BP’s Chief Operating Officer for Developments and Technology James Dupree recently defined BP’s current upstream focus. The new focus was no doubt influenced by the commodities price downturn.

Dupree said BP’s upstream priority is on what BP calls “advantaged oil.”

“From an investment perspective, an advantaged oil project means a short cycle time for development (from finding the resource to producing first oil) and a low development cost,” Dupree said in a recent interview published in BP’s in-house magazine.

“Scale is important as well; we are usually talking about large-scale developments, and often in areas where we – or our partners – have existing infrastructure. Typically, we look for light oil (with a low density, this flows easier than heavier crudes) with a high deliverability. In other words, wells that produce at a high rate,” Dupree said.

The majority of BP’s portfolio today is advantaged oil, according to Dupre. “We’re pursuing resources in regions where we have existing positions, for example by applying the latest seismic technology around our Thunder Horse field in the Gulf of Mexico and the Clair field in the UK North Sea.”

Dupre said BP is applying enhanced oil recovery technologies to extract more from Prudhoe in Alaska. “The results have been fantastic; they have reduced decline, holding production almost flat – and the overall breakeven for the business is down by 40%.”

What are some of the technologies that are allowing BP to produce oil more efficiently?

BP’s supercomputer in Houston, vintage 21st century, found 200 MMBO and saved 1,000 years in processing time

“We are still making advances: not only improving data acquisition (by gaining more, better quality data) but in our computer processing abilities and our proprietary algorithms that allow us to interpret far more data in less time.

“For example, in 2017 an algorithm created by one of our team helped us to see through layers of salt to uncover a new ‘field’ within our existing Atlantis field in the Gulf of Mexico that holds 200 million barrels of oil. It took just two weeks to process the algorithm in our supercomputer in Houston – whereas with 20th century technology, we estimate it would have taken well over 1,000 years.”

Dupree said BP is applying new well-bore strengthening technology that allows its teams to reduce the time it takes to drill a well.

In reservoir management Dupree said, BP is deploying new digital tools to transform operations across the complex network of 14 production platforms in Trinidad. “That new system allows us to simulate what will happen across the network during routine activities – such as wells starting up, valve testing and pipeline inspections – so we can optimize production.”

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