Development Planning

Development Planning

Oil and gas fields are developed with wells, production facilites and evacuation systems, which are designed to maximise the economic value.  Development Planning is the critical stage in an oil field’s life where decisions are taken related to the number and configuration of producers and injectors, and the size of the surface facilities. Sound development planning is done by optimising the data gathering to arrive at the most economic development concept under the prevailing economic conditions. Important Milestones or Decision Gates in this proces need to be agreed with the stakeholders. Cubes3 staff can facilitate workshops or planning events to prepare for the next phase of the development.

Project Initiation


An oil/gas project is initiated once there is sufficient potential to support the costs of a multidisciplinary project team, which will generate the project and appraisal plan leading to concept selection and Investment Decision. Projects are usually initiated as a result of an exploration success or a redevelopment plan.


During the appraisal phase it is decided what data needs to be acquired before a development concept can be chosen. This data collection usually comprises the drilling of one or more appraisal wells, collection of core, geophysical, Special Core Analysis (SCAL), petrophysical log, pressure, well test and fluid property data.  The appraisal phase is usually documented in a project feasibility study.

Value of Information

At the early stages of a project, usually in the appraisal phase, data gathering is required to reduce the ranges of uncertainty. Value of Information Analysis helps to decide whether expenditures to collect additional data are justified.

Concept Identification

Once sufficient data is collected to understand the size and nature of the oil or gas field, different development concepts are identified to establish what development options need to be considered and compared.

Concept Selection

The different development concepts have to be compared based on their characteristics and economic parameters. Concept Selection is done by comparing alternative development options and picking the concepts which best fits the company strategy e.g. maximising Ultimate Recovery or Net Present Value, while minimizing investment, environmental impact or exposure to risk. Concept selection is documented in the Field Development Plan (FDP). This plan is usually approved by shareholders and regulatory authorities.

Final Investment Decision

Once the FDP is approved, Front End Engineering Design (FEED) is done to get a good understanding of the costs associated with the chosen development concept.  The final cost estimate usually needs to be approved by shareholders before serious expenditures can be done, Long Lead items are ordered and well and facilities construction starts. Once the Final Investment Decision is taken, the budget for the construction and execution phase is released.