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Half Empty or Half Full: How much oil and gas can we recover from our fields?

Whether we like it or not, in the next decades the world will continue to rely on oil and gas to meet our growing energy demands. Whilst explorers may be able to find more accumulations in ever deeper and more remote locations, it is equally important to try and squeeze the last drops from existing oil and gas fields.

Whilst it is always possible to extract a little more, there are many factors which limit how realistic this is. Usually, we only have a partial understanding of the size and properties of an oil or gas field, so numerical models have to be used to try and predict how much can be recovered. We will discuss the factors that affect recovery, from the technical – such as drilling techniques – to the social influences of oil prices, energy policies and market conditions.


Rob Kleibergen, Shell


Robert Kleibergen has worked with Shell since 1987, and is currently Manager Hydrocarbon Maturation in Shell International Exploration and Production. He graduated in 1983 in Theoretical Physics at the University of Amsterdam, and in 1987 obtained a PhD in Physics from the University of Utrecht. After assignments in Petroleum Engineering in the Netherlands, Brunei, Gabon and New Zealand, he worked as project manager in new business development where he contributed to Shell’s re-entry in Qatar through the Pearl Gas to Liquids Project. Subsequently, he became global technical manager for new business development. Since 2008, Robert manages hydrocarbon maturation with the principal aim to increase the recovery from oil and gas fields. Whilst grounded in science, he learned the importance of having the human factor right.