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The future of global oil and gas realized that most operators have not Experience in successfully implementing
production is uncertain. After the exploited the full capacity of mature fields innovations & new ways of working in
to their potential. In addition to this they organizations.
surprising statements made by
face the challenge of developing green
the International Energy Agency fields in such a way that they can be TNO assists operating companies with the
(IEA), that oil production has produced to their maximum potential in development of production optimization
peaked already and world energy the future. With a mean recovery factor strategies in two ways:
consumption increases by more of about 36%, there is an immense Independent advise on the optimal
than 59% until 2020, oil and gas opportunity for production optimization. utilization of production optimization
technologies that are available today by
companies will have to reassess
TNO addresses the challenges by delivering taking an overall approach that covers
their current and future production pragmatic results and is willing to transfer crucial aspects of people, processes
strategies even more. its technology and knowledge (see and technology (e.g. completion design,
Examples). TNO does this by combining: digital oil field architecture)
A thorough understanding of the key Technology development projects to
The end of easy oil was already proclaimed processes fill technology gaps, support in-house
before, but due to increased geopolitical The use of (real time) production data to development within companies, or
and financial issues, the latter has now improve the predictability of processes investigate new concepts that can have
become obvious to all. To counterpart The ability to develop new measurement a major impact on future production.
this growing demand-supply discrepancy, & control technologies
NOCs and IOCs will have to give more Model-based production control &
attention to their mature fields to sustain recovery optimization strategies
current production levels. It should be
P r o d u ction optimi z ation


New developments in drilling and completion Improved reservoir

About TNO technology, as well as in improved oil characterization
TNO is one of Europes largest recovery techniques are expected, in While the industry has realized the need to
independent companies in the areas of combination with ever increasing computing incorporate uncertainty in the description
technology development and technical and simulation capacity, to enable of reservoirs, existing workflows for reservoir
consultancy. The last 30 years TNO significantly increased recovery from characterization based on dynamic data
has been active in the oil and gas hydrocarbon reserves. At the same time, (history matching) often pose practical
industry. With around 4,500 engineers the complexity of huge and unconventional limitations on the number of parameters
and scientists, TNO is working in a data streams that accompanies these that can be estimated. Furthermore, such
wide range of economical sectors, developments is posing challenges to workflows are usually limited to production
including energy, mobility, industrial existing workflows. TNO is on the forefront type data only. TNO is active in developing
innovation, information society, health of research and new developments that algorithms and tools that will enable full
and defense. TNO has more than aim to facilitate the move to the intelligent, use of all available data and estimation of
70 years of experience in advisory, digital or integrated field. Part of this all uncertain parameters within practical
in which independent from commercial development is the concept of closed-loop computational constraints. These activities
interest, during innovative technologies production and reservoir management, are supported by a strong knowledge
in close collaboration with major which provides the framework to integrate position in the area of reservoir simulation
industrial parties and universities have advanced semi-automated workflows that and hydrocarbon-recovery processes.
developed and knowledge transfer are required to realize the full potential
programs have been implemented. that such fields offer. TNO is active both TNO assists companies with:
in realizing this framework as well as the Development of company-geared tools
TNO distinguishes itself by its individual advanced workflows themselves. and workflows for advanced history
independent position and capability matching
to address challenging technological Application of advanced history
issues with multi-disciplinary teams of matching tools to provide improved
highly qualified engineers throughout reservoir models
the entire oil and gas chain; upstream Use of unconventional data types,
to downstream. TNO develops such as e.g. time-lapse seismic and
technology on the basis of fundamental subsidence, to improve reservoir
scientific knowledge into practical understanding and characterization;
applications with industrial use. Performing complex reservoir and
process studies
In the oil & gas sector we hold over Physics-consistent interpretation of
30 years of experience in working special core analysis experiments
with operators and service companies Transferring knowledge through
around the world. Among our
customers are major international Statoil: joint-industry research projects;
Transferring knowledge on a B2B basis.
oil companies like Statoil, Shell, and
Lukoil; as well as large independents Impressed
such as Wintershall and Maersk Oil.
TNO has been active in the Middle with the
East for several decades, mainly
working with or for national oil swiftness
companies such as Saudi Aramco,
ADNOC, PDO and KOC. and the
P r o d u ction optimi z ation

Wintershall: What TNO

also offered was a nice
combination of thorough
theoretical knowledge and
a very pragmatic approach,
an urge to solve practical

Production and field international companies in understanding, with an IT system that is supported in
development optimization plans controlling and mitigating phenomena that and by the organization. TNO is specialized
The primary objective within reservoir stand in the way of optimal production. in assisting the integrated development
management is to provide optimal The focus is on phenomena like flow of such system through three unique roles:
production scenarios, accompanied by instabilities (severe slugging, gas coning, Working together with the end-user
estimates of expected hydrocarbon recovery, liquid loading) on both oil and depositions to design a fit for purpose monitoring
ultimately resulting in an optimized field in well and near-well reservoir (salt, system design, taking into account:
development plan. Elements of such a plan asphaltene, wax). production technology (what the end
include recovery techniques, well types user needs), IT (making data available)
and position or pattern designs, completion TNO assists companies by: and organization (implementation)
types, and production scheduling. In fields Performing root-cause-analysis by Develop real-time diagnostic and
with significant complexity automated analyzing & diagnosing production data optimization application that extract
workflows based on numerical algorithms Develop forecasting tools, to assist information from functional production
will need to be used to find optimal operators in deciding optimal response data. Our core strength lies in the
choices for all these variables. TNO has strategy development of dedicated applications
in-depth knowledge and experience in the Building dedicated dynamic flow & that utilize models for the diagnoses
area of numerical optimization. The latter deposition models, to understand and optimization of specific production
has been integrated into tools that enable (field specific) behavior issues on an asset. These diagnostic
robust optimization of time-dependent ICV Determing optimal production & control modules run in real time to optimally
settings, or injection and production rates strategies to prevent & postpone assist operators and make sure they
and pressures, taking into account any production upsets can focus all their energy on optimizing
remaining uncertainty in reservoir properties. Transfer of developed knowledge to production, instead of only analyzing
prevent similar challenges in the future. large amounts of data.
TNO assist companies by: Training the different end users of the
Developing and incorporating advanced Real time production diagnostics and optimization system
optimization tools into company diagnostics & optimization in a company and helping them expand
workflows Many assets at present have monitoring its functionality.
Applying advanced robust optimization and data acquisition in real-time in place.
techniques to explore improved field These systems generate large amounts TNO teams that work on the development
development plans for new or existing of real-time production data, sometimes of real-time diagnostics and optimization
fields resulting in the well known Data Tsunami. solutions exist of a mix of production and
Providing optimal production strategies The key challenge is to realize direct added reservoir engineers, IT experts and specialist
based on both field life-time objectives value to operations with this data, for in real-time optimization of production
and short-term production constraints example by detecting events earlier, plants. Especially in real-time optimization,
and targets prevent down-time, and doing predictive TNO strongly leverages on its experience in
Transferring knowledge through maintenance. TNO helps operating other industries (downstream, food,
joint-industry research projects. companies to achieve this by giving cement, glass) where many of the real-time
independent advice, in full collaboration paradigms already have been developed
Reducing downtime and with the operator, on the design of years ago, tested and successfully
controlling flow instabilities production diagnostics systems or implemented. On specific request TNO also
Mature and more challenging fields are developing case-specific diagnostics works with its own partners in the
becoming the main feature of present applications, if required. IT industry to develop monitoring systems
and future operations. One of the key for customers.
challenges operators are facing is to The success of a real-time monitoring
minimize downtime and have a controlled diagnostics and optimization system
stable flow that can be handled by the depends on its ability to combine
topside facilities. TNO assists national and production technology functionality

P r o d u ction optimiZation

Strategic advice We leverage our broad experience into a In order to finding an answer to this
The last decade has seen an uptake in the practical management advise about e.g. question TNO works together with suppliers
deployment of a broad range of production production optimization deployment and operating companies to perform
optimization technologies, like intelligent strategies. independent surveys in order to obtain
well-completions and the digital oil field. representative numbers for the uptake
Roadmapping of technology.
Experience shows that the succesful For the successful deployment of production Examples of available data:
deployment of production optimization optimization technologies the needs of Uptake of flow control and intelligent
technologies asks for vision and leadership various stakeholder groups (production, production control technologies
of management and a deep understanding reservoir, IT, management, ...) and issues Regional spread
of the technology, because people and relevant to the operation of a field (KPIs, Breakdown by types of end-users:
processes involved could also be a main HSE and bottlenecks) need to be international (IOC), national (NOC) and
source for improvement. TNO recognizes addressed. independent operating companies
Integrated Operations as the road to be Best practices
taken. This means not only putting in Based on discussion with these Added value.
place new technologies, instruments stakeholders TNO develops a roadmap:
and IT-systems, but also making sure An independent overview of the Example of a free report: TNO.NL/OILFIELDIQ
that the different working processes and state-of-the-art in the deployment of
stakeholders within the companies are intelligent field technology at various Development of innovative
taken into account to ensure successful national and international operating sensors, materials & methods
implementation and integration. TNOs companies Besides extracting valuable information out
overall approach has proven effective on Identify the level of alignment between of production data, to improve production &
operations in the North Sea, Africa and stakeholder views, and possible gaps reservoir management, TNO also develops
the Middle East in close cooperation with that need attention in technology new technologies that unlock currently
the respective operators. deployment unavailable valuable information about
Added values well and reservoir as well as technologies
TNO has a special role as an independent Propose a stepwise approach for the that enable new ways of controlling well
company to advise management of deployment of technologies. & reservoir flows, adding value to closed
international and national oil companies loop well-reservoir management.
on production optimization technologies. Based on this high level strategy, a
Independent company management approach and specific TNO has a strong track record as an
In-depth knowledge of production production optimization technology innovator of breakthrough technologies in
optimization technologies deployment projects can be defined, in various relevant markets for the upstream
Thorough understanding of the oil & collaboration with engineering contractors. sector. At the same time, with regards to
production process the Oil & Gas market, TNO develops
Multi-disciplinary teams covering all Surveys step-change technologies either on its
aspects of integrated operations Production optimization technologies are own initiative or on request by customers.
Overview of best general practices by often discussed in the industry. Yet little
working with some of the leading information is available about its actual For optimizing production/recovery TNO
implementers deployment rate. For examples: how many focuses on new measurement technologies
Strong focus on technology and how to intelligent wells have been installed to date? & instruments and functionalized materials.
embed this in organizations, dealing with
people and processes.

P r o d u ction optimiZation


Real-time monitoring of North spectrum of knowledge, including gas

Sea Gas Asset production, which was a must in this case.
TNOs flexibility in this project has been
Hans Reijn, Production Engineering a real strong point. Interim adjustments
Superintendent, Wintershall were never a problem. Our teams priority
Noordzee B.V. is day-today gas production. Projects, no
matter how vital, always take second
German oil and gas company Wintershall, place. TNO constantly displayed the
which is a subsidiary of chemical giant flexibility and understanding that took
BASF, asked TNO to assist in the account of our priorities.
development of an intelligent production
monitoring system for its North Sea gas
assets. Such a system continuously
acquired measurement data from the Urge to
Instrumentation examples off-shore asset in order to optimize
Fiber optic distributed chemical sensing; production by offering real-time decision
a clever combination of functionalized
materials and fiber optic sensing enables
support to operators and engineers. With
good results, says Hans Reijn, Production practical
the measurement of concentrations on
various locations over long distances
Engineering Superintendent at Wintershall.
We will be able to recover the costs of this problems
New innovative geo-electrical technology project very quickly.
to monitor the oil-water contact during
production In October 2008 Wintershall and TNO
A fiber optic flow meter, that allows for started a pilot project in section F16A
remote & distributed flow measurement (offshore North Sea). This has given much
at high temperature without local better insight into all kinds of operational
electronics issues. One of them is the difficult to
Clamp-on deposition measurement; predict gradual decline in production
using a unique TNO invention, a flexible capacity due to salt build-up in some well
and self-powered heat flux sensor, it is of the asset. By constantly checking the
possible to measure the build-up of ideal situation against the real situation,
material on the inside of a pipe from we can more precisely plan the right
the outside. moment for maintenance.

Functional material examples The development of production monitoring

Extremely hydrophobic coatings to systems asked for combining commercially
postpone liquid loading available monitoring systems, with
Extremely hydrophylic coatings to in-house production models of Wintershall
improve heavy oil production/transport and real-time monitoring methods that
Functional quantum dots that enable were developed by TNO. What TNO also
reservoir monitoring/mapping offered was a nice combination of
Active polymers for improved EOR thorough theoretical knowledge and a very
performance. pragmatic approach, an urge to solve
practical problems says Hans Reijn.
We had several options available to hire
in IT knowledge but TNO has the distinction
of having much more in house, a wide Courtesy Wintershall

P r o d u ction optimiZation

Brugge Benchmark model Field redevelopment planning in

Leading universities as well as research Kazakhstan
consortia all over the world make extensive An optimized well placement plan for a
use of the Brugge benchmark model to fractured carbonate oil field in Kazakhstan
test their innovative tools in the area of resulted in 33% more additional oil
closed-loop reservoir management. recovery compared to the existing
The Brugge benchmark case, build by development plan of the operator. In
TNO, consist of a complete geological addition, the new infill drilling scheme
model and reservoir simulation model requires 30% less wells. A combined
including different realizations of the geological/reservoir simulation study
reservoir properties. From the model, resulted in a new field development plan,
synthetic data is generated, such as based on the analysis of the natural TNO branch office in Qatar
well log data, production data as well as fracture system, the construction of a
synthetic seismic data. At an SPE Applied discrete fracture network model and of a Production Optimization in Qatar
Technology Workshop in Bruges 2008, dual porosity/dual permeability dynamic Maersk Oil and TNO have established
co-organized by TNO, the model was first model and the results of history matching. a long-term collaboration to develop new
presented to the industry and academia. technologies for increased oil recovery
Since then, numerous studies on the (IOR). Focus will be on long horizontal
Brugge case have been published, also wells and increasing oil recovery through
by TNO. In these studies, the potential of integrated operations and production
innovative methods for history matching optimization. The joint research project
and optimization has been demonstrated. will be located at the Qatar Science and
Technology Park in Doha where both
Structural cross-section showing the complexity Maersk Oil and TNO have research centers.
of the field

Maersk Oil has an ambition to become

a leading oil and gas company within
increased and enhanced oil recovery.
By bringing together our and TNOs
experienced people, we create a research
environment that will develop ground-
breaking IOR technologies taking our oil
recovery to a new level, said Lewis Affleck,
The Brugge reservoir model Managing Director, Maersk Oil Qatar.

Example of the implementation of a part of the

discrete fracture network

P r o d u ction optimiZation

Joint industry

Mitigating liquid loading Integrated System Approach To develop tools and techniques for
Liquid loading is a major problem in Petroleum Production (ISAPP) smart production systems where
mature gas fields. Virtually all gas fields The Integrated System Approach measurement and control functionality
produce varying quantities of liquids Petroleum Production (ISAPP) program adds significant value, and to test
together with the natural gas. As a was established in 2004 by Shell, TNO these on virtual and real assets
reservoir is depleted, this water can no and TU Delft. Inspired by the systems and To perform research beyond the
longer be produced to the surface in the control theory used in meteorology and the state-of-the-art in the E&P industry
gas stream, and builds up in the wellbore. process industry, a program was started and to introduce innovative elements
TNO multiphase flow experts have carried to develop methods for reservoir model from other industries.
out many R&D projects for clients to updating and production optimization
investigate the liquid loading process. One based on data from various sources, such Following the success of ISAPP-1, TNO
of the findings from these projects is that as production sensors and time-lapse and the Technical University of Delft are
the liquid loading process starts when the seismic. starting up a new ISAPP program with
liquid film on the wall of the wellbore can multiple sponsors.
no longer be produced upward. Previously The project has run for four years (2005-
it was assumed that liquid in droplets is 2009) and consisted of fundamental The ISAPP-2 program offers three main
the first to stay behind in the wellbore. knowledge development by 30 PhD students ways of participation in R&D activities:
& research staff at the Technical University Research: investigation of specific
With this new insight came the realization of Delft, knowledge & tool development research topics in collaboration with
that an extremely hydrophobic coating by TNO and application of developed researchers from TU Delft and TNO
developed previously as part of TNOs knowledge in projects & demonstrators Development: partner-specific (B2B)
Innovative Materials research program by TNO. The main objectives of this proprietary innovations
might be used to influence the properties program were: Cases: Integrated Field Studies,
of the wall. A test program was performed To generate significant innovations in Production Systems.
at TNOs Flow Lab on behalf of Shell to the Exploration and Production (E&P)
investigate the feasibility of postponing process through the application of The knowledge developed through Research,
liquid loading by coating the inside of the system-dynamic thinking and model- Development and Cases will feed each
wellbore. This test indicated the onset of based control concepts R&D area. For example Research and
liquid loading could be significantly To generate the intellectual framework, Development may be applied in Cases and
postponed. Following this positive result, concepts, models and algorithms to the application of Research in Development
Shell and TNO are now looking to further enable real time model based closed may result in additional research questions
mature this technology. loop reservoir management, and to test that need to be resolved. It is this interaction
these on virtual and real assets between applied research, development of

P r o d u ction optimi z ation

tools and application in cases that will lead

to constant progress in applied integrated
closed-loop solutions. Figure below depicts
this interaction.

Partners in ISAPP-2 can opt to participate

in one or more R&D targets. In addition
have access to ISAPP-1 legacy;
are part of the Steering Committee:
control over selection of R&D topics
and part of R&D network working toward
an integrated closed-loop concept;
have access to ISAPP technology;
have access to workshops, symposiums
and in-company training.

For more up to date information about the

program, look at the dedicated website:



Stieltjesweg 1
2628 CK Delft
The Netherlands
The interdependency of Research, Development and Cases
Richard Braal
Business Line Manager
Production Optimisation

T +31 888 666 301

M +31 653 423 394
E richard.braal@tno.nl