TGS' Adriana Citlali Ramirez discusses how the oil and gas industry’s upstream technology is well suited to tackle geophysics-related challenges on the path to net zero
The energy market conditions, particularly for oil and gas, have always been a moving target. The move to net zero and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have had an enormous impact, motivating the industry to expand faster into more carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects, geothermal exploration and
development, wind energy, solar energy, and mining—to name high-activity areas related to geosciences.
This fact, combined with the pandemic, has reshaped business and technology needs, economic robustness to
new norms and shortened the length of process cycles.
The industry’s upstream technology and expertise is well suited to tackle the geophysics-related challenges on the path to net zero. However, it is not only about technology availability or expertise that can be either directly used or adapted into the energy transition space. It is about identifying the technology fit for the
project's purpose, stage, and economics while complying with the regulatory framework and having a near-zero environmental impact. For example, the transfer of technology and expertise development in CCS began in 1996 with CO2 injection at the first CCS site, Sleipner, on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The monitoring technology to understand the flow and evolution of the reservoir with injection over time followed the technology trends used for evaluating the life of an oil and gas reservoir, relying mainly on time-lapse seismic. Time-lapse seismic surveys are, in general, repeated seismic experiments whose differences provide information about the evolution of a reservoir (and fluid motion within) and its surroundings, particularly its overburden.
The cost of each time-lapse survey can range from hundreds of thousands up to millions of dollars. The interval within surveys ranges from months to a few years over the lifetime of a producing field up to decommissioning. For a CCS project like Sleipner being connected to a producing field, the inherent economics from hydrocarbon production permit this monitoring path. Seismic is often prohibitively expensive for independent projects not associated to a profitable operation. Technology emerged in recent years includes real-time monitoring at the wellbore, with measurements that can be transmitted remotely
and analyzed almost continuously with physics-based methods and/or artificial intelligence ... [continued]