Term Paper: Gas Field Development

Pages: 25 (8229 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Energy  ·  Buy This Paper

Engineering

Gas Field Development

In gas field development, it is vital to clearly discover the structure and properties of the underground gas buildup and house them in surface facilities. The gas reservoir field data is the foundation for development of exploration and production planning. This includes the economic efficiency and lifecycle cost of the development of the field. After getting hold of the mining concession rights and confirming the existence of the gas, a development plan is put together. Based on the assessment of gas reservoir analysis results, the development planning of the gas field is started in order to optimize gas production. This includes gas processing facilities planning on the ground. During this planning, the gas recovery is optimized by looking at the gas production profile along with the gas properties and composition change over the lifetime of gas making. The determination of the Plateau Rate, along with the quantity of recovered gas and associated condensate, has a major force on a feasibility of the project including the initial investment cost effectiveness. Particularly, because the break-even point for the gas field development is generally low. So development plans need to be established taking long-term stable recovery into consideration (Gas Field Development, 2009).

There has been quite a bit of advances in drilling technology that have enabled the industry to find and develop oil and gas in the arctic and in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There were also dramatic changes occurring in recovery methods, as the industry learned to extract more oil and gas from fields. Many of these technological advances were forced on to the industry by the fact that most of the larger onshore fields had already been discovered (Boyce and Nostbakken, 2007).

Primary methods of recovery use the natural hydraulic pressure in a field to bring oil or gas to the surface. Secondary methods create a vacuum by pumping the oil or gas to the surface. Tertiary methods use water, natural gas, steam, thermal, or chemical injections into the fields to bring a larger portion of reserves to the surface. The secondary enhanced recovery methods were available from the early 1900s on, and tertiary methods have been in use in much of the second half of the twentieth century. Together, these methods have increased recovery from around 20% of in situ reserves with primary methods to over 60% for tertiary methods (Boyce and Nostbakken, 2007).

Since the gas reservoir pressure is higher than that of oil fields, greater attention in needed in regards to the type, number, location of the development wells along with the location of the gas processing facilities, and gas processing methods. Thought is also required in regards to toxic gases contained as impurities. The corrosion by gases and clogging that is caused by hydrates also need to be looked at. Currently development methods for reducing the environmental impact of gas development are being studied. Methods for diffusing not only of toxic gases but also of carbon dioxide that aggravates the greenhouse effect are being looked at (Gas Field Development, 2009).

Energy is vital to world quality of life and to global economics and security. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing 261 million acres of public land and another 700 million acres of subsurface minerals. The BLM maintains to improve the way it manages oil and gas development on the public lands. BLM put out a Best Management Practice (BMP) policy in June of 2004. The policy instructs field offices to incorporate appropriate BMPs into Applications for Permit to Drill and associated on- and off-lease rights-of-way approvals. By reducing the area of disturbance, adjusting the location of facilities, and using numerous other techniques to minimize environmental effects, BLM is significantly reducing impacts associated with new energy development to wildlife habitat, scenic quality, water quality, recreation opportunities, and other resources (What are Best Management Practices (BMP's), 2010).

Numerous oil and gas operatives have developed and used BMPs. BMPs are not one size fits all, what works for some does not work for others. The concrete practices and mitigation measures best for a particular site are evaluated through the National Environmental Policy Act process and vary to accommodate exclusive, site-specific conditions and local resource circumstances. Oil and natural gas making is a long-term, but not a permanent, use of public land. BMPs symbolize a commitment to the idea that smart planning and responsible follow-through decrease impacts to assets, both now and in the future. BMPs are a significant tool in the BLM's pursuit of enhancing quality of life for all citizens through balanced stewardship of America's public lands and resources (What are Best Management Practices (BMP's), 2010).

Best management practices (BMPs) are state-of-the-art mitigation actions applied to oil and natural gas drilling and production in order to help ensure that energy development is conducted in an environmentally responsible way. BMPs look after wildlife, air quality, and landscapes as people work to develop vitally needed domestic energy sources. Some BMPs are as simple as choosing a paint color that helps oil and gas equipment blend in with the natural surroundings, while others involve cutting-edge monitoring and production technologies. All are based on the thought that the footprint of energy growth should be as small and as light as possible (What are Best Management Practices (BMP's), 2010).

Utilization of oil and gas fields is becoming gradually more and more difficult and expensive. Many open fields start to decline and better recovery techniques are required to improve production and ultimate recovery and decrease impact on the environment. New fields frequently are in remote and environmentally unfriendly places, the reservoir rock is geologically complex and the hydrocarbon fluids are difficult, for example, oil is ultra heavy, gas is sour or otherwise polluted. In order to reduce the risk of developing such hydrocarbon reservoirs, large scale computer simulations are very useful. Current simulation methods, which were principally developed for the more straightforward reservoirs of the past, have to be extended and enhanced. Much bigger models, with much more geological detail, have to be replicated. Fluid chemistry and thermodynamics must be captured in more detail and indecision ranges in the simulated results have to be estimated dependably (Vink, n.d.).

Easily producible oil and gas is on the decline and residual hydrocarbon reserves require gradually more and more complex creation methods. In order to get the most out of the efficiency of these production methods, new techniques must be developed along with a better understanding of the subsurface oil and gas dynamics is necessary. Reservoir flow replication is an important tool for understanding the subsurface better, to examine novel production schemes and technique and to optimize the oil and gas field development strategies (Vink, n.d.).

Oil and gas are hydrocarbon fluid buildups in subsurface rock. They are the remnants of organic material that was deposited millions of years ago in swamps, river deltas, and sea lagoons and consequently covered by sediments. Over the course of time, the organic material changed into oil and gas and became the basis material for our present oil and gas fields. Because oil and gas is lighter than water, these fluids have an inclination to seep up through the rock towards the surface. This movement process is possible because rock is actually porous to fluid flow as it consists of solid grains with space between them. This space, called rock porosity, in some cases can be as large as 20-30% of the mass rock volume (Vink, n.d.).

Oil and gas can surge through this connected network of inter-grain pores in the rock. The process is sluggish, because most rock is not very permeable, since the pore space is small or the pores are poorly connected. Even with a very slow migration upward, there would be no hydrocarbons in our present time, if there would not be traps for the upward moving fluids. Such traps normally consist of layers of resistant dense and compact rock. The first is an anticline, a dome-shaped sealing layer with permeable rock underneath. The second trap is slightly more complex, and requires a fault, where the rock layers are broken and shifted (Vink, n.d.).

The first task for any triumphant oil company is to find reservoirs of trapped oil and gas. To some degree this relies on a mixture of clever guessing, delicate probing techniques and trial and error. The probing that is done into the subsurface is fairly incomplete. It should be quick, reasonably cheap and pierce very deeply. Using acoustic waves, seismic data acquisition, is currently the most widespread method. Here one launches sound blasts into the rock and records the echoes in arrays of responsive microphones. These seismic reflections contain information about the layering of rock porosity, density, and elasticity in the subsurface, but it is a formidable task to process the recorded acoustic data into meaningful information that could be used to decide if a certain location could contain trapped hydrocarbon accumulations. For the non-specialist such pictures at best give a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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