50 years History

History of 50 years since the foundation of Japan Oil
Engineering, focusing on technologies

Established June 1968

Subsurface

Surface

Fuji Engineering Co., Ltd. Established
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Fuji Engineering Co., Ltd. was established in June 1968 with a capital of 10 million yen, for the purpose of providing engineering and maintenance works to Sodegaura Refinery of Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. in Japan.
At the Sodegaura Refinery, various works and services including daily maintenance and repair, modification of equipment and facility, periodic shut-down maintenance work as well as material procurement were provided. Such services at the plant had been dedicatedly maintained for more than 30 years and the high professional expertise on petroleum industry acquired and developed through those works became the basis for engineering and consultation business at present.

Support for overseas state-owned
oil companies during the creation
 period
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Malaysia nationalized the oil and gas fields operated by multinational oil companies (Shell, Exxon, etc.) and established Petronas. In the initial stage, they were struggling to formulate an oil development master plan due to the lack of human resources. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and JICA implemented a master plan development/implementation and human resource education (geology, reservoir, facilities) as technical cooperation projects by JICA and JOE.

Environmental Protection
Project in Saudi Arabia
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According to the newly promoted requirement of environmental protection in oil field development, Arabian Oil Company introduced Effluent Water Underground Disposal System associated with a new desalting plant in Khafji oil field. The system consisted of wastewater treatment facility and treated water re-injection system into the underground aquifer. The project achieved zero discharge of treated wastewater to the environment, which was then considered as the earliest case in the
Middle-east.
JOE provided technical services of geological evaluation, engineering and design, construction and commissioning for the said project.

Involvement with ARAMCO
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Due to the vast experience JOE accrued in construction, repair and maintenance of various facilities of Khafji oil field, JOE received a contract from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Minerals of Saudi Arabia for performance evaluation study of ARAMCO's major oil and gas production facilities (oil/gas separators) in the Kingdom.

Fuji Engineering Co., Ltd.  renamed to Japan Oil Engineering Company Ltd. (JOE). Started Involvement in the Operation of Khafji Oil Field.

In 1969, the company changed its name to "Japan Oil Engineering Company Ltd." (JOE). JOE firstly started engineering and consultation services at Al-Khafji Field Office of Arabian Oil Co., Ltd. in ex-neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Khafji oil field is the first oversea large oil field independently developed by a Japanese company.
The services provided included subsurface studies such as geological evaluation and reservoir simulation, exploration, and engineering and maintenance of offshore and onshore production facilities required for field development and operations.
Through such 40 years' upstream experience at the field, JOE has accumulated wide range of knowledge, technology and skills needed for E&P activities.

Pioneer of reservoir estimation/
simulation study in Japan

In 1973, JOE established a department specializing in geological/geophysical evaluation, reservoir engineering and simulation studies; and started various evaluation of petroleum reserves, seismic data analysis and sedimentary basin evaluation for simulation studies in areas such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia. At that time, it was not possible to install a large and expensive computer in our office, so JOE used the IBM data center facilities for reservoir simulation studies. In circumstances where there are restrictions and limitations beyond the computer capabilities, we have been devising appropriate solutions to conduct a useful simulation as possible.


 I ntroduced Simulation Technology for Geothermal Development for the First Time in Japan

As a result of the oil crisis in the 1970s, the importance of geothermal power as energy resources that can be secured in Japan has increased. JOE introduced simulation technology to geothermal development for the first time in Japan, applying knowledge about geology and reservoir engineering cultivated in oil development projects. JOE has worked further on research of evaluation method of geothermal development project, geothermal reservoir analysis/assessment, and reservoir simulation study with tracer transport models, thermal conduction models, single-well flow models, wellbore flow performance models, and material/energy balance models (three-dimensional finite difference models).

Oil development project in
Bohai Bay, China
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JOE carried out a comprehensive study and engineering services for development of Beihai oil field in Bohai Bay, China; consisting of field development, construction and operation of production, storage and loading facilities. The services provided included project feasibility study, engineering and design, operation and maintenance procedures, material control and capacity development for operational personnel.
The project had been successfully concluded with JOE fully sharing its rich experience in Khafji oil field.

Offshore Oil and Gas Fields
Development in Japan
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With a great deal of experience in the upstream sector in various oil producing countries, JOE has actively contributed to the development of oil and gas fields in Japan.
JOE was involved in a series of domestic major offshore oil and gas field development projects for successful completion of the projects. For Aga-oki-kita and Iwafune-oki field projects in the Sea of Japan, JOE provided various technical supports throughout the development phases from basic engineering to commissioning. Furthermore, for Iwaki-oki gas field development project in the Pacific coast, JOE provided a set of technical support for construction of offshore production and onshore base facilities.

Standardization of material
control system in Libya
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In 1980s, oil fields in Libya was operated by several international oil companies using different engineering standards respectively without any unification.
In such situation at the time, JOE contributed to the improvement of operational efficiency and health of the petroleum industry in Libya by standardizing equipment and materials specifications, building a computerization system for equipment/material control and personnel training.

Database Construction for Petroleum Exploration and Production

As part of the support of the Government of Japan for a Southeast Asian oil-producing country with a large number of oil fields, JOE undertook and implemented the whole of planning, construction, installation, education and training of a national database system for oil exploration and production. This project contributed to the technological development of the petroleum sector of that country (1978-1990). After that, JOE conducted a similar project for another Southeast Asian oil-producing country (1996-2002).

Geothermal Reservoir Study to determine Power-Generation Scale
Geothermal Reservoir Study to determine Power-Generation Scale

Integrating all existing information, we must do our best to devise a reasonable and most suitable development plan even for a geothermal reservoir where there are many unknown factors and the whole picture is difficult to grasp. On the basis of various underground information and data accumulated through reservoir modeling work, utilizing the reservoir simulation techniques for future prediction, JOE discussed and proposed an appropriate power-generation scale for the target geothermal field.

Development of CO2-EOR simulator 
started in the early 1980's

CO2-EOR is a technology that has attracted attention in the recent years from the viewpoint of CO2 reduction. In 1983, JOE began collaborative research and development of a reservoir simulator used to predict production behavior when CO2-EOR was applied to oil fields. EOR often causes a phenomena that improve the recovery of crude oil, which naturally will not occur. In the background of the simulator collaborative research and development, there were cases where convergence failure of numerical solution method frequently occurred in simulation of CO2-EOR in the commercial simulator at that time.
Following the research and development of the compositional reservoir simulator for CO2-EOR, JOE developed various reservoir simulators for EORs, such as steam flooding simulator, micellar-polymer flooding simulator, and foam flooding simulator.

Reservoir Studies for Giant Oil Fields in Middle East
Geothermal Reservoir Study to determine Power-Generation Scale

JOE won commissions to conduct reservoir studies of giant oil fields in the Middle East one after another and performed comprehensive reservoir modeling/simulation studies for different types of reservoirs. In these studies, an implicit black-oil reservoir simulator VOL33S-V3, which was developed in-house, was used.

Successful Platform Conversion
Project in South China Sea
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Lufeng 13-1 oil field development project was located in the South China Sea. The facility for LF13-1 production facilities consists of a self-contained drilling and production platform, submarine pipeline and a tanker remodeling type Floating Storage and Offloading unit (FSO).
The platform provided was a converted unused platform from other oil field. There are few examples of converting the platform in other areas, because of different design specifications such as weather and oceanic conditions, fluid properties and processing conditions. The platform was commissioned successfully without large modification and have been in stable operation since then.

Construction of modernized
Desalting Plant in the Middle-east
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Hout Desalting Plant project was one of JOE's typical EPC services in Al-Khafji Field Office consisting of engineering/design, construction and commissioning.
In this project, JOE introduced a process automation technology (sequential operation system) as an advanced approach at that time, making stable and safety operation possible regardless of the skill of the operator.

Offshore Oil Field Development in Vietnam
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JOE, as a project management consultant (PMC), was involved in the Rang Dong oil field development project in the South China Sea, Vietnam. This project consisted of installation of WHP (Wellhead Platform), FPSO (Floating Production Storage Vessel) and pipelines.
The FPSO introduced in the project was the first case under a Japanese flag oil field development.

The first overseas EOR demonstration project by Japanese companies

From the results of simulator development, JOE jointly implemented the first overseas EOR demonstration project (assessment of applicability of steam injection, CO2 injection method) as a Japanese company for Turkey's Ikiztepe oil field. After this, JOE implemented numerous CO2-EOR simulation studies for oil fields in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America. The CO2-EOR has attracted more attention in recent years because it can achieve both oil field productivity improvement and carbon dioxide reduction by switching to carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) after its implementation.

Transfer of EOR Evaluation Technology to Oil-Producing Countries

The interest in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) technology was growing as a preparation for the future decline of oil production, even in oil-producing countries with giant oil fields. In this trend of the times, JOE carried out the education and training of reservoir simulation for miscible gas injection processes such as CO2-EOR, transferring the advanced reservoir study technologies to oil-producing countries.

First Zero Flaring Project in
 the Middle-east
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Zero flaring was achieved firstly in Abu-Dhabi, UAE through the method of full recovery of flare gas that had been burnt out in the atmosphere and re-injection into oil reservoir for pressure maintenance. The project contributed to the reduction of air pollution, GHG emission and enhancement of oil recovery.
JOE conducted the conceptual study and basic design of the project.

Enhancement of Oil Spill Response
Capability in Bangladesh
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JOE was entrusted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to enhance preventive measures and effective responses for potential oil spill incident in the coastal ports in Bangladesh. The project assisted the responsible authority to develop the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) aiming establishment of functional emergency response scheme and protection of the World Heritage of extensive mangrove forests in the region.

Gas Pipeline Project in Indonesia
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JOE, as a project management consultant (PMC), contributed a great effort in the completion of the gas pipeline project from South Sumatra to East Java (Japanese governmental ODA), which is a western part of the main gas pipeline network for securing stable energy supply in Indonesia.

CO₂-EOR Simulation Studies for Oil Fields in North America

JOE implemented a number of reservoir simulation studies on CO2-EOR for oil fields in North America one after another. The target reservoirs included sandstone reservoirs, grainstone-type carbonate reservoirs, and naturally-fractured carbonate reservoirs. In those studies, JOE also experienced various types of oil properties, which have significant influence on the success or failure of CO2-EOR.

Methane hydrate 
simulator development

Since 2000, JOE has been upgrading a reservoir simulator MH 21-HYDRES for methane hydrate, of which the prototype was developed by the University of Tokyo. Methane hydrate is a natural resource existing in large quantity in Japan's waters; Japan is aiming at the commercialization of this energy resource. JOE fully enhanced the simulator MH 21-HYDRES to be one of the top-level simulators for methane hydrate in the world.

Simulation of CO₂ Injection and Storage in Aquifers

Responding to the situation that the research on CCS (Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage) using aquifers was becoming active in Japan and abroad, JOE conducted research on enhancing the CCS reservoir simulation technology for practical application. In collaboration, CMG (Computer Modelling Group Ltd.) and JOE developed a compositional reservoir simulator GEM-GHG, which was a specially upgraded version of GEM for CCS simulation. Using the simulator, JOE conducted various simulation studies on CCS including the pilot test simulation of injecting CO2 into a deep saline aquifer.

Reconstruction of Crude
Export Facility in Iraq
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JICA launched a reconstruction project of the existing aged crude export facility of Iraq in 2009 as ODA project to enhance the export capacity of crude oil and strengthen the country's economic foundation. JOE has been participating in the project as a project management consultant (PMC) since the beginning. The project is ongoing and moving forward to its completion.

Establishment of Oil Spill
 Contingency Plans
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In association with the JICA ODA project for the crude export facility reconstruction, JOE supported the Iraqi authorities to develop Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP) for the crude export facility and related marine operations in Iraq. (2010-2013)
Following the above project, JOE also worked on the establishment of a comprehensive oil spill response scheme to any oil spill incidents in Iraq nationwide (inland areas and marine areas), upon request from the Iraqi government. The Iraq National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) developed in this project was promulgated by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil in February 2018. (2015 - 2018)

Geothermal Power
Development in Japan
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According to recent promotion of energy source diversification, geothermal power generation as renewable energy is recently attracting interest again in Japan.
In addition to evaluation of geology and geothermal reservoir, JOE assists operators in a series of HSE measures to be considered for development required for review by governmental financial institutes.

CO₂-EOR/CCS Simulation

JOE conducted the study of CO2-EOR to the oil reservoir which has been already developed for a long time. In this project, the numerical simulation of "CO2-WAG" was conducted, which is one of CO2-EOR. CO2 gas and water are alternatively injected into a formation in CO2-WAG process. In simple water-flood, some of the oil is trapped in a formation due to capillary effects and the like. In contrast, CO2 injection decrease trapped oil by inducing a kind of miscible state. As a result of this study, it was implied that CO2-WAG extends the life of oil production period than traditional water-flood.
In the past, it was common to use natural CO2 when CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) was implemented. However, in the worldwide movement to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, injection of CO2 separated from anthropogenic gases (e.g. industrial waste gas) has been actively discussed for both EOR and CCS (Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage) purposes. As a result, CO2-EOR study has spread to countries without natural CO2 resources. In this trend, JOE conducted a number of CO2-EOR studies for various regions in the world.

Prediction of methane hydrate 
production behavior

In 2013, methane hydrate production test was conducted in Japan waters. MH21-HYDRES was used to predict gas/water production behavior. After the test, a history matching work was carried out to reproduce the result (temperature, pressure, gas production rate, water production rate). Through this series of work, it is possible to construct a reservoir model close to reality, and it will be useful for predicting long-term production behavior.

Transfer of Advanced Reservoir Simulation Technology to Oil-Producing Countries

JOE has been introducing advanced reservoir simulation technologies into reservoir engineering courses for engineers of oil-producing countries. In recent years, for example, automatic history matching, automatic optimization of a development plan, uncertainty analysis, wellbore flow performance calculation based on the latest theory, and artificial intelligence technologies were introduced. JOE has been in charge of those courses since 1989 and making efforts to transfer and spread new technologies.