Bailey, Adam H.E. (Geoscience Australia) | Jarrett, Amber J.M. (Geoscience Australia) | Bradshaw, Barry (Geoscience Australia) | Hall, Lisa S. (Geoscience Australia) | Wang, Liuqi (Geoscience Australia) | Palu, Tehani J. (Geoscience Australia) | Orr, Meredith (Geoscience Australia) | Carr, Lidena K. (Geoscience Australia) | Henson, Paul (Geoscience Australia)
The Isa Superbasin is a Paleoproterozoic to Mesoproterozoic succession (approximately 1670-1575 Ma), primarily described in north-west Queensland. Despite the basin's frontier status, recent exploration in the northern Lawn Hill Platform has demonstrated shale gas potential in the Lawn and River supersequences. Here, we characterise the unconventional reservoir properties of these supersequences, providing new insights into regional shale gas prospectivity.
The depths, thicknesses and mappable extents of the Lawn and River supersequences are based on the 3D geological model of Bradshaw et al. (2018). Source rock net thickness, total organic carbon (TOC), kerogen type and maturity are characterised based on new and existing Rock-Eval and organic petrology data, integrated with petroleum systems modelling. Petrophysical properties, including porosity, permeability and gas saturation, are evaluated based on well logs. Mineralogy is used to calculate brittleness (see also
Abundant source rocks are present in the Isa Superbasin succession. Overall, shale rock characteristics were found to be favourable for both sequences assessed; both the Lawn and River supersequences host thick, extensive, and organically rich source rocks with up to 7.1 wt% total organic carbon (TOC) in the Lawn Supersequence and up to 11.3 wt% TOC in the River Supersequence. Net shale thicknesses demonstrate an abundance of potential shale gas reservoir units across the Lawn Hill Platform.
With average brittleness indices of greater than 0.5, both the Lawn and River supersequences are interpreted as likely to be favourable for fracture stimulation. As-received total gas content from air-dried samples is favourable, with average values of 0.909 scc/g for the Lawn Supersequence and 1.143 scc/g for the River Supersequence
The stress regime in the Isa Superbasin and the surrounding region is poorly defined; however, it is likely dominated by strike-slip faulting. Modelling demonstrates limited stress variations based on both lithology and the thickness of the overlying Phanerozoic basins, resulting in likely inter- and intra-formational controls over fracture propagation. No evidence of overpressure has been observed to date, however, it is possible that overpressures may exist deeper in the basin where less permeable sediments exist.
This review of the shale reservoir properties of the Lawn and River supersequences of the Isa Superbasin significantly improves our understanding of the distribution of potentially prospective shale gas plays across the Lawn Hill Platform and more broadly across this region of northern Australia.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) An 816-mile 2D seismic acquisition program was completed on the Ampasindava block, located in the Majunga deepwater basin offshore northwest Madagascar. The data will provide improved subsurface imaging of the large Sifaka prospect and will potentially mature additional prospects in the Ampasindava block to drill-ready status. Sterling Energy (UK) holds a 30% interest in the Ampasindava production sharing contract, which is operated by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) (70%). Asia Pacific Production began on the Liuhua 19-5 gas field in the Pearl River Mouth basin in the South China Sea. The field is expected to hit peak production of 29 MMcf/D this year. China National Offshore Oil Corporation (100%) is the operator. Drilling began on the YNG 3264 and the CHK 1177 development wells onshore in Myanmar.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) Eni finished a production test on its Minsala Marine 1 NFW well, located in Marine XII block, 35 km offshore The Republic of the Congo. During the test, the well delivered natural flow in excess of 5,000 B/D of 41 API crude and 14 MMcf/D of natural gas from a 37-m opened section of the discovery's 420-m column. Eni (65%) is operator, with state-owned partner SNPC (25%), and New Age (African Global Energy) Limited (10%). Asia Pacific CNOOC started natural gas production from the Panyu 34-1/35-1/35-2 project at the Pearl River Mouth basin in the South China Sea. Main production facilities for the three gas fields include one comprehensive platform, two sets of underwater production systems, and 13 producing wells. Two wells are producing a total of 21 MMcf/D of gas. The project is expected to reach peak production of 150 MMcf/D.
Binder, Gary (Colorado School of Mines) | Titov, Aleksei (Colorado School of Mines) | Tamayo, Diana (Colorado School of Mines) | Simmons, James (Colorado School of Mines) | Tura, Ali (Colorado School of Mines) | Byerley, Grant (Apache Corporation) | Monk, David (Apache Corporation)
In 2017, distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology was deployed in a horizontal well to conduct a time-lapse vertical seismic profiling (VSP) survey before and after each of 78 hydraulic fracturing stages. The goal of the survey was to more continuously monitor the evolution of stimulated rock throughout the treatment of the well. From two vibroseis source locations at the surface, time shifts of P-waves were observed along the well that decayed almost completely by the end of the treatment. A shadowing effect in the time shifts was observed that enables the height of the stimulated rock volume to be estimated. Using full wavefield modeling, the distribution of time shifts is well described by an equivalent medium model of vertical fractures that close as pressure declines due to fluid leak-off. Converted P to S waves were also observed to scatter off stimulated rock near some stages as confirmed with full wavefield modeling. The signal-to-noise ratio is a limitation of the current dataset, but recent improvements in DAS technology can enable stage-by-stage monitoring of the stimulated rock height, fracture compliance, and decay time as a well is completed.
Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) has opened new possibilities for seismic monitoring of unconventional reservoirs. Using a laser interrogator to launch light pulses down a fiber optic cable, dynamic strain changes can be sampled along the cable from the phase shift of light backscattered to the interrogator (Hartog, 2017). Since the fiber optic cable can be permanently cemented outside the casing in a borehole, highly repeatable vertical seismic profiling (VSP) surveys can be acquired frequently without costly wireline geophone deployments that interfere with well treatment activities (Mateeva et al., 2017; Meek et al., 2017).
As described by Byerley et al., 2018, a unique interstage DAS VSP survey was conducted in 2017 during the stimulation of a horizontal well targeting the Wolfcamp formation in the Midland Basin, Texas. Using two vibroseis source locations offset about 1 mile from the heel and toe of the well, DAS data was acquired in the treatment well before and after each of 78 hydraulic fracturing stages. At the expense of fewer source locations, this type of acquisition allows the evolution of the stimulated rock volume (SRV) to be monitored on a stage-by-stage basis as the well is treated.
The SWP project is located in a mature waterflood undergoing conversion to CO2-WAG operations at Farnsworth, Texas, USA. Utilized CO2 is anthropogenic, sourced from a fertilizer and an ethanol plant. Major project goals are optimizing the storage/production balance, ensuring storage permanence, and developing best practices for CCUS.
This paper provides a review of work performed toward development of a 3D coupled Mechanical Earth Model (MEM) for use in assessment of caprock integrity, fault reactivation potential, and evaluation of stress dependent permeability in reservoir forecasting. Mechanical property estimates computed from geophysical logs at selected wellbores were integrated with 3D seismic elastic inversion products to create a 3D "static" mechanical property model sharing the same geological framework as the existing reservoir simulation model including 3 major faults. Stresses in the MEM were initialized from wellbore stress estimates and reservoir simulation pore pressures. One way and two way coupled simulations were performed using a compositional hydrodynamic flow model and geomechanical solvers.
Coupled simulations were performed on history matched primary, secondary (waterflood), and tertiary (CO2 WAG) recovery periods, as well as an optimized WAG prediction period. These simulations suggest that the field has been operating at conditions which are not conducive to either caprock failure or fault reactivation. Two way coupled simulations were performed in which permeability was periodically updated as a function of volumetric strain using the Kozeny-Carmen porosity-permeability relationship. These simulations illustrate the importance of frequent permeability updating when recovery scenarios result in large pressure changes such as in field re-pressurization through waterflood after a long primary depletion recovery period. Conversely, production forecasting results are less sensitive to permeability update frequency when pressure cycles are short and shallow as in WAG cycles.
This paper describes initial work on development of a mechanical earth model for use in assessment of geomechanical risks associated with CCUS operations at FWU. The emphasis of this work is on integration of available geomechanical data for creation of the static mechanical property model. Preliminary coupled hydro-mechanical simulations are presented to illustrate some of the key diagnostic output from coupled simulations which will be used in later work for in depth evaluation of specific risk factors such as induced seismicity and caprock integrity.
Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), as a seismic sensor, has unique features allowing us to record multiple datasets with variable acquisition parameters set inside the recording box, while using one continuous recording cable and a single round of shooting. We reveal how these distinct features allow DAS to deliver multi-scale data and have the capability to focus on both the near surface and deeper targets simultaneously. We present synthetic and field examples of "deep" and "shallow" DAS surveys and demonstrate their effectiveness. The new capabilities of surface seismic with DAS technology comprise a sensing revolution that addresses long-standing near-surface issues in land seismic without compromising the deeper imaging. Achieving similar capabilities with point sensors could be done but would lead to ballooning acquisition costs, whereas surface seismic with DAS can deliver them at a cost less than conventional geophone acquisition available today.
Smith, Robert (Geophysics Technology, EXPEC Advanced Research Center, Saudi Aramco) | Bakulin, Andrey (Geophysics Technology, EXPEC Advanced Research Center, Saudi Aramco) | Silvestrov, Ilya (Geophysics Technology, EXPEC Advanced Research Center, Saudi Aramco)
Accurate near-surface velocity models are required to correct for shallow velocity heterogeneities that can otherwise lead to the misinterpretation of seismic data, particularly in the case of low-relief structures. Here we show how a novel uphole acquisition system utilizing distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology can be used in a number of different ways to generate near-surface models.
The novel smart DAS uphole system connects multiple shallow wells with one continuous optical fiber. The horizontal and vertical segments of the fiber allow several techniques for near-surface model building to be tested using the same system. Uphole surveys use the vertical fiber segments to make accurate, localized velocity measurements, while the directivity of the DAS fiber enables horizontal sections to be used for refraction tomography and surface-wave inversion.
The smart DAS uphole acquisition system, which enables the collection of data for deep reflection imaging and near-surface characterization simultaneously, has been successfully tested for the first time. Data acquired from ten smart DAS upholes produced excellent early arrival waveform quality for picking and subsequent velocity model building. This direct velocity measurement of the near-surface can reduce uncertainty in the seismic interpretation. In addition, replacing the shallow part of the depth velocity model with the DAS uphole model resulted in significant improvements in the final depth image from topography.
The directivity of DAS enables the recording of refracted events on horizontal fiber sections which have been picked as input to refraction tomography. This produces an alternative near-surface model that captures a larger volume of the subsurface. Ultimately, while the uphole velocity model is only suitable for removing long-wavelength components of near-surface variation, the refraction velocity model may allow for the correction of small-to-medium wavelength statics.
Altaf, Iftikhar (The University of Queensland) | Towler, Brian (The University of Queensland) | Underschultz, James (The University of Queensland) | Hurter, Suzanne (The University of Queensland) | Johnson, Raymond (The University of Queensland)
A fault stability study constitutes a fundamental element of any subsurface injection project that involves faults within a storage complex, yet the transient geomechanical effects introduced due to CO2-rock chemical interactions are rarely considered. This paper presents a review of the published work investigating the potential alteration of rock properties due to short to long term CO2-host rock chemical interactions during commercial scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) operations. Furthermore, the authors of this paper are attempting to highlight the potential significance of these mechanical-chemical effect on the fault reactivation potential for a commercial scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) operation.
The reactive nature between CO2 dissolved in formation water and the storage reservoir can significantly alter the hydraulic and mechanical properties of the host rock, which could in turn affect the storage potential of the target reservoir. Alteration of the host rock mineralogy due to chemical interactions with CO2 have been well studied (
Based on our review of the published literature and our fault stability analyses, we conclude that the chemical effects of CO2 interaction with host rock needs to be experimentally tested to confirm if these effects are significant. If yes, then these effects should constitute an integral part of the geomechanical study for any large scale CO2 injection exercise if there is a critically stressed fault as part of the storage complex.
In complex situations production optimisation often differs from plan to reality. Ideally a set of known factors are used to determine the optimal course of action for a production well. However, in reality many factors remain unknown and of those that are, many are only known within a range of uncertainty. Uncertainty is persistent; whether in the form of failed instrumentation, erroneous metering or production reconciliation to multiple reservoirs in commingled completions. Further, well optimisation is always governed by economics and operational constraints. Such constraints limit well surveillance activities and compound uncertainty. These challenges united when a large bore deviated depletion drive gas well on a small unmanned offshore platform in the Otway Basin began to exhibit unexpected production decline.
The large bore gas well with commingled reservoir completions was diagnosed as exhibiting liquid loading behavior. The intervention objective was to isolate the probable formation water source and restore water free gas production. A production log was required to confirm water was present and identify the source from three groups of completed intervals, each separated from one another using packers and mechanical sliding side doors. After risk assessments conducted during the intervention an active decision was taken to abort the work and not isolate the water source in favour of continuing cycled production to maximise gas recovery. Introducing an unknown, production logging identified that one of the three completed reservoir intervals was isolated by a closed sliding side door, previously believed to be open, presenting an incremental production opportunity.
A follow-up intervention retained an objective of isolating the water source, with the additional objective of accessing the isolated reservoir interval. Detailed planning and uncertainty analysis was conducted ahead of the campaign with a key risk being the range of pressure possibly present within this target interval and the resultant wellbore cross-flow immediately after accessing it. Whilst the second intervention experienced mechanical failure, the ensuing pragmatic decisions that were taken "on the fly" ultimately resulted in a successful production outcome. The water source was isolated and incremental rate and reserves were achieved through perforation of blast joints opposite the target interval.
This paper presents the workflows, tools & interventions used to diagnose production decline and optimise production from this challenging well. It is a case study in production surveillance utilising limited data, decision tree analysis and contingency planning for interventions performed with significant operational limitations. It includes the use of slickline production logging, tubing plugs, and electric wireline perforating in a strong cross-flow wellbore environment. This paper will be of interest to operators of unmanned platforms in hostile environments, commingled completions or wells with compromised production data. By integrating the learnings presented, engineers will get a head start when tackling similar uncertainties with their own challenging production optimisation activities.
Australia is uniquely positioned globally as a major energy provider, but this comes with multiple challenges that must be overcome to realize its full potential. LNG developments that are nearing fruition are set to make Australia the largest supplier of LNG in the world. The Asian LNG market continues to be the growth market. The development of the world's first coal bed methane (coal seam gas) to LNG projects on the east coast has created a robust east coast LNG export market, which in the near future is expected to coincide with domestic energy shortages arising from low exploration activity, maturing fields, higher costs, the interaction of government policy, commercial decisions and activism. As a result, unique approaches to project management and community relations have been developed that are complementary to the Australian consumer's needs for reliable, affordable and cleaner energy. The east coast demand for gas is likely to trigger new development of onshore Northern Territory gas in the short term, if political opposition can be managed. In Western Australia, new approaches leverage technologies such as floating LNG, and more utilization of existing infrastructure and plant capacity to achieve lower costs. This paper outlines Australia's natural gas supply & demand and the challenges to be faced in the coming years.