Egypt remains the Mediterranean's most prolific outpost for new discoveries. However, 34 of the undeveloped finds are marginal fields totaling 470MM bbl, which are still considered uneconomic, according to S.Shaheer of the Egyptian General Petroleum Company. He suggested the Egyptian government could provide further cost recovery incentives to spur developments, Making existing production facilities available to third parties would also help, a policy which EGPC already follows at Zeit Bay in the Gulf of Suez.
GUPCO's Y.Tawlfik said his company had encouraged innovative technical solutions to marginal developments - using existing or new technology - following remodeling of management systems a few years ago on more international oil industry lines. Relevant programs introduced included GUPCO Performance Management, Continuous Improvement and Employee Involvement.
Among the new ideas, a low cost subsea completion was used instead of platforms on old discoveries in the Nubia C and Nazzazat formations, saving several million dollars. Latterly GUPCO has also applied slimhole technology to achieve 80% savings on Nazzazat Field drilling costs.
EGPC's Ahmed Anwar Debees said that drillers in the Egyptian Mediterranean had to contend with extremely high pressure gas and salt water flows. However, through use of oil-based mud on all recent wells in the Mediterranean, the number of bits employed has fallen by 56% and the risk of stuck pipe has therefore been cut. Hole stability has improved greatly, resulting in fewer wiper trips during logging and running of production casing.
Application of new advanced types of PDC drill bits, bi-center bits and even rock bits has also galvanized drilling performance and brought down well costs, he claimed. This process was aided by improved levels of service in recent years from local contractors and other support companies.
However, exploration of deep water Mediterranean prospects requires further investment in new and high performance tools, he said. He also called for greater use of horizontal drilling to reduce platform and well numbers, and for platforms to be adapted to allow completion or recompletion via coiled tubing.
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