Brownfield: Is it Farewell for Now?

The pressing issue of aging fields in Egypt is finally discussed and debated.

On September 9-10, Egypt Oil & Gas held its first independent event entitled “The Brownfield Development and Production Optimization Conference and Exhibition.” The event was in essence a comprehensive sequel to a workshop held the prior year. The workshop’s success encouraged the continuation of, what was seen through the outcome of the workshop as, an increasing significant topic in the oil and gas industry in not just Egypt but world over.

The Commencement Ceremony
The conference was held under the auspices of the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum, H.E. Eng. Sameh Fahmy and was sponsored by PICO Energy Petroleum Services, Halliburton, Weatherford, Baker Hughes, Centurion, and Xerox. The commencement ceremony was conducted by Eng. Hassan Akl, Chairman of the Ganoub El-Wady Holding Company, per the Minister’s request. Mohamed Fouad, President of Egypt Oil & Gas, the organizer of the event, launched the opening ceremony. Fouad stated that “in our globalized world; we don’t lack innovation, we don’t lack creation, but at times we do lack communication. We here bring you this communication. Our industry has problems, but it also has solutions.  We are merely attempting to form a junction between the two.” Following Fouad’s speech, Akl began the conference by reiterating the Minister’s speech (the Minister could not attend due to pressing engagements).

Akl began by briefly defining brownfields as aging oil and gas fields that have matured 30 years or more. He then ensued to the importance of these resources, stating that 2/3 of the world’s oil production is currently from these fields and that every field that begins production is on its way to becoming brownfields. Thus the significance of these fields is of an abstract value and it is the duty of all in the industry to pay close attention to the management of these fields. After his reading of the Minister’s speech, Akl proceeded to the opening of the exhibition ground of the event.

The Brownfield Exhibition
The brownfield exhibition had a varying cornucopia of both public and private companies ranging from petrochemicals to services to training. Among the companies participating were The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), PICO Energy, Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR), Weatherford, Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries (Enppi), BLI Consulting and Training, Petroleum Marine Services (PMS), Petrosport, CO-OP, Misr Petroleum Company, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM), Ganoub El-Wady Petroleum Holding Company, and the Petroleum Projects and Technical Consultations Company (PETROJET).
EGAS was established in 2001 by the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum in order to have an institution that focuses solely on Egypt’s natural gas resources. Some of the company’s activities include the expansion of the natural gas network in the domestic market, the management of gas transmission and distribution systems, the undertaking of techno-economic studies, and the magnetization of investment in natural gas projects in the country.
PICO Energy is a private institution that provides services to the oil and gas sector in Egypt. Among the services provided by this company are energy research and analysis, integrated services, API approved workshops, logistics services, and safe and environmentally friendly energy solutions to the Egyptian oil and gas industry.
MIDOR is one of the Middle East’s largest and most sophisticated refineries. It is located in the Ameriya Free Zone in Alexandria, Egypt and utilizes state of the art production units. The company processes a wide range of crude oils, which can be used to produce high quality petroleum products. The company serves both the domestic and international market.
Weatherford International Oil Field Services is one of the largest diversified oilfield services companies in the global market. The company has over 33,000 employees serving in over 100 countries. They have 87 manufacturing facilities supporting 730 service bases.  The company provides services and products for drilling, completion, production, and intervention applications.
Ennpi was established in 1978 as a major engineering and EPC contactor. The principal shareholder of the company is EGPC. The company provides full integrated engineering, procurement, project management and construction supervision for oil and gas, chemical, petrochemical and power industries not only in Egypt but also the Middle East, North Africa, and South America.
BLI Consulting and Training provides technical and management training to the petroleum sector in Egypt. Some of the technical courses provides include health, safety and the environment, geophysics, petroleum refining and gas processing, drilling technology, reservoir engineering, production operations, oil and gas management, strategic growth, decision-making, and self-management.
PMS was established in 2001 as an Egyptian free zone company. The objective of the company is to provide safe, competent, and quality services to the local and regional offshore oil and gas industry. The main activities of the company include construction, maintenance, and services.
Petrosport, which is owned by the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum, is Egypt, Africa and the Middle East’s first company specializing in the field of sports investment. Among the activities of the company are the establishment of sports infrastructure in Egypt by providing up-to-date technologies in the fields of playgrounds and sports essentials in all sport games and the building of new lines of sports experts projecting from strong scientific sports base.
CO-OP and Misr Petroleum Company are both downstream companies in the Egyptian oil and gas industry. CO-OP’s activities include marketing petroleum products, lubrication oils, and chemical and bunkering. Misr Petroleum’s activities also include the marketing of petroleum products with sales value of approximately EGP 125 Billion annually and an Egyptian market share of 40%.
EGPC is most commonly known as the Egyptian regulatory body delegated with the task of carrying out joint exploration and production schemes with multinational entities. Some of their other activities besides exploration and production include refining and marketing of petroleum products.
ECHEM was established in 2002 with a mission to manage and develop the petrochemicals industry in Egypt through the magnetization of investment and the creation of alliances with local producers, off-tankers and international shareholders. The company follows a Master Plan, which bestows a total investment of around USD 10 billion to cover 14 petrochemical complexes, including 24 projects and 50 production units during the coming 20 years.
Ganoub El Wady is one of the Ministry’s main entities, which was established according to Prime Minister Decree no. 1755/2002. The company’s main objectives include marketing new blocks for oil and gas exploration through international bid rounds, increasing Egypt’s production, proven, and possible reserves for crude oil and natural gas, and establishing joint-venture companies to manage operations on behalf of the company and its partners.
PETROJET is a multidisciplinary integrated construction contractor offering services related to the oil, gas, petrochemical and industrial sectors in Egypt and the Middle East. The company’s activities include mechanical works, pipelines, static equipment, pipe coating, and offshore structures fabrication, assembly and load out.

The Brownfield Files: Day One
The conference portion of the event consisted of five discussion sessions divided on two days. The first day of the conference began with the above-mentioned commencement speeches by Hassan Akl and Mohamed Fouad, President of Egypt Oil & Gas. The first session of the conference was entitled “Introduction to Brownfields: From Logistics to Economics.”
The session discussed brownfields in Egypt in general terms. The first speaker, Elsayed Orabi, the Reservoir Studies General Manager at EGPC, discussed statistics and maturity of brownfields in Egypt. His discussion revolved around the locations and production rates of many of the brownfields found in Egypt.
Following Orabi was Nabil Salah, a Reservoir Engineer in a Field Study group studying most of the mature reservoirs in the Gulf of Suez. Salah presented a brief success story about a small oil field in the Gulf of Suez named GS327. The success of the field was due to organic reserves growth and operational efficiency during drilling. Following Salah was a presentation of Dr. Mostapha Oraby’s paper entitled “Confirming Reserves with Certainty.” Oraby is the Middle East Petrophysics Manager for Halliburton Sperry Drilling Services. The paper essentially revolved around how the petrophysical part of a field study should be incorporated with geological and geophysical aspects in order to produce more probabilistic estimation of Initial Oil In Place.
The session ended with two presentations expressing the economic and management aspects of brownfields. The first of these presentations discussed the economics of brownfields and was delivered by Sherif Wadood, the Managing Director of PICO Energy Petroleum Services. Wadood spoke of the economic benefits of brownfields. No longer should brownfields be seen as yielding negative returns on investment, but rather, in light of raising hydrocarbon prices, are quite economic and present an excellent opportunity for investment. The final presentation of the session was given by Ahmed Hassan, Chief Reservoir Engineer at Pico International Petroleum. Hassan discussed brownfield management and how proper management can yield new opportunities through data in-depth analysis and re-engineering.
The second session of the first day was entitled “Integrated Reservoir Engineering” and consisted of three presentations. The first presentation was delivered by Emad Refaat, reservoir engineer in the General Petroleum Company (GPC), and was entitled “Maximizing Productivity in a Layered Reservoir Using a New Interpretation for Old Geological and RFT (RDT) Data.” This was essentially a case history of the Baker-Amer oil field which is located on the western side of the Gulf of Suez.
The second presentation was entitled “High Resistivity, High Water Saturation: Addressing the Problem to Avoid Water Production.” The presentation was given by Ahmed Salah, the Sedimentology Division Manager in the Exploration Department at Belayim Petroleum Company (PETROBEL). The final presentation was entitled “Utilizing 3D Modeling to Improve Efficiency of Displacement by Water Flooding in Laminated Reservoirs—Case Study (Aman and Mel/North East Fields).” The presentation was delivered by Mohamed Shehata, the Reservoir General Manager of Agiba Petroleum Company, and discussed the company’s strategy in managing water injection in laminated reservoirs.

The Brownfield Files: Day Two
The second day of the conference consisted of three presentation sessions. The first session was entitled “Integrated Reservoir Engineering: Case Studies.” The session, as is seen with the title, essentially covered brownfield case studies and the varying methods utilized in increasing production in these fields. The session featured case studies from some of Egypt’s top operating and service companies including EGPC, Halliburton, Agiba Petroleum Company, Belayim Petroleum Company (PETROBEL), Badr El Din Petroleum Company (Bapetco), with Bapetco’s Senior Reservoir Geologist, Maamoun Wahdan, presenting their case.
The case studies presented new methods of optimizing production such as thermal recovery and team integration and also presented some problematic sites and their solutions such as maximizing recovery from tight gas.
The second session of the day was entitled “Drilling Brownfields” and was mostly presented by service companies. Some of the issues discussed included cementing challenges, addressed by Osama Sanad, Account Manager at Halliburton Overseas Company; under-balanced drilling, presented by Hani Qutob, the Principal Advisor-Reservoir Engineering at Weatherford International; and cost-effective drilling, delivered by Paul Hill, Egypt’s Technology Lead for Sperry Drilling Services.
The final session of the day was entitled “Brownfields Completion and Artificial Lift.” The session consisted of four presentations. The first presentation was titled “Artificial Lift Case History—Re-Screening Study” and was a joint effort presentation by Sayed Rezk, Deputy Operations Manager for North Bahariya Petroleum Co. (NORPETCO), and Ahmed Omar, Artificial Life Application Engineer for Weatherford. The second presentation discussed artificial lift systems in general and was delivered by Ahmed Shoukry, MENA Region Business Development Manager for Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems Product Lines. The third presentation was titled “Field Experience to Optimize Gas Lift Well Operations” and was given by Dr. Atef Abd El Hady, Production General Manager at EGAS. The fourth and final presentation was delivered by Ayman Yousri, Weatherford’s Completion and Production Systems, Sales and Operations Manager for Egypt, Syria and Sudan. The presentation was entitled “Case Hole Completion.”

Brownfield Conclusions
Based on the presentation given at the conference, a few deductions were reached. The first of such deductions is the fact that brownfields are of extreme importance to the future rising energy demands of the world. Before the introduction of recent technologies, brownfields were seen as a cost burden, but now available technology renders brownfields economical and affords operators a positive return on their investment.
Another point reached in this conference is that production optimization is not solely a science, but rather a culture. It is a certain mindset needed to properly manage a brownfield in order to achieve the maximum return on investment. This mindset is necessary for all involved in the industry and not any specific demographic. Both public and private entities have to share in the effort. In terms of legality, terms and conditions of the applied production sharing agreement should be revised to achieve a win-win situation for shareholders.
As has been seen with the conference, the technology is available; there is a distinct spirit of willingness in the industry, but the government has to play its role and lead this spirit to greater and greener pastures. The conference revealed several prospects, but what remains is the next step. Let’s hope it’s taken sooner rather than later.
*Note: For more on the International Brownfield Development and Production Optimization Conference, including audio and visual excerpts of the conference, please visit the Brownfield Panorama at

By Diana Elassy


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