In the wireline industry, there are a few names that stick out. Oliver Mullins is one of them. He literally wrote the book—several in fact—on reservoir fluid analysis.
This year, the Abu Dhabi International Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) Awards recognized Mullins with the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Technical Excellence to the Oil and Gas Industry. The Awards ceremony, held virtually on November 9 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizes excellence in 10 categories across the global oil and gas industry.
Related: ADIPEC 2020 Highlights
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to be recognized by ADIPEC for my life’s work,” said Oliver Mullins, Schlumberger Fellow, during a virtual interview. “There are so many brilliant men and women who’ve advanced our industry through their technical contributions and who could’ve been selected for this recognition.”
During his 34-year career, all with Schlumberger, Mullins blazed new trails in reservoir evaluation, providing the industry with innovative strategies and techniques for improving reservoir understanding and performance.
Mullins said the fork-in-the-road moment in his career came when he was working on fluid identification in oil/water/gas. From his research, he concluded that downhole crude oil analysis could be done and might be very useful for reservoir characterization purposes.
“I had questions that I needed to answer for myself,” said Mullins. “Did I want to follow and create the value of those measurements to the field and was this even necessary or were the measurements of obvious utility for reservoir characterization?”
After confirming with industry colleagues that fluid measurements were not being used for reservoir characterization, and they indeed could be very useful, Mullins made the decision to press forward with putting his research into practice in a real-world environment. However, he had to begin his journey by expanding on his formal training and experience beyond chemistry to learn more about reservoirs and key production issues. By combining his classical training in chemistry with a structural understanding of the reservoir, Mullins laid the foundation of his work, which he notes has three major themes:
- Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics (RFG)
- The Yen-Mullins Model
- Downhole Fluid Analysis (DFA).
Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics
This recently introduced technical discipline is based on asphaltene thermodynamics and accounts for postdepositional changes of reservoir hydrocarbons, such as tar formation. RFG analysis of asphaltene gradients provides previously inaccessible insights for field development planning. Mullins’ book, Reservoir Fluid Geodynamics and Reservoir Evaluation, includes 18 oilfield case studies delineating optimal production with RFG.