Interview with Terence O’Sullivan - Vapor Condensation Technologies

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
What is your name, affiliation, and current role?

Terence P. O’Sullivan, CEO and Research Petrophysicist, Vapor Condensation Technologies LLC.

What is your background?

40+ years worldwide experience in reservoir description of oil, gas and geothermal reservoirs. Originally focused on igneous and metamorphic petrology and geothermal development.

How did you become interested in innovation and new directions in the industry?

I am inspired by the history of science. I learned that new technologies do not come easy. I was lucky to discover transient high GR. I was persistent in seeking an explanation, and I was encouraged by geologists and engineers at ExxonMobil and Shell (through Aera Energy). Throughout my career, I was fortunate to learn from experts and continue to get advice and enjoy discussions at meetings like URTeC.

Please describe a new technology or process that you are involved with.

Transient high gamma ray (THG) occurs when droplets of condensate form through an interval of a reservoir containing vapor is cooled below the dewpoint. Radon adsorbs to the surface of these droplets causing GR to increase dramatically. When a cooled well reheats, radon dissipates and GR returns to normal. Repeated observations of this patented signal can be made through perforated blank pipe in order to observe changes in fracture permeability, for example.

Who will benefit from it?

Oil, gas and geothermal development enterprises that seek to optimize and enhance the performance of new and existing wells by precisely understanding reservoir pressure, fluid characteristics, and fluid transport.

Where will the technology or process be in a year?  three years?  five years?

Within months we can run tests to determine if circulation of cool water through unconventional wells can generate THG. Even sooner, a review of core and log GR and repeat logs may reveal that THG has already been incidentally observed.

Within 3 years, the process of cooling wells and observing GR will be improved. This will result from engineering development that enable cooling wells without circulating water (to avoid invasion). Fiber optic gamma ray developments will enable continuous observation of wellbore temperature and GR while circulating or during warm back.

In 5 years, our visualization of the recovery process in unconventional shales may vastly improve and the productivity and lifetime of existing wells is likely to significantly increase. A repeatable process for profitably and consistently mining heat from enhanced geothermal reservoirs may lead to extensive development of this huge resource.

What makes you optimistic about the future?

Nature is complex and mysterious and offers new opportunities for bright young scientists and engineers with creative minds.

Please recommend a book or two that you found insightful.

Natures Building Blocks
An A-Z Guide to the Elements

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