Iran Lagging Behind in Geomechanics

Iran Lagging Behind in Geomechanics Iran Lagging Behind in Geomechanics

Iran's oil industry is short of a comprehensive strategy for avoiding or minimizing potential geomechanical problems, head of the Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI) said at the first national conference on petroleum geomechanics.

Enhancing oil recovery rates and preventing gas migration in joint fields are the foremost priority of Iran's oil industry, Hamidreza Katouzian said, adding that utilizing geomechincal techniques can significantly help meet this end, Shana reported.

Petroleum geomechanics is the branch of engineering dealing with the mechanical behavior of geologic formations which influence the exploration, development, production, and storage of oil and gas. This includes reservoir scale phenomena, such as structural deformations over geologic time, compaction and subsidence caused by production, induced faulting and seismicity, and salt formation creep. It also includes wellbore scale phenomena, such as hole stability during drilling, hydraulic fracturing, formation casing interaction, sand production, drilling mechanics, gravel pack operations, and slurry injection.

Geomechanical assessments need to be carried out on major oil and gas fields, such as Marounm, Ahvaz, or Gachsaran fields, to compensate for lack of comprehensive information on the fields, which has so far inflicted colossal costs on the industry, Katouzian noted.

"Iran is far behind global geomechanical studies," he added, also pointing out to legal factors which can ensure enhanced oil recovery (EOR) rate if incorporated in oil contracts. "Iran should take into account enhanced recovery methods in its new oil contracts," in order to encourage foreign contractors to employ such practices.

Within the framework of existing buy-back contracts production from hydrocarbon fields drops after the contractor drop the project, as required by the contract. The new Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) should be mindful of EOR measures should the country aim to increase production and prevent hydrocarbon migration at its joint fields.

  Hefty Cost

The state of equilibrium of a rock formation is disturbed by drilling, production, or injection resulting in changes to the mechanical state of the rock. Such changes can seriously impact drilling operations, completions infrastructure, and production performance, all of which can result in unexpected cost and time overruns. Geomechanics related issues are thought to cause almost half of drilling-related non-productive time (NPT) in high pressure high temperature (HPHT), deep water, and other challenging environments.

Without a strategy for avoiding or minimizing potential geomechanical problems, projects may cost millions more than budgeted. Today, most operators consider geomechanics analysis and planning a necessary strategic component of exploration and field development activities. Identifying potential issues, planning for, and managing them save time and improve safety at the wellsite.

Geomechanical factors affect every part of the life cycle of an oil and gas reservoir. It is important to assess and manage these, from predicting drilling risks in the first well to maximizing recovery from mature assets.

"Non-commercial fields can turn into commercial ones utilizing geomechanical techniques," deputy oil minister for research and technology, Mohammadreza Moqaddam, said at the conference, adding: "To this end, prioritized joint oilfields were handed over to universities and knowledge-based companies to conduct geomechanical assessments."

Geological data and information on Iranian oilfields are insufficient, Hormoz Qalavand, exploration director at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said, while calling for establishment of a comprehensive database for all oil and gas fields.

The first national conference on petroleum geomechanics commenced on Tuesday at the center of international conferences of the RIPI. The RIPI, Scientific Association of Iran’s Petroleum Geomechnics and Shahroud University of Technology have sponsored the 2-day conference.

Tectonic surveys in petroleum geomechanics, seismic and microcosmic surveys, petro physics, laboratory tests, analytical relations and behavioral models, making geomechanics models, deploying geomechanics in drilling and production operations, monitoring and management of risk and specialized subjects at geomechanics are the main topics discussed at the conference.