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by admin last modified 2007-12-05 17:56

TNO, Shell and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) together invest in joint research in upstream oil and gas production technology.

The Integrated System Approach Petroleum Production (ISAPP) programme aims to increase hydrocarbon recovery through the application of innovative reservoir development and management technologies. TNO, TU Delft and Shell envisage that future hydrocarbon production systems will be more intelligent, enabling:Picture2.png

  • faster and higher recoveries from oil and gas fields to be realised
  • cost reductions through automated and unmanned operations
  • greater flexibility to manage unexpected events that jeopardise production
  • greenhouse gas emission to be reduced through downhole processing and storage

For five years starting from 2004 over 40 PhD students, postdocs and TU Delft staff will cooperate with TNO and Shell staff to create an integrated network of skilled specialists in disciplines like geophysics, reservoir characterisation and engineering, production engineering and separation and conversion technology. Their focus will be on devising innovative technologies for the oil and gas industry. In the field of innovative processes close cooperation will be sought with Nijmegen School of Management to accelerate the time-to-market of new technology.


ISAPP has been initiated by TNO in cooperation with TU Delft and Shell.The programme complements Shell's Smart Field approach, an integrated approach aiming to achieve structural and sustainable performance improvements regarding the exploitation of oil and gas reservoirs. Its vision of the remote-controlled, closed-loop downhole hydrogen factory is based on three expectations:
  • it is possible to separate hydrocarbon streams and all non-wanted fluids and substances
  • it is possible to convert hydrocarbons into hydrogen under downhole conditions and economics
  • it is possible to capture and store all non-wanted fluids and substances.

To date in the E&P industry significant investments have been made in component hardware and software tools, mainly by the service companies. However, owing to the absence of an integration strategy, the added business value to the E&P operators is limited. This has led to stagnation in the implementation of intelligent completions, hence resulting in the slow adoption of the new technology. The main challenge is to integrate intelligent production technology components and link them to the E&P Value Loop as outlined in the figure. Integrated technology closes this loop. Achieving this involves add ressing both technical questions and issues of organisation and skills development but when successful this development significantly increases the added economic value of intelligent production technology and reservoir management. Were the transfer and acceptance of this new technology, the innovation loop, to be accelerated, large-scale implementation in the E&P industry would follow.
Together, TNO and TU Delft have the critical mass, background, technology position, infrastructure and ambition to become a main contributor in the development of the required integration technology. However, cooperation with Shell and its industrial partners is essential to this development work. Cooperation in the ISAPP Knowledge Centre will ensure a joint approach capable of raising the required technology, skills and work processes from infancy to maturation at oil company's operating units.


Research and development within ISAPP will focus on three main areas:
  1. The innovation of concepts for the hydrocarbons production process. This includes the application of smart wells, advanced, geophysical monitoring techniques, downhole treatment, the separation and conversion of substances and the injection of residuals (waste). Closed-loop 'measurement and control' concepts from system theory will play an important role.
  2. The development of an integrated 'real-time' dynamic simulation, inversion and validation environment for reservoir, well and processing facilities. This environment will be used to test and evaluate newly developed technology from ISAPP and other sources. This environment may be used as a learning environment and for work process analysis and optimisation.
  3. Laboratory of innovation. The analysis and testing of methods, techniques and work processes to accelerate the process of innovation in the E&P sector.

Case-based research and development involving work on complex oil and gasfields will be carried out at ISAPP's multidisciplinary workspaces in the Netherlands.

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