Depletion and Decline Curve Analysis in Crude Oil Production

Posted on May 7, 2009


Today is a great day for my research group. Mikael Höök will defend his licentiate thesis that has the title, “Depletion and Decline Curve Analysis in Crude Oil Production”. I have already discussed the research reports it contains on various occasions and you can find an excellent summary below.

You can download the entire thesis here:

The opponent for the thesis defense is Dr Roger Bentley from Reading University in England.

Oil is the black blood that runs through the veins of the modern global energy system. While being the dominant source of energy, oil has also brought wealth and power to the western world. Future supply for oil is unsure or even expected to decrease due to limitations imposed by peak oil.

Energy is fundamental to all parts of society. The enormous growth and development of society in the last two-hundred years has been driven by rapid increase in the extraction of fossil fuels. In the foresee-able future, the majority of energy will still come from fossil fuels. Consequently, reliable methods for forecasting their production, especially crude oil, are crucial.

Forecasting crude oil production can be done in many different ways, but in order to provide realistic outlooks, one must be mindful of the physical laws that affect extraction of hydrocarbons from a reservoir. Decline curve analysis is a long established tool for developing future outlooks for oil production from an individual well or an entire oilfield. Depletion has a fundamental role in the extraction of finite resources and is one of the driving mechanisms for oil flows within a reservoir. Depletion rate also can be connected to decline curves. Consequently, depletion analysis is a useful tool for analysis and forecasting crude oil production. Based on comprehensive databases with reserve and production data for hundreds of oil fields, it has been possible to identify typical behaviours and properties.

Using a combination of depletion and decline rate analysis gives a better tool for describing future oil production on a field-by-field level. Reliable and reasonable forecasts are essential for planning and necessary in order to understand likely future world oil production.

Posted in: Dagsaktuellt