Sustaining offshore production

It has been established that the easy-to-find reservoirs are just about gone.

David Paganie • Houston

It has been established that the easy-to-find reservoirs are just about gone. Meanwhile, onshore reserves are declining and shallow-water reservoirs are rapidly depleting. The advent of enhanced oil recovery technologies coupled with emerging well stimulation services is injecting some life into those maturing assets, but the industry must continue to effectively replace reserves to keep pace with demand (and investor expectations). So, where will this new production come from? Deepwater is expected to provide incremental production growth for the foreseeable future, but there are other areas as well that could help sustain the offshore supply.

Arctic

There are quite a few projects producing in arctic offshore areas and others are in developing stages, but new technology and services are needed to fully exploit its potential.ABS surveyed participants at a workshop earlier this year and found the following as key challenges to developing arctic resources: ice management, guidance on global ice load prediction, and safer mooring systems. The classification society, beginning on page 34, suggests a way forward for safe and effective arctic offshore development.

The US Geological Survey in a 2008 report estimated that approximately 90 Bbbl of oil, 1.7 tcf of natural gas, and 44 Bbbl of natural gas liquids may remain to be found in the Arctic, of which approximately 84% is expected to be in offshore areas. The East Greenland Rift Basins Province is estimated to hold undiscovered resources in the amount of 8.9 Bbbl of oil, 86.2 tcf of gas, and 8.1 Bbbl of natural gas liquids, according to the report. Despite a string of non-commercial drilling results offshore Greenland, operators still appear poised to test the upside.Offshore contributing editor Nick Terdre reviews operator expectations and the ongoing licensing round, beginning on page 32.

East Africa

A series of discoveries offshore Mozambique and Tanzania has identified a working, gas-rich geological trend that could propel the East African region to become a top global exporter of LNG. Over 100 tcf of gas has been discovered in Mozambique and Tanzania to date and there could be a further 100 tcf of undiscovered resources, according to Wood Mackenzie. But there are significant technical and commercial challenges to bringing the gas to market by the end of this decade, the firm suggests. These include: addressing issues around infrastructure, government capacity, financing, and a positive outcome to unitization negotiations in Mozambique. Beginning onpage 40, Wood Mackenzie highlights the exploration and production activity offshore Mozambique and Tanzania, and outlines the keys to transforming East Africa's exploration success into value.

Australia

GeoScience Australia's Australian Gas Resource Assessment 2012 estimates Australia's gas resources (excluding shale gas) to be 392 tcf – around 184 years of gas at current production rates. Australia's stranded offshore gas reserves are estimated at around 140 tcf countrywide. By 2017, based on proposed and committed new projects, Australia's LNG production capacity will quadruple, and this would make Australia the world's largest LNG producer. Don't miss the comprehensive review of Australia's offshore projects and its potential impact on global energy demand byOffshore contributing editor Wendy Laursen, beginning on page 44.

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