ADNOC’s growth will focus on waterflood

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is prioritizing waterflood management as it pushes ahead with its $132 billion plan for significant expansion of its oil and gas production. The funds will be used to position the NOC to produce the recently discovered 15 trillion ft3 of gas and 1 billion barrels of oil, which was announced by the emirate’s Supreme Petroleum Council on November 4th. During his keynote presentation at the Produced Water Middle East conference, Qasem Al Kayoumi, Technical Center Manager at ADNOC, said sea water for onshore flooding and better reservoir management are critical strategies for the future. The company currently produces 3.5 million barrels of oil per day. Their 5-year plan would see this increased to 4 million bpd by 2020 and sets sights on 5 million bpd by 2030, as well as making ADNOC a net gas exporter.
Al Kayoumi did not mention the 5-year plan but did talk at length about the producer’s water plan in those terms. Currently, ADNOC produces and reinjects 600 mbwpd and injects another 4300 mbwpd for maintaining well pressure and reservoir sweeping. Between increased production, growing water cuts, and reliance on artificial lift, the national oil company expects a 4-fold increase in water volumes required for operations by 2030. While ADNOC does not have the complicated water issues that some neighboring NOCs must deal with, they are planning ahead to prevent difficulty in coming years.
Offshore operations use sea water for flood without issue, but onshore water for injection is currently drawn from regional aquifers. High TSS and TDS have made this unsustainable, so ADNOC will implement sea water injection for its onshore fields. Sea water has the benefit of being readily available, lower salinity than their aquifers, and less likely to foul equipment. Operations will move increasingly toward pad-based drilling, so this should consolidate the conveyance and treatment requirements for sea water flooding. Al Kayoumi did not provide a timeline for this transition.
While the company already uses smart solutions to lower OPEX and optimize well performance, they will expand both data acquisition and application. ADNOC uses machine learning and data analytics to predict and prevent failure of ESPs, for example. Going forward, 4D seismic data will monitor waterflooding. The operator will use data gathered to optimize well placement, as well as to shut off intervals in which water production will be too high. They will be conducting an AI project to prove the value of data-driven reservoir modeling.
In closing, Al Kayoumi laid out additional items for ADNOC’s plan for water flooding excellence:
  • Expand the function of their water injection systems to include IOR/EOR projects
  • Alter the decision-making process for downhole completions to prioritize value over cost
  • Create an ADNOC group MSA for waterflood remediation solutions
  • Identify technology gaps for ADNOC R & D
ADNOC has been smart with its capital purchases thus far and seems to prefer high CAPEX to high OPEX. The budget for this 5-year plan is 30% higher than last year’s plan, so they will likely continue to prioritize CAPEX over variable OPEX costs. It seems safe to assume that between the changeover to sea water flooding, IOR/EOR projects, smart system integration, and higher water volumes, ADNOC’s water team will be planning some high dollar purchases very soon.