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Rejuvenating mature oil and gas assets in a low-carbon energy future


Rejuvenating mature oil and gas assets in a low-carbon energy future

February 28, 2024

A new program repositions mature oil and gas assets within the world’s energy mix.


Guillaume Fauchille is talking about how to address the energy trilemma by improving the productivity and yield from mature oil and gas assets – those that have already delivered more than 50% of their proven and probable reserves. At the Baker Hughes 2024 Annual Meeting, the audience of energy producers and regional government ministers is all ears – and with good reason. 

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Guillaume Fauchille (centre), with colleagues and technical experts at the Baker Hughes Annual Meeting 2024


Fauchille has more than 18 years’ global experience in the industry, mostly in pressure pumping, which is the heart of the productivity issue; and in business transformation. At the 2024 Baker Hughes Annual Meeting, he and his team introduced the new Mature Assets Solutions program, a breakthrough business strategy that champions innovative operational efficiency in established asset management. Its goal is to de-risk operations in mature assets by integrating deep expertise, efficient processes, and advanced technologies from across the Baker Hughes portfolio – helping asset managers battle costs while simultaneously trying to increase sustainability and maintain the reliability of energy supply.

Today, says Fauchille, “70% of all oil and gas production comes from mature fields,” which is due in large part to reduced investment in green fields because of the energy-transition imperative and other external factors such as the COVID pandemic and geopolitical upheavals. On the positive side, he says, “The cost of producing oil from mature assets is around $10 a barrel, in comparison with a new-field barrel that can cost much more.”

In a world thirsty for energy to support growing populations and urbanization, and struggling to balance sources of supply with emissions profiles, it makes sense to apply the right solutions to squeezing the most from existing fields. Fauchille says that the Baker Hughes team has researched the types of technologies and capabilities that can deliver big success in mature assets. The result is the five themes which drive the Mature Assets Solutions program.


1. Asset surveillance and intervention – Because production can drop off quickly when an asset is brought online, it’s critical to have accurate knowledge not only about the asset, but also to know where to get help in case of any obstacles. Armed with this information, operators can meet their production and revenue targets.

“Our subsurface engineering expertise and insights – combined with our well cleanout technologies, digitally directed smart downhole tools, integrity diagnostics, and milling services – are some of the capabilities we can integrate here to get wells back online more efficiently and sustainably,” says Fauchille.

2. Production optimization – “Our team will enhance production of existing wells through a subsurface solution-driven approach that brings together our unique and innovative stimulation and industry-leading production solutions,” says Fauchille. “The application of these solutions – which includes our production chemicals and artificial lift systems – cost-effectively improves well productivity.”

He explains that wells flow naturally only if there is enough pressure to push the oil and fluids up. “Often, when we start producing, the pressure in the reservoir will drop to a level that may not allow the hydrostatic column to be self-sustaining.” Baker Hughes has developed a variety of innovations and software solutions to maintain or increase the pressure in the reservoir. “This includes our Leucipa™ automated field production solution, which optimizes production for our customers,’’ adds Fauchille.

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Guillaume Fauchille (centre), Baker Hughes, with field crew team


3. Water, gas, and sand management – Unwanted fluids and solids entering wells to varying degrees are a persistent challenge to maximizing productivity of oil and gas fields. They also increase the costs of production, can cause damage to subsurface and surface equipment, and curtail asset lifetime.

Worldwide, for every barrel of oil produced, 10 barrels of water are also produced. “This has a huge impact,” says Fauchille. “You have to treat that water to be able to safely dispose of it, which comes at a cost. And, sometimes water production becomes so high that it can choke oil production – that is, the water maxes out the total liquid capacity that the platform can handle.” Fauchille recalls meeting with a customer in West Africa who was “being forced to shut-in wells – despite their substantial reserves – because of too much water choking production.” 

Mature Assets Solutions will help customers implement holistic and manageable strategies to improve field productivity and lower operational and disposal costs.

Technologies such as Baker Hughes’ flare.IQ are also part of this theme. “Today, oil and gas operations account for around 15% of total energy-related emissions globally, and the majority of that is methane emissions — either fugitive or flaring — or from building new infrastructure and drilling new wells,” says Fauchille. “By expanding production from existing infrastructure and using the latest technologies to control existing well emissions, the industry can reduce the carbon intensity of each barrel produced.”

4. Unlock bypassed resources – Many mature oil and gas fields have untapped reserves, bypassed often because of difficulties in accessing them. The Baker Hughes teams who focus on this theme will collaborate with onsite managers to bring to life assets that were previously not accessible or economical.

Poised to safely unlock greater profitability from existing assets, while reducing the carbon intensity of the produced hydrocarbons, Baker Hughes’ customized solutions combine unique coiled tubing drilling and thru-tubing rotary drilling tools and techniques. In addition, Baker Hughes offers advanced logging interpretation coupled with state-of-the-art perforating and completion services, and decades of experience in cutting through complexities. 

5. Well abandonment — Effectively identifying and managing the end-of-life phase of wells is critical to an operator’s profitability. “Our proven well-decommissioning technologies and engineering expertise maximize the efficiency of abandonment campaigns,” says Fauchille. He cites comprehensive well-integrity evaluation; the use of rig, rigless and riserless technologies; and reliable barrier placement methodologies as the services which can be combined under this theme.

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Restructuring investments in a time of change

Innovative management of mature assets offers a unique opportunity at this time in the history of energy, when drilling new projects can take several years and the International Energy Agency predicts that 2030 will see peak demand for oil and gas. According to the IEA’s November 2023 report, released in advance of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai last year, “If governments deliver in full on their national energy and climate pledges, demand will fall 45% below today's level by 2050.”

In contrast to greenfield projects, investment in intervention campaigns for mature fields can provide returns within months. “It’s a matter of identifying the right interventions for particular wells and fields,” says Fauchille.

The approach of integrating solutions and tailoring them towards mature asset challenges has already delivered for several asset owners. 

In the Netherlands, Baker Hughes applied an alternative business model to reactivate four aging or inactive gas wells with production challenges. The rigless intervention was fully designed and project-managed by Baker Hughes, who also provided slickline, wireline and coiled tubing production enhancements and intervention services.  The production results were deemed by the customer to be around 20% over expectations.

Onshore in Europe, Baker Hughes executed a plug-and-abandonment (P&A) campaign for a customer with 76 wells across 35 different sites. The integrated campaign allowed more efficient – and therefore faster – P&A across the portfolio than would otherwise have been possible; in fact, 85 casing cuts and pulls and 33 annular remediations were executed in total. Using a rigless electric solution powered by renewable energy from the grid for the project reduced its environmental impact in terms of noise and smell. This resulted in a 2,768-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions had the project been powered onsite with conventional diesel-driven engines. Read more about this project here

“Electrification of operations is a key component of our environmental strategy,” says Fauchille, “because it instantly reduces reliance on higher-emissions energy sources.”

From a personal perspective, he notes, “I feel proud that I was asked to lead the Mature Assets Solutions program because I see the value – and not only for the business. I’m very mindful about the state of the planet that I will leave to my children.” 

Fauchille and his wife, Coralie, have three children: six-year old Emile, five-year old Arsène, and  two-year old Marianne. He says, “I often check with myself whether it is meaningful for me to work in oil and gas. Others might say I should be working to deliver wind power or other renewable-energy projects.” But the civil engineer and MBA believes he can more effectively influence change from within the hydrocarbons industry by working with Baker Hughes, which he says is “very geared towards the energy transition and a key player in a low-carbon future.”

After presenting to some 15 regional audiences about the potential returns from tailored integrated solutions that ramp up existing assets while dialing down emissions, Fauchille and his highly experienced team are set to collaborate with clients and deliver results. 

He sees Mature Assets Solutions as a new key component of the energy transition journey. “I'm in the right place right now to contribute to the energy transformation by enabling every barrel of oil to be produced more sustainably, more cost effectively and more reliably. For our customers, our strategies are designed to ensure that mature assets remain a viable part of the global energy mix.”

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