Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Notes from Oilfinder

Today I feel I want to share little information that I find interesting in my career as petroleum geoscientist or a petroleum geophysicist as we say it in those early days.

As posted in the last entry, 1st July marked my second 2 year contract terms with PETRONAS Carigali Sendirian Berhad (PCSB), the petroleum exploration arm of PETRONAS. Alhamdulillah.

When I first joined Petronas on 1st October 1979, I was told that our Nation’s Petroleum reserve can last another 15 years with the then production of about 260,000 barrel of oil per day.

When I was supposed to retire on 15th May 2009, I was told that our Nation’s Petroleum reserve can last another 17 years with the then production of more than 500,000 barrel of oil per day (after we have reached the highest oil production of more than 650,000 barrel of oil per day).

Now at the start of my second 2 year contract, I was told that our Nation’s Petroleum reserve can last another 17 years with the then production of about 500,000 barrel of oil per day. Our petroleum exploration effort has seen some relentless effort to increase our petroleum reserve.

Successful in finding oil in the geological basement (Anding Utara well -oil from metamorphosed reservoir rock) in 2004, the nation have yet to see development and production in this unfamiliar reservoir type. With an area exceeding 250 square kilometer and a possible column of some 500m, basement reservoirs hold a large possible potential to be exploited.

Anding Utara-1 sidetrack-1 well

Oil from Anding Utara-1 sidetrack-1 well

Success in finding down-dip oil accumulation in the field declared to be gas field, results in several marginal gas fields being acquired and evaluated in our search to satisfy the nation's thirst for the black gold.

We can not say for sure that the our nation’s petroleum reserve can last another 15 years in year 2024 when PETRONAS will be celebrating its 50 years formation, but looking at the historical data and the determination of our young geotechnical scientists and engineers, there is great hope (my 2 sen opinion) that we will achieve that, InsyaAllah.

With that in mind, it is my pervent hope that parents of bright students do not look at Oil and Gas industry as a sunset industry and stop them from trying to join the industry. Our Nation’s geotechnical scientists and engineers have been pinched by other industry players (mostly in Middle East)that could not find enough personnel to get the industry moving at the level required. Thus we need a good number of qualified geo-personnel to get Malaysian petroleum industry moving at a good pace.

Here is hoping that this small input can be useful to some of my kind readers.

The raw oil shown above is a very different oil from the normal raw oil found in most wells as can be seen below.

Basement Oil from 2 wells AU-1 and AUB-1


Cat-from-Sydney said...

Ayoh Wang,
Mama said I should go out and work and earn my kibbles. Could you find me a position? I'm a four-legged mancat with above average IQ. I can sniff gas and petrol reserves. Saves you tons of money for exploration. har har har *evil laughs*

Coffee Girl said...

So that's what raw oil looks like... Wow, you've been in the industry since 1979? you last almost as long as the oil production ... lol

Thanks for the info. so, what happens when we run out of oil in the reserves?

Wan Sharif said...

You can sniff gas and petrol reserves!
As we only have sizable petroleum reserve offshore we have to find out whether four-legged mancat can still sniff the petroleum reserve in some 60-75 meter water depth in Peninsular or 50-2500m water depth in the East Malaysia.
Now I have to ask my bosses whether there is an ROV (remotely-controlled offshore vehicle?) that can bring mancat to the sea bottom ..
Hopefully they do not start to think I have been drinking petroleum then... ;))

Wan Sharif said...

Coffee girl ,
I have for your benefit made a small update at the end of my previous entry.. you can see other raw oil as well.
When we run out of reserve we will be importing all petroleum.. raw if we still have the capacity to refined them.. processed if we are just the end-user.. Our main export then would be electronics, electrical goods other than oilpalm, tin,rubber and probably manpower.

Lee said...

Hi Wan Sharif, very impressive credentials you have. Outstanding!
I have always admired people in your field....
And glad to read of the still lots of oil reserves still to be tapped.

Canada right now has the second largest oil reserves in our tar sands, and lots of noises from environmentalists that its a dirty oil.
Anyway, bila oil price naik, they make noise too.
Canada actually supplies tu Incik Obama's negri more oil than Saudi Arabia....

And tu bodoh Amercans don't even know about that.
I read somewhere there's still lots more untapped oil still in Canada's vast Northern lands....

Glad you enjoying your work.
Have fun, don't forget wash your hands, ha ha.

Wan Sharif said...

Hi Brother Lee,
Thank you for your kind words. I believe that Petronas is also interested in your tar sands. A lot of noises from the enviromentalist is understandable.. too much water is needed and similarly large amount of pollutant result from the development of tar sands oil..
I believe the rakyat Encik Obama ramai yang tak tahu tentang sumbangan Canada in this matter.
Yes, there are hugh untapped reserve in your country.
Yes, I am also glad to find that I would not mind continuing the work after 30+ years..
Ha, ha, ha we normally wash our hands at least 15 times per day (each hand)for 5 prayers ablution.. probably more after having fun *wink* ;)))

Sir Pök Déng said...

I was exposed with the same issue during my Petronas-sponsored trip to F1 Race at Sepang International Circuit long time ago. Been told that our national fossil fuel resource would have lasted many years earlier. But "now," as the spokesman said, "we're still digging to bring in more petroleum to the country!"

The spokesman added that the increasing national underground petroleum resource must have probably been brought naturally from the Philippines.

yohteh said...

...and the rejeki is always there... as long as the O-two supply is in it's state of availability though within our warmer atmosphere and endlessly we say that the ozone layer keeps on thinning...

Wan Sharif said...

The statement "the increasing national underground petroleum resource must have probably been brought naturally from the Philippines'!! might not be that accurate.
As far as I know there is only one gasfield in Philippines and as such Philippine cannot be the source of any of our country's hydrocarbon..
May be the spokesman, that Sir Pök Déng got the information from, did not do much study or have enough knowledge on the subject and just say thing to impress the crowd ;((.

Wan Sharif said...

Yohteh.. You are right.. ArRahman will always provide the rejeki.
I was talking to an Australian PR friend this morning about Australian Government is being held to ransom by the greenies(the enviromentalist) minority political party and have to introduce carbon tax... whereas carbon produced in the recent volcanic eruption in the Iceland is equalled to few decade of world carbon production ;))
on the same note omputih kata "doh noh wat guane?"

Coffee Girl said...

Thanks WS for the enlightenment. at least now i know what it could be if i should ever find liquid sprouting out of my backyard. :-)

Al-Manar said...

Don't believe all th prediction how long the oil will last. There is always a new field found somewhere. It is like sugar and other commodities; talk of shortages and up goes the price!
We have not dug deep enough bebeath Pulau Duyong!

Wan Sharif said...

Coffee Girl, You are much welcomed as the pleasure was all mine ;).
In East Malaysia we have some chance to fine hydrocarbon behind somebody's backyard.. not in West Malaysia as sediment in Peninsular are rather old rock that has been uplifted and the recent sediments overlying them are too young and too thin to enable their material content to be turned into petroleum fluid.
If I am not mistaken there is still some 100 million barrel of oil in-place ( can recover around 20-30% of it) expected to lie underneath Miri town. To develop the oil we need to put some seismic instruments in somebody's backyard.. probably drill the well very near to someone house.. too much compensation to be paid to Rakyat to make the attempt worthwhile, not to mention the hassle and time involved ;P

Wan Sharif said...

Those predictions seems to be coming from Nujum Pak Belalang...Pak Nujum serkap jarang ;). There are many small fields and marginal fields (considered uneconomic when the petroleum price is low yet to be developed) in Malaysia. This what yours truly is doing at the moment, trying to make 6 to 8 fields economical to be developed by proving more reserve that can be recovered from them.
As for drilling beneath Pulau Duyong, I have already answered that in my second response to Coffee Girl above.. not much chance of finding substantial amount of black gold to be developed.. minyak hitam dari orang kelaut mungkin ;D.
May Allah swt bless you and kakak in your mujahadah to improve the education level of students under your charge ;).

Pak Zawi said...

How I wish Malaysia had invested the petroleum dollars in something useful that will benefit the nation for years to come. As it is, we will become a poor nation the minute our oil reserve runs dry.

Wan Sharif said...

Dearest Pak Zawi,
I believe, within the limit of its "bidang kuasa", PETRONAS has invested the petroleum dollars wisely and in things that are useful. There might be amount that are not so usefully spent but we all know that Petronas report to the one person or one body.. Prime Minister or his Department.. I believe Ku Li has done a great job restricting politician from Petronas.. ;))

Martin Lee said...

Encik Sharif,

It is extremely important for Malaysians as a whole to have those black gold. The country especially the political scenario would turn topsy turvy without oil as the mainstay of our economic resources. It is heartening to note and also relieved to know that we still have some years to go and allow us to have more chances for Malaysia to transform ourselves to be more globally competitive so as not to be too dependent on oil alone.

Something always on my mind that puzzles me, whether if we ever sink our pumping pipes and equipment next to the border of the Brunei state, will the principle of Physics still applies here where liquid will find its own level, that the resource will come naturally underground as we would like to envisage?

Wan Sharif said...

Dear Martin Lee,
Malaysian are lucky as far as oil and gas are concerned. First we have some mechanism in place (national depletion policy) where big accumulation of oil will be exploited at a later stage. Then we have Government gas subsidy program to electrical power supplier that has made gas development in Peninsular Malaysia an uneconomic venture.
Together with small and marginal oil fields that has yet to be developed due to low oil price (less than 80 USD per barrel), Malaysia has ample reserve that can only be developed at high oil price.
As to the principle of physics, we have one neighbor who has been pumping our resources and does not seem to keen to ever pay back.. there is another one who has been keen to share equitably..
As you might have been religiously aware.. those who take away their neighbors properties are not going to be blessed by Al-Mighty.. hence you have one oil producing neighbor that prosper and the other one not so blessed ;)