• A comprehensive analysis of the oil fields of the North Slope of Alaska: their use as analogs, recent exploration, and forecasted royalty and production tax revenue

      Michie, Joshua J.; Patil, Shirish; Dandekar, Abhijit; Khataniar, Santanu; Sonwalker, Vikas (2018)
      Revenues from petroleum production supply most of the revenue for unrestricted general funds for the State of Alaska. As such, variations in the price of oil, decline from existing production and new developments greatly affect the money available for the state to spend on everything from roads to education. This study reviewed all producing oil fields on the North Slope, characterized their reservoir performance and forecasted future production. This was coupled with analysis of recent exploration discoveries and ongoing project developments to forecast future North Slope production and create potential royalty and production tax revenue forecasts. After 40 years of production, Prudhoe Bay remains the dominant field on the North Slope, accounting for 45% of current production. Relatively large changes in the non-anchor field pools are only able to change North Slope production by a couple of percent due to the nature of their size compared to Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk and Alpine. New developments however, are able to materially contribute to changes in North Slope production if they are large enough. With continued activity in the many fields, creating an accurate forecast is challenging, however, without new developments, the Trans Alaska Pipeline will need to make changes to accommodate low flow rates. Currently identified new developments have the potential to extend current production rates 10-20 years. Some of these announced developments and discoveries have announced productivity rates that are not realistic compared to analog well performance, and will likely require many more wells to achieve the announced rates and volumes.
    • Dying intestate or with a will on toxic estate? an evaluation of petroleum fiscal systems and the economic and policy implications for decommissioning of onshore crude oil fields in Nigeria

      Afieroho, Erovie-Oghene Uyoyou-karo; Patil, Shirish L.; Dandekar, Abhijit; Reynolds, Douglas B.; Perkins, Robert (2018-05)
      Many giant fields in the world like the onshore fields in Nigeria which were initially discovered over half a century ago, have begun to see consistent decline in production and profit, and are gradually entering into the economic end of field life or decommissioning phase. Characteristically, in most regions with mature fields, the large multinational oil companies have begun to sell their oil fields to small indigenous companies who may not be financially robust enough to complete the decommissioning, when it occurs. Because of the pervasive societal impact of the oil industry, if an investor fails to properly decommissioning the infrastructure, a responsible government will have to pay for the proper decommissioning, else society will suffer the socioeconomic, political, health and environmental impact. Therefore, society needs to be effectively engaged in the development of a sustainable decommissioning policy framework, which is hindered if society is uninformed and lacks access to pertinent information. Currently, there is abysmal information in the public space on the cost of decommissioning liabilities of oil fields, especially in developing countries like Nigeria. The public also need simple interpretative ways to determine the vulnerability of a county or entity to decommissioning default risk and the imminence of a default risk. Furthermore, there is currently, no way to benchmark the level of maturity or level of preparedness for decommissioning phase such that countries and entities can identify their gaps to a sustainable decommissioning policy framework and define a roadmap to close the gaps. These are important challenges to vigorous public participation, which is an essential requirement for development and implementation of any sustainable public policy for a public issue like decommissioning of crude oil fields. This study adopted several research methods to develop and introduce a new cost estimating methodology that uses publicly declared cost of asset retirement obligations (ARO) to determine a plausible cost estimate range for decommissioning liabilities. It was demonstrated with Nigeria onshore crude oil fields, which it determined to have a rough order of magnitude cost estimate for decommissioning liabilities that could be as high as $3 billion. Secondly, it also introduced decommissioning coverage ratio (DCR) and decommissioning coverage ratio vector (DCRV) as new metrics to evaluate the vulnerability to and imminence of decommissioning default risk. In demonstrating these new metrics, this study determined that the imminence of and vulnerability to decommissioning default risk for the onshore crude oil fields in Nigeria, with respect to any of the available revenue streams, is high. Thirdly, it developed a graded scale maturity model for sustainable decommissioning of petroleum fields. The model described as Fairbanks maturity model for sustainable decommissioning in the petroleum industry, has five progressive levels of maturity. It leveraged the methodology used for similar maturity models developed in other industries and for business management, and a comparative analysis of level of progress in decommissioning frameworks between some countries with leading decommissioning experience in the petroleum industry, to develop the Fairbanks maturity model. Based on the Fairbanks maturity model, frameworks for sustainable decommissioning of Nigeria onshore crude oil fields were evaluated to be at Level 1, Ad hoc maturity level, which is the lowest maturity level. Recommendations to close the identified gaps were also were made. These methodologies can be applied to any petroleum producing region or entity in the world and are advancements to the frontier of knowledge in the management of decommissioning phase for petroleum fields in general and Nigeria onshore fields in particular.
    • Evaluation of CO₂ sequestration through enhanced oil recovery in West Sak reservoir

      Nourpour Aghbash, Vahid (2013-05)
      CO₂ enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has been proposed as a method of sequestering CO₂. This study evaluates using CO₂ as an EOR agent in the West Sak reservoir. The injected CO₂ mixes with the oil and reduces the oil viscosity, enhancing its recovery. A considerable amount of CO₂ is left in the reservoir and 'sequestered'. Due to low reservoir temperature, this process can lead to formation of three hydrocarbon phases in the reservoir. An equation of state was tuned to simulate the West Sak oil and complex phase behavior of the CO₂-oil mixtures. A compositional simulator capable of handling three-phase flash calculation and four-phase flow was used to simulate CO₂ injection into a three-dimensional heterogeneous pattern model. The results showed that CO₂ EOR in the West Sak reservoir increases oil recovery by 4.5% of original oil in place and 48 million metric tons of CO₂ could be sequestered. Ignoring four-phase flow underestimated oil recovery and sequestered CO₂ volume. Enriching the CO₂ with natural gas liquid decreased sequestered CO₂ volume without a significant increase in oil recovery. Dissolution of CO₂ in the water phase and different water/CO₂ slug sizes and ratios did not change the sequestered CO₂ volume and oil recovery.
    • Scaling laws in cold heavy oil production with sand reservoirs

      Robertson, Keith W. III; Awoleke, Obadare; Peterson, Rorik; Ahmadi, Mohabbat; Liu, Jenny (2018-08)
      This thesis presents a rigorous step by step procedure for deriving the minimum set of scaling laws for Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS) reservoirs based on a given set of physical equations using inspectional analysis. The resulting dimensionless equations are then simulated in COMSOL Mutiphysics to validate the dimensionless groups and determine which groups are more significant by performing a sensitivity analysis using a factorial design. The work starts simple by demonstrating how the above process is done for 1D single-phase flow and then slowly ramps up the complexity to account for foamy oil and then finally for wormholes by using a sand failure criterion. The end result is three dimensionless partial differential equations to be solved simultaneously using a finite element simulator. The significance of these groups is that they can be used to extrapolate between a small scale model and a large scale prototype.
    • Thermal analysis on permafrost subsidence on the North Slope of Alaska

      Agrawal, Neha Dinesh; Patil, Shirish; Chen, Gang; Dandekar, Abhijit; Bray, Matthew (2015-11)
      One of the major problems associated with the oil fields on the North Slope of Alaska is thawing permafrost around producing oil wells. In these wells, the heat from the producing well fluid gradually thaws the permafrost. This thawing in turn destroys the bond between the permafrost and the casing and causes instability that results in permafrost subsidence which further causes subsidence of the soil surrounding the wellbore and, subjects the casing to high mechanical stresses. The above problem has been addressed by several engineers, and several preventive measures, such as controlling the subsidence by refrigeration or by insulation of the wellbore, have been analyzed. Understanding the thermal behavior of the permafrost is imperative to analyzing permafrost subsidence and providing preventative measures. The current project focuses on building a scaled-down axi-symmetric model in FLAC 7.0 that will help us understand the thermal behavior (i.e., the heat input to the permafrost interval due to hydrocarbon production) and temperature distributions that result in permafrost subsidence. The numerical analysis estimated the thaw influence of steam injection used for heavy oil recovery and its effect on the area around the wellbore for 10 years. The developed model was compared with Smith and Clegg (1971) axi-symmetric model and COMSOL model and correlations of thaw radius and wellbore temperatures were obtained for different types of soils. Heat transfer mitigation techniques were also attempted which are discussed in the report further.