The UK Sector of the North Sea still has significant commercial potential, particularly gas in the Southern North Sea – there are opportunities as well as 50+ years of data and knowledge. There are multiple undeveloped discoveries, fields that have not been fully drained and opportunities to explore play concepts that expand from established fields into a wider footprint.
Since gas was first discovered in 1965, many hundreds of seismic surveys have been acquired and thousands of exploration, appraisal and development wells have been drilled. The resulting data from this activity is vast.
Other Factors That Make the Basin Attractive
There is an ongoing domestic market for gas – the May 2019 report by the Committee on Climate Change set out the role for natural gas in the future UK energy mix. The Committee forecast that the UK would require 600 TWh (55bcm) of natural gas up to 2050 to meet net zero.
With the mature status of the producing fields in the basin, there is access to a network of export pipelines and other infrastructure which provides a range of opportunities to commercialise discoveries. There is a trained and experienced workforce and an established supply chain.
Painted Wolf Team: Perfectly Adapted to this Environment
To find commercial hydrocarbons, the particular subsurface challenges of each major province need to be solved. In the Southern North Sea, the Painted Wolf team is uniquely equipped to solve these challenges and create value ahead of other E&P companies. Our team has, and are now using, their technical expertise to interrogate all available datasets to unlock new opportunities.
Techniques we are using to identify these opportunities and create value include:
Seismic surveys measure the time taken for signals to reflect off each geological layer, but these signals travel at different speeds through different types of rocks. Many structures are sufficiently large and obvious to be identified from maps in which the original time data are used as a proxy for the actual depth. However, in the Southern North Sea, exploration wells have tested these structures long ago. Identifying the remaining opportunities requires sophisticated models of the different velocities to convert time data into depths. This produces more accurate depth maps that can pick out more subtle features that were not visible on the original time maps. We are experts in this depth conversion process.
Generate Robust Correlations
Different components of the stratigraphy of this gas province have better reservoir potential than others. Determining how these good reservoirs are manifest in one well relative to another, and how the characteristics vary across the province requires a high level of specialist technical skill. The Painted Wolf team has the specialist experience to generate the robust correlations required.
Detecting Missed Pay Opportunities
It is not always apparent, when the drill bit reaches a reservoir, whether it is gas charged. Many historic wells, plugged and abandoned as dry holes, can be seen with the benefit of modern techniques as having penetrated a gas-charged reservoir. Detecting gas-charged sands is highly sensitive to the input parameters used in the petro-physical evaluation of wireline logs. The Painted Wolf team is highly experienced and successful in this type of evaluation.