Some of the world’s largest oil reserves – including an untapped North Sea oil field first discovered 40 years ago – are heavy oil reservoirs
Although it was first-discovered in 1977, it proved too difficult to get the oil out of the Bentley heavy oil field as these kind of reservoirs presented significant economic and technological challenges resulting in few of these deposits being developed extensively.
The Bentley heavy oil field is one of the largest undeveloped fields in the North Sea. Owned by Xcite Energy, it is estimated to contain around 885 MMstb, with 267 MMstb recoverable from a two phase development.
Barny Brennan, Subsurface Director of Xcite Energy Resources, will outline the operator’s plans to exploit Bentley at a forthcoming SPE meeting in Aberdeen.
The presentation will describe the key reservoir and fluid properties, how these have influenced the planned field development, and some of the key challenges that have been overcome to produce offshore heavy-oil cost effectively.
He said: “Offshore heavy oil offers a significant opportunity for long-term future North Sea production.
“In the presentation, I will discuss how our understanding of the characteristics of the Bentley field, in particular its fluid properties and recovery mechanism, has played a key role in developing the cost effective concept that we have selected.”
Ian Crossland, Joint chairman of SPE Aberdeen added: “Heavy oil recovery offshore is most definitely a current and technical theme for many of our members.
“In such a challenging time in the industry, a number of operators in the UK are trying to find or implement the most cost effective solution and one that is sustainable over many years.
“There is already evidence of cross-pollination of ideas and collaboration in this area and I believe Barny’s presentation on the Bentley field will strengthen our members understanding in their technical approach and the challenges they face in these areas”.
Meanwhile, the price of the North Sea’s benchmark Brent crude oil rose to its highest price in four-months at just over $43-barrel last night as markets mulled the prospect of an oil summit in Doha this coming Sunday reaching some kind of agreement on freezing current output levels.