EAGE GeoTech 2021

1-4 March 2021 | Online Event

Welcome by the Local Chair

In this welcome message, Dirk Smit, Shell VP Research Strategy and EAGE GeoTech2021 Local Chair shares his perspectives on the future applications and opportunities for geoscientists and geophysicists in subsurface management and benefits of the integrated conference programme.

Dear Colleagues,

Society and our industry face a dual challenge: how to make a transition to a low-carbon energy future, while also extending the benefits of energy to everyone on the planet. This challenge requires change in the way energy is produced, used and made accessible to more people while drastically cutting emissions and become more circular in the production of fuels and products.

Oil and gas will remain in the energy mix for many decades to come. The role of geoscientists will not disappear in the near future, but I am certain that it will probably change. For example, with the introduction of low-cost electricity from intermittent sources, the need for large scale energy storage will increase. Few options that are both affordable and effectively accessible may be in the subsurface, exploiting appropriate subsurface pressure and temperature conditions as already seen for example in geothermal reservoirs. 

Subsurface conditions may play a significant role in cutting back emissions by the use of fossil fuels through CCS. But also, more generally, resource and land management such as water in conjunction with the production of biofuels will call upon skills sets in the domain of geoscientists. 

Underneath these changes lies the need for more data driven “reservoir” management. Ranging from energy to resources including hydrocarbons, deeply integrated with for example surface engineering facilities used to inject, produce or store and monitor resources. 

Finally, we need to translate operational geophysical solutions into effective hazard and risk management used by regulators and local communities. Hence, I believe that in the future, geoscience skills sets would be needed for a broader spectrum of opportunities, better integrated with efforts to build a sustainable, safe energy system. 

This is also true for the more conventional role of geoscientists in hydrocarbon reservoir management. The predictability of production volumes and performance needs to increase, as competition from other investments such as in wind farms will rise. This may be possible to develop more integrated workflows and become more data driven, exploiting artificial intelligence-based techniques to recognise subsurface conditions faster and with more certainty than is possible with just model driven approaches.   

The need for such workflows is further emphasised as the business becomes more value-driven and less volume-driven. This increases the need for shorter cycle times from exploration to production in more mature heartlands, where exploration, development and production are all happening simultaneously in the same basin sometimes in the same geology. This means that we have access to more data - data that we did not have access to before. To maximise the opportunities that this brings, we need to (and can!) deeper integrate exploration, development and production.

The EAGE Geophysical Monitoring Technology conference and exhibition offers an excellent opportunity for the geoscientist and geophysicist community to come together. The integration between the different programmes is a great way to mix with other disciplines. It also provides a forum to discuss how we can effectively address specific energy transition challenges. Our integrated subsurface discipline skills are needed more than ever to help solve these challenges!

I invite you to join the leading experts in geoscience, reservoir engineering, drilling and data science to tackle some of the major challenges and opportunities facing the industry. I look forward to seeing you in The Hague.

Dirk Smit

Local Conference Chair