The evolution of giant oil field production behaviour

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Publication date: 2009-03-01
First Published in: Natural Resources Research
Authors: M. Höök et al


The giant oil fields of the world are only a small fraction of the total number of fields, but their importance is huge. Over 50% of the world oil production came from Giants by 2005, and more than haft of the world’s ultimate reserves are found in Giants. Based on this it is reasonable to assume that the future development of the giant oil fields will have a significant impact on the world oil supply.

To better understand the giant fields and their future behavior one must first understand their history. This study has used a comprehensive database on giant oil fields to determine their typical parameters, such as the average decline rate and lifetimes of giants. The evolution of giant oil field behavior has been investigated to understand future behavior better. One conclusion is that new technology and production methods have lead to high depletion rate and rapid decline. The historical trend points towards high decline rates of fields currently on plateau production.

The peak production occurs before half the ultimate reserves have been produced in giant oil fields. A strong correlation between depletion-at-peak and average decline rate is also found, verifying that high depletion rate leads to rapid decline. Our result also implies that depletion analysis can be used to rule out unrealistic production expectations from a known reserve or to connect an estimated production level to a needed reserve base.

Published in: Natural Resources Research, Volume 18, Number 1, March 2009, Pages 39-56
Available from: Springer

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