Geo energy serves people and the planet, but can also endanger them. At TNO we are striving to ensure that it is exploited both safely and reliably, with the least possible environmental impact and a minimum of risk. Not just in traditional settings, but also by pioneering new and often unconventional approaches. We focus on:
In an era of ageing gas and oil fields, flow behaviour in wells and pipelines is a growing issue in many parts of the world. Falling pressures, water contamination and the deposition of salts, asphaltenes and waxes all threaten the viability of otherwise productive deposits at the point of extraction.
Fortunately for the operators affected, TNO is at the forefront of R&D to tackle these challenges. “Our solutions cover the entire palette from tracking, modelling and experimentation to real-time optimisation and well-life extension,” says Business Developer Maarten Bijl.
“In principle, we can do it all. Complete with a good understanding of the underlying phenomena. You don’t see that from many other organisations, but it is very important when things start becoming more complex in the well-bore region. We know our technologies have value to add, so we would love to hear from operators with specific well and flowline problems.”
If you can’t measure it, you can’t control and improve it.” Monitoring is a vital aspect in the control loop of geo energy production and subsurface gas storage processes. At TNO we are constantly enhancing data-gathering methods in order to develop new concepts and algorithms to improve current better models, so that operators can more easily understand what is happening underground and more reliably predict what is likely to happen in the future.
“What makes us unique is the ability to close the loop,” says Business Developer Gert Jan Heerens. “That is, to integrate all the separate expertise’s and skills involved in the monitoring chain. Not only have we mastered all the individual contributing disciplines at a high level, we also bring them together to arrive at innovative yet practical applications.”
Naturally, our industry partners are essential links in that chain, too. After all, it is their production and reservoir needs we are endeavouring to meet. “So let’s work together to create new monitoring and modelling methods,” Heerens urges, “so that we can bring greater sustainability to geo energy in the future.”
“Fundamentally, well integrity is a very simple thing,” says Business Developer Gert Jan Heerens. “It’s about keeping wells intact and preventing leakage as they transport oil or gas from A to B.” But behind that apparently straightforward task lies a complex combination of activities and technologies.” To ensure integrity of wellbores it is necessary to understand well material behaviour, maintaining and monitoring the well, complemented by a properly designed risk management.
“There are two main trends we are addressing together with our industrial partners”, Heerens explains. “The first is maintenance during production, to minimise downtime and keep facilities generating revenue. The second is sustainable and safe long-term performance of wells in the context of well life-extension, potential options for re-use (e.g. for gas storage or geothermal energy production) and costs-effective and reliable well abonnement.”
TNO provides and develops solutions for well integrity analysis including, fibre-optics monitoring, numerical prediction of well barrier degradation processes and well risk evaluations, using qualitative and quantitative methodologies, such as Bayesian Belief Networks.
Over a productive lifetime of several decades, the characteristics of an oil or gas reservoir evolve quite dramatically. This is a process shrouded in uncertainties, but TNO is uniquely positioned to dispel them.
According to Business Developer Maarten Bijl, the key lies in deriving accurate predictive models from historical production data and other relevant information. “But what’s really important is knowing what is relevant: not just the right pressure and flow data, but also seismic records and all kinds of other information. A thorough understanding of each of these factors reduces margins of error. And that’s what we’re very good at. It’s what makes our models the best in the industry.”
For us, optimisation and management are long-term issues. “A field’s typical productive life is thirty years,” says Bijl, “so we devise production strategies for thirty years.” Meaning that our expertise supports throughout the cycle, providing the best solutions in every phase of production.