In response to sustained global demand, the development of gas production technology continues unabated. The chain starts with enabling production from an ever-wider range of resources, including source rock (shale), coal-seam gas, deep offshore gas, contaminated gas, and methane-hydrate sediment or by maximizing recovery from existing reservoirs by enhanced-gas-recovery schemes based on injection of nitrogen or carbon dioxide.
While natural gas will remain an indispensable source of energy for several decades, public opinion seems to be looking forward to its demise, prompted by valid concerns regarding global warming. Case in point: The Dutch government has decided to abandon the 98-Tcf Groningen gas field as soon as practical, foregoing domestic production of some 21 Tcf and the $100 billion–$200 billion in associated revenue. Decarbonization has become a key part of the energy future, in part using technology developed during the past 50 years of significant gas production.
In the meantime, in response to sustained global demand, the development of gas production technology continues unabated. The chain starts with enabling production from an ever-wider range of resources, including source rock (shale), coal-seam gas, deep offshore gas, contaminated gas, and methane-hydrate sediment or by maximizing recovery from existing reservoirs by enhanced-gas-recovery schemes based on injection of nitrogen or carbon dioxide.
Recovering these resources requires novel drilling, completion, and process techniques to ensure that sufficient gas volume is connected and gas capacity is realized economically. Next, proper measurement and surveillance is needed to characterize, analyze, and optimize asset performance. With the advent of the digital age, data has become abundant, and machine learning and artificial intelligence are being deployed to distill its value. While progress is made characterizing the microscopic behavior of reservoir rock and computing power is ever-expanding, predicting the macroscopic production forecast of gas wells and reservoirs remains a challenge, given their unseen and fickle nature.
Hence, a continuous need exists for interventions that mitigate deferment and sustain production. Water in particular tends to be an eternal companion and frequent enemy of gas production. Remedial techniques are indispensable and continue to evolve, again aided by digitization.
This Month’s Technical Papers
Recommended Additional Reading
SPE 205119 The Key Factors of Low-Frequency Electric‑Heating-Assisted Depressurization Method in the Exploiting of Methane-Hydrate Sediments by Ermeng Zhao, China University of Petroleum, et al.
SPE 209531 Dvalin Gas Field Developments and Optimization by Using Inflow Tracer Technology Information by Alireza Roostaei, Resman, et al.
Cornelis (Kees) Veeken, SPE, is a 37-year oil and gas veteran, retired from Shell and currently self-employed as a technical consultant and trainer, managing and maximizing gas well performance. He has been a gas well production engineer for 25 years, covering research and development, greenfield development, and brownfield surveillance and optimization in The Netherlands, Oman, Malaysia, and the US. Veeken specializes in gas well performance analysis and deliquefication. He has served on steering committees of several SPE workshops and conferences and has authored more than 30 SPE papers. He earned the SPE North Sea Regional Production and Operations Award in 2011.