Delivering New Technology Faster

Date: 01/20/2011

Bridging the gap between operations and engineering

The age of easy oil is over. As the exploration and production (E&P) industry strives to meet the energy needs of tomorrow, it is challenged by frontier locations such as deeper waters, increasingly complex geological settings, more diverse hydrocarbons, and greater extremes of temperature and pressure. These environments require significant new technologies to find and develop the resources for future production.

In deeper waters, successful production often depends on technology integration. Natural gas production presents different challenges and includes more complex components but also requires using new technology. At the same time, today’s aging global production base requires greater support. Many of the giant fields that supply current needs were developed using technologies conceived 50 years ago or more. Production of the remaining reserves increasingly depends on implementing new technologies such as multilateral bores and advanced completions.

A Commitment to Research

Schlumberger has long recognized that technology development demands long-term commitment. Many steps are required to bring new technology to market, including fundamental research, intrinsic development, and adaptation of solutions from other industries. These factors can lengthen the technology development cycle, delaying potential benefits. Consequently, investment and effort must be maintained even in times of slowdown—an objective to which Schlumberger maintains an unwavering commitment.

Schlumberger research centers

As oil and gas production expands geographically, technology development efforts must also expand. To meet the demands of production expansion, Schlumberger Research Centers have moved from central establishments, far from areas of operation, to networked facilities closer to customers and the field. Harnessing regional input while remaining connected to worldwide expertise is one of the reasons why Research Centers were inaugurated in Saudi Arabia, Norway, Russia and Brazil that complement existing major centers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and Cambridge, UK. The three newest centers are close to oil company operations and to concentrations of academic expertise.

Each Research Center maintains a specific focus. In Russia, for example, Schlumberger pursues many collaborative projects with academic institutions covering seismic and acoustic methods, reservoir physics, and reservoir testing. In Saudi Arabia we are looking in depth at carbonates, and in Brazil a new center will open to focus on research and development for deepwater subsalt environments.

From research to field

Technology development is more than research and engineering.  In the oilfield industry, commercial uptake is often slow due to the sheer size of the investments required. New techniques take time to attain full deployment, especially given the variation in the new hydrocarbon resources to be developed. This requires moving faster, efficiently selecting the right technology, and then ensuring its correct application in a timely manner. To this end, Schlumberger has opened a series of Regional Technology Centers with the objective of answering customer needs by combining multidomain petrotechnical expertise with technology in a collaborative environment.

The Regional Technology Centers bridge the gap between field operations and research and engineering. While responding to global industry challenges, they also meet regional needs by creating a collaborative environment in which customers and Schlumberger experts can work to solve specific questions. The overall goal is to bring new technologies on line faster by introducing specific projects in the same geographical area.

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