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Deployment of new technologies to unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in value for PDO

Game-changing benefits: New trials aim to tackle an array of technical challenges, including produced water management, energy efficiency, artificial lifting, and EOR
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A raft of breakthrough technologies, being trialled ahead of their deployment at key locations across the Block 6 license of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), has the potential to unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in cost and other value-creating benefits for the majority state-owned energy company.

Proof-of-concept and proof-of-value trials undertaken by PDO have pointed to the game-changing benefits that PDO stands to reap once these technologies are fully operationalized, the company said in its latest Sustainability Report.

In one such example of how innovation is being monetized by PDO with dramatic results, the company trialled the deployment of Pressure Mud Cap Drilling (PMCD) technology to tackle challenges in drilling in reservoirs with extremely high hydrogen sulphide (H2S) concentrations on top of highly fractured and depleted limestone formation. With most performance indicators having been achieved, PDO is prepping this technology for wider deployment with value-add benefits estimated at $100 million over the next five years.

“A number of game-changing technologies have been de-risked for deployment after successful trials tackling various corporate challenges such as HSE, energy management, artificial lifting and well construction. These will help us to operate more efficiently and tackle corporate business challenges,” said PDO in its report.

Many of the ground-breaking technologies and innovations were developed and accelerated during the recent low oil price era and coronavirus pandemic, says the energy company. “PDO deployed a record number of game-changing solutions last year while also maintaining our focus on maximising value from more than 40 trail-blazing innovations in the past five years,” the company noted in its report.

Equally promising is the potential use of breakthrough Gas-to-Liquid technology to convert associated produced gas in high gas-oil ratio wells into liquid diesel. If proven to be successful, the technology can generate $139 million in value for PDO over the next three years, along with an annual CO2 reduction of 60,000 tonnes, the report said.

Also last year, PDO trialled the deployment of Rigless Reeled Electric Submersible Pumps (ESPs) to mitigate the problem posed by an inadequate number of workover hoists and the expanding demand for ESP systems. The technology has the potential to save PDO around $44 million over a three-year period covering 100 wells annually.

Over the last year, PDO has successfully concluded trials of a record 11 technologies through proof-of-concept or proof-of-value tests, it said. It includes the Seal Bond Spacer innovation, which addresses severe fluid losses during drilling operations. When eventually deployed to help improve well delivery, PDO anticipates that this technology could create more than 250 new jobs over the next five years.

A further 18 new trials were kicked off in 2021 alone, according to PDO. They aim to tackle an array of technical challenges, including produced water management, energy efficiency, artificial lifting, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and well construction and production measurement.

One emerging technology being tested through a proof-of-concept pilot involves the use of electrical power to fracture a target reservoir. The report explained: “Electrical Pulse Reservoir Stimulation could potentially replace existing costly fracking technology that uses excessive energy. It works by fitting electrodes downhole on two adjacent wells and circulating a high-voltage current through reservoir water and brine while heating it at the same time. This innovation could increase well production by 50 per cent.”

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