Integration is the key to success What technology do you think has made the biggest difference to exploration since 1990?

Integration is the key to success

No single technology will provide a “silver bullet” to the challenges faced by Norway’s oil & gas industry, according to a report by Westwood Energy.

At NPD’s well attended Exploration Technology Seminar, Graeme Bagley, Associate, Global Exploration Research at Westwood Global Energy Group presented a new report on “Advances in Exploration Technology and Geosciences – Past and Future on the NCS”.

Norway faces sizeable challenges due to increased basin maturity and decreasing average discovery sizes. The industry has been searching for technologies that can decrease cycle time and increase success rates in order to increase efficiency.

The report is the result of a four-month research project for the NPD, which examines whether advances in exploration technology and geosciences could increase exploration efficiency on NCS. The research examines several technologies including quantitative seismic analysis and electromagnetic techniques as well risk and uncertainty analysis and new ways of working.

It concludes that:

  • Whilst technical success rates are improving, commercial success rates have decreased. However, the industry is getting better at finding small accumulations.
  • The industry continues to overestimate success case volumes.
  • The right technologies applied correctly and integrated effectively across disciplines can make an impact. Attention to detail and integration of data, analysis and interpretation from all sources are essential.
Graeme Bagley says: “Our analysis shows that there are no silver bullets when it comes to technology. Integration is key. We know, for instance, that the availability of high quality, high resolution seismic data has led to new understanding of depositional systems. Integration of seismic with outcrop, well and production data has opened up at least one new play on the NCS.  Attention to detail and integration of data from all sources is key.”

The full report is available here

During a panel discussion (H.C.Rønnevik, Lundin; P. Avseth, Dig Science; E. Femsteinevik, Faroe; T.Dahl, Equinor; G. Bagley, Westwood Energy and H.M. Veding, NPD) afterwards, there was consensus that the Norwegian E&P industry is on top of the latest exploration technologies. The panel also agreed with Westwood Energy that integration of all available data is key.

The discussion got a bit livelier when the panel was questioned if artificial intelligence will improve the commercial success rate. Especially Hans Christen Rønnevik from Lundin stated several times that no machine or computer can ever come up with new concepts or creative ideas. Johan Sverdrup would never have been discovered based on modelling scenarios from known data and drilled wells. The benefit of machine learning lies perhaps in making simple tasks more time efficient and thereby providing more time for the human creative process.