The relatively ample oil supply and resultant low oil price for the last decade have lead to the strong worldwide growth of oil demand, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. The rapid economic growth seen in this region is accelerating the demand growth, and the Asian oil market is forecast to become the biggest in the world early in the next century. The following report summarizes the global oil situation surrounding the current oil industry, along with the corporation strategies of international oil majors, the effects of global trends towards the oil market de-regulation and strict environmental standards. Oil-related issue in the Asia-Pacific region is discussed in conjunction with the assessment of regional oil supply-demand balances for the next decade.
The oil and gas exploration in the Caspian Sea region has been one of the main focuses of the petroleum industry ever since the newly formed republics of the former Soviet Union opened their doors to western oil companies early this decade. The hydrocarbon potential of the region is extremely high, with expected so called “elephant” (super giant) oil and gas fields. However, it is fact that there are a lot of difficulties involving unregulated oil laws and unstability of tax regulation. Therefore it is widely believed that the Central Asia region, including the Caspian Sea has high hydrocarbon potential, but with high country risks. The Caspian Sea is divided into three sedimentary basins; the north Caspian basin, central Caspian basin, and south Caspian basin. Each sedimentary basin has different basin character and play type. The main exploration target in the north Caspian basin is pre-salt Carboniferous carbonate and the central Caspian basin's main target is Mesozoic clastics. The south Caspian basin's upper Tertiary is main producing horizon and is characterized by folding structures with shale diapir and fault. JNOC has been carrying out a basic study of the region for the last ten years and geological & geophysical survey projects were commenced in 1994 and 1997 respectively in onshore Kazakhstan. In Azerbaijan, JNOC and private Japanese firms carried out a joint geological study in Caspian Sea, and negotiations for a PSA are presently underway with SOCAR.
There are some major oil companies or independent research institutes in Western Europe as well as the United States who have become increasingly interested in planning and reviewing their management system for enhancing achievement of R & D. For types of management systems, two that are sometimes implemented are: (1) Matrix Organization: The essence of matrix organization normally is the combining of department function and product patterns in the same organization structure. This system is often applied for organizing teams for R & D per project (as vertical) by groups of specialists. Each specialist is provided from various technological divisions (as horizontal). (2) Interdivisional Network: This is a communication network to exchange information horizontally between the researcher which makes it possible to effectively attain their objectives. The power of individuals or groups to exercise discretion in making decisions is held by them and the responsibility for their results are shouldered by them. Management system reforms are aimed to meet currently changing oil market conditions applicable to exploration, production and R & D. For oil companies in Japan involved in the upstream industry, utilization of these two techniques of management will be beneficial in achieving desired results.
In the previous paper, it was reported that 30% of residual oil after water flooding was recovered by injecting strain 9A in a sand pack flooding experiment. It was the best recovery case among other tests with 9 microbes. However, the mechanism of improved recovery was not refered in detail. In this paper, some investigations of recovery mechanisms are reported. Sets of following two-step flooding were carried out; (1) water flood and (2) microbial flood using the same sandpack which was resaturated with oil after the water flood. Both experimental procedures basically followed the method proposed in the previous paper. Data of injection pressure, produced water and oil production history were taken at each experiments and were compared to investigate oil recovery mechanisms. Application of strain 9A reduced the period of oil production and increased the volume ratio of produced oil and injected water by 5 times in comparison to the water flood. In addition, oil was produced right after the pressure was released after cultivation. One of the reasons for this recovery was attributed to the increase of driving energy by gas metabolite. But the produced oil at the next flooding stage might be caused by some complex factors. One of main factors was estimated that the produced gas and some metabolites made foams in porous media and these foams prevented early break through of water.
The Katakai gas field produces gas from the Green Tuff volcanic rock reservoirs deeper than 4000m. The “Green Tuff” volcanic rocks of Miocene age are submarine felsic volcanic units and have undergone an extensive hydrothermal alteration which has improved the pore properties of the volcanic rock reservoirs. The timing of hydrothermal alteration in the volcanic rock reservoirs is a key issue in the argument on the formation of effective reservoirs. Two scenarios can be considered: the formation of the reservoirs might have occurred after deep burial or soon after the submarine volcanism. Based on the results of isotopic, mineralogical and fluid inclusion studies, the latter scenario seems to be more rational, which can explain the hydrothermal alteration process. The alteration zoning of clay minerals and carbonates revealed two upflow zones of hydrothermal fluids. Basaltic highs in the lower half of the Green Tuff unit correspond to the presumed upflow zones. The microthermometry data of fluid inclusions show the mixing of high temperature brines with moderate temperature waters of very low salinity. It is presumed that the latter waters are of catagenesis origin in contrast to the former of modified sea water origin. Catagenesis waters are likely to have been expelled from overlying mudstones, which is conformable with the occurrence of oil inclusions in quartz amygdales. It is concluded that the hydrothermal activity followed the felsic submarine volcanism and heated overlying mudstones to commence to generate petroleum in a shorter period of time than the maturation of organic matter during burial.
Dinoflagellate cysts are organic-walled, acid-resistant microfossils which are common in marine sediments from Triassic to Recent. The significance of these microfossils has ever been emphasized in oil industry as they contribute well to formation correlation and paleoenvironmental analyses. This article reviews biological aspects and geological application of fossil dinoflagellate cysts.