A comprehensive look at the use of cutting-edge technology in Egypt’s Western Desert – including the application of new seismic, drilling and stimulation operations – helped make AAPG’s first international Geoscience Technical Workshop a big success.
The GTW, held in late April near Cairo, Egypt, was a specialized workshop on a petroleum province that has been the site of extensive oil and gas exploration for more than 50 years – but one that has experienced revitalization due to technological advances and the resulting improvements in discovery rates and increased production.
The workshop was dedicated to examining the Mesozoic geology and petroleum systems, geophysics and drilling of the Western Desert with the goal to understand what makes the system work and how to best explore and develop.
Held at the Sofitel Towers and Casino in Maadi, a suburb just south of Cairo, the workshop agenda comprised four sessions that focused on particular technical challenges as recognized by the technical program committee that was co-chaired by William Bosworth, Apache Egypt Companies, and Ahmed El-Barkooky, Shell Egypt and adjunct professor at Cairo University.
These sessions delivered up-to-date technical content to AAPG members and the industry in a highly interactive environment. In order to provide an open environment for workshop speakers and participants no formal record of the GTW was taken nor will be published.
A generalized summary of the event is provided below.
The drilling environment remains technically challenging, and some formations and basins remain particularly difficult in which to drill wells that are amenable to high-quality logging and conventional straight-forward completions.
Mohamed Abdel Momein, of Bapetco, shared their successes in the use of oil based muds to maintain borehole continuity, and discussed the benefits and advantages to consider using performance turbine motors and high technology impregnated diamond bits to increase ROP.
Mahmoud Emam with Schlumberger introduced the group to the benefits of utilizing high technology image logs to better understand fracturing orientations along with other valuable rock information. There is also a growing awareness of the importance of water-flooding and well-stimulations to increase productivity and ultimate recovery.
Aristides Orlandi Neto of Schlumberger shared the value of re-entering old wells in mature fields using horizontal drilling technology available in the market.
The session was ended with Mark Van Domelen with Halliburton sharing the technology involved with hydraulically fracturing wells in the Western Desert along with the successes of operators in the Western Desert.
A late afternoon discussion on the workshop’s final day led to a lively and valuable discussion on data access in Egypt, comparison with other countries and how a different model might inevitably lead in the coming decades to new discoveries in this complex and increasingly important hydrocarbon setting.
Generous sponsorship support of the first AAPG GTW was provided by Apache Egypt Companies and El Paso Corporation. Thanks also go to the Technical Committee co-chairs and their companies who volunteered time to make this workshop a success.
David Blanchard is with El Paso Egypt, and Mostafa El Bahr is with the Egyptian General Petroleum Company.