Schlumberger: Making ‘Digital Oilfield’ a Reality

Paal Kibsgaard, Chairman and CEO The convergence of global geopolitical forces, threats, and technology is creating a perfect environment for the emergence of the intelligent oil field. New, innovative technologies can help companies remotely and automatically monitor wells and fields, and consequently take preventative measures to help avoid production downtime. Employing such technology will result in value creation in billions of dollars each year, through better finding and recovery rates, reduced lifting, production, and overhead costs, and increased production. The customers of Schlumberger [NYSE: SLB] were the first to have received such benefits by leveraging the solutions the oil and gas behemoth has proffered.

The oil and gas industry’s trusted technology vendor, Schlumberger caters to the unique needs of its global clientele with respect to technology, integrated project management, and information solutions. Traversing the complex landscape of data interpretation in Exploration and Production (E&P) of oil and gas fields, Schlumberger develops new workflows and processes to better understand the petroleum system of an area. The company helps in improvement and development of new seismic imaging and processing techniques to reduce the uncertainty of exploration. “In simple terms, we have three levels to our offering,” says Paal Kibsgaard, CEO, Schlumberger. “The first is to sell individual services such as wireline logging. The second combines our individual services into an integrated package where we also take certain responsibility for coordination of services in the field. The third level, which we call project management, is where we take a more significant role in the management of the customer’s asset, as well as the overall scope of work.”

The Shared Earth Approach
Schlumberger translates these levels of offering into what it calls, “The Shared Earth Approach.” Effective teamwork requires a shared understanding of the Earth—a cooperative basis for more informed decisions. The company challenges the siloed approach still common in the industry, and aims to bring benefits from multidisciplinary development workflows in order to provide a significant competitive advantage to its clients. The solutions offered empower E&P organizations to drive investment decisions by leveraging digital models that enable rich analysis of physical data through the application of workflows reflecting industry best practices. The Schlumberger software platforms are designed to deliver a productivity and integration step change for multidisciplinary teams working along the entire hydrocarbon pathway—from pore space to production facility.

The Petrel E&P software platform, furnished by Schlumberger, is exemplary of the Shared Earth Approach. It brings together disciplines— geophysicists, geologists, and reservoir engineers—with best-in-class applied science in an unparalleled productivity environment. This Shared Earth Approach enables companies to standardize workflows from exploration to production, and make more informed decisions with a clear understanding of both opportunities and risks.

The solution, apart from integrating data, provides critical insights into complex reservoirs by integration of work processes. This allows the capture and
preservation of knowledge, from exploration to production—from the petroleum systems modeler to the reservoir engineer and beyond—all contributing to a shared vision of the subsurface. Whether the client is intends for deepwater exploration well or delivering a comprehensive drilling program in a shale play, the Petrel platform enhances multidisciplinary workflows.
The Petrel platform supports automated, repeatable workflows to capture best practices and share them across the organization. New data is easily incorporated, keeping the subsurface live and current. Embedded cross-domain uncertainty analysis and optimization workflows enable straightforward testing of parameter sensitivity and scenario analysis. The embedded Studio E&P knowledge environment improves productivity with multi-user database access and collaborative work sessions with team members across the enterprise.

The Techlog platform dynamically incorporates the latest data from the well site for review and detailed analysis, thereby aiding in decision making during operations

With comprehensive tools for collaboration, and data and knowledge access, management, and capture, powered by industry-standard database technologies, the Studio environment helps drive productivity for the petrotechnical users. The Studio environment provides a fast, powerful, and intuitive way for Petrel and Techlog—the wellbore software platform—users to search, identify, and consume information in the context of their project and workflows. The Studio environment promotes collaboration by enabling team members to promote the elements of their project that are of relevance to the rest of the team or business. Capturing the status and quality of interpretation, as it is published to the Studio environment, ensures integrity and reliability for other team members—both now and in the future.

With Techlog, organizations can bring all of their wellbore data into one highly intuitive application to carry out analyses. In addition to offering advanced modules for domain experts, the Techlog platform provides a solid foundation for generalist users to review and analyze the data. It supports complex workflows across multiple disciplines. The Techlog platform dynamically incorporates the latest data from the well site for review and detailed analysis, thereby aiding in decision making during operations. A petrophysicist can leverage high-resolution data to examine the orientation of fractures as well as evaluate resistive qualities of those fractures to understand fluid flows in and around the wellbore. Detailed 3D interpretations maximize the value of all the sophisticated data collected in modern wells. This single well model is then used to create a multi-well interpretation that provides the input to a simulation model to evaluate dynamic behavior in the reservoir.

A recent introduction to Schlumberger’s suite of offerings is the Avocet platform. The global and remote operations of field staff, production and reservoir engineers, production accountants, and administrators can be accessed via this single,
integrated platform. It collects, stores, and displays all types of production operations information—surface, wellbore, wellhead, and facilities data—with measurements—such as well test data, fluid analyses, transfer tickets, and tank inventories—to enable users to view and track forecasts, production targets, budgets, and other Key Performance Indicators at a corporate, business unit, or geographical level. With cross-domain workflows and integration with Schlumberger’s other platforms and products, users can see their asset performance in a single environment, regardless of the asset type, size, or location.

Leveraging the Ocean framework— Schlumberger’s software development framework—with the company’s software platforms, users can create best-in-class workflows without the disadvantages and inconvenience of fragmented multiple software solutions. A company’s experienced geoscientists and engineers, as well as new hires, are immediately able to access new technology in a familiar software environment to help accelerate project timelines. New software requirements can be implemented to support operations and key decision making processes faster than ever before.

Translating Benefits to E&P
The oil and gas services giant has a presence in more than 140 countries, and its mantelshelf is decorated with accolades from leading players of the oil and gas industry. When Petrobras, a semi-public Brazilian multinational energy corporation, needed to enhance its reservoir performance in Campos Basin, it collaborated with Schlumberger petrotechnical experts and developed a coupled Mechanical Earth Model (MEM) to determine the safe injection pressure, optimize, and estimate reservoir performance, and predict associated reservoir deformation. The Brazilian behemoth sought a solution that could enable better prediction of the stress and strain changes induced by production and injection, and Schlumberger provided just that. To verify the maximum injection pressure that can be safely applied in the field, a comprehensive reservoir geomechanics study was performed; together, the teams collected information, analyzing everything from original seismic data, including exploration history, wells drilled, and logging information. From this starting point, it was possible to develop a quantitative 3D MEM in the Petrel E&P software platform that linked seismic interpretation to a comprehensive stratigraphic model, including structurally complex surfaces such as faults, salt domes, and lenses. Schlumberger and Petrobras evaluated the distribution of high plastic strains along the faults where leakage pathways were anticipated. This knowledge lends direct support to drilling operations and reservoir management, especially when drilling in locations with high porosity and depletion, where wellbore integrity and sanding problems may arise.

Schlumberger is one of the front-runners in capturing the digital oilfield market, which by various estimates is going to reach $33.3 billion by 2022. The company is moving forward with strategic mergers and acquisitions, the latest being T&T Engineering Services, a U.S.-based company specializing in land rig design. The acquisition plays a key role in implementing Schlumberger’s vision of combining its integrated downhole drilling technology with a new generation of highly efficient land rigs. Though the international oil and gas market is posing a grim picture, “At Schlumberger, we remain confident in our capability to weather this downturn significantly better than our surroundings,” concludes Kibsgaard.


Houston, TX

Paal Kibsgaard, Chairman and CEO

Supplier of technology, integrated project management and information solutions to customers working in the oil and gas industry worldwide.