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View Diary: The 4 biggest oil fields in the world are in decline (197 comments)

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  •  what about re-completing old wells ? (none)
    and altering the physical layout of resovoirs with explosives ?

    after some time has passed in older wells, wont the pressure tend to come up again ?

    R we talking costs of extraction or the very possibilty of extraction ?

    Out of my cold dead hands

    by bluelaser2 on Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 02:40:32 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Permeability problems (4.00)
      I've heard of high pressure acid treatment of wellbores in gas fields to intentionally fracture the rock to artificially increase permeability, but I don't know if that's done for oil as well.

      The fracturing in oil reservoirs tends to be considered a problem, because it makes the flows through the reservoir less predictable -- the fractures can move water around, too.

      The low-permeability problems of the south end of Ghawar are both economic and physical. Wells drilled there have low rates of production and short lifetimes, because the oil isn't mobile. That means that the cost of the well is hard to recover, and the rate of production is throttled by the ability to drill more wells.

      What will happen in Ghawar is that eventually the incremental profit of one more barrel of oil will be less than the value of the gas in the gas cap. When this happens, the field will be "blown down" -- oil will be extracted and not replaced with water and the pressure will be allowed to drop to the bubble point, and the gasses will come out of solution and gas wells will be drilled.

      There will still be a huge amount of oil in Ghawar then, and secondary/tertiary recovery will start. That means pumps -- very low production rates and high costs. The pumpjacks that you see on oil wells in the US are on wells that recover a few tens or a hundred of barrels a day, not the 50,000 barrels a day of a primary recovery well in Ghawar today.

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