Late-life Fields, Redevelopment and the Next Life
The Southern North Sea is a mature gas basin, producing mainly from faulted Permian Rotliegend sandstones. Identifying infill well opportunities in un-depleted or partially depleted blocks in these fields is challenging, particularly if the sealing capacity of faults within a field is uncertain. Time-lapse (4D) seismic monitoring provides an opportunity to identify depleted reservoir blocks by measuring differences in travel time across the producing interval between seismic surveys acquired before and after gas production. 4D seismic field tests were initially performed by Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and Shell in 2001. However, the observed travel-time differences proved to be smaller than predicted and any possible signals were too noisy to confidently detect depletion. Since then, advances in seismic acquisition and processing technology have improved the accuracy of 4D measurements and enabled the effective mapping of 4D related gas depletion signals. 4D seismic has now been deployed over a number of fields in the Southern North Sea, and a portfolio of infill opportunities has been identified. In 2015, the first 4D targeted infill well was successfully drilled into a block with limited depletion. This technology represents a breakthrough for operators seeking to maximize hydrocarbon recovery and extend field life in the Rotliegend play of the Southern North Sea.