The NAPE exposition, held recently in Houston, continues to grow in size and scope.

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Victor Schmidt • Houston


The NAPE exposition, held recently in Houston, continues to grow in size and scope. Like the world's growing energy needs, the floor buzzed with activity as major and independent oil companies displayed opportunities and negotiated for their next oil prospect.

The growing importance of the meeting was emphasized by Gavin Longmuir, consulting petroleum engineer, who gave the luncheon address: "The Big Picture: Future Energy Demand and Supply," suggests that it is time for the developed world to consider using our existing energy sources in new ways to meet the growing demand and bridge the future to new energy sources.

Longmuir took a long-term view, displaying a graph of energy usage. Covering the past 10,000 years, it resembled a hockey stick – a very long period of low usage with a sharp rise over the past 200 years. Roughly 1.1 billion people in OECD countries enjoy the full benefits of the last century's oil age. The remaining 6.3 billion people of the world's population have only modest access to oil's benefits.

This is the crux of the problem. The world's present energy use of 12.5 terawatts (tw) will have to expand to over 60 tw to meet the needs of all these people. Five times the current energy use means that more oil, as well as new energy sources, will be required.

Alternative energy sources have small energy amplification compared with oil. For every unit of energy used in finding and producing oil, oil provides 15 units of energy out. Wind power can only provide a three-fold energy amplification for the energy used to build and place wind turbines. Other renewable energy processes are less effective.

Longmuir's suggested solution is to pair nuclear fission with crude extraction from plentiful oil and tar sands. This combination is necessary, he says, because of field decline and few discoveries of new giant oil fields.

The combination energy scheme requires an exercise of political will that may be lacking in the developed world. The developing world, especially China and India with one-third of the world's population, will have no qualms about using nuclear power in this way.


The emphasis on expanding the world's available energy resources continued at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates' CERAWeek 2004 conference in Houston. Oil, natural gas, and power generation were the foci of the meeting, with new opportunities and growing demand prominent in the discussions.

Thierry Desmarest, chairman and CEO of Total, spotlighted the Deepwater Gulf of Mex- ico, Middle East, Russia, and Caspian regions as major areas for new reserves growth. He expects major new projects in LNG and GTL to feed growing demand for natural gas.

Rex Tillerson, senior vice president for ExxonMobil, noted that natural decline would force a shift in the company's producing areas from North America, Europe, and Latin America to Africa, Middle East, Russia, and the Caspian Sea. By 2010 Tillerson expects ExxonMobil's established producing regions will shrink to 60% of the company's output, while new areas will grow to 40%.

Russia featured prominently in CERA's program. Irina Osokina, deputy minister of natural resources, Russia Federation, outlined the country's growth goals. Russia hopes to grow production to 490 million tons/yr of oil by 2010 and 520 million tons/yr by 2020. Natural gas goals have production growing to 665 bcm by 2010 and 730 bcm by 2020.

Following this expansive vision, Andre Illarionov, advisor to the president of Russia, gave a long list of negatives associated with the Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide emissions, without specifically answering the question of whether the country would or would not ratify the proposal. Key among the many problems of the protocol were:

  • A world majority does not support it
  • It discriminates against low- and middle-income economies
  • It is unbearably expensive
  • It is based on flawed science.

The growing need for hydrocarbon-based energy sources is well recognized and the worldwide oil industry is working diligently to find and produce the resources needed. Explorationists will be very busy in the coming years finding and developing oil and gas fields to feed ever-growing world demand.

TECHNOLOGY: Rock properties

Landmark Graphics, a unit of Halliburton, has released DecisionSpace Well Seismic Fusion, a suite of interpretation and analysis tools for predicting reservoir rock properties from prestack seismic data, synthetic data, and well data. These tools provide an integrated interpretation environment for asset teams to understand the reservoir and reduce risk.

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Well Seismic Fusion from Landmark provides an integrated interpretation environment for understanding the reservoir using prestack seismic data, synthetic data, and well data.
Click here to enlarge image


Landmark, working closely with Statoil, developed the software tools to build earth models and predict reservoir lithology. "Prestack seismic data has a dimension of information that is lost in traditional stacked seismic volumes," said John Granli, program manger of exploration research, Statoil.

EXPLORATION: Global basin modeling

Robertson Research has expanded their Tellus Global Structural Module to 368 basin definitions, covering the world's known petroleum basins. Of these basins, 254 cover shallow water basins in less than 200-m water depth and 211 basins extend into deepwater and ultra-deepwater beyond 200 m. The database includes five units:

  • Structure and geology
  • Sediment thickness
  • Basin definitions
  • Ocean floor isochrones
  • Basin classification.

Users can perform multi-scenario analyses for geological screening and new venture assessment of unfamiliar basins around the world. Proprietary data and interpretations can be added. Data layers are available in ArcSDE layers or as shape files.

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The Tellus Global Structural Module covers 368 petroleum basins, including 254 marine basins, for detailed analysis and modeling.
Click here to enlarge image


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