Imperial College London

Dr Craig Smalley

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Visiting Professor







Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

pages = {540--549},
title = {Reservoir technical limits: A framework for maximizing recovery from oil fields},
year = {2007}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Maximizing recovery is an important part of responsible asset management and of optimizing value from an incumbent resource position. BP's Reservoir Technical Limits (RTL™) process has proved highly effective at estimating oilfield maximum recovery potential and identifying/prioritizing specific activities to help deliver it. This paper describes the process and examples of how it has worked and can be applied. RTL incorporates a conceptual framework with supporting software, designed to stimulate and structure a conversation with the asset team in a workshop environment. Key ingredients are: in-depth knowledge/experience of the cross-disciplinary asset team; trained facilitation; cross-fertilization from external technical experts; a toolkit to encourage innovation in a structured and reproducible manner. The RTL framework represents recovery factor as the product of four efficiency factors: Pore-Scale Displacement (microscopic efficiency of the recovery process); Drainage (connectedness to a producer); Sweep (movement of oil to producers within the drained volume); Cut-offs (losses related to end of field life/access). Increasing recovery involves trying to increase all of these efficiency factors. RTL builds upon the opportunity set already contained in the Depletion Plan. New opportunities are identified systematically by comparing current/expected efficiency values with data from high-performing analogue fields, seeding ideas with checklists of previously successful pre-screened activities. The identified opportunities are prioritized based on size, cost, risk, timing and technology stretch, and then validated by recovery factor benchmarking: (a) internally, comparing bottom-up (summing opportunity volumes) and top-down (from efficiencies) values; and (b) externally, by comparison with analogue fields.The result is a prioritized list of validated opportunities and an understanding of how each activity affects the reservoir to increase recovery. The activi
EP - 549
PY - 2007///
SP - 540
TI - Reservoir technical limits: A framework for maximizing recovery from oil fields
ER -