Shell to Sell Oilfield Technology to Boost Output

SINGAPORE (Dow Jones), Sept. 24, 2009

Shell Global Solutions, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.LN), is pushing to expand its upstream business by selling to oil producers in Asia and the Middle East technology designed to boost output at mature fields, an executive with the company said.

As crude oil becomes increasingly difficult and expensive to access, producers are turning to advanced technologies to increase recovery rates, reduce operating costs and trim downtime at mature fields.

"The emphasis is on trying to get more from existing assets," Brent Fraser, lead account executive for third-party upstream business in Asia-Pacific, told Dow Jones Newswires late Wednesday.

"Mature fields account for some 70% of the world's oil production, and on average, only 35% of the original oil in a reservoir is actually produced using primary and secondary recovery services," Fraser said.

The technology provider aims to double the share of its upstream business globally within the unit in 2010 from an existing 10-12%, he added.

The unit started 10 years ago by selling Shell technologies in refining and petrochemicals, and as most of its existing customers have upstream business, it decided to expand in that sector.

"Increasing energy demand is driven by developing countries, that's why Asia is so important for Shell and other companies," Fraser said.

In Asia, Shell's Fieldware technology, which tracks oilfield operations and provides real-time data, has been used to improve well tests at its Champion oilfield in Brunei and has raised output by 10%, he said.

The oil and gas major is also working with a producer in Qatar to use Fieldware, replacing multiphase flow meters that can cost around half a million dollars each, Michael Dolan, a technology consultant at Shell, said.

The technology can determine optimal levels of gas injection needed to boost recovery rates, thus preventing wastage, he added.  

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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