As North Sea fields become more mature, operators are working to maintain production levels. Lars Takla, managing director of ConocoPhillips Norway told participants at Offshore Europe in Aberdeen that the company's goal off Norway is to maintain the production plateau for as long as possible.
The two keys to reaching this goal, Takla said, are cutting operations costs and using new technology to increase production. He cited using water injection at Ekofisk in 1987 as one of the first "new" technologies used on the field. Water injection brought about "an enormous increase in recovery," Takla said. Today about 1 MMb/d of water is injected at Ekofisk.
Measuring while drilling (MWD) was another industry milestone, according to Takla. "MWD was a dream," he said. "Now we are analyzing while drilling."
Takla said 46% of the Ekofisk field has been produced, and today's challenge is to efficiently produce the rest of the field. ConocoPhillips is going about that by gathering people who make creative decisions in an onshore operations center. Using better tools will also help improve recovery, Takla said, pointing to intelligent completions and instrumentation and control systems as some of the technologies being applied extensively in Norway's offshore.
If the production decline is to be arrested, new technology has to be developed and put to work, Takla said.