The digital to the rescue of oil reserves

In order to optimize its drilling, the company ChevronTexaco has developed in collaboration with Halliburton a technological solution called Well Design and Execution Collaboration Center or WellDECC.

It is a control center where all information from drilling fields (especially offshore) is centralized in real time. The data is collected using in situ sensors and sent via cable and satellite. Therefore, engineers, technicians and specialists in Earth sciences have a 3-dimensional representation of the situation of a well allowing to visualize its various parameters (temperature, pressure, seismic activity, etc.). They can thus, in a concerted manner, assess the risks and take the appropriate decisions in the event of a problem. This system is also a reserve management tool, from production to transport. According to Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), an oil research firm, this digital approach could increase global hydrocarbon reserves by 10 million barrels within 125 years. (Less than 2 days of global consumption). It could also allow oil companies to reduce on-site staff, increase production by 10%, reduce operating costs by 25% and increase oilfield renewal by 6%. Various IT players such as Microsoft or SAP are closely interested in this new market, valued at one billion dollars for the next 5 years by the company IBM (which devotes a thousand specialists to it). But while Shell develops its own control structure, the rest of the oil companies are still cautious. Despite considerable profits, more than 70% of them would not immediately plan major investments in this sector, according to a 2004 study by Forrester Research.

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WSJ 20/04/05 (ChevronTexaco's digital oil field aims to aid reserves, productivity)

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