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The Magazine by and for Young Professionals in Oil and Gas

VOL. 9 // ISSUE 1 // 2013


An Official Publication of

The Society of Petroleum


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Non-Bleed: 7 x 10 Screen: 133



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VOL. 9 // ISSUE 1 // 2013

Americas Office
Office hours: 07301700 CST (GMT5) MondayFriday
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Tel: +7 495 937 42 09

Presidents Column

Whats Ahead

TWA InterAct

TWA Interview


Thoughts from 2013 SPE President, Egbert Imomoh.

Perspective from TWAs new editor-in-chief, Todd Willis.

Responses to TWA content sent via social media.

Conversation with Charles D. Chuck Davidson, Noble Energys

chairman and chief executive officer.

Deepwater development: what past performance says about the future.


Economists Corner


HR Discussion


Pillars of the Industry


Tech 101




Technical Leaders


Soft Skills


A YPs Guide to...


YP Newsflash


Your Best Shot

A discussion of how emerging plays boost the economic attractiveness of

deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

An interview with Schlumbergers Amelia Irion on research and

developments role in deep water.

Deepwater developments from a career-long Petrobras perspective.

Leveraging technology to win in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico Wilcox


The way ahead for research and development in the deepwater Brazilian

An interview on deepwater operations with Luke Eaton of ConocoPhillips,

Darryl Herrington of LLOG Exploration, and John Thorogood, drilling
global consultant.

To what extent is deepwater drilling driven by culture?

What it is like to live and work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Coverage of young professionals events around the globe, as well as an

update from the YP Coordinating Committee.

Readers submit their best on-the-job photos.

An Official Publication of
The Society of Petroleum Engineers
Printed in USA. Copyright 2013, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

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Presidents Column

A New Approach to
Egbert Imomoh
2013 SPE President

his is a time of great challenge for the oil and gas

exploration and production industry. With demand
for hydrocarbons increasing and an entire generation
of engineers who will retire in the next 5 to 10 years, young
professionals (YPs) in our industry are being asked to take
on more responsibility sooner in their career. As a result,
they have to learn skills faster.
SPE is focused on how to assist YPs in developing all the
skills they needboth technical and softto succeed and
advance in the industry. In 2007, SPE developed a Talent
Council to share information, stimulate ideas, and coordinate
initiatives aimed at improving the quantity and quality of talent
available to the industry. The council is focused on improving
and enabling tertiary education; collecting and analyzing
data to highlight potential capability/expertise gaps and
identify possible solutions; and serving as a focal point in the
industry for diversity to assess, foster, and publicize issues/
opportunities related to workforcediversity.
The Talent Council sponsored best practices workshops in
petroleum engineering education in Kazakhstan and Angola.
These sessions brought together university academicians/
administrators, ministers of energy, and oil and gas industry
professionals to discuss best practices in curriculum
development, industry expectations, and how everyone
can work together to improve the quality of petroleum
The council also conducted surveys and produced reports
on gender diversity issues, such as the topic of dual-career
couples, and will be conducting a survey in early 2013 to
identify best practices in talent retention.
To define the skills graduates should possess, SPEs Talent
Council studied university curricula and industry expectations
regarding recent graduates technical knowledge. The
resulting SPE Graduate Technical Knowledge Matrix serves as
a reference tool for industry, academia, and students.
SPE also wanted to address the need for soft skills
development, so, in 2011, it formed the Soft Skills Council.
The idea for the council came from an emerging need in the
industry to facilitate the development of interpersonal skills,
adding value to the growth of our professionals. The councils
role in this development is to provide venues and facilitate
the discussion for professional growth in addition to technical
development opportunities. Last year, the council conducted

a survey of SPE committees to better understand current

competency levels and offer ideas for programs that would
benefit competency development but not duplicate current
SPE program efforts. Some interesting ideas were generated,
including the development of an SPE soft skills competency
matrix; continuing education short courses; a lecture program
similar to SPEs Distinguished Lecturer Program; venues for
publication of papers; panel discussions; and opportunities
for participation in leadership programs in concert with other
professional societies.
The Soft Skills Council, in conjunction with the Young
Professional Coordinating Committee (YPCC) and the
Talent Council, launched a successful event at the 2012 SPE
Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition called CrossGenerational Teams Adding Value to the Workplace. The
workshop gave attendees a chance to explore the balance
between technical and soft competencies expected of industry
professionals and learn about critical thinking andnetworking.
Both councils offer valuable information to help you
develop your career.
You are already doing the most important thing to help
your careeryou are a member of SPE. My membership
has enabled me to grow in two ways. First, it has helped me
grow professionally. Access to technology, participating in
conferences, and access to the Journal of Petroleum Technology
have helped me throughout my career. Second, it has provided
an avenue for social interaction both locally and internationally.
I became a member in a roundabout way. Many of us in
Nigeria had joined the industry with differing engineering
backgrounds, and we needed an organization to which
we could anchor and grow our professional and technical
knowledge. When I first came back to Nigeria to work after
getting my degree, I found that, although I was a mechanical
engineer, I could not register as an engineer because I was
practicing as a petroleum engineer. I discussed this with some
American-trained friends familiar with SPE, and that is when
we came up with the idea of starting a section in Nigeria that
would give us a professionalaffiliation. This is another of the
ways SPE broadens its scope and reach throughout the world.
Along with the efforts of SPEs Talent Council, Soft Skills
Council, and YPCC, this helps ensure SPE continues to evolve
to better serve the industry and foster the skills development
of those embarking on their petroleum industry careers. TWA

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Whats AheadFrom the Editor of TWA

Evolving Deepwater Frontiers

Todd B. Willis
The Way A head

Deep water is an ever-evolving term in our industry.

to generate the vast capital outlays and financing needed
The earliest offshore wells, in the early 1900s, were
to undertake the inherent risk in such an environment.
drilled much like land wells, with the rig simply
All these factors ensure that deep water, whatever that
suspended above the water on a pier built to extend from the
term may mean in the future, will remain a fascinating
shoreline. Water depths for these earliest wells were usually
no more than 20 feet. Compare that to todays state-of-the-art
We are happy to have 2013 SPE President Egbert Imomoh
drillships, such as Transoceans Discoverer Deep Seas, that
share his thoughts with us in this issue. I had the privilege of
are capable of drilling in 12,000 feet of water. What will be
meeting him at a YP event at the 2012 SPE Annual Technical
the definition of deepwater drilling 20 years
Conference and Exhibition, and
from now, considering that the oceans
he seems genuinely interested in
deepest known point, the Challenger
the next generation of petroleum
Deep in the Pacific Ocean at the southern
The challenge and
end of the Mariana Trench, is estimated
Our first 2013 issue also
to be approximately 36,000 feet below
many new faces to
promise that deepwater
TWA. Be sure to check out the
assets hold go
This issue of The Way Ahead
newest members of the TWA
far beyondjust
sets out to explore the current
family on our editorial roster.
state, and future development
And if youre interested in joining
drilling the well. . .
of, deepwater assets. The challenges
the TWA team, be sure to reach
presented by this last frontier of the oil
out to us. (See the TWA InterAct
and gas industry are many; that was made
page for information on how
abundantly clear with the tragic events
to apply as an editor.) I hope we
in 2010 of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the US Gulf
can welcome you to the TWA editorial board in the January
of Mexico. But the challenge and promise that deepwater
assets hold go far beyond just drilling the welladvancing
Finally, I would like to thank our outgoing editor-in-chief,
technology will allow us to deal with pressures and
Max Medina, for all he has done for TWA and for me in his
temperatures that todays technology simply cannot tolerate;
more than 4 years with TWA. Ill save the usual clichs about
geopolitical issues will arise that need to be contended
trying to fill his shoes and instead say I have always valued
with when rival countries lay claim to unexplored (and
Maxs advice and friendship. I learned a lot from him, and
ambiguously staked) territories; finding and proving the
I consider him both a mentor and a friend. All of us here at
reserves will be problematic; and the industry will need
TWA wish him the best. TWA

Vol. 9 // No. 1 // 2013

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TWA InterAct

From TWAs Twitter Page

@ SPETheWayAhead: Does anyone have plans to spend the
weekend on a #drillingrig location? Please send us a twitpic!
@TUAgungSaputro: Been here for the last month:

From TWAs Facebook Page

Thanks to the following people for the Likes! Ali Khalf
Allah Bashir, Shubham Saxena, Benjamin KeBler,

Editors Note: Agung sent us a pic! Be sure to

check out our Twitter site to see it for yourself.
Thanks Agung, and be safe!
@SPETheWayAhead: Both TWA editors are currently
pursuing grad degrees while working. Any readers doing
the same? #rice #tamu #youngprofessionals
@SPETheWayAhead: What is the most challenging
project you have ever worked on in #oilandgas?
#youngprofessionals #thewayahead

TWAers: Join in the conversation with TWA on

Twitter: @SPETheWayAhead

TWA is also on LinkedIn

Former TWA editor-in-chief Max Medina accepts SPEs

Young Professionals Outstanding Service Award from
2012 SPE President Ganesh Thakur at the 2012 SPE Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE).

Are you interested in joining
the TWA team as an editor?
Weare now accepting
applications through 31
March. Pleasesend us your
one-page resume (CV), along
with a one-page typed essay
on why you want to join TWA to
TWA editors attend a meeting at the 2012 SPE ATCE (left to right): Tyler Roberts,
Jenny Cronlund, Max Medina, David Vaucher, Tony Fernandez, Todd Willis, Jim
Stiernberg, and Chris Jenkins.

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TWA Interview

Charles D. Chuck Davidson

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Noble Energy

Charles D. Chuck Davidson is Noble Energys chairman and chief executive officer.
Noble Energy is an independent energy company engaged in the exploration and
production of oil and natural gas since 1932. Noble Energys core US producing regions
include the DJ basin in the Rocky Mountains, the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and
West Virginia, and deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Noble Energy also has core producing
regions in west Africain Equatorial Guinea and Cameroonand in the eastern
Mediterranean offshore Israel and Cyprus. Before joining Noble Energy, Davidson
was chairman, president, and chief executive of Vastar Resources, a publicly owned
subsidiary of ARCO, which merged with BP in 2000. He joined ARCO in 1972 and progressed through
numerous engineering, managerial, and executive assignments within various ARCO subsidiaries. He
holds a bachelors degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University and a masters degree in
management from The University of Texas at Dallas. Davidson is a member of numerous professional
and industry trade organizations and is involved with several Houston community organizations.

Thinking back to when you

started working in the oil and gas
industry, can you think of specific
decisions or relationships that had
a lasting impact on your career?
When I think of how my career
development has evolved, the decisions
that made a difference were those that
led to taking on something completely
different and outside my comfort zone.
I was a chemical engineer and wasnt
trained in petroleum engineering. I
started out in the midstream part of
the business, handling gas processing
and designing and building gas
plants. I stayed in the projects
and facilities part of the
business for the first 8 or 9
years of my career, and then
I had an opportunity to manage a
reservoir engineering group in one
of our districts. I didnt know a thing
about it, but it gave me a chance to
move into the so-called black oil
end of the business. I worried about
the decision because I was asked to
manage a group and I technically didnt
have that expertise; but, it stretched me.
Sometimes, those moves are done at
personal risk; but, I point to that as one
of the personal decisions I made to step
beyond my comfort zone to develop

Another one happened a couple of

years later when I took on a position as
an executive, leading external affairs
for ARCO in Alaska. I was basically
doing lobbying, politics, and PR work
in addition to environment, health,
and safetyall totally outside my
comfort zone, especially the lobbying.
It was a real change for an engineer

My stand for this year is

limitless possibility.

suddenly carrying a lobbyist hat, but

it caused me to think about things
A different mentor was part of each
of those decisions. In both instances,
they recognized those disciplines
werent my forte but they gave me the
opportunity to grow.

With such a high demand for

bright YPs in the market, what

does Noble Energy do to retain

The talented YPs will eventually reach
a point in their careers where they want
to do something different, take on new
things, or make a difference.
To retain them, we must respond to
these needs.
We do this by understanding their
career objectives, then assigning
appropriate responsibilities or
increased challenges when they
are ready. We also provide relevant
training required for their new or
broadened roles.
Also, people want to be part of an
organization that is making a difference.
Thats why I spend so much time on
our purpose, Energizing the World,
Bettering Peoples Lives. Its something
were truly trying to do, and I think
thats inspirational.
Inspiration and retention go
together. We always try to make sure
important things like compensation
andrewards are competitive because
we want to reward people; but, pay is
just one piece of the decision.
People want to feel valued and make
a contribution that has an impact on
the performance of the company. It is
also important that the company makes
Vol. 9 // No. 1 // 2013

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TWA Interview

What makes somebody a CEO?

What are the characteristics
one needs to have to make it to
You need a track record of
accomplishment and a lot of experience
because things get thrown at you
every day from all different angles.
The essential quality is a track record
of making good decisions, because
leadership roles are all about making
decisions, not about calculations. My
days of using a calculator and a slide
rule are gone.

Is that something that comes

naturally to leaders, or can
young professionals work
At the early stages of a young
professionals career, you may be
tasked with creating recommendations
for certain projects. The key is doing
the homeworkbeing thorough and
keeping an open mind while you look at
different options.
It is all about possibilities. My stand
for this year is limitless possibility
so, even at this stage of my career, I am
pressing myself to think of all things as
being possible.

What is your advice to young

professionals who are looking to
increase their professional worth?
My advice is to take every opportunity
to broaden yourself, learn new
things, and be proactive. Dont wait
for opportunities to drop in your lap.
Sometimes you have to cause things
to happen. Voice what you want to
do or where you want to work. By
trying new things, you will gain
proficiencies, build relationships,
and broaden your experience. You
should also take advantage of training.
Technical training is important, but
nontechnical training in communication
and teamwork is very valuable to

What sort of qualities does

Noble Energy look for when
We are looking for young people
early in their career with a good

track record. We also look for team

players who are good communicators,
enthusiastic, and flexible. Most of the
work here is done in teams, so these
qualities are crucial. You can have the
best technical person, but if he or she
does not work well with others, the
team will not be functional.

How would you identify the role of

independents in the industry, and
of Noble Energy in particular?
I think of independents as the
companies that generally fully invest
their cash flow in exploration and
production [E&P] projects. Historically,
that has meant they have done most
of their drilling in the US. That seems
to be the way things have evolved
and how it continues to be today.
Independents have often been the

knew there was gas in the various

shales, but we didnt know whether it
was commercially recoverable or not.
Our view of technology has continued
to evolve. Our first entry of any
significance into the DJ basin was when
we acquired Patina Oil & Gas back in
2005. At that time, the Wattenberg field
was being developed with vertical
wells. As horizontal technology has
evolved, essentially all the drilling is
now horizontal.
Entry into the Marcellus gas shale
play through acquisitions demanded
high asset prices, so we were a bit
hesitant early on. However, with
reduced commodity prices last year,
we became more comfortable with
matching the asset values with the
opportunities. That led us to form
a jointventure in the Marcellus

Were a blend. We operate US onshore projects

typical of an independent, but weve also taken on
large-scale multibillion-dollar projects similar
to what might be in a majors portfolio.

onesto take on the smaller projects

andhave left the big, high-risk, longlead projects to majors. I think the
roleof independents is to get the
E&P work done. In the US, certainly,
a lot of that risk is taken on by
Noble Energy is a little bit different;
Were a blend. We operate US onshore
projects typical of an independent,
but weve also taken on large-scale
multibillion-dollar projects similar to
what might be in a majors portfolio.

What was Noble Energys view of

shale plays when it entered the
DJ basin and the Marcellus shale?
How has it changed since?
Its not so much the view of shale
but, instead, the view of technology.
Technology has driven the
development of shale. We always

that werevery excited about. In

my opinion,the Marcellus is one of
the bestshale plays in the US, and
its inone of the best markets in

Why do you think Noble Energy

became the first operator to
get a drilling permit after the
moratorium on drilling in the
Gulf of Mexico? How have your
operations changed since 2010?
We took a stand that we were going to
get beyond the incident (that sparked
the moratorium), and we were going to
come out of it a better company. Our
multidisciplinary team took a lead role
in working with the government to build
a permitting template that could meet
the new requirements. We proactively
worked with 24 other independent
deepwater energy companies and

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Helix Energy Solutions Group in a

shared mission to develop a completely
new approach to deepwater spills. The
success of this endeavor allowed us
to lead the industry back to work in

portfolio is diversified geologically,

geographically, and by commodity
type. We help mitigate commodity
price risks by hedging. We hedge up
to half of our production for as long as 2
years to reduce volatility in cash flow.

From Israel and Cyprus in

the eastern Mediterranean to
Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon
in west Africa, the Gulf of Mexico,
Nicaragua, and now the Falkland
Islands, it seems Noble Energy
is very comfortable in offshore
operations, especially deep
water. What makes deep water so
attractive to Noble Energy?

What will be the main drivers of

Noble Energy in the future? How
will you evolve? What is next for
Noble Energy?

For us, deep water is just a natural

evolution of the technology the industry
has continued to build upon. As we go
into deeper water, it opens up basins
and exploration opportunities not
available before. Whats appealing
about deep water is you can explore
in areas with significant resources that
have not been explored. The eastern
Mediterranean and Falkland Islands
are perfect examples of that.

What do you find to be the

most pressing business
Today, we have more opportunities
than we have capital to spend. What I
find most pressing in our industry is
managing project risk. Big multibilliondollar projects can face risks of
overruns and poor performance. As an
international company, we also have to
consider political risk as we are dealing
with many different governments with
different views and policies.
Finally, what many in the public
dont realize is the price risk we
take. Ina very short period of time,
the price at which we sell a primary
commodity can drop in half. Were
seeing it with natural gas, and we
saw it with oil during the economic
recession of 2008.What manufacturing
or retail business out there can survive
their sales prices dropping by half
overnight? Its very few, and yet we do
manage that.
At Noble Energy, we do it through
a diversification process. Our

We have a very clear pathway for

growth that has been set up by some
major discoveries we made over the
past several years. When we look at
the next 5 years, and perhaps even
beyond, whats really driving us is
the development of these discoveries.
When we look at our growth, we see
our production doubling over the next
4 to 5 years through the execution of
these major projects and our ongoing
development of unconventional plays in
the US Niobrara and Marcellus.
We have five core operating areas
in the company: DJ basin, Marcellus
shale, deepwater Gulf of Mexico, west
Africa, and eastern Mediterranean. All
these regions are expected to grow
more than 10% per year over the next
5 years. We have exploration projects
in our core areas and a new ventures
program, which led to our recent
Falkland Islands announcement. We
also plan to drill in Nicaragua. These
exploration programs will produce new
projects that will become drivers in the
more distant future.

Have you, personally or with

a company, had professional
interaction with SPE in the past?
Has your workforce had the
opportunity to leverage company
activities with SPE expertise?
I personally have been a member
ofSPE for a little over 25 years and
havebenefitted from the various
programs and conferences. I
also contributed to papers that
have beenpublished.I encourage
our employees to get involved in
professional organizations. They
provide learning experiences, personal
development, and great opportunities
to network and buildrelationships. TWA

Be a part of the
SPE Opinion Panel
Short on time?
This volunteer
opportunity is for you.
For less than one hour of
your time each month, you
can help shape the future of
SPE products and services.
Join the SPE Opinion Panel
and give feedback about the
Society and its programs, as
well as participate in industry
and technical topic research.
Getting started is easy.
For more
information, log on to

Society of Petroleum Engineers

TWA_v9n1_Interview.indd 7

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Deepwater Development:
What Past Performance Says
About theFuture
Jarrett Dragani and Maxim Kotenev

From its beginnings in 1897 to its

pinnacle as an industry whose sites
are visible from outer space, offshore
drilling has pioneered technologies,
given rise to the tallest structures
on Earth, transformed the seabed of
the Earths continental shelves into a
manageable fossil-fuel resource, and
provided work for millions of people.
Despite innumerable obstacles,
offshore drilling has successfully
evolved and prospered over the last
century into its most challenging
environment yetdeepwater and
ultradeepwater drilling.
In an interview, Malcolm Webb,
chief executive officer of Oil and Gas
UK, stated there is no agreed industry
definition of what constitutes deep
water. When we started in the North
Sea 30 to 40 years ago, depths of 100
to 700 ft would have been regarded as
deep water; and, as our abilities and
technologies have moved forward, so
the definition of what is deep has moved
with it. Depths west of Shetland in the UK
vary from approximately 500 ft to 6,000ft
plus. As a matter of convenience,
however, deepwater drilling depths are
sometimes defined as being greater
than around 400 m, while water depths

of greater than 1500m are defined

However one defines deepwater
drilling, it is clear that, compared with
conventional offshore drilling methods,
it presents unique technical challenges
related to greater water depths, higher
pressures, manipulating the extra-long
riser pipe connecting the wellhead to
the rig (more than 1500 m in the case
of the Deepwater Horizon), extreme
temperature gradients, and added
costs. Steve Terni, chairman of Exxon
Neftegas, said in ExxonMobils The
Lamp magazine, Drilling 6 miles from
land beneath frigid waters and floating
icepack is like threading the needle in
the proverbial haystack, from way across
the farm, in a blizzard.

Memorable Moments,
Record Wells
It is no coincidence that offshore crude
oil production has become a major part
of the national energy supply in several
major countries, notably the United
States. The offshore industry extends
further back in history than many
people realize (Fig. 1). There are,
of course, many more advancements
in offshore development that can be

Jarrett Dragani earned a BS degree in mechanical

engineering with a specialization in energy and the
environment from the University of Calgary. He currently
works for Cenovus Energy as a mechanical engineer
supporting design and construction of the Christina Lake Oil
Sands Expansion and has 3 years upstream experience
working across various sectors of the industry in western
Canada. He is a member of the SPE Calgary Section board
as well as an editor for SPEs The Way Ahead.

recognized, but it is important to

understand that only with extraordinary
amounts of effort, technical acumen,
risk, and, of course, money, was the
industry able to progress in less than
20 years from the first deepwater US
Gulf of Mexico (GOM) discoveries
in the 1980s to total deepwater GOM
production surpassing shallow-water
production by the end of the 1990s
(Fig. 2).
Records continue to be set around
the world as the industry explores
deeper prospects and defies what would
seem to be the limits of technology and
economics. One of the planets deepest
hubs is currently Royal Dutch Shells
Perdido platform in the GOM, floating
in 2438 m of water and built at a cost of
USD 3 billion. The deepest operational
platform is Petrobras Cascade field
floating production, storage, and
offloading facility in Walker Ridge
Block249 in 2600 m of water.
The Kola Superdeep Borehole,
with its pioneering technology in the
recovery of rock cores, was the deepest
and longest borehole in the world for
nearly 20 years. But, in May 2008, a new
record for borehole length was set by
Transoceans extended-reach-drilling
well, BD-04A, drilled for Maersk Oil in
the Al Shaheen oil field in Qatar. It was
drilled in only 36 days to 12 289 m with
a record horizontal reach of 10 902 m. In
terms of depth below surface, however,
the Kola Superdeep Borehole still retains
the world record.
More recent successes include those
of the Sakhalin-1 consortium, operated
by Exxon Neftegas. The Odoptu OP-11
reached a measured depth of 12345m
and a horizontal displacement of

TWA_v9n1_Forum.indd 8

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One of the oldest subsea wells, the Bibi Eibat

well, comes on stream in Azerbaijan. The well
is located on an artificial island in a shallow
portion of the Caspian Sea.

The first oil discovery in deep water transpires at

Shell Oil Companys Cognac field, GOM. As with
the development of technologies that could adapt
from land to sea drilling, Cognac adapts fixed
platform technology from shallow water, which
proves economically impractical for moving much
farther from the coast, to one that can contend
with deepwater drilling.



Shallow water operations were the norm

until 1996, when Royal Dutch Shell installed
Bullwinkle, the worlds tallest structure at 1,736 ft
high, standing in 1,350 ft of GOM water. Also in 1996,
Shell launched Troll, in Vats, Norway. Troll is not
as tall, at 1,500 ft high, nor as deep, standing in
1,000 ft of water. However, Troll is one of the two
uman-made objects visible from the moon with the
unaided eye, the other being the Great Wall of China.


19611982: The first offshore drillship is the CUSS 1 developed for
the Mohole project to drill into the Earths crust. In 1982, Unocal
Corporation drills the first horizontal well in the North Sea.

Kerr-McGee Oil Industries (now Anadarko Petroleum), as operator for partners Phillips Petroleum
(ConocoPhillips) and Stanolind Oil & Gas (BP) completes its historic Ship Shoal Block 32 well, Gulf of
Mexico (GOM), in October 1947, months before Superior Oil drills a discovery from its earlier-constructed
Vermilion platform farther offshore. This makes Kerr-McGees well the first oil discovery drilled out of sight
of land. Its barge and platform combination is a major breakthrough in drilling-unit design for offshore use.
This event marks the beginning of the modern offshore industry as it is known today.
Summerland, California, oil workers notice greater oil yield closer to sea. H.L.
Williams comes up with the idea of building a wharf and erecting the drilling rig
on it. His first offshore well extends about 300 ft (90 m) into the ocean and, as
expected, is a good producer. Before long, entrepreneurs build several more
wharfs. The longest stretches over 1,200 ft (nearly 400 m) into the Pacific.

Fig. 1Memorable moments in offshore oil and gas history.

11475m and was completed in only
60 days. The Chayvo Z-44 reached
a measured depth of 12 376 m, the
equivalent of 23 Ostankino Towers (the
tallest freestanding structure in Moscow).

The technological achievements of the
deepwater industry are impressive, to
say the least. But, are they financially
successful? After all, economic
viability is the cornerstone of every
major project. The combination of
profitable economics and solid project
execution generally leads to overall
project success. The word generally
has been selected with care, lest
we forget there is always risk and
uncertainty to take into consideration.
In oil and gas, there is uncertainty in
the exploration processin trying
to categorize the size and scale of
the resource at hand. Geophysicists,
geologists, petrophysicists, and
reservoir engineers operate from a
limited data set; and, despite having
some of the best technology available
and unprecedented technical acumen,
they cannot provide anything close

to absolute certainty. Therefore,

companies inherently acquire risk
every time they decide to explore
and produce oil and gas. Working
under adverse weather conditions
and in remote areas of the world, with
expensive equipment and limited
knowledge of what lies beneath
the Earths surface, it would seem
that, in the world of deep water, risk
supersedes reward.
So why, then, do companies continue
to pursue deepwater projects all around
the globe?
One answer to this question is that
lower-risk conventional oil basins are
maturing, and new discoveries in these
areas are few and far between. So,
the industry must turn elsewhere to
find new production prospects. JohnMorten Godhavn, adjunct professor
at Norwegian University of Science
and Technology, said in an interview,
Big reserves have been found in
deep waters, in particular in the Gulf
of Mexico, west Africa, east Africa,
and Brazil, but also in the Arctic. Some
of the deepwater wells in the Gulf of
Mexico are planned to produce for

the next 40 years. This means there

will be great opportunities for a long
A second answer to the question
concerns economicsor rather, history
and economics. In the offshore industry,
just as in any other, there are many
assumptions and various factors that
feed into the economic assessment.
Major factors include field size, reservoir
quality and fluid quality, water depth
and oceanic environment, selection
of drilling and production platform,
drilling schedule, production schedule,
production processing, and storage
and handling requirements. Which
combination of the aforementioned
parameters will result in economic
feasibility is truly unknown because it is
so particular to each project. However,
what can be said is that there are many
different permutations that do lead to
economic success, and this has been
well illustrated over the years.
In 1987, M.G. Grecco of Unocal
Corporation wrote a paper for the
Offshore Technology Conference titled
Deepwater Development Economics.
Greccos assessment compared a
Vol. 9 // No. 1 // 2013

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1/21/13 12:21 PM


Fig. 2Federal offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Source: Adapted
from the US Energy Information Administration.

number of different circumstances

based on available information in the
GOM at the time, and he concluded
that deepwater fields are technically
feasible to develop and can be economic
provided the oil price and field size are
sufficient ... . [T]he oil price and field
size are the most significant factors
in determining a deepwater fields
economics. Of course, since 1987,
much of the technology, engineering,
and project management tools and skills
have improved. What does remain in
todays climate is a long-term outlook
for high oil prices and many as-yetundiscovered large offshore fields. So,
it remains highly likely that offshore
economics, despite risks, will seek to
provide adequate, if not outstanding,
financial returns for many years to come.

Key Factors Contributing to

Advancement of Offshore
Development Into Deep Water
Drilling for and producing
hydrocarbons from reservoirs
thousands of feet below sea level is not
an easy feat under any circumstance.
Several major challenges have stymied
further technological development,
and many challenges will continue to
present barriers to growth in the future.
Of course, as reservoirs get more
complicated to drill through and
exploration activities move deeper,
the challenges for safe and productive

drilling operations become even more

pronounced. The offshore drilling
industry has responded by designing
and constructing larger rigs that
can reach deeper targets with more
advanced technologies. Godhaven
stated that one of the key drilling
technologies is the design of horizontal
and multilateral wells, which are not new
to the industry but whose application
has tremendous value for offshore
development. With large costs for
drilling, and especially mobilizing and
remobilizing equipment, the advent of
multiple horizontal wells being drilled
from a single surface location has
On the production side of the
business, engineers are challenged by
operating with a limited reservoir data
set and limited ability to access wells

for servicing. Webb noted that much of

the innovation in the production sector
is aimed at overcoming challenges
specific to deepwater environments
the combination of low temperatures,
high seabed pressures, and gas and
water that cause gas hydrates to form.
He mentioned well intervention at
the seafloor switches from divers to
remotely operated vehicles at about
500ft, which seems an obvious
threshold for deepwater operations.
In addition, deepwater offshore areas
can encounter long swells, heavy seas,
and complex and fast currents that vary
in direction and speed. The weather,
especially during winter, can be severe
and lead to temporary suspension of
operations. These factors make openwater operations complex, necessitating
the design and deployment of
sophisticated specialized equipment.
Altogether, as history shows,
deepwater and ultradeepwater
development has been a pinnacle
component of the global oil and gas
industry, and all evidence suggests it
will continue to be so for many years
to come. Although deepwater offshore
projects are capital intensive, history
has demonstrated that risks can be
managed by the application of new and
old technologies, solid decision-making,
and exceptional project execution,
especially in the area of drilling. With
global energy demand rising, high oil
prices for the foreseeable future, and
large offshore fields being discovered,
the question now becomes, Where
will deepwater development take

Maxim Kotenev is a reservoir geoscientist at Fugro

Robertson in the UK, performing geological, dynamic
modeling, and integrated exploration and field development
studies. Previous responsibilities include geological and
reservoir engineering work with Lukoil, Rosneft, and
Technical University of Berlin, Germany. Kotenev was the
president of the Ufa SPE Student Chapter and currently
serves as vice-chair of the SPE London Section YP
Committee. He has coauthored 15 technical papers. Kotenev earned BS degrees in
petroleum engineering and petroleum economics and management from Ufa State
Petroleum Technological University, Russia; an MS degree in petroleum geoscience
from the University of Manchester, UK; and a PhD in petroleum engineering from the
Academy of Sciences, Moscow.


TWA_v9n1_Forum.indd 10

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Economists Corner

Emerging Plays Boost Economic

Attractiveness of Deepwater
Gulf ofMexico
Lauren Payne and Jackson Sandeen, Wood Mackenzie

Of the technical challenges that confront

operating in harsh environments,
those facing deepwater oil and gas
developments are unique. Such
projects require high capital outlays
and decades-long development plans.
Investment decisions are made for the
long term, and project economics can be
very sensitive to reservoir performance
and fluctuations in oil and gas prices.
The deepwater Gulf of Mexico
(GOM) is still an attractive place to
invest, despite recent regulatory
changes. The regions geology and
well-developed infrastructure are
complemented by a stable fiscal
regime. A typical discovery makes
positive returns in all five GOM play
types. Future development of yet-tobe-found resources in the basin could
generate as much as USD 25 billion in
net present value (NPV).
Continued development of the
conventional Pliocene/Miocene, Lower
Miocene, and Paleogene plays will

drive regional spending in the medium

term. In addition to these plays,
discoveries in 200809 unlocked the
Jurassic and subsalt Pliocene/Miocene,
which boast good-quality reservoirs
in ultradeep water. Each plays relative
advantage in maturity, location, and
reservoir quality ensures returns of
more than 10% for a typical discovery.
Capital will shift from maturing
plays toward those with large
remaining resources. Operators are
prepared to accept lower returns in
order to diversify portfolios or establish
a first-movers advantage in plays with
large upside potential. This upside can
be substantial. A 2-percentage-point
increase in recovery or a USD-10/bbl
increase in oil price adds USD 1 billion
of value to a typical Paleogene field.

Recent Discoveries Add Two

New Plays to GOM Potential
Over time, operators in the deepwater
GOM have targeted geologically

Lower Miocene
Pliocene/Miocene Pliocene/Miocene

Table 1

older plays in even deeper water.

Operators initially targeted the shallow
conventional Pliocene/Miocene sands
before moving into the Lower Miocene.
Recent discoveries in the Paleogene,
Jurassic, and subsalt Pliocene/Miocene
are expected to support long-term
regional development. Table 1
presents each plays relative advantages
Wood Mackenzie has defined the
conventional Pliocene/Miocene play as
encompassing Pleistocene, Pliocene,
and Upper Middle Miocene targets.
The play is mature, but commercial
discoveries are still common because
of its extensive infrastructure,
relatively shallow targets, and short
The Lower Miocene play is the
engine of near-term production, with
good-quality reservoirs and developed
infrastructure. Fields such as BHPs
Shenzi and Chevrons Tahiti produce
at spectacular rates from the play.



Reservoir quality
Water depth
Drilling costs
Reservoir complexity
Yet-to-find volume
Breakeven price


Vol. 9 // No. 1 // 2013

TWA_v9n1_EconomistCorner2.indd 11


1/21/13 8:09 AM

Economists Corner
NPV and breakeven oil prices by typical discovery
















Brent oil price (US$)


NPV / boe (US$)


NPV (US$ million)

NPV/boe and total capex by typical discovery












Source: Wood Mackenzie

Fig. 1NPV and breakeven oil prices by typical discovery.






Total development capex (US$ billion)

Source: Wood Mackenzie

Fig. 2NPV/boe and total capex by typical discovery.

See Appendix for economic and modelling assumptions

Existing infrastructure allows smaller

finds to be economical as subsea
tiebacks. Well costs can be high
because these targets are often deep.
The Paleogene, or Lower Tertiary,
was first developed in the early 2000s
with Shells Perdido hub and Petrobras
Cascade and Chinook fields. Paleogene
wells are the most expensive to drill
and complete because targets are very
deep and the reservoirs are complex.
Operators also need high-specification
subsea equipment to manage high
pressures and temperatures. A high
well count is required as reservoir
qualities are poor.
Shells 2009 Appomattox find
unlocked the Jurassic play offshore.
Although the play is in the early stages
of development, it has a good gas-tooil ratio and is less remote than the
Paleogene. Shell has formed a strategic
partnership with Nexen to explore and
develop its acreage in the play.
Anadarkos Lucius and
ExxonMobils Hadrian were the
first finds in the subsalt Pliocene/
Miocene play in 200809. The play is
very attractive because its shallow,
good-quality reservoirs can be
developed quickly at a relatively low
cost. Future volumes are currently

not expected to be large because the

number of future discoveries is thought
to be limited.

Positive Returns Can Be

Made in All Plays
In order to assess play economics,
models were created for a typical
discovery in each play. Each field is
projected to generate a positive NPV.
Breakeven oil prices for each play are

estimated at under USD 75/bbl, and only

the Paleogene is targeted to become
subeconomic in a USD-60/bbl low-price
environment. The conventional Pliocene/
Miocene is projected to still achieve
a 10% internal rate of return at an oil
price of USD 35/bbl due to inexpensive
wells and little capital requirement for
The subsalt Pliocene/Miocene
discovery is estimated to have the

Lauren Payne joined Wood Mackenzie in 2010 as a research

analyst on the deepwater Gulf of Mexico upstream research
team. She provides insight on regional trends and develops
asset-level production models and commercial valuations. In
this role, Payne has focused on evaluating regional regulatory
changes and forecasting near-term activity levels. She holds
bachelors degrees in international business and government
from The University of Texas at Austin.

Jackson Sandeen joined Wood Mackenzies deepwater Gulf

of Mexico team in 2011. He has been following the rig market
closely and published an article on market constraints in early
2012. Jackson earned a BA degree in economics and a BS
degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University.
During 2010, he interned in the global wealth management
division of Merrill Lynchs Boston offices.


TWA_v9n1_EconomistCorner2.indd 12

1/21/13 8:09 AM

highest NPV because it can be

developed with few, low-cost wells
with high flow rates. The Paleogene
discovery has the lowest NPV because
of very high well costs and low
estimated ultimate recovery (EUR). In
the conventional Pliocene/Miocene and
Lower Miocene, the high EUR relative
to project costs increases value. The
Jurassic discovery is modeled with a
relatively low EUR per well. However,
the expectation is that drilling and
facility costs will be lower than those
for the Lower Miocene, resulting in a
higher NPV.
Deepwater operations are very
capital intensive and high capitalexpenditure (capex)/boe ratios erode
value. The Paleogene creates the least
value per barrel because its capital
requirements are almost double
those of the Lower Miocene. As the
play develops, cost savings per well
are unlikely because the reservoirs
are so deep and of such poor quality.
The crude is also of low American
Petroleum Institute (API) gravity and
high sulphur content. Operators are
relying on the upside potential of the
play to justify the low returns.
The model assumes an 810%
recovery factor for the Paleogene.
It is estimated that an increase of 2
percentage points in the recovery
factor or USD 10/bbl in the oil price
would add USD 1 billion in NPV. This
upside would improve the NPV/boe
ratio of the play to levels comparable
to the Lower Miocene. It is likely that
EURs will improve for all plays as
The conventional Pliocene/Miocene
and the Lower Miocene have goodquality reservoirs and were expected
to attract about USD 9.8 billion in total
development capex in 2012, or about
72% of regional spend.
After 2014, operators are expected
to invest the most in the Paleogene
play. Unlike the Lower Miocene, lowcost subsea tiebacks are currently
not possible in the Paleogene,
subsalt Pliocene/Miocene, or Jurassic
because little existing infrastructure
means most projects will require a

Value Is Not the Only Variable

The evolution of the Gulf of Mexico
has been a continuous expansion
of its exploration and development
boundaries. The first operator in a
play can cultivate a favorable acreage
position, technological expertise, and
a strong prospect inventory. Examples
of first-movers are Chevron in the
Paleogene, Shell in the Jurassic, and
Anadarko in the subsalt Pliocene/
Miocene. Continued success in the
Gulf of Mexico requires forwardlooking investment, and operators
may need to accept lower returns until
the technology can catch up with the
resource potential.

Economic Assumptions
The model presented assumed
aBrentoil price of USD 110.09/bbl
in2011, USD102.00/bbl in 2012,
USD 99.00/bbl in 2013, and USD92.00
in2014. Projectedpost-2014 prices
equate to a Brent long-term assumption
of USD80.00/bbl in real-dollar 2011
terms. Beyond then, West Texas
Intermediate (WTI) crudewas assumed
to trade at a 2.5% discount to Brent.
The Henry Hub natural gas price
assumptions were USD5.00/mcf in 2011,
USD 5.40/mcf in 2012, USD 5.67/mcf in
2013, and USD5.69/mcf in 2014. After
2014, prices were inflated at 2.0%
perannum in nominal terms.
Each field was assigned a
price differential to Brent based
on its assumed API gravity. The
differentialsranged from a 3.5%
discount to a 6% premium to WTI.
All breakeven prices were
calculated for a 10% rate of return.
The cash flows were discounted
at 10% nominal to January 2012.
Each field was assigned an 18.75%
royalty rate, with no royalty relief.
Each field was assumed to be leased
after November2007, with tax
terms dependent on the assumed
The analysis assumed each
fieldwasdiscovered in 2011, with
timing, costs, and resource size
dependent ontheplay.
It was assumed that all wells were
drilled with a floating rig. TWA


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TWA_v9n1_EconomistCorner2.indd 13

1/21/13 8:10 AM

HR Discussion

The Cutting Edge: Research and

Developments Role in Deep Water
When considering a longterm career in research and
development (R&D), do you think
exploration and production
(E&P)operations are sustainable
at deepwater frontiers?
Deep water is an environment that
requires long-term investment
and commitment. The potential
of significantrewards is driving
exploration ever deeper, and the
challenges, both technical and
logistical, are increasingly complex.
Miles below the surface, there is no
light, no margin for error, no second
chances. We need the best and
brightest to help create technology that
works in theseconditions.

Since the Macondo incident in the

US Gulf of Mexico in 2010, have you
seen a shift in personnel staffing
away from R&D projects related to
deepwater operations?
Absolutely not. Instead, this has
generated more opportunities
in developing technologies
and processesto meet the
increased safetylandscape and

Do you consider a professional

career in R&D a worthwhile
decision? What advice can you
offer to YPs who are currently
pursuing a career in R&D for
theirgrowth and development?

Definitely! We must provide solutions

that perform under conditions of
extreme pressure and temperature and
span environmental exposures from
below the ocean floor to outside in the
desert heat and virtually everywhere
in between. For those interested in a
career path in R&D, there are many
technical challenges to tackle. To
make the most of it, it is important to
look for diverse work environments
which support continuous training
and development and offer great
progression opportunities. For R&D
in oilfield services specifically, time
spent in field operations is invaluable
for a better understanding of end
users and client needs to optimize

What strategies do you find

effective in recruiting and
retaining young talent? What
strategies, if any, are tailored
specifically for R&D employees?
Beyond actively engaging with
universities and students on
campus, we find strong internship
and postdoctoral programs to be
particularly effective in R&D recruiting.
We offer these potential recruits work
on challenging projects and extend
full-time employment to those with
outstanding performance. Once in
the company, a structured training
program accompanied by stretch
assignments help YPs build strong

Based in Paris, Amelia Irion is in charge of human

resources (HR) for Schlumbergers research, engineering,
and manufacturing activities. Before taking on that role in
2009, she was HR communication manager for
Schlumberger. Irion has held various leadership roles in
Schlumberger HR, spanning research, technology centers,
field operations, and headquarters both in Europe and the
US. She joined Schlumberger in 1998 after earning a masters
degree from New York University. Irion also holds a masters degree in social
science from cole Normale Suprieure dUlm and is a Fulbright scholar.

foundations and prepare them for

future roles. In Schlumberger, we also
offer an established technical career
ladder as well as the possibility to
build careers in project management.
Continuous learning is really the key.
We also have an extensive network
of technical communities where
employees exchange ideas and share
knowledge across the company.
With the increasing trend toward
employees staying connected, this has

What one thing do you think YPs

today would like to see changed in
traditional HR policies and why?
Could you share a specific example
with us from your experience?
Dual careers are increasingly
becoming the norm for YPs. This is
not really an issue until mobility is
introduced in the equation. Given the
mobility requirements of our industry,
YPs are looking for more support
of dual-career couples. They are
expecting HR to be more proactive
on this topic when it comes to career
management. In Schlumberger, as
with the management of all individual
careers, we consider managing dual
careers to be a shared responsibility
between both the employee and
the company based on open and
transparent communication. In our
Career Center, we invite every
employee to communicate to the
company if they wish to be considered
with their spouse/partner as a dualcareer couple. They may also specify
the profession of their partner and
their partners employer. It is also
important to understand and take into
consideration the current and expected
future mobility status of the partner.
The sharing and discussion of this sort
of information between employees,
their line managers, and HR managers
is critical to enable the company to


TWA_v9n1_HRDiscussion.indd 14

1/21/13 8:15 AM

Are you reAdy to

explore the frontiers
of knowledge?
better support dual-career couples
when they are considering a move.
Beyond this, standardizing mobility
benefits has proven critical to ensuring
consistent support to spouses on topics
like language or educational training,
outplacement assistance, and obtaining
visas and work permits.

Schlumberger is one of the

leaders in R&D, pioneering
excellence in innovation and
delivery. How do you think YPs
have contributed to the success of
Schlumberger through R&D?
YPs contribute to the success of
Schlumberger by working on
challenging projects from the first
day they join us. They bring a set of
skills and new views on technology
and contribute to our innovation
programsby bringing outside-thebox ideas to solve challenges. We also
have a structured program designed
to enable them to gain knowledge
and experience from field operations
in order to design and deliver

As a manager in your company,

what lessons can you share about
leadership? What are some
core discipline skillsa young
professional shouldacquire
to achieve and maintain a
To me, a leader is someone who
influences outcomes and inspires
others. This can be through technical
leadership or traditional line
management. Oftentimes, we tend
to focus a great deal on managing
technology and product delivery
but overlook the importance of
honing people-management skills.
Communicating vision and motivating
a team have an important impact on
retention and results. It is important that
YPs in technical roles also consider the
areas of communication and people
skills as keys for their future success.

Many emerging and advanced

technologies are being deployed
in the industry today, particularly
in E&P deepwater projects. In

your opinion, to what extent do

you think YPs could contribute
in R&D through industry/
At Schlumberger, we value
collaboration with the academic world
a great deal. As such, we have many
win/win storiessome in early studies
as part of our innovation programs
and others with joint development to
improve existing technology or create
a technology breakthrough.

What specific skill sets do YPs

aspiring for technical roles in R&D
require that are different from
other roles?
Beyond technical competency, YPs in
R&D must not only be passionate about
innovation but also need to have a
mindset and ability to turn good ideas
into quality products with a strong
understanding of the product lifecycle
and total cost of ownership.

What type of compensation

mechanism is applied for R&D
employees? Are there specific
metrics tied to compensation for
R&D personnel?
R&D compensation is typically
based on a market-competitive
package complemented by a variable
bonus that provides additional
compensationbased on annually
reviewed results vs. objectives
set. Metrics of these objectives are
typically related to delivering on
majormilestones with quality and
safety while paying attention to

Could you share how you decided

to make a career in the oil and
gas industry and what influenced
your choice during the early life of
Following my masters thesis on women
in top engineering schools, I became
interested in a career in HR with a
high-tech company where I could
participatetoward improving gender
balance. Schlumbergers industry
leadership in diversity and commitment
to women in technology was a perfect
fit, and I have never looked back! TWA

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TWA_v9n1_HRDiscussion.indd 15

1/21/13 8:15 AM

Pillars of the Industry

Deepwater Developments From a

Career-Long Petrobras Perspective
Anelise Quinto Lara, Petrobras E&P

The evolution of deepwater

production cannot be discussed
without mentioning the contribution
of Petrobras upstream activity.
The reason is Petrobras success in
overcoming enormous technological
challenges in deep water during the
last decade.
I joined Petrobras in 1986,
when ourproduction was around
0.6millionB/D, mainly from onshore
and shallow-water operations. With the
enormous pressure on the Brazilian
trade balance from high-priced oil
imports, it became imperative to
increase domestic supplies. The
onlyarea capable of yielding a
significant increase in national oil
production was the Campos basin.
The Marlim and Albacora giant field
discoveries during 198586 at water
depths up to 1000 m brought new
opportunities and challenges that
promoted enormous technological
advancement in the petroleum industry
in the following decades. I find it

exciting that, 25 years after I joined

the company, Petrobras oil production
has now reached 2million B/D, an
increasemostly from deep waterof
almost 1.5 million B/D.

Technological Innovation
in Deep Water
The greatest technological innovations
in deep water were made in marine
structures, submarine production
systems, risers, and flexible lines.
In the case of risers and submarine
pipelines, the flexible-lines evolution
over the last 30 years has given the
industry the capability of producing
in water depths from 100 m to more
than 2000 m, with a wide range of
diameters. These advanced pipelines
were developed by vendors as a result
of Petrobras requirements. Petrobras
technicians, in turn, advanced
deepwater technology with significant
contributions in the development of top
connectors, bending stiffeners, and
prototype qualification processes.

Anelise Quinto Lara is the presalt projects development

manager at Petrobras Exploration and Proeduction (E&P).
She joined Petrobras in 1986 and worked in several
positions related to formation evaluation and reservoir
engineering before becoming reservoir technology
manager at Petrobras Research Center, followed by
reservoir engineering manager at the E&P corporate level
before her current role. Lara earned a BS degree in
chemical engineering and an MS degree in petroleum engineering from Minas
Gerais Federal University, as well as a PhD in Earth sciences from Universit de
Paris (6), France, and an MBA in advanced business management from
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro/COPPEAD Graduate School of Business.
The author of many technical papers, she has participated in several industry
panel sessions and round tables and served as board chair for the SPE Brazil
Section (200508) and general chair of the 2009 SPE Latin America and Caribbean
Petroleum Engineering Conference, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lara is a
member of SPEs Century Club.

Deepwater challenges have

resulted in many other innovations
in technology, including drilling
and completion advances and flow
assurance improvements necessitated
by heavy-oil production from
Other technology advances in the
past several decades have helped get us
to where we are today. The expansion of
3D seismic data acquisition, processing,
and interpretation in deep water and the
introduction of 4D seismic have helped
in production processes planning
and monitoring. Reservoir monitoring
has become crucial in optimizing
the development plan and defining
drainage strategies for deepwater
fields. The development and use of risk
analysis and valuation methodologies
have resulted in important tools that
aid in justifying additional wells and
expensive data acquisition. I remember
when I was in charge of the Reservoir
Technology Group at the Petrobras
Research Center at the beginning
of the new millennium and we had
just started working with uncertainty
analysis for production forecasting; now,
this is standard procedure for all our
Thanks to such advances, during
the 90s, many new deepwater fields
were discovered and several subsea
records were broken. More and more
wells were drilled at greater depths,
leading us to the present day, where
we drill and produce at depths of over
2000 m.

Deepwater Development
In general, there are two main
development strategies for


TWA_v9n1_Pillars.indd 16

1/21/13 12:12 PM

Dry completion wells coupled

to tension-leg platforms or
 et completion wells coupled
to floating production, storage,
and offloading (FPSO) vessels or
semisubmersible platforms
Petrobras has favored the latter and
subsequently has become a leader
in wet completion wells. The main
advantage of this option is flexibility
because the drainage plan can be more
easily altered or optimized later in the
life of the field.
Petrobras strategy for deepwater
development is based on several key
elements, including the following:
 ood seismic data and a limited
number of appraisal wells
 xtended well testing to perform
dynamic appraisal and reduce
reservoir uncertainty
 hased development and early
production systems working
as a field-scale laboratory for
 ow capital exposure and early
reverse cash flow

The Challenge of
Deepwater Projects
Deepwater projects are very complex
and have multibillion-dollar price
tags. Their performance is highly
dependenton integration and
cooperation among multidisciplinary
teams of well-trained people,
backwardintegration of facilities and
well teams into reservoir teams, good
project specifications, and a good
In my opinion, the main concern
related to these developments is the
high capital-expenditure demand
and long period of time before
production return. Huge investments

are needed up front when there

is limited information about the
reservoir, fluids characteristics, and
possible flow assurance problems.
My background is in reservoir
engineering, so I feel comfortable
dealing with subsurface uncertainties
and risk analysis; but, sometimes, it
is very difficult to communicate these
issues to multidisciplinary teams so
they can understand the importance
of data acquisition and flexibility in
To overcome these challenges,
operators must endeavor to do
 efine the main uncertainties that
could affect the development plan
I mplement a robust plan to mitigate
the main uncertainties before the
approval of the main contracts
 rovide flexibility in production
and subsea systems to facilitate
possible corrective changes and
manage risks throughout project
 nsure high production rates at
the beginning of the project to
maximize economic indicators
 rovide flexibility to incorporate
new production technologies,
capable of reducing operational
costs and increasing revenue

Extended Well Tests

A data acquisition program is critical
to reduce reservoir uncertainties that
could impact the deployment of future
production systems. Extended well
tests are part of the Petrobras tradition
[or culture] to develop its giant fields in
deep water. Petrobras has conducted
them since 1996, using FPSOs
anchored or dynamically positioned.
They have proven to be an important
source of dynamic information about
the reservoir.

There are many ways to participate in

Among many other benefits,

production over a longer period of
time enables the evaluation of well
damage and oil flow performance
through long subsea lines. Furthermore,
it is the basis on which one can draw
conclusions about hydraulic continuity
and the existence of geological faults.
Early production in candidate areas is
critical to reduce risks and optimize
the drainage plan. We are very
proud of the strides the company has
made with extended well testing for

Whats Next?
Our deepwater challenges are
ongoing. We are now facing new
presalt discoveries beyond 2200 m
water depths, beneath a 2-km salt
layer, in carbonate reservoirs, together
with light oil with a high CO2 content.
My team is currently working with
technical and economic feasibility
studies in order to implement huge
production development projects for
these presalt discoveries, which has
been a greatlearning opportunity
The complexity of the exploration
and production process requires
a very wide range of technologies
for theefficient and safe production
of oil and gas, wherever they are
found. However, to achieve success,
just having the technology available
is not enough. It is also necessary
and fundamental to know how to
efficiently apply this technology in
an integrated manner. This is only
achievable through cooperative
work between operationalareas and
research and development. On top of
all this, the industry must learn how to
manage challenging environmental
regulations in the wake of the 2010
Macondoblowout. TWA

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Vol. 9 // No. 1 // 2013

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1/21/13 12:40 PM

Tech 101

Leveraging Technology to Win in the

Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Wilcox Plays
Andrew Rawicki, Chevron

The focus of my past few years has

been on a technology-driven play in
the Lower Tertiary-Age reservoirs of
the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
These Upper, Middle, and Lower
Wilcox reservoirs represent a large
resource base in an infrastructure-rich
basin. Chevron-operated production
will begin from the Wilcox reservoir in
2014, when the companys Jack/St Malo
subsea development is commissioned.
In addition, Chevrons two most recent
deepwater GOM discoveries have
been in the Wilcox, and the company
continues to hold a very strong lease
position for future exploration.

Technology Management
System Across Chevron:
The Focus Area Model
Like most integrated energy
companies, Chevron has evolved a
system of technology governance
that suits the enterprise. To ensure
the technologies critical to providing
competitive differentiation are
identified and advanced, the company
developed a focus area model.
Decisions are made by governance
bodies composed jointly of energy
technology company (ETC) and
operating company representatives.
Strategic drivers are identified and
validated for the various Technology

Focus Areas (such as exploration,

reservoir management, or deepwater
development), and technology
initiatives are funded on the basis of a
technologys risk/reward profile and
its alignment with the strategic drivers.
These initiatives are managed by
technology practitioners within ETC,
ensuring that the technologies that are
developed and the lessons learned
coincident with early deployment
are easily shared throughout the
enterprise. Business units are
allocated their fair share of the cost to
develop each technology, and most
development projects managed within
the focus area process contribute to the
common good (or at least the good of a
significant sector) of the corporation.
In certain cases, particularly when
the business challenge is materially
different from those typically found
in the rest of the enterprise, an assetspecific supplement to the focus area
model has proven to be beneficial.
The Wilcox reservoir presents such

The Wilcox Challenge

The following are some of the
challenges Wilcox operators face
in improving recovery from Wilcox
reservoirs and reducing the cost of
Wilcox developments:

Andrew Rawicki writes as the outgoing technology

manager for deepwater exploration and projects at Chevron
North America Exploration and Production Company. He
earned a BS degree in petroleum engineering from The
Pennsylvania State University. Rawicki has held varied
technical and management positions in the US, Australia, and
Warsaw, Poland, where he recently became operations
manager at Chevron for onshore Europe. He is a past chapter
president of the American Association of Drilling Engineers.

 ost prospects and discoveries
are in deep water (greater than
5,000 ft) and beneath a thick
layer of salt, leading to imaging,
characterization, and drilling
 eservoirs are thick and
heterogeneous, dictating
complexcompletion and
surveillance solutions.
 rimary oil recovery is low

Response to Wilcox Challenges

The leaders of Chevrons two GOMbased business units and ETC
envisioned that a portfolio of highimpact technologies be managed as
an integrated project. The top leaders
of those three organizational units
comprise the sponsor body for the
Greater Gulf of Mexico (GGOM) Wilcox
Challenge Technology Plan, an entity
chartered to advance this portfolio.
The purpose of the plan is to ensure
the right technologies are identified,
resourced, and progressed to meet
Wilcox-specific challenges facing the
business units. The objective of the
plan is to make these technologies
available at the required time to
intersect critical business needs,
delivering increased production rates,
increased ultimate recoveries, and
lower developmentcosts.

Plan Scope
The scope of the plan is across the full
upstream portion of the value chain,
from exploration through appraisal,
development, and operations. The plan
includes projects that are considered
strategic researchfrom idea
generation through proof of concept


TWA_v9n1_Tech101.indd 18

1/21/13 12:29 PM

Fig. 1 shows accountability for plan delivery. However, it is a sketch only. For
example, many of the reservoir characterization and surveillance technologies
required to enable optimal reservoir management are hidden between the lines.
It has been shared at Chevrons highest corporate levels, as well as with the
external investment community. This type of exposure demonstrates to executive
management and stockholders that we are committed to dramatically improving
recovery factors through technology. This also serves as a motivator, with plan
practitioners knowing their efforts will receive appropriate attention.

and component testing. Other elements

also included in the portfolio can
be termed technology development
(continuing advancement through
prototype testing and identifying
opportunities fordeployment).
The plan includes a number of
projects that were being (and continue
to be) managed by ETC personnel
as part of the common-good focus
area model. In these cases, project
managers can now depend on strong
ties back to the two GOM business
units as they advance their scientific
discovery process. One strategic
research project, involving sweetspot mapping of the Wilcox reservoir
based on an integration of seismic data,
core data, and various Earth modeling
techniques, is in continual iteration
with ongoing drilling of development
wells at Jack/St Maloa relationship
that bears great relevant-time fruit
for a project that is still low on the
technology maturity scale.
The plan also includes supplemental
projects that are being advanced

within a business unit if they are

required to maintain alignment with
major capital project milestones.
Managing technology projects outside
of the ETC carries the challenge of
ensuring rapid and broad deployment
beyond the GOM. For this reason,
such supplemental projects involve
ETC personnel in their development.
Regardless of where the technology
management resides, project
leaders often leverage involvement
from partners such as other energy
companies, top universities, service
providers, and national laboratories.

Similarly to the focus area, governance
bodiesdecision review boards and
technology management teams
across the Chevron enterprise, the
GGOM Wilcox Challenge Technology
Workgroup (TWG), and Technology
Steering Team (TST) strive to ensure
that relevant business and technology
company personnel are appropriately
engaged in the delivery of technology.

While participants in the focus area

governance bodies necessarily
represent all Chevron business units,
the governance bodies of the GGOM
Wilcox Technology plan are focused
on the business needs of the two GOM
business units. To ensure alignment
between the GGOM plan and the focus
area process and that the needs of the
GGOM are addressed as the focus
area process determines commongood funding, GGOM TWG and TST
members are common members
of the governance of the key focus
areas whose portfolios impact the
The GGOM Wilcox Challenge
Technology Plans model of
governance, which complements the
enterprisewide, common-good focus
area framework, contains three levels.
 ponsors: Provide strategic
business direction and crossbusiness unit/technology
company endorsement of the plan.
 echnology Steering Team:
Defines business opportunities,
sets plan objectives, and
prioritizes technology topic
areas (TTAs) to be monitored
and provides resources for and
monitor of the execution of the
plan; the plan owner leads this
body and the TWG.
 echnology Workgroup: Provides
a business conduit and technical
guidance to the plan owner and
TTA focal points.
The following are some of the
key responsibilities of members
representing those bodies:
Plan Sponsor
 eviews quarterly status
updates and assess whether the
technology plan is on track to
meet objectives and whether
key stakeholders are sufficiently
 ecognizes efforts of the
technology practitioners and
governance body members.
 ommunicates status upward
to upstream and technology
executive management.
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1/21/13 8:17 AM

Tech 101

Plan Owner
Identifies linkages/
interdependencies between TTAs.
For example, a technology being
advanced for improved recovery,
such as the development of highreliability electric submersible
pumping systems for subsea
wells, must be viewed in parallel
with reservoir surveillance
technologies that might need to
compete for space in the bore of a
subsea tubing hanger.
E nsures that the full TST is aligned
with respect to the identification
of projects to be tracked as part
of the plan and that each project
has defined project management
and a decision-making body and
has identified specific, relevant
milestones that meet a business
intersection. Such a business
intersection might be the lock
down of the basis of design for
a major capital project so it can
include the technology in frontend
engineering and design.
C learly communicate technology
plan progress to the GGOM
technology sponsors.
TST Member
E ndorses or challenges the
prioritization, alignment level,
and progress of projects as
determined by the TWG.
A cts as liaison to local
management, ensuring key
challenges are being addressed at
a pace to intersect the business.
Recognizes accomplishments
andrecommends corrective
TWG Member
Identifies, evaluates, and scopes
out technology projects for
inclusion in the plan on the basis
of knowledge of the challenges in
their business units.
C hecks progress of each topic
that affect their organization and
facilitates required technology
project engagements with

Recommends which projects

should be tracked within the plan.
 echnology Topic Area (TTA)
Focal Points (Select Business Unit
Representatives of the TWG)
Maintains clear lines of
communication with managers of
individual projects within a TTA.
Updates their portion of the plan
quarterly, including progress of
all projects against milestones,
to support quality discussion
at TTA alignment sessions and

Concluding Observations
The following are some of my key
observations as plan owner for the past
26 months:
T he structure of the plan allows
technology practitioners to clearly
see the importance of their role in
the success of Chevron (through
having ready access to engineers
and line managers in the business
units or by being recognized for
their contributions). Individuals
generally thrive when they
clearly see that their technology
work addresses the needs of
people in the business units and
thus dont find themselves in the
predicament of having to find a
problem for theirsolution.
E ngagement of all stakeholders
is critical. While the number of
people with defined roles in the
plan is significant (more than
30), many more employees and
business partners outside the
governance bodies are impacted
by the plans ongoing work.
Ensuring that the latter community
knows how to infuse its ideas and
feedback into the technology
planning process is critical and
is best handled through multiple
means of communication (e.g.,
websites, town-hall presentations,
articles in newsletters).
Persistent challenges do not
always require a new solution;
sometimes a new application of
existing technology will suffice

(such as the marinization of

rotodynamic pumps for boosting
produced fluids from the seabed
to a host). In certain other
cases, technology that has been
prototype-tested successfullyin
the past but has lain dormant
can be resurrected. Chevrons
development with its partners of
dual-gradient drilling technology
is a prime example of such a
project, successfully deployed
over a decade ago, that finally
becamecommercial late in 2012.
 he Wilcox reservoir will require
continually more elegant solutions.
One of the crowning achievements
to date within the portfolio was
Chevrons first commercial run
of a system whereby multiple
Wilcox reservoirs were able to
be frac-packed without making
individual round trips with
screens, packers, and service
tools. More than 5 years in the
planning, and benefiting from
field trials in partnerships
with three of Chevrons North
American business units, the
technology was successfully
installed in a deepwater
wellsaving preciousdays of
expensive rig time and cost. As
a testament, though, to continual
improvement, more than a year
ago, a technology project began
developing the next generation
of the companys Wilcox lower
completions, maintaining the
efficiencies of the system recently
run but providing enhancements
in reservoir surveillance and,
ultimately, reservoir management.
I t never hurts for practitioners to
feel some pressureto know they
are accountable. One technique
for this is well known to any
project managerhaving clear
milestones, linked to a responsible
party, that are transparent to
those who review plan progress.
Specific, relevant milestones
allow for communication and
recognition of successes or


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Deepwater Brazilian Presalt: The Way

Ahead for Research and Development
Cesar Muniz, Baker Hughes

The era of easy oil is gradually coming

to an end. Over the last 5 years, the
big discoveries around the globe have
been in areas with complex geology
that are not easy to access and, in most
cases, present logistical difficulties.
One of the most promising of these
regions is the so-called Golden Triangle,
which includes offshore US Gulf of
Mexico, offshore Brazil, and offshore
western Africa. These areas lie in deep
or ultradeep waters, ranging from 2000
to 3000 m, and are below a considerable
layer of salt rockup to 2000 m thick
in the Brazilian case. The reservoir
geology is also complex, ranging from
microbial carbonates to dolomitized
limestones to intercalated sandstones.
Exploiting these resources in a costeffective manner presents a number of
challenges for the industry, which I shall
discuss as they relate to offshore Brazil.

Reservoir Imaging
Presalt reservoir imaging and
characterization are the starting points
for achieving a successful development

campaign. Although it has improved

during the past few years, reservoir
imaging still poses big challenges
to operators and service companies
offshore Brazil. Room for further
improvement certainly exists. The
high reflectiveness of the postsalt/salt
interface leads to major attenuations
of the seismic signal, jeopardizing
vertical resolution. Additionally, the salt
layer heterogeneity, composed of halite
intercalated with layers of anhydrite,
carnalite, and tachyhydrite, brings
additional hurdles to the modeling of
the velocity cube, which is used in the
time-depth conversion. The reservoir
carbonate rock also presents a high
degree of heterogeneity, with important
insertions of silica nodes and, at least
until now, an unknown fracture pattern,
in addition to the need for better
understanding of pore size distribution
and connection.
However, technologies are
emerging in Brazil that enhance both
vertical seismic resolution and rock
characterization. Wide-azimuthal

Cesar Muniz joined Baker Hughes in 2011 as director of the

companys Regional Research and Technology Center,
based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He holds a BS degree in
mechanical and nuclear engineering from Pontifical Catholic
University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC), an MS degree in
petroleum engineering from the Federal University of Bahia,
and an MBA degree in finance from PUC. With more than 25
years industry experience, Muniz started his career as a
reservoir engineer with Petrobras, where he held a number of technical and
management positions both in Brazil and internationally. After leaving Petrobras, he
joined Chevron as exploration and development manager responsible for the
execution of the companys portfolio in Brazil. In 2005, Muniz joined Repsol, based
in Madrid, Spain, where he held a number of management positions. His areas of
interest are reservoir engineering, oil and gas field development, and

seismic acquisition, using a singleor dual-coil survey, is a technique

being introduced into the presalt
with encouraging results for both the
enhancement of vertical resolution as
well as improvement of the velocity
cube accuracy. Additionally, the
use of variable-depth streamers
in a slanted cable configuration in
conventional seismic acquisition also
improves the seismic illumination of the
Areas of research seeking
similar results are related to the
seismic processing workflow. New
ways of processing seismic data,
introducing new steps or shuffling
existing steps, canalso improve
reservoir characterization. These
include using new special core
analysis techniques, such as highfield nuclear magnetic resonance
(NMR) imaging and determining
accurate rock fabric and flow units,
which seek to better characterize the
pore size distributionand connection
of the reservoir rock. Additionally,
these techniques will improve the
upscale process workflow envisaging
geologic and reservoir models. Other
processesthat will help illuminate
faulting and fracturing patterns
existingin the reservoir rock are walk
away and walk around 3D vertical
seismic profile (VSP) techniques;
however, the processing workflow of
these techniques needs improvement
to enhance the accuracy of the

Academia... Continued on page 26

Vol. 9 // No. 1 // 2013

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Technical Leaders

Deepwater Operations
Luke Eaton, ConocoPhillips; Darryl Herrington, LLOG Exploration; and
John Thorogood, Drilling Global Consultant

How important do you think

deepwater operations are to the
oil and gas industry?
LE: At the end of 2009, deepwater
production was approximately
5 million BOPD of the 24 million
BOPD coming from offshore fields.
Deep water continues to be an area
where large fields can be found
and producedwith an attractive
economic return on investment. The
ability of the industryto explore
and produce fields in up to 10,000ft
water depth and lowercosts will
continue to drive exploration and
DH: Deepwater operations are
where the new technologies are
being developed for advanced
stressloads and pressures that need
tobeaddressed. The technical
challenges, well costs, and, most
importantly, the higher requirements
for meeting government environmental
regulations are key factors to
JT: Deep water will play a key role in
offsettingdecline in production from
the shallow-waterareas.

How have deepwater operations

changed over time?
LE: The world water depth record for
drilling was deepened to 6,448 ft in
1983 offshore the US east coast. The
current water depth record for a well is
10,194 ft. The world record for moored
rigs deepened from 3,691 ft in 1988 to
8,951 ft in recent years. In 1983, there
was only one rig in the world capable of
drilling in 7,500-ft water depths. There

are currently over 125 rigs capable of

drilling in over 7,500-ft water depths,
with another 81 under construction, on
order, or planned. Tubing size has also
increased for many wells, from 27/8 -in.
and 3-in. in the early 80s to more
commonly 4-in. and 5-in. today in
deep water. In recent years, intelligent
completions are also being installed
that allow controlling production
from multiple zones at the same time.
As developments moved into deep
water, tension-leg platforms (TLPs) and
spars are used instead of conventional
bottom-supported platforms. The first
TLP was installed in 1984 at a 486-ft
water depth. The water depth record
for TLPs is currently 4,674ft.
DH: Most of technology advancements
have led to automation and
improvements for deepwater drilling
well containment. The Macondo
incident in 2010 definitely resulted in a
surge in engineering technology and
engineering verifications that have
to be put in place for risk control and
safety for people and the environment.
JT: Operations have evolved
continuously in response to demands to
explore plays in progressively deeper
water. Learning proceeds by trial and
error. The pace of change is dictated by
the economics and is ultimately linked
to oil prices. In 1974, deep water was
regarded as being in 800 to 1,000 ft of
water; now the limits are an order of
magnitude greater. Key technologies
enabled the limits to be progressively
extended, aided by developments
in analytic tools and increases
in computing capability. Stationkeeping systems have been refined,
high-accuracy satellite navigation

technology became available, marine

risers and their connectors were
developed with the increased strength
needed to support the drilling and
environmental loads, and control
systems have enabled effective
communication with increasingly
complex subseahardware.

Where do you foresee attractive

future deepwater exploration and
production plays will be?
LE: The deepwater presalt discoveries
in Brazil are the largest in the industry
in decades, onshore or offshore.
The industry recently participated
in a presalt licensing round offshore
Angola. Subsequent to the licensing
round, an Angolan presalt discovery
was recently announced. The subsalt
Paleogene play continues in the Gulf
of Mexico (GOM), where several
discoveries have been sanctioned for
development. There has been a lot of
exploration activity in the GOM subsalt
Paleogene, so it is encouraging to start
to see thesanctioning of developments.
Several major operators are also
looking at deepwater exploration in
DH: Much of Latin America is
unexplored for offshore drilling.
Additional areas that are up and
coming are the northwestern waters
offshore Australia and southeastern
waters offshore Africa.
JT: Outside the big four regionsUS
GOM, Brazil, Angola, and Nigeria
we can expect to see deepwater
gas plays opening up in the eastern
Mediterranean and Black Sea. In
addition, there will be continued


TWA_v9n1_TechLeaders.indd 22

1/21/13 10:13 AM

extension of the plays along west

African and South American coasts.
Other areas will include southeast
Asia, east Africa, and offshore India. In
the long term, increasing scarcity will
eventually increase pressure to explore
off the US east and west coasts.

How have government regulations

and recent events affected
deepwater operations and future
deepwater exploration?
LE: Since the Macondo incident in
the GOM, the US Bureau of Ocean
Energy Management (BOEM)
and the US Bureau of Safety and
Environmental Enforcement (BSEE),
the oil and gas regulatory arms of the
US government, have issued numerous
new requirements for the industry.
The BOP stack must now be pulled to
surface after drilling each well to be
retested. It is possible to keep a BOP
stack on the same well for potentially
an indefinite period of time as long as
it continues to function. Yet, if you drill
a single, shallow well that takes 30
days, you would still have to pull and
retest the BOP stack at the surface. In
wake of the Macondo incident, industry
has responded by forming the Marine
Well Containment Company for GOM
operations and Subsea Well Response
Project for operations elsewhere. These
two organizations have designed and
built equipment for industry use for
subsea well intervention if another
incident similar to the Macondo blowout
was to ever occur again.
DH: Government regulations in the
USA have significantly slowed down
licensing approvals for offshore
deepwater drilling, but they have
brought about rapid improvements
for engineering with risk and
environmental management. Much of
these types of improvements have been
ongoing in the North Sea; but, now,
environmental concerns are shared
worldwide, with advanced regulations
and controls among many nations.
There have been many regulations
added, and many arebeing introduced
for quality and safety requirements to

meet with keeping the worlds seas safe

from harm. We must learn to provide
care for what nature gives us and what
we will extend to future generations.

increased wellbore stability and lower

drag forces. Rotary steerable drilling
systems allowed simultaneous drilling
and under-reaming of directional wells.

JT: Recent events have challenged

some long-held tacit assumptions, such
as spending several months to drill a
relief well is an acceptable response
to dealing with a blowout. Social
pressures have forced development
of more effective and timely response
measures, such as capping and
containment systems. These advances
can only be to the long-term benefit of
the industry. The real environmental
risks lie in those regions that are
relatively weakly regulated as they
are more exposed to the adverse
consequences of operators lacking
competence and resources. An
interesting recent development is the
positive role of the insurance industry
in driving standards up in areas where
the regulator lacks experience.

DH: One of the key leading

engineering controls for well drilling
is managed-pressure drilling. This
is an ongoing concernthe control
of wellbore pressures and well
containment of drilling fluids and
reservoir fluids. Over the past years,
technology has increased in these
areas. There has been an increase in
computerized technology to model
probabilistic drilling processes.
These models can take real-time
information from a well location
and develop a forensic approach to
present well conditions and drilling
characteristics to yield insight for the
future. Advanced mathematical models
can be introduced to find alternatives
or mitigating solutions. These models
help with engineering and can add to
risk management assessment and cost
analysis for better financial control.

What technology do you consider a

deepwater game-changerpast,
present, or future?
LE: In the past, top-drives and the
use of synthetic-based mud systems.
Top-drives increased efficiency by
reducing the number of connections
and also allowed back-reaming of the
hole. Synthetic-based mud systems
increased efficiency by allowing the
use of polycrystalline diamond compact
(PDC) bits, increased safety by
minimizing the potential for formation
of hydrates, and allowed high-angle,
longer-reach wells to be drilled with

JT: Looking forward, there are

indications of hitting practical limits for
conventional marine riser technology
and rig design at around 10,000 ft.
Further depth increments may not
be practically achievable without a
radical rethinking of the technologies
involved. Dual-gradient drilling is
likely to play an increasingly important
role. But game-changing technologies
such as the Reelwell Drilling Method,
involving concentric drillstring systems
combined with novel umbilicals,
may provide the key that enables

Luke Eaton, critical well advisor at ConocoPhillips, has over

31 years experience. He now focuses on global deepwater
operations, primarily Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and Angola.
Before at ConocoPhillips, Eaton served as a lead drilling
engineer offshore Newfoundland, drilling and completion
engineering supervisor for the Magnolia tension-leg platform
development, and reviewer of critical wells. Before that, he
was with Shell as a project drilling engineer involved in the
Ursa, Ram Powell, Mars, and Popeye deepwater developments. While at Shell, he
also worked in exploration drilling in deepwater GOM and offshore US east coast as
well as in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. Before that, Eaton worked as a design
engineer for Cameron Iron Works designing blowout preventers and risers.
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Technical Leaders

these barriers to be pushed back


Can you advise YPs considering

deepwater operations as a career?
LE: Deepwater operations get a lot of
management attention. Be ready for
the spotlight. You need to understand
the goals and objectives of wells and
understand why things are done a
particular way in order to improve
things and ensure operations are
proceeding properly. Be inquisitive,
ask questions. You cant ever
communicate too much. Spend the
extra time to document projects youre
working while you do them. There
never seems enough time to document
things after a project is done, and
you will constantly use end-of-well/
project reports since your memory
will fade. Learn project management
skills since most deepwater operations
are high-cost operations that need a
superior level of project management
to ensure the correct tasks are done in
the correct sequence and completed

at the necessary time. There are

opportunities in drilling, completion,
and subsea equipment engineering;
offshore drilling and completion
operations roles; and supervisory
positions for all these roles.
DH: I suggest selecting an area of
interest and becoming educated
and professional within it. This
will require real-time experience
working offshore and around the
equipment being used. Combining
classroom ability and real-time
experience will help assure quality
of work applications. Like any other
profession, there are requirements
to be met through experience, such
as responsibility, legal requirements,
maturity, accountability, willingness to
share technology and support to team
members, safety, environmental and
health safeguards, work experience,
training, and many other attributes.
JT: A sound engineering education
is an essential foundation. Coupling
education with natural inquisitiveness

Darryl Herrington is chief well engineer for deepwater

high-temperature, high-pressure wells at LLOG Exploration.
He has worked internationally for more than 40 years and is
experienced in drilling, completions, production, oil storage/
transportation, and well failure analysis, and served on two
National Association of Corrosion Engineers technical
committees. With a background in physics, chemistry,
metallurgy, and mechanical and petroleum engineering,
Herrington has served as chief operating officer of New Guinea Energy, Australia,
and chief executive officer of Scitron International. He earned a BS in applied
physics from Sam Houston State University, an MBA from University of Phoenix, and
a PhD in petroleum and natural gas engineering from the University of Calgary.
John Thorogood is an independent technical advisor to
operators, service companies, and research institutes in the
areas of technology, technical policies, drilling automation,
remote area exploration projects, and Arctic operations. He
worked with BP and heritage companies from 1973 to 2007 in
areas that include deepwater and frontier exploration
operations in Sakhalin, the Faroe Islands, the North Sea UK
sector, and Norway. The author of more than 40 papers, he
earned BA, MA, and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge. He has served
as a member of the SPE Board, SPE Editorial Review Committee, and SPE/IADC
Drilling Conference Program Committee, and received the SPE International 2011
Drilling Engineering Award.

and a commitment to technical

excellence is all that is required. My
advice is to take the time to understand
the physics (there are no short cuts),
work from first principles, and make
time to update your knowledge by
reading technical papers and journals.
Above all, always remain focused on
technical excellence.

Any final thoughts or comments?

LE: I have been very fortunate to
work in deep water almost my entire
career. It has been very rewarding and
humbling. Ive learned a lot from rigbased personnel. I used to work with
a company man who would ask tough
questions about upcoming operations
and then say, Im just planting a
seed. We need to carefully listen to
conversations between the office, field,
operator, and service company to
ensure we think of all the possibilities
and develop the best plan. Remember,
your great idea is not valuable unless
the field can implement itsafely.
DH: New horizons in deep water
explore an abyss that shows promise
to meet our present energy needs. Our
industry will call upon new generations
of engineers and technologists to
help with our search. As a collective
industry made up of people with many
types of knowledge and experience,
we can meet our goals safely and in an
environmentally friendly manner.
JT: The elephant in the room,
ignored in the rush to judgment
and blame over recent disasters, is
the involvement of human factors
as a probable contributory factor.
As an industry, we have to quickly
learn lessons from others, notably
aviation, regarding the importance
of human factors. Progress will
require education and training of our
workforce to recognize our cognitive
biases and illusions. This will mean
developing our nontechnicalskills
in situation awareness, decisionmaking, leadership, communication,
teamwork, and stress management as
countermeasures. TWA


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Soft Skills

Deepwater Drilling:
Driven by Culture?
Asif Zafar, Amir Soltani, and the SoftSkills team

Deepwater drilling is a high-risk

operation. It involves going below water
depths of 500 ft to explore for oil and
gas. If there are any issues with the
subsurface equipment, divers cannot
intervene because human beings are
physically incapable of tolerating such
depths. But water pressure is not the
only thing a person working in deep
water needs to worry about. There
will also be significant challenges to
maintaining a work/life balance. The
extent of these challenges could depend
on ones culture and roots.
What, then, is culture? Culture is
based on the cumulated beliefs and
behaviors characteristic of a particular
group. Such a group could be as small
as a family or as large as a country.
Geert Hofstede, a Dutch sociologist,
conducted extensive surveys of
employees of different nationalities
working for multinational companies
and published his findings in a book
in 1980. He identified the following five
key dimensions of culture:
Uncertainty avoidance
Power distance
Long-term orientation
He developed an index for each
of these dimensions. Lets see how
deepwater operations rank according
to these indices.

Uncertainty Avoidance
Index (UAI)
The UAI is a measure of how
comfortable a culture is in dealing
with uncertainty. Are the people in a
society comfortable with unstructured,
unpredictable, or ambiguous situations?
Are they flexible? Are they tolerant of
change? If people are flexible, they

listen to their inner voice and base

decisions on hunches, gut feelings,
or instinct. If they are not tolerant of
change, they try to control the future and
minimize uncertainty by planning and
implementing rules, regulations, and
standard operatingprocedures.
Cultures with high UAIs would
have low tolerance for something like
the deepwater business because of
the great technical and financial risks
involved. This has a great influence
on the level of preparation oil and
gas companies pursuing deepwater
prospects would need for entry into
a new country and their ability to
successfully recruit people from the
local country for high-risk jobs. Of
course, in countries whose culture
encourages adventure or risk-taking,
there would be few or no roadblocks.

Power Distance Index (PDI)

The PDI is a measure of how distant a
relationship a superior likes to have
with their subordinates, and vice
versa. In low-PDI cultures, everyone
expects to be listened to regardless
of status, rank, or background. People
do not blindly obey the orders of
their superiors. Leaders perceived as
autocratic or patronizing are shown
the door. Decision-making is not a topdown process. But, if the PDI is high,
people know their place. They show
off their status or class through dress
and behavior. Superiors talk down
to subordinates and make decisions
for them without consulting them. In
some families, parents decide for their
children with little consideration for
the childrens wishes and true debate
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book
Outliers: The Story of Success, referred

to the PDI. He talked about a correlation

between cultures with a high PDI
and plane crashes. He referred to the
analysis of black-box recordings of
crashes pertaining to two accidentprone airlines, one based in Korea,
the other in Colombia. He argued
that a power difference in the cockpit
between the pilot and the copilot
resulted in a fatal communication gap.
The copilot didnt want to embarrass
his pilot when the latter committed
errors. In one case, instead of directly
saying, The weather is really bad,
we should turn back immediately,
the copilot said, Sir, look how it is
Similar situations can arise on a
deepwater drilling rig: Someone sees
something hazardous but is afraid to
report it to the supervisor because
of deferral or fear of retribution.
Deepwater winners are those who not
only dare to apply new technology but
also communicate in a precise way
and pay attention to important details.
Effective, unbiased communication is
key to mitigating risks associated with
deepwater operations.

Masculinity (MAS)
The masculinity dimension represents
a preference for domination in a
culture. Are people always trying to
be the best or the first? Are people
very materialistic or very caring? Is
the society driven by superiority or
cooperation? In a culture with a high
MAS, people are willing to accept high
job stress to win (i.e., to achieve success
and acquire wealth). Gender roles are
clearly differentiated. The dominant
values in a low-MAS culture would be
relationships and quality of life. People
will care more outwardly for each other.
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Soft Skills

Also, in such a culture, men and women

have the same values.
In the competition for a million
barrels of oil and gas lying under
deep water, oil and gas companies
need people with expertise and
willingnessto do the job. Cultural
parameters such as low MAS may stand
in the way ofsuccess.

This is a measure of whether a
cultureisindividualistic or grouporiented. In a highly individualistic
culture, one isessentially concerned
about the interest of oneself. On the
other hand,in a group-oriented or
collectivistic culture, the larger interests
of a group far outweigh the narrow
interests of an individual. The society

Deepwater drilling operations

may put a premium on talent and
individual thinking. However, people
with different skills must work closely
together as a team to deliver safely and
successfully on promises.

Long-Term Orientation (LTO)

LTO is a measure of the time-horizon a
culture hasshort term or long term. If
the culture is short-term oriented, it will
be concerned with things in the near
future. Memories are short. Patience
wears thin. Quarter-end results are far
more significant than the ones achieved
over a 5-year period. However, a longterm oriented culture has a vision for the
further future.
Success in deepwater drilling is not
like instant coffee. It requires lots of
patience and perseverance. Cultures

with a high LTO index value are well

positioned to undertake the rigorous
tasks involved in deepwater operations.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Of course, one cannot make sweeping
generalizations. All individuals sharing
a given culture are not the same.
Just because a culture is shared, all
members wont have identical values.
There are always a few nonconformists
in every culture.
Nevertheless, deepwater
operations are high-risk, high-return
endeavors; it takes a very dedicated
and talented group of people to make
these operations run smoothly and
successfully. For the good of the oil
and gas industry, lets hope many more
people from all cultures develop all the
skills to pursue offshore work! TWA


Continued from page 21

Because of the low compressibility

ofthe carbonate rock, 4D seismic
may not be an effective tool for
reservoir monitoring. The transient
electromagnetic method is a technique
under discussion that may help shed
some light on the problem when
it comes to detecting the injected
water front away from the producing
wells. Use of this technique might
result in better management of
the reservoir sweep efficiency
and, as a consequence, maximize

Well Construction
Drilling costs represent one of the
biggest hurdles associated with presalt
field development. Nonproductive time
(NPT) due to blowout preventer (BOP)
stack failure is costly and needs to be
addressed. Excessively slow penetration
rate while drilling the target reservoir
is another hindrance. Other areas of
research interest are lost circulation
prevention, drillstring vibration, and

stuck pipe. To address these challenges,

a number of efforts are under way,
such as influencing BOP manufacturers
to rethink current BOP stack design;
improving bit design with emerging
new designs, such as the Kymera hybrid
drillbit; optimizing the bottomhole
assembly to reduce drillstring vibration;
and developing microemulsions that
can provide proper lubrication to the
drillstring in order to avoid stuck pipe.
Another major problem associated
with presalt development is well
stability during the production lifespan
and the corresponding uncertainty of
how the salt layer will react to potential
subsidence. In order to minimize
possible impacts, geomechanical
reservoir flow simulation two-way
coupling will help predict stresses and
strains acting upon well structures and
will provide safer well trajectories as
field development advances. Seismic/
geomechanical inversion may provide
the means to update and calibrate the
flux-deformation model.

Flow Assurance
Potential flow assurance issues in
presalt fields are being treated through
the development of a combination of
products that minimize environmental
footprint. Nanotechnology can be
applied to develop nanomembranes
to be used in production facilities,
reducing the size of the processing
equipment, which helps reduce
the corresponding environmental
impact of such installations. Intelligent
production equipment, coupled with
supervisory algorithms, helps automate
well operations and optimize reservoir
management and productivity.

The deepwater Brazilian presalt
represents a huge opportunity for
operators, service companies, and
academia to develop leading-edge
technologies that will help the industry
access these hard-to-reachresources,
as well as help the country improve its


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YP Guide





Rio de Janeiro

Shruti Jahagirdar, Tyler Roberts, and Jim Stiernberg

In 1641, the people of Rio de Janeiro

celebrated in the streets when Joo
IV was crowned king of Portugal.
According to the official history of
Brazils Carnival, this was the first
expression of the Brazilian Carnival
festival. In the 21st century, Rio
de Janeiro continues its traditional
celebrations while being a city that
is rising to the forefront of many
industries, including hydrocarbon
exploration and Internet technology.
Rio de Janeiro, nicknamed
Marvelous City, is commonly referred
to as Rio. With a population of more
than 6 million, it is the third-largest
metropolitan area in South America and
the second-largest city in Brazil.
A relaxing beginning to the Rio
experience is to visit Copacabana,
a neighborhood in Rios Zona Sul
(southern zone), where you will find the
4-km-long beach for which the zone is
known. The stunning white-sand beach
is the locale of popular New Years
Eve festivities and rock concerts, and
11 out of 15 times has been the official
venue of the International Federation
of Association Football (FIFA) beach
soccer world cup.
A visit to the grand statue known
as Christ the Redeemer is a must.

Standing 130 ft high and reaching 98ft

wide, it is located at the peak of the
2,300-ft Corcovado Mountain in the
Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking
the city. Considered the largest art
deco statue in the world, it is the worlds
fifth-largest statue of Jesus.
When in Brazil, how can one forget
what we have seen of football through
the likes of international football stars
Pele, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho, who
created history for their nation and
the world to see. Much recommended
is a visit to Rios Maracana Stadium,
the largest in South America and one
of several Brazilian venues to host
the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches,
including the final match.
While discussing Rio, one must
mention the grand celebration, the
Carnival of Rio. Known to some as
the biggest show on Earth, it draws
around 2 million people to the streets
during each of the festivals 6 or 7 days.
Carnival is held just before Lent each
year, and features parades, parties, and
music such as Samba, for which Brazil
is famous.

Oil and Gas Industry

Rio houses the headquarters of two of
the largest companies in Brazil: Vale,

a mining company that specializes

in iron ore and nickel, and Petrobras,
a partially state-owned energy
corporation. The citys location along
the coast positions it well for the
offshore assets being developed in the
Lula field of the Santos basin, which,
before 2007, were estimated at close
to 20 billion bbl for both proven and
probable hydrocarbons. However,
underneath 2 to 3 km of ocean, 2 km of
rock, and another 2 km of salt (a total
of 6 to 7 km) lies the presalt oil, which
is expected to boost the countrys
reserves by 50 billion bbl.
Wells drilled in such a challenging
environment cost much more than
typical deepwater endeavors, but
wells in the Lula field are beginning
to pay off. Petrobras is producing
approximately 100,000 B/D from the
presalt region it is developing. Within
a decade, Petrobras projects it will be
producing nearly half its petroleum
from presalt wells and expanding
production to just short of 5 million B/D.
This find comes at an opportune
time, when Brazil is attempting to
complete its economys modernization.
In the 1970s, Brazils real gross
domestic product (GDP) grew by about
8% annually, as more of its citizens
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YP Guide

continued to move to industrialized

cities such as Rio and So Paulo.
Inflation plagued the country for more
than 2 decades but finally abated
in the 1990s with the governments
launch of an economic stabilization
plan called the Real Plan in 1994. Now,
the federal republic could develop by
leaps and bounds, in part due to new
foreign investment focused on oil and
Government regulation mandates
a high percentage of local sourcing
for materials and services, resulting
in many new jobs that sometimes
are hard to fill due to a dearth of
qualifiedworkers. But Brazilian
companies stand to gain. For
example, a multitude of new jobs
are being generated in and around
Centro de Pesquisas Leopoldo
Amrico Miguez de Mello (CENPES),
Petrobras research center, because of
ultradeepwater projects under way.
Logistical problems associated with
deepwater production appear here
just as they do in the Gulf of Mexico
and other areas of the world. The Lula
oil field is approximately 160 miles
offshore Rio de Janeiro, so floating
production, storage, and offloading
(FPSO) vessels will be required. Flow
assurance in ultradeep waters may
become a problem as well, especially
once water injection wells are brought
online for pressure maintenance; the
production of water can cause hydrates
to form in the flow lines. Finally, the
refining capacity in Brazil needs to be
built up to meet the demands of such
prodigious rates as those already seen
in the BM-S-11 block (containing the
Lula field). Once production has been
established, though, Brazil will no
longer simply sustain its energy needs
but will begin to export petroleum
to other countries. Currently ninth in
amount of daily oil production, Brazil
is projected to move into the top five
by 2020. This will add another layer
of complication on what to do with the
production once it is refined and ready
for distribution.
The National Agency of Petroleum,
Natural Gas, and Biofuels (ANP),
which regulates Brazils oil business,

requires that companies use as

high a percentage of resources and
labor from Brazil as possible. This
is a key measure for success during
bid rounds. There is also a 1% rule
requiring that oil companies spend
1% of their revenue from producing
hydrocarbons off the Brazillian coast on
research and development (R&D). This
is expected to generate a cumulative
total of USD 9.5 billion in R&D spending
in Brazil by 2020, according to an
ANP estimate. An industrywide drive
to produce hydrocarbons in deep
waters, combined with tax incentives,
has attracted major international
companies to build R&D facilities in
Brazil, including Schlumberger, Baker
Hughes, GE, FMC, IBM, and EMC.
One of the first to invest in local R&D
was Petrobras. In June 2012, the local
operator unveiled a USD-237-billion
capital investment plan through 2016.
The following major Brazilian
universities are working and investing
in research in petroleum sciences:
Universidade de So Paulo (USP),
Universidade Estadual de Campinas
(Unicamp), Universidade Federal de
Minas Gerais (UFMG), Universidade
Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do
Sul (UFRGS).
In the late 1980s, Unicamp
worked with Petrobras to create
the first petroleum engineering
program in Brazil. Baker Hughes is
working with UFRJ to build and run
a drilling simulator that will be the
highest capacity such simulator in
the world. It will be able to study
drilling in an environment where
the rock, pressure, and temperature
can all be controlled to simulate
formation conditions. UFRJ also has
a huge wave tank, which is used to
simulate what floating structures will
experience in thedeepest offshore
waters. An important area of Brazilian
university research is in developing
an understanding of the complex
carbonate reservoirs off the Brazil coast
under layers of salt.
The Brazilian Association of
Research and Development in
Petroleum and Gas, a nonprofit

Rio de Janeiro was the capital of
Brazil for almost two centuries,
from 1763 to 1960, when the
capital was moved to Brasilia.

Many people mistake Rio as the

capital of Brazil even now.

Brazil attracted a record

USD 67 billion in foreign
direct investment in 2011.

Brazil is the worlds sixthlargest economy and is expected

to become the fourth in a few
decades, driven primarily by the
growth of the local oil industry.

Rio will be host to the 2016

Olympic Games and the last
match of the 2014 World Cup.

Brazil borders every South

American country except
Ecuador and Chile.

Rio has 50 km of beaches

spread out along the coast.


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organization founded in 2004, works

toward making research in Brazil
visible to a wider audience. It also
has a quarterly electronic journal,
theBrazilian Journal of Petroleum

Way Ahead
Deepwater exploration and
development are vital to the oil and
gas industry. Combine the challenge
of deep water with the demands of
exploiting the unconventional plays
that lie below, and its easy to see
why Rio de Janeiro is on its way to
becoming a technological epicenter.
Rio has strategically invested capital
and human resources into meeting
challenges that were difficult to
predictjust a few short years ago.
Looking further into the needs
of the industry, Rio has also started
to encourage Internet technology

companies to relocate so the everchanging IT landscape can grow with

the local oil and gas sector.
Along with Rio, the economy
of Brazil continues to thrive. Some
estimates predict the Brazil, Russia,
India, and China economies will
eclipse the G7 economies by
mid-2020,signifying a shift in
Aside from its petroleum
riches, Brazil is home to 60% of the
Amazon rainforest, which is one
of the richest areas in theworld in
terms ofbiodiversity. If petroleum
explorationfinds its way to the
rainforest and industrialization
continues to increase at its current rate,
then strict environmental policieswill
be required.
Some major oil and gas
companies already face charges
by indigenouspeoples in Peru

forallegedly leaking wastewater into

drinking water supplies. Deforestation
for roads and equipmentwould
add to damagepreviously inflicted
bysoybean farmers. However, this
opens an opportunity for the industry
to make a difference by voluntarily
taking the best precautions to
avoid unnecessary destruction of
For a young professional in Rio,
the culture can only be described as
life-changing. The people of Brazil
and Rio de Janeiro are very proud
oftheir heritage and will undoubtedly
affect the way young professionals
see the world. Festivals in the streets,
sunsets along picturesque beaches,
and natures beautiful aura all
aroundprovide a sense of amazement
to the experienceof Rio de Janeiro.
Aproveite o jeitinho brasileiro:
Enjoy the Brazilian Way. TWA

New Orleans
SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition
30 September2 October Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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YP Newsflash

Oklahoma City YP
Chapter News
The Oklahoma City (OKC) YP
Chapterrecently played host to
Oklahomas first annual Young
Professionals Energy Forum. The
purpose of the forum was to engage
YPs working in all aspects of the
energyindustry in a format that provides
an opportunity to enhance knowledge of
the business and to develop successful
careers. More than 360 young
engineers, geologists,landmen, and
interns attended theforum.
The program began with a questionand-answer session over lunch with
Larry Nichols, executive chairman
and cofounder of Devon Energy. The
second session was a multidisciplinary
panel discussion with Steve Hinchman,
Highmount Exploration and Production;
Jack Stark, Continental Resources;
Roe Patterson, Basic Energy Services;
andScott Stone, Spartan Resources.
The panelists discussed their careers,
and shared experiences and advice for
YPsentering the industry. Jeff Hume,
vice chairman of Strategic Growth
Initiatives at Continental Resources,
provided a technical presentation about
crude oil pipelinesand their impact on
Oklahoma royaltyowners.
The final session of the forum
brought together government leaders
Dewey Bartlett Jr., mayor of Tulsa
and president of Keener Oil and Gas;
Patrice Douglas, Oklahoma corporation
commissioner; Mike Cantrell, vice
president of Government and Regulatory

Affairs at Continental Resources; and

Oklahoma State Senator Bryce Marlatt.
They provided a look at how policy
and regulations affect the industry
and their professions. The half-day
event culminated with a technical
exhibition and mixer with the 20

Toby Deen, Devon Energy Corporation

The Changing YPCC

The Young Professional Coordinating
Committee (YPCC) is a 15-member
standing committee responsible for
governing programs and activities
directed toward YPs. The committee
reports to the SPE Board Committee on
Education and Professional Activities.
YPCC members are appointed by SPEs
president-elect and serve a 1-year
term, renewable for up to 3 years. One
member serves as chairperson for a
year, after which a chairperson-elect
takes over and a new chairperson-elect
is appointed. The transition happens
during the SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition.
Each YPCC member is assigned
toone or more SPE regions, which
theyserve as mentor; they also
share best practices within the
regions. YPCCmembers should
haveexperienceworking on YP
programs locally and should be
35years of age or younger. No more
than two YPCC members can be over
the age of35. YPCC representatives
are a support to YP committees around

YPs having a Kodak moment at the OKC YP Energy Forum.

From their beginnings in 2004, YPs as
a group within SPE have come a long
way. YPs have been recognized in most
SPE sections and are increasingly being
asked to assist sections with their events
and activities, providing opportunities
to learn and grow. In this information
era, it is also important that YPs share
their experiences and help each others
development. Such a platform for
exchanging information and increasing
coordination between YP groups is
provided by the YPCC. Over the years,
YPCC has led many initiatives, such as
the Outstanding YP Program awards, the
Industry Leader Video series, and the
YP Network.
Outstanding Section YP Committee
awards comprise three categories:
Most Improved, Most Innovative,
and Overall Excellence. For 2012,
the awards were given, respectively,
to the YP committees of the Lagos
and Warri, Nigeria, sections; Saudi
Arabia Section; and the Gulf Coast
T he Industry Leaders Video Library
is a project launched by the YPCC to
help engage YPs and advance their
careers. The goal of this initiative
is to develop an online collection of
video interviews with oil and gas
leaders from SPEs six technical
disciplines. Interviews have been
conducted with professionals from
all sectors of the industry.
T he Young Member Outstanding
Service Award is presented to
YPs who have made significant
contributions within the industry and
their sections. The 2012 winners
names can be found at
T he publication you are reading
The Way Aheadis the offspring of
a YPCC initiative. It is a magazine
dedicated to young SPE members
and brings together oil-and-gasrelated interviews, news, and
articles of particular interest to YPs.
Each year, the YPCC frames its
focus areas on the needs of SPEs
younger members, with guidance


TWA_v9n1_YPNewsflash.indd 30

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from the SPE Board. For the

upcoming year, the YPCC is focused
on providing a better networking
platform, improved interaction
between student SPE chapters and
SPE sections, and integration of YP
groups within SPE.
 PNA revamp is planned for the
YP Network. The website shall be
transitioned to a more user-friendly
platform that provides better
interactive features for posting
queries, comments, and pictures.
The platform would be similar to that
of a student chapter website.
 tudent chaptersYPs serve as
an important link between student
chapters and sections, providing
mentorship to students and onboarding them when they become
professional members. As the
number of student chapters grows,
we need to maintain this level of
interaction. This year, the YPCC
shall push for more YPs to increase
interaction with universities by such
means as the Ambassador Lecture
Program and joint events.
I ntegration of YP groupsAs
YP groups have grown in size
and responsibility, YP events are
becoming independent of sections.
It is important to realize that YPs are
still part of the section and also work
for the broader benefit of the section.
Focus on technical competency
The YPCC is pushing to enhance
the technical competency of SPE
YPs by encouraging them to write
technical papers and increase
their involvement in SPE technical

for YPs, but also to spread awareness

of the benefits SPE has to offer among
prospective YPs. The audience was
welcomed by the SPE Duliajan Section
YP Liaison, Debabrata Tamuly, followed
by an inaugural speech by the section
and program chairs. Ankit Agarwal,
member of the SPE Mumbai Section YP
Committee, explained the benefits of
being an SPE Young Professional and
emphasized the dearth of YPs in the oil
and gas industry.
The next part of the event was
a group activity, the idea of which
was to make use of both innovation
and teamworkthe two pillars of
productivity. To execute this idea, the
participants were divided into teams of
four and given a unique challenge.
At the meetings conclusion, the
sections secretary thanked all the
members present and resolved to hold
future YP meetings in larger auditoriums
to cope with the huge influx of young
talent to SPE.

Ankit Agarwal, Schlumberger Asia

Services Limited

Section in Focus: Lagos,

Nigeria (Recipient of the
SPE 2012 Outstanding
Section YP Committee
Most Improved Award)
The Lagos, Nigeria, Section YP Program
has demonstrated significant growth
since its inception in 2009, now with
more than 500 members working

throughout the oil and gas industry and

academia. YP activities have undergone
a series of positive transformations. To
improve networking and collaboration
between YPs in the section, four
subcommittees were formed.
P romoting Technical
ExcellenceA series of technical
events was held that promoted
the transfer of technical skills
and knowledge from older, more
experienced members to YPs.
One such event was Deepwater
Stimulation Challenges, led
by Oluseye Ogunshina of Shell
Exploration and Production.
E ngaging with StudentsThis
dynamic subcommittee organized
four Ambassador Lecture Program
visits to various universities within
the region. Student activities, which
have been the sections primary
interest, composed nearly half the
sections activities for the year.
CommunicationsThis team
kept YPs informed with reports of
events via its newsletter, which was
launched in May 2012.
Networking This subcommittee
created a Section 61 YP Facebook
site (visit
spelag61). Effective social
networking among YPs and
industry professionals helps create
good communication channels for
knowledge sharing. TWA

Olisaka Onugbolu, Petrobras


Deepak Gala, YPCC Chairperson, and

Manish Choudhary, Chairperson-Elect

Duliajan Section:
YPs First Meeting
The first meeting of the Duliajan
SPE Section Young Professionals
was presided over by the section
and program chairs. There was an
unexpectedly positive response from
the sections young members. The
intent was not only to provide a forum

Duliajan Section YPs interacting before the presentation.

Vol. 9 // No. 1 // 2013

TWA_v9n1_YPNewsflash.indd 31


1/21/13 4:07 PM

Your Best Shot


Todd Benton Willis, Chevron


David Vaucher, IHS CERA

Max Medina, Statoil

Alicia L. Koval, ConocoPhillips
Amir Soltani, Statoil

Chase the Rainbow for Black Gold

Photo by A.J. Gibson, horizontal drilling specialist, Samson Resources
Company, Denver, Colorado.
The brand-new Pioneer 71 rig, drilling horizontal wells for Samson
Resources, is located in the Williston basin region of Divide County,
North Dakota. Photo taken with an iPhone 4.

Chris Jenkins, Devon

Dilyara Iskakova, Hess
Jarrett Dragani, Cenovus
Karrie Santos, Chevron
Lisa Song, Chevron
Madhavi Jadhav, Schlumberger
Prakash Deore, Fujitsu Consulting
Sanchit Rai, University of Tulsa (student)
Siluni Wickramathilaka, ConocoPhillips
Subhash Ayirala, Saudi Aramco
Tony Fernandez, Noble Energy
Tyler Roberts, Baker Hughes

Ankit Agarwal, Schlumberger
Arpan Pushp, ONGC Ltd
Asif Zafar, Halliburton
Henny Gunawan, Schlumberger
Islam Ibrahim, Cairo University
Jenny Cronlund, BP
Jim Stiernberg,
Louisiana State University (student)

Two Colts at the Karakuduk Munai Field

Photo by Krzysztof A. Fugiel, program chairperson, SPE Poland Section,
Oil and Gas Exploration Company, Krakow, Krakow, Poland.
Two colts were seen at the Karakuduk Munai oilfield on the Kazakhstan
prairie in 2001. Photo taken with a Hasselblad 501 C medium-size

Marjan Jamshidi, ConocoPhillips

Matthew Drew, Drillmec
Matthijs Verhoef, Shell
Maxim Kotenev, Fugro
Paulo Pires, Petrobras
Rita Okoroafor, Schlumberger


Submit your entry today to This contest is open to
all SPE members. The two best photographs will be published in each TWA
issue. Your image must be in JPEG format, with a file-size limit of 4 MB. Submit
photograph information with camera specifications. Provide your full name
with your position, company name, and company location.

Rob Jackson, Mountaineer Keystone

Shruti Ravindra Jahagirdar,
Shell Technology India
Thresia Nurhayati, Halliburton


TWAv9n1_BestShot.indd 32

1/21/13 12:15 PM

An online partnership
for success

SPEs eMentoring program gives young professionals the ability to connect with an
experienced professional who can offer practical career advice. Young professionals also
have a unique opportunity to serve as mentors to university students seeking guidance
as they pursue petroleum engineering degrees.
Partner for success by signing up to be a mentor or mentee.


Reach your
full potential.

Make a

Communicate at your convenience and across time zones

through distance mentoring.

Build your career with the guidance and advice of an

experienced industry professional.

Assist in the growth of the industry and and play a pivotal

role in the career of a university student by becoming a mentor.

To learn more about eMentoring and to

participate, visit
Society of Petroleum Engineers

ementor_IBC_twa.indd 1

1/21/13 8:25 AM

The future is opportunity.

The future is BHP Billiton.
With significant presence in
deepwater and North American
Shale, BHP Billiton Petroleum
is expanding our workforce
significantly in 2012. The time is
now for you to become part of one
of the worlds top ten independent
oil and gas companies with
operations around the globe.

Shenzi, Gulf of Mexico

Available positions include:

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Join our team

BHP_OBC_twa.indd 1

1/21/13 8:24 AM