At the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), which was held May 4-7 in Houston, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) presented many of their current projects.
It was great to see how NETL is collaborating with industry on many initiatives aimed at improving safety, reliability and environmental responsibility.
The following are some of the highlights.
Assessment Model for Gulf of Mexico
Kelly Rose, Geology & Geospatial Team Lead, Office of Research & Development at NETL presented “NETL’s Gulf of Mexico Integrated Assessment Model, Spatial Data Approaches to Improve Production and Reduce Risks of Impacts.”
NETL has created several tools “to produce science-based evaluations of engineered and natural systems, to ensure sustainable, environmentally responsible access to domestic resources.”
For example, subsurface and other data are essentially mapped in the Gulf of Mexico which can help industry to reduce risks and increase productivity. Additional benefits include informing companies of whether or not they need to invest in expensive, exotic materials. If it is determined that certain wells are not under harsh conditions, cost savings can be made.
NETL is continuing to gain greater data throughout the Gulf of Mexico to be able to serve the needs of the offshore industry. Also, many of the approaches being developed “are flexible and adaptable for a wider range of uses and needs.”
Variable Grid Method
NETL’s Variable Grid Method (VGM) was also showcased as it is a cutting-edge approach to analyze and display data uncertainty on a map. While colors display variations in an examined variable, squares also cover the map like a grid and indicate the certainty of the data by their size. Conveying certainty information can dramatically improve the usefulness of mapped data, allowing oil companies to make more informed decisions.
EDX, Tool for Science-Based Decision Making
With Energy Data eXchange (EDX), NETL has created a tool for data storage and sharing to promote energy solutions among various organizations and companies. The tool helps with data preservation, a challenge that has long plagued organizations. Data can be public or private.
“Public sharing of key R&D results” enables “knowledge transfer, data reuse and data discovery.”
“Secure sharing for R&D development” supports “research development, collaboration and online analytics.”
Through its research, NETL is also taking steps to improve wellbore integrity. Aditya Tiwari, Petroleum Engineer, Office of Research & Development at NETL explained how they are advancing their understanding of stresses experienced in wells to ensure casing and cement function properly.
Dr. Barbara Kutchko, Physical Scientist, Environmental Science Division, NETL presented findings from their studies of foamed cements which have many advantages for reducing risk.
These are just a small sampling of the initiatives NETL is undertaking to improve operations in the oil and gas industry.
For more information, check out the NETL website.