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Abstract: Optimizing the Interplay Between Industry and Academic Partners: "Hub" Function of a Research Institute and Application to Petroleum Geosciences and Education

Duval, B. C.; C. Rivière; B. Durand; F. Roure; F. Schneider; R. Eschard - IFP

Many companies have become increasingly aware that their competitive advantage comes from a swifter application of innovative technologies, rather than in the ownership of exclusive in-house technologies. The "apply rather than invent" approach has thus emerged, opening the way to the implementation of numerous collaborations between oil industries, service companies, research centers and universities and to the co-development of new technologies. In this respect, partnerships greatly facilitate field testing, the oil companies providing access to their data (mainly wells) and a validation of the result based on their geoscience expertise, special knowledge of local problems, and practical view of the advancements needed to improve the economics of Exploration and Production.

Selected projects applied to domains of present and future active exploration illustrate an original and practical collaborative approach to R&D. The Research Institute federates the efforts of partners from the Industry and Academic Institutions, acting as a "hub" for their "lines" of contribution to, and benefits from the projects. The access to more fundamental work aiming to improve the scientific knowledge about the subjects involved and to explore the opportunities of new disciplines and method is enhanced by interacting with other research centers and universities that bring specific skills and experience needed in the projects.

The SUBTRAP (Sub-Thrust Reservoir Appraisal) Consortium has been initiated in 1996 to promote new techniques and document the evolution of reservoir characteristics in foreland-fold-and-thrust belt areas. Thus, it implies the thermal, diagenetic and deformation study of selected sandstone and carbonate series along well constrained regional transacts, using seismic, well and outcrop data. Thirteen Industry partners are financially supporting the project, whereas four national oil companies have allowed extensive access to their data base. Apart from the IFP Research team, four universities are also involved in the project. To date, the Eastern Venezuela basin (Oligocene sandstone), the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia and adjacent parts of the Llanos and Magdalena Basin (Albian, Late Cretaceous and Eocene sandstone) have been the main targets for the study of quartz cementation in compressional environments.

The results of another project, part of a European program, have allowed validation of a geostatistical software used to simulate the reservoir lithofacies and petrophysical properties of an oil field of North Africa. The study included: structural analysis, facies simulation, upscaling, fluid flow simulation and history matching. Integrated teams from the Research Institute and asset partners were involved.

An ongoing program of basin modeling in a high potential area of the Central Graben (North Sea), where high pressures and temperatures are common conditions, will help validate a 3D compositional approach. The outputs are the filling of recognized structures and undrilled targets. Calculated pressure and temperature excesses match well with actual measurements in the reservoirs.

A collaborative program of continuing education in reservoir characterization and modeling, managed by the Research Institute and a Scientific College of UK, is presented. The Faculty is composed of well known researchers and professionals from these organizations and oil companies. The program includes fieldwork to familiarize participants with a range of reservoir facies, sedimentary environments and structural setups, and their impact on petrophysical properties. It also includes recent innovations in the description and mapping of reservoir structures and heterogeneities, the assessment of their impact on fluid flow and reservoir management under various reservoir configurations, fluid types and distribution patterns, quantification of uncertainties and upscaling to the dynamic flow model. The emphasis is on the interactive discussion of case studies with industry experts. An advisory board, comprised of prominent specialists from academic institutions and industry, monitors the program to encourage innovation and ensure consistency and quality. Upon successful completion of the course, graduates receive a certificate of attendance approved by the two institutions.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90933©1998 ABGP/AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil