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Shell’s approach to technology development given

Gene Kliewer,
Technology Editor, Subsea & Seismic

HOUSTON -– Dr. Matthias Bichsel, executive VP, Shell International Exploration and Production B.V., opened the Shell booth at the Offshore Technology Conference today with a discussion titled “EP Technology – Delivery Through Technology.”

He opened this “glimpse at what we are doing” at Shell saying a key technology role was to help meet the rising cost of operations. The scene was set with three “hard truths” about the industry today:
Oil demand will continue to rise to 2050 when the total will be twice that of the demand in 2008.

The “easy oil” era is over. Low cost, ease of extraction, and ease of access are in the past.

Meeting demand will require all the energy forms available, including coal, so CO2 issues will continue to arise.

Shell has budgeted $1.2 billion for research and development in three areas, Bichsel said. First is operations today which relates to production performance; the second is to deliver growth, which means to solve problems; and the third is to shape the future with long-term attention on technologies related to EOR, heavy oil, and similar challenges.

To achieve its targets, Shell is addressing the challenges on three fronts. First is with technology itself and spending to develop technologies that will have an impact. Second is scale whereby Shell leverages it global enterprise. The third approach is integration. Bichsel’s example of integration is the way in which the difference between upstream and downstream are blurred in a gas-to-liquids project.

The technical focus to address these challenges are divided into exploration, development, and maximizing volumes. “There is lots of oil yet to find,” said Bichsel, “and Shell has a long history in seismic imaging leadership.” The current projects illustrating Shell’s development approach as BC-10, Perdido, and Malaysia’s Gumusut in which the application of technologies in common is being practiced. For maximizing and extending technology, Bichsel cited enhanced oil recovery and low-cost EOR opportunities along with the success of Shell’s Smart Fields technology which has shown a 5-10% increase in overall production where it has been applied.


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