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​​​Shale Operators


Thanks to shale oil, the U.S. crude production is at its highest level in decades. But developing these fields is very difficult because traditional methods and techniques for log data interpretation, successfully used to develop conventional reservoirs, have not been applicable and useful for developing shale plays. As a result, operators have essentially been developing shale deposits blindfolded.

Because log data interpretation in shale plays has been inefficient, some operators have stopped running open-hole log data and are resorting to statistical or geometric drilling and completions to maximize production. This approach significantly increases development costs and environmental impact associate with hydraulic fracturing of multiple zones, and is not effective in optimizing production in vertically and laterally inhomogeneous shale formations. According to industry experts, 95% of oil from shale plays is left in the ground and two thirds of hydraulic fracking stages don’t produce commercially.

Hopefully, this is our past. Next Shale development will be based on new information that up to now has been available for only a small number of wells.

This new information comes from Amros technology that generates a Production Profile that shows productivity in barrels per day as well as Brittleness along the entire well. The input data for this technology can be limited to only standard open-hole log data.

Using Brittleness, an operator can calculate breakdown pressure and the cost of fracking each stage of a vertical or horizontal well. The Production Profile shows predicted production of each stage. So operators can calculate the economics of the development and make informed decisions. It removes the blindfolds.

The new data allows operators to implement different development strategies where data from vertical wells is required. Production Profiles for these vertical wells allow to identify the best locations of horizontal wells. For thick shale formations like Permian Basin and Vaca Muerta in addition the highest producing formations and trajectory of horizontal wells can be calculated. In the Permian Basin normally two high producing horizontal wells can be drilled in the same location.

Analysis of Production Profiles in the Permian Basin shows that 80% of the thickness of production zones produce 12 times less than the remaining 20%. The technology separates low and high producing formations, allowing operators to avoid drilling of 80% of low producing horizontal wells and drill only horizontal wells with top production. For example, with geometrical drilling approach with probability 80% initial production of 7000 ft. horizontal well will be 120 bbl./day. With Production Profile two 7000 ft. horizontal wells drilled in the same location will have total initial production 1,300 bbl./day.

For vertical wells in Permian Basin precise targeting of intervals with the highest recoverable oil increases well production by at least 25%, while decreasing the cost of fracturing by up to 70%, making these wells very profitable.

The same technique applied for horizontal wells will optimize location of fracking stages of these wells.

This Next Shale development will decrease development costs and at the same time increase production and recovery efficiency. By reducing the amount of water injection the environmental impact of operations will be significantly reduced.

 One operator, P&I Energy is already dedicated to this Next Shale development. There will be more soon.