Technology opens the door to deep gas

The greatest challenge facing the future of Bass Strait gas is the size of the remaining discovered undeveloped fields.

News

Technology opens the door to deep gas

“We have a vast suite of advanced technology to assist us in evaluating and developing resources,” explained New Reservoir & Developments Supervisor Mike Gilbert.

“However, due to the small size of the fields some of this technology is precluded because of the cost.

“For example, with complex fields the design of the development concept is critical because choosing the wrong kit could have significant implications for our ability to maximise recovery of the gas.

“With a large field we would typically drill two or more delineation wells to assist with the development design. But with small fields it is difficult to justify the cost of additional appraisal drilling prior to development.”

This is where ExxonMobil’s extensive knowledge and experience in the Gippsland Basin becomes critical. The story becomes even more challenging as the company plans developments for deeper, more complex fields.

“Most of our major gas fields are in the top of the Latrobe (TOL) formation, like Marlin, Barracouta and Snapper. These are large reservoirs with clean, porous marginal marine sands,” said Mike. “Think of the clean beach sand you see on today’s surf beaches such as Gippsland’s Ninety Mile Beach.

“These fields flow extremely well, they tend to be rich in valuable liquids, and require minimal wells per unit of gas to produce. The deeper fields we are now working on consist of tighter, dirtier reservoir sands. More like the in-land rivers, lakes and estuaries of Gippsland many millions of years ago.

“They are highly compartmentalised, consisting of layer upon layer of vertically stacked reservoirs – many up to 40 individual sands ranging from 0.5 metres to 10 metres deep. They are extensively faulted and sometimes with the presence of volcanic intrusives, which break them up even further.

“Again the number of wells, well location and down-hole completion design are critical to our success.”

A Bass Strait developments taskforce is applying a suite of the latest technological advances to assist with their task.

“We have reprocessed seismic data captured back in 2001–2002 using new advanced technology,” said Mike. “This gives us a clearer picture of these deep reservoirs.

“We have used the latest 3D geological modelling and simulation to help us with project planning and reserves production forecasting.

“With reservoirs adjacent to our producing fields, we have also used time-lapse seismic modelling to better understand the movement of hydrocarbons over the years.”

The taskforce is studying options for applying the latest in drilling and engineering technology such as smart down-hole completions, cased-hole logging techniques, high grade steels, remotely operated wellheads, and advanced mathematical modelling to better understand pipeline flow assurance and drilling.

Photo — ExxonMobil assembled a team of international experts to study future development options for Bass Strait. With technology advancing exponentially in every aspect of field development, the idea was to bring the very latest in the world’s expertise together in one room.

Related content

Howzat for a great celebration!

Esso Australia would like to thank everyone who went along to the Esso Night Under the Stars concert, helping us celebrate the 50th anniversary of oil and gas production from our Gippsland operations.

Esso news News

Cobia platform back online

The Cobia oil platform is back online after being shut in to replace the 300mm diameter Cobia-to-Halibut oil export pipeline.

Esso news News

Paper gives way to tablets for offshore cranes

It’s getting difficult to keep up with the many amazing ways technology is improving the way we do business.

Esso news News

Lucy is a Bright Spark

Lucy McParland, an Instrument & Electrical Apprentice with WPC Group based at our Longford Plants, has been selected as a ‘Bright Spark’ in Brighter’s new campaign shining a light on the individuals working tirelessly to bring our homes and communities the energy they need.

Esso news News

Desire makes children into rock stars

Success in tackling the biggest challenges facing the world in the 21st century will be governed by our ability to capture the imagination of children with gifted technical minds and encourage them to study maths and science.

Esso news News

The Barber of Seville comes to Sale

Esso Australia has again supported Opera Australia to bring its schools tour to Gippsland, hosting its children’s production of The Barber of Seville at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre in July.

Esso news News