% of the initial oil in place (OIP).”
Involving teams from across the spectrum, these processes link “reservoir engineers with production technologists…as well as geophysicists, production geologists and petrophysicists”. Communication, collaboration and shared models are very much at the heart of the firm’s holistic approach, and extend right through to optimising well delivery via smart procurement and drilling, and to near-field developments enabled by the latest technology and tieback facilities.
Sharing the knowledge
Where AGR distinguishes itself is in passing this knowledge on. “Many of our engineers are working on an operator’s problems one day, and teaching the solutions the next,” says McIlroy. AGR’s TRACS Training courses cover graduate, masterclass, open-air and technical programmes, a “training portfolio which goes across the reservoir and into wells – so we teach everything we consult on,” he continues.
As well as teaching new students and professionals, this also keeps AGR personnel aware of the latest developments in technology and operator strategy. “Client feedback for us is incredibly crucial,” agrees Greiss. “There are always new developments – it’s not until an operator uses a technology that you understand how it performs for a client – that is the kind of expertise you can only develop with time.”
Teaching methods are more involving, using the real case studies and interactive tools at the company’s disposal to ensure not only engagement, but also that young professionals are ready for the workplace once they arrive. “We offer a type of training called experiential training,” explains McIlroy. “It’s not just someone standing up lecturing at you for 6 hours a day; it has to involve actual pieces of downhole equipment, videos and multimedia to show how tools work and how reservoirs operate.” This culminates in dedicated exercises, using real data to solve actual technical challenges.
Such courses are extended to mature engineers working in mature assets, with a number under development for existing staff who need to be updated with the latest tools and technologies. McIlroy is currently working on a new course with sections dedicated to production optimisation, and titled “Maximising oil productivity in a low price world.” AGR believes that such training – incorporating LTRO, optimisation modules and more – is an excellent way to improve results from existing assets in the short term.
The overarching theme is that focus on integration, collaboration and knowledge transfer is key to extracting more from existing assets, as “operators only forced to work harder with reduced staff and cash flow means that bridging the gaps between industry disciplines will only become more important,” Greiss says.
Contact: Rita-Michel Greiss, BD Manager Reservoir Management UK