Exploration and Production

World demand for oil and natural gas continues to increase, with ever-increasing technical challenges to finding new resources and improving the efficiency of the production of existing reserves. Exponent has assisted clients with their technical challenges, such as drilling and production in offshore water depths exceeding 8,000 feet; production of high-temperature and high-pressure sour (HPHT) gas; production from formations with problematic highly deformable rock; new developments in the materials and equipment used to explore for and produce new resources both onshore and offshore; and the aging and deterioration of equipment in older fields. Upstream projects also face close scrutiny as well as strict requirements from a variety of stakeholders, including international lenders, concerned with environmental, health, safety, and social impacts and benefits.

With our experience analyzing complex projects and evaluating thousands of failures, Exponent is a leader in loss investigation and failure analysis in the petroleum industry, with investigations ranging from high-loss disasters to small incidents for major national and international exploration and production companies. Our projects have included:


  • Catastrophic equipment and material failures, corrosion and aging structures 
  • Root-cause analysis and failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) 
  • Fitness-for-service evaluation 
  • Blowouts and explosions 
  • Offshore fixed and floating platform stability and integrity 
  • Drilling and workover incidents involving injuries and fatalities 
  • Human factors and analysis 
  • Oil and natural gas storage in salt caverns and abandoned reservoirs and aquifers 
  • Well and completion design 
  • Casing, tubing and drilling string analysis 
  • Threaded connection evaluation 
  • Environmental and social impact assessments 
  • Environmental investigations of onshore and offshore produced water and drilling-mud discharges, and those involving NORM and saltwater/brine disposal 
  • Compliance with standards and regulations 
  • Risk assessment and reliability-based design 
  • Expert reports and testimony.

For offshore oil and gas operators, Exponent can assist with determination of load capacities and performance levels for a range of fixed and floating production or storage systems. These services include using advanced modeling tools to conduct structural analyses of platform systems or components, from caisson wellheads to drilling derricks, in accordance with the latest American Petroleum Institute best practices and specifications. Our analytical expertise and capabilities also include pipelines and well completion (casing and tubing). We have extensive expertise in materials testing, modeling, and thermal load analysis, which are important considerations when dealing with the extreme operating environments often encountered. Several of Exponent’s senior technical staff have previous work experience with major energy companies, and therefore are familiar with the needs and challenges faced by the offshore industry.

Specific to natural gas, Exponent can assist in identifying the source of natural gas when ownership is in question. Disputes over ownership have arisen between gas storage and pipeline companies storing gas in geologic formations thousands of feet underground and companies supposedly producing native natural gas from areas in the vicinity of those storage fields. Some states provide that an injector of natural gas does not lose title or possession of gas that has migrated to adjoining property or to another stratum if the injector can prove that such gas was originally injected into underground storage. Those states also give the injector the right to conduct tests on existing wells to determine the origin of such gas. Exponent’s expertise in geochemical fingerprinting techniques can assist in identifying the source of the natural gas in question. Exponent has successfully applied fingerprinting techniques to disputes and litigation in several states involving gas storage fields in an effort to identify gas sources.

To review our services in the area of Exploration and Production, please see our Practices and Industries page.

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