WOC 1: Exploration & Production of Natural Gas

The main aim of the WOC1 study in the 2006-2009 triennium is to deliver a realistic estimate of reserves on a regional basis, economic, technologic and political problems of their development. Survey on uneconomic now gas resources (methane hydrates, coalbed gas, aquifer gas) should give a new impulse to development of the gas industry in the nearest future. Difficult gas reservoirs (tight, deep (more than 4500 m), deep water (more than 2000 m water depth), HP/HT, sour gas, shallow (less than 500 m) reservoirs) exploration and production will also take more and more significance for the world resource base development. Some environmental issues related to natural gas production (sustainable development in Arctic conditions, CO2 sequestration) also are on agenda now for upstream gas business and will be involved to the scope of WOC1 study.


WOC 1: Exploration & Production of Natural Gas

SG 1.1.

Remaining conventional world gas resources and technological challenges for their development.

Natural gas industry is developing intensively all over the world due to environmental and commercial drivers, as well as the total increase in energy demand. This trend is expected for the next few decades. But reserves and resources of natural gas are spread irregularly over the planet regions. Security of natural gas supply from available resources to the major markets is a major issue for discussions. Exploration and production of additional reserves of natural gas from known gas-bearing plays and formations as well as intensive search for new gas-bearing deposits around the main world consumption regions with considerably exhausted own resources (North America, Europe, Far East Asia) are the key factors of the world gas supply security.

Resources of the Arctic region and deep-water gas deposits are of a huge potential for world reserves growth. Development of these resources will be possible by upgrading of existing technologies and development of new methods of exploration , production and transportation of gas. The main reasons for this need are remote geographical locations, data acquisition complexity, drilling and production beneath ice, sensitive environment, deep and ultra-deep drilling issues.

For remote natural and associated gas reserves production the issue of the day is the development of new alternative options of gas processing and transportation at field localities. The technologies of LNG, gas-to-hydrates, gas-to-wire, gas-to-liquids, compressed gas are perspective for remote, low-pressure, offshore fields and deep-water deposits.

Sequestration of CO2 emissions by injecting to productive reservoir of produced and separated CO2 or CO2 collected after fossil fuel use is one of important issues for natural gas industry from environmental point of view. Enhanced production when CO2 injection is promising way to decrease production costs and save environmental situation.

SG 1.2.

Difficult reservoirs and unconventional natural gas resources.

Uneconomic now gas resources will take more and more significance for the world resource base development. Of main interest among the difficult gas reservoirs are: deep deposits (development of deep (more than 4500 m) deposits of intermediate complexes and in basin center), tight reservoirs), shallow gas deposits (<500 m).

Environmental issues of technologies of sour gas reservoir drilling , development ,and production, as well as drilling and production of HT/HP reservoirs are growing in importance

Among unconventional gas sources, gas hydrates appear to have the most potential for large resource growth . Issues like detailed delineation and estimation of the potential resources, hydrate gas production, treatment and transportation are on the agenda. Although already a small but growing resource, coalbed methane projects have issues with exact recognition of “sweet spots”, costs of industrial exploration and production) and waste disposal . Finally, aquifer gases (prospects and ways of their industrial development) also can be of huge significance for resource base development.