The idea of monitoring any reservoir spatially in three dimensions with discrete time-lapse measurements along the production (or injection) time axis is extremely compelling and increasingly the 4D method has evolved over the past 20 or so, gaining relatively wide acceptance, particularly among the reservoir engineering community, as a complement to production-logging techniques. Perhaps this should be qualified to “acceptance in the marine environment, where towed streamer 4D seismic prevails. In comparison, there has relatively little reservoir monitoring onshore.”

For several reasons, reservoir monitoring seems ready for a ‘technology leap’:

•Downhole sensors based on carbon rods and/or fibre optics allow much more sophisticated monitoring of conditions in and around the well bore, the movement of fluids and gases.

•Well-to-well seismic at least seems like a feasible methodology.

•Shell and HP’s commitment to the ‘million channel’ seismic system may open whole new dimensions, especially onshore. Likewise, fibre optic based technologies.

•Integration of rock physics, reservoir dynamics and seismic suddenly offers the opportunity to really understand what is happening in a reservoir as opposed to simply observing correlations (“as we inject here, we see a reflectivity change” for example).

The methods will tell us how wells are performing – particularly long-reach horizontals, how the field as a whole is responding to production and efforts to boost recovery, and greatly improve our understanding of the field in general, thus allowing us to control what is happening rather than simply model it in a simulator.

Our November Forum in London will focus on these technologies and these exciting possibilities.

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