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In a natural pivot from oil and gas E&P, former oilfield executives are taking up the hunt for helium. Helium is used in a wide variety of products, such as rocket ships and computer chips, and, while there is still plenty left to find on Earth, finding quality commercial quantities can be a difficult task and reserves are running low.
Calgary-based Tourmaline Oil Corp. announced today that it is acquiring Black Swan Energy in an all-stock deal valued at CAD $1.1 billion. The transaction is set to boost Tourmaline's output by 50,000 BOE/D and the company expects to average around 500,000 BOE/D by mid-2022. The operator said the Black Swan acquisition is one of several it has made recently to become the largest producer in the north Montney Shale area of British Columbia. Black Swan's 231,000-acre position gives Tourmaline an estimated 1,600 horizontal drilling locations and proven and probable reserves of 491.9 million BOE. Tourmaline said in its announcement that Black Swan has not booked material reserves in other areas that it sees as having high potential and complementary to its existing footprint.
Pembina Pipeline will acquire a 50% stake in the proposed $2.4-billion Cedar LNG Project to develop the floating LNG facility in British Columbia in partnership with indigenous group, the Haisla Nation. The pipeline operator expects to invest about $90 million into Cedar LNG over the next 24 months, including costs to acquire its interest in the project as well as development costs prior to the final investment decision expected sometime in 2023. The company, which will acquire the equity interests in Cedar LNG from PTE Cedar LP and Delfin Midstream Inc., will operate the project going forward. Haisla will own the remaining 50% stake. Pembina has been busy of late.
Abstract Drilling in deep high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) abrasive sandstone pose significant challenges: low rate of penetration (ROP), bit wear, differential sticking, and wellbore instability issues. These issues are magnified when attempting to drill long laterals in the direction of minimum stress. This paper focuses on the use of Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) analytics to improve ROP. MPD is normally used to help drilling in formations with narrow mud weight window, it achieves this by controlling the surface backpressure to keep the annular pressure in the wellbore above the pore pressure and below the fracture gradient. One key benefit of using MPD is that high mud weight is no longer required, since the Equivalent Circulating Density (ECD) is going to be managed to maintain the overbalance. An example of a well that was drilled using MPD solely for ROP improvement is presented in this paper. This well achieved almost double the ROP of a control well, which was drilled in the same formation with no MPD. Essentially most of the drilling parameters used, which include, pump rate, revolution per minute (RPM), weight on bit (WOB), and other drilling practices, are controlled by the people on the rig. Incorporating AI analytics in the equation, help minimizes human intervention and could achieve further improvement in ROP. After the ROP improvement observed while using MPD, both technologies were combined in a well drilling the same formation. An example is presented for the well drilled using both technologies.
Rodríguez-Pradilla, Germán (School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK.) | Eaton, David (Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Canada.) | Popp, Melanie (geoLOGIC Systems Ltd., Calgary, Canada.)
Abstract The goal of this work is to calibrate a regional predictive model for maximum magnitude of seismic activity associated with hydraulic-fracturing in low-permeability formations in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). Hydraulic fracturing data (i.e. total injected volume, injection rate, and pressure) were compiled from more than 40,000 hydraulic-fractured wells in the WCSB. These wells were drilled into more than 100 different formations over a 20-year period (January 1st, 2000 and January 1st, 2020). The total injected volume per unit area was calculated utilizing an area of 0.2° in longitude by 0.1° in latitude (or approximately 13x11km, somewhat larger than a standard township of 6x6 miles). This volume was then used to correlate with reported seismicity in the same unit areas. Collectively, within the 143 km area considered in this study, a correlation between the total injected volume and the maximum magnitude of seismic events was observed. Results are similar to the maximum-magnitude forecasting model proposed by A. McGarr (JGR, 2014) for seismic events induced by wastewater injection wells in central US. The McGarr method is also based on the total injected fluid per well (or per multiple nearby wells located in the same unit area). However, in some areas in the WCSB, lower injected fluid volumes than the McGarr model predicts were needed to induce seismic events of magnitude 3.0 or higher, although with a similar linear relation. The result of this work is the calculation of a calibration parameter for the McGarr model to better predict the magnitudes of seismic events associated with the injected volumes of hydraulic fracturing. This model can be used to predict induced seismicity in future unconventional hydraulic fracturing treatments and prevent large-magnitude seismic events from occurring. The rich dataset available from the WCSB allowed us to carry out a robust analysis of the influence of critical parameters (such as the total injected fluid) in the maximum magnitude of seismic events associated with the hydraulic-fracturing stimulation of unconventional wells. This analysis could be replicated for any other sedimentary basin with unconventional wells by compiling similar stimulation and earthquake data as in this study.
von Gunten, Konstantin (University of Alberta) | Snihur, Katherine N. (University of Alberta) | McKay, Ryan T. (University of Alberta) | Serpe, Michael (University of Alberta) | Kenney, Janice P. L. (MacEwan University) | Alessi, Daniel S. (University of Alberta)
Summary Partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (PHPA) friction reducer was investigated in produced water from hydraulically fractured wells in the Duvernay and Montney Formations of western Canada. Produced water from systems that used nonencapsulated breaker had little residual solids (<0.3 g/L) and high degrees of hydrolysis, as shown by Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Where an encapsulated breaker was used, more colloidal solids (1.1–2.2 g/L) were found with lower degrees of hydrolysis. In this system, the molecular weight (MW) of polymers was investigated, which decreased to <2% of the original weight within 1 hour of flowback. This was accompanied by slow hydrolysis and an increase in methine over methylene groups. Increased polymer-fragment concentrations were found to be correlated with a higher abundance of metal-carrying colloidal phases. This can lead to problems such as higher heavy-metal mobility in the case of produced-water spills and can cause membrane fouling during produced-water recycling and reuse.
Denver-based Ovintiv announced this week an agreement to sell its Eagle Ford Shale properties to Validus Energy in a deal valued at $880 million. Ovintiv said the proceeds from the south Texas development will help accomplish its goal to divest at least $1 billion in assets, a move designed to bring its total debt below $5 billion by year-end. Combined with a February deal to divest assets in Alberta's Duvernay Shale for $263 million, Ovintiv has raised at least $1.1 billion. Ovintiv said the Eagle Ford asset is on track to reach a 2021 average production rate of 21,000 BOED, including 14,000 B/D of crude and condensates. With the divestures accounted for, Ovintiv estimates its full-year production will be around 190,000 B/D of oil and condensates.
Abstract Geomechanical rock properties correlations and modeling approach for conventional reservoirs are inappropriate and unsuitable for unconventional shale gas reservoirs where the shale formation is strong and has very low porosity. These correlations are critical in the development of 1D and 3D geomechanical models which are used for various field applications including drilling optimization, hydraulic fracturing design and operation, and field management. The study investigates various geomechanical rock properties and their relationships to one another using data extracted from rock mechanics testing conducted on shale core samples. For rock elastic properties correlations, dynamic elastic properties determined from compressional sonic velocity, shear sonic velocity and density are plotted against laboratory-measured static elastic properties obtained from triaxial tests. Steps were taken to further refine the properties correlations by separating the data from vertical and horizontal core samples, using data from tests conducted at in-situ confining stress condition, and focusing on data only taken from Field A and nearby fields. Similar steps were also taken to develop the correlations for rock strength properties. Correlations for the shale anisotropic elastic properties were also developed based on ratio of horizontal and vertical elastic properties. Blind tests were conducted on three wells in Field A using the new rock properties correlations which showed good matching of the predicted geomechanical properties with the new correlations and core measured test data.
Summary Alternate or out-of-sequence fracturing (OOSF) has been field tested in western Siberia in 2014 and in western Canada in 2017, 2018, and 2019, with operational success and positive well-production performance. It is conducted by fracturing Stage 1 (at the toe) and then fracturing Stage 3 (toward the heel), followed by tripping back to place Stage 2 (center fracture) between Stages 1 and 3 (outside fractures). During placing the center fracture, OOSF can exploit the reduced stress anisotropy to effectively activate the planes of weakness (natural fractures, fissures, faults, and joints) to potentially create failure surfaces with different breakdown angles in virtually all directions. This can potentially lead to branch fractures that can connect the hydraulic fractures to stress-relief fractures that are created while placing the outside fractures, ultimately generating a complex fracture network and enhancing fracture connectivity. Despite prior works on fracture modeling (calibrated by field tests) and geomechanical modeling, a comparative analysis of wellbore-breakdown character and hydraulic-fracture orientation during OOSF is still lacking. Thus, in this study, the solutions to 3D Kirsch equations are provided for both low and high stress anisotropies to analyze the differences in breakdown gradient, failure angle, and fracture orientation under various geomechanical and treatment-design conditions. The consideration is given to an intact rock from an isotropic stress state to high-stress-anisotropy conditions. The results are analyzed in the context of the downhole-measured pressures and temperatures. The results indicate that the reduced stress anisotropy during OOSF leads to favorable treating conditions: With a net fracture-extension pressure greater than the reduced stress anisotropy, fracture complexity can be created by allowing the fracture to grow with different failure angles. Also, a well can be drilled and fractured at any inclination or azimuth with favorable breakdown gradients of 45 to 85% of the overburden gradient. The reduced stress anisotropy can also trigger some challenges. The near-well stress-concentration effects can become more pronounced, promoting longitudinal fracture creation. For treatments with tortuosity greater than the stress anisotropy, longitudinal fractures can be created instead of transverse fractures because the tortuosity is transmitted to the wellbore body and not into the fractures. In this case, to initiate transverse fractures, either the wellbore must intersect the pre-existing transverse notches or the near-well pore-fluid pressure must exceed the axial stress and rock strength (before the hoop stress reaches the tensile failure point). In addition, the fracture might lose directional control and follow any path of weakness. Hence, the rock-fabric effects become more dominant under a low-stress-anisotropy regime, which means that with no pre-existing transverse natural fractures or notches, a longitudinal fracture can be generated at the bottom and top of an intact horizontal wellbore. This is the first attempt in identifying the circumstances that should be avoided for optimizing OOSF through geomechanical modeling and the analysis of the downhole-measured pressures and temperatures to reveal the differences in breakdown character using the Kirsch equations under various geomechanical and treatment conditions during the low-stress-anisotropy regime.
An acquisition this week making ARC Resources the biggest player in the Montney Shale draws attention to a play where profits projections are up along with gas prices, though growth is likely to remain slow and steady. The purchase of Seven Generations Energy for shares worth $2.2 billion combines two companies with combined liquids rich gas production, which will total 340 BOE/D. ARC, which is also in the Pembina Cardium play, will become the large producer of gas liquids in Canada and is third largest natural gas producer. The reasons given for the deal are in lockstep with deals among big shale producers in the US--the efficiencies of running an operation that has more than double its production is expected to save $110 million a year by 2022. That, will increase the free cash flow which will allow it to reduce debt and "deliver incremental returns to shareholders."