Welcome to an interview with Iraj Ershaghi, who discusses the application of new technologies to mature fields, and the specific ways in which geologists and engineers can achieve goals of improved recoveries. Dr. Ershaghi, recipient of numerous recognitions and a former SPE Distinguished Lecturer, is offering a course in Houston October 17-18.
1. What is your involvement in the oil industry? How did you get started? What do you do now?
I have been a research scientist and an academician since 1972. My consulting work with the industry dates back to 1975. My first job was with AGIP in 1965 in the Bahregaansar Platform -Persian Gulf and later worked for Signal Oil and Gas and the Reservoir Group of California State Lands Commission during 1967-1972.
2. You’re very respected for your work in reservoir engineering and reserves. What should geologists know about reservoir engineering?
Reservoir Engineers need to know reservoir geology and geologists working on oil and gas reservoirs need to have a basic understanding of how reservoir engineers design recovery processes and plan for production optimization. During my academic work I have tried to do my share to help in training hybrid geologists and hybrid reservoir engineers. I designed a new curriculum(Geoscience Technologies) in our MS PRE degree program at USC. It is becoming very popular.
3. How can decline curves tell geologists something about the reservoir they’re drilling into and trying to produce?
Decline curves are often misleading and non-diagnostic. They offer nothing but regression analysis of time series. I always emphasize and teach diagnostic plots that helps geologists extract useful geological data from production data to update geological models.
4. What makes you excited about the industry right now?
There is a global realization that our current energy needs will to a significant level still have to be provided by hydrocarbon resources and at least for the next 100 years. It will take intelligent solutions to extract resources from challenging reservoirs. This means a whole bunch of super sharp people are and need to be joining the industry.
5. What area do you think most geologists tend to overlook in their training and professional development?
There is a need to focus on incorporating modern basin modeling tools, geo-modeling approaches, stochastic estimation and integration of petrophysical and seismic data in the education of geologists. These are all in the categories of computational geology and the academic training of new geologists must prepare them with such quantitative skills.
6. Where do you see technology having another breakthrough in the next 5 or 6 years?
The major technological breakthroughs will be related to in-situ measurements of rock permeability, downhole three phase flow and cross hole mapping and analysis of fluid interfaces and transmissivities for real time updating of geologic models.
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