Must you pay the technical debt of legacy floods?

debt cardInherited a legacy flood? Along with asset retirement obligations, you also inherited a large technical debt. It won’t show up on the balance sheet of the seller, but it will show up on yours very quickly.

How do you deal with the technical debt of legacy floods?

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One operator optimized a disused flood hoping to inject the extra water being produced. She explains her efforts to get a flood working again after years of neglect.

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What is technical debt?

Technical debt is the amount of money that must be spent to correct an oil field from the way things were done before. Tech debt is incurred by using shortcuts in the past. It is also incurred by ignoring maintenance. It also comes from new and changing technology.

Need help to improve your flood?
?subject=Help me improve my flood&body=Help me improve my flood, increase sweep, increase recovery and increase production.%0D%0A%0D%0AMy Name:__________ %0D%0AMy Phone Number:__________ %0D%0AMy quiz score: X=__________%0D%0A%0D%0A(Or call Proven Sales at 403-803-2500.)">Contact Proven for support. We speak fluent flood.

Floods left on autopilot

terrified of autopilotDecades ago keen engineers set up floods, converted injectors, and added water flowlines.

Those engineers moved on to other projects and left the floods in the hands of operations. The floods were left on autopilot.

Unlike self driving cars, floods on autopilot have no set destination. It is not surprising when the floods ended up in the scrap heap.

Only 50 of Alberta's two thousand active floods have been optimized in the last five years.

Flood maintenance is an important task that must not be procrastinated.

But neglected floods can be revived if they haven't yet been abandoned.

Premature flood abandonment

Over the last 10 years flood maintenance has been ignored. Floods that could have produced billions of dollars of cash flow have been abandoned prematurely.

Many flood operators were of the set it and forget it mindset. They set up a flood and never gave it a second thought.

They put up with rising water cut and disappointing results. They started to see a flood as a cost rather than as a way to increase production.

Flood operators laid off flood maintenance engineers and shut down water handling facilities. They came to accept 5% recovery as the norm.

Need help in balancing pattern injection?
?subject=Help me balance my injection patterns&body=Help me balance my injection patterns, increase sweep, increase recovery and increase production.%0D%0A%0D%0AMy Name:__________ %0D%0AMy Phone Number:__________ %0D%0A%0D%0A(Or call Proven Sales at 403-803-2500.)">Contact Proven for support. We can predict the extra reserves.

Technical debt: pay up now or pay up later

mechanic under a car"Pay me now, or pay me later," said the mechanic under the car in the 1972 television commercial for oil filters. A whole series of commercials were dedicated to getting you to use a cheap oil filter with oil changes to reduce later engine mechanical failures.

This mantra of pay up now or pay up later is exactly the technical debt issue. You must pay to optimize a flood or put up with its poor performance and early demise.

Flood maintenance and optimization is not expensive but few left in the industry know how.

Flood optimization can't be learned from a textbook or in a class. Experience in starting and reviewing floods is the only way to learn it. Proven has started 50 floods and reviewed two hundred.

Whence legacy flood technical debt?

Some legacy flood technical debt comes from installation shortcuts.

When installing floods, many operators cut corners on the installation to reduce capital costs. As a result, water was injected in the wrong places. Floods prematurely watered out. Some floods had no effect whatsoever.

Technical debt of ignoring directional permeability

Another source of technical debt is directional permeability -- this eliminated flood revenue by the billions.

Directional permeability strongly affects water flood response. Many floods have been destroyed because permeability direction was ignored.

Technical debt ignoring technology advances

Flood technology advances over the last 25 years have been ignored by most operators. They could have benefitted by huge production increases.

Flooding first generation horizontal wells is also another source of technical debt. 1G horizontal wells were drilled without regard to directional permeability.

Flooding 1G horizontal wells immediately watered out producers. No amount of polymer injection could fix this problem.

How do we fix the field where all the horizontal wells were drilled North/South??
?subject=Contact me about your simulation of Hz redvelopment&body=Is it worth while to fix the field where all the horizontal wells were drilled North/South?%0D%0ATell me about your simulation process to show the pros and cons of horizontal redevelopment.%0D%0AField__________%0D%0AFormation_______________%0D%0AMy phone_______________">Contact Proven for our testing simulation on your field.

The benefit of overcoming technical debt: Improving production

Production increases and stabilization of decline are the reward for paying the technical debt incurred by years of neglect. Cash flow increase follows.

Some well run floods have recovered up to 75% of the oil in place. Why be satisfied with 5-10% recovery?

Tags: Flood

Granger Low   27 Sep 2022

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This page last updated 27 Sep 2022.
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