Mature Field

Today I am going to talk about mature field, which is not a new but development concept. The definition of this term varies with personnels. In Dr.Tayfun Babadagli’s review paper, Development of Mature Field-A Review, he defined three times. 1. The oil fields after a certain production period, which is very ambiguous; 2. The fields have reached the peak of their production or those producing fields in declining mode; 3. The fields have reached their economic limit after  primary and secondary recovery efforts1. Fig.1 shows the second definition of mature field, which was recommended by Halliburton. If the Mature Field in the typical production life of a field graph was replaced by Peak Production, after reaching Economic Limit the oilfield was regarded as mature field, that is the third definition Dr. Tayfun has given.

Fig. 1 Typical Production Life of a Field2.

Also, we have to talk about new fields and old fields here. Sometimes, mature field means old field. The two definitions are similar but not exactly the same. To simplify the problem here, most mature fields are old, but old fields may not be mature. Why? The economic limit is dynamic, due to the developments of technology, the production cost and the oil price.

As we know, during the primary recovery, reservoir drive comes from natural mechanisms3. Once the reservoir pressure is not high enough to drive the oil to the ground, external energy are needed to provide the drive to push or pull the oil from underground, such as water flooding, pumps, gas lift, or natural gas injection3. All the techniques for increasing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field other than primary and secondary recovery methods could be tertiary recovery methods, also named enhanced oil recovery(EOR) or improved oil recovery(IOR)4. Among those three names, EOR is the most popular. Also, traditionally EOR is not equal to IOR, just as Drs. Don W Green and G. Paul Willhite said in their SPE textbook, Enhanced Oil Recovery, IOR includes EOR but also encompasses a broader range of activities, e.g., reservoir characterization, improved reservoir management(characterize, monitor, and manage the producing reservoir), and improved drilling and completions5, 6. To revitalize the mature fields, IOR methods should be applied.

In Joel Parshell, the Journal of Petroleum Technology(JPT) feature editor’s article, Mature Fields Hold Big Expansion Opportunity, in the Oct 2012 issue of Society of Petroleum Engineers’ flag magazine JPT, he reviewed the advancement of new techniques and development strategies for the mature fields6. Also, the articles about EOR and completions in the same issue are recommended.

1. Development of Mature Field-A Review.

2. What is a Mature Field?

3. Extraction of Petroleum.

4. Enhanced Oil Recovery.

5. Green, D.W., and Willhite, G.P., Enhanced Oil Recovery, Textbook Series, SPE, Richardson, TX (1998) 1.

6. Mature Fields Hold Big Expansion Opportunity.


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