Sweet Spots: What Are They, Where Are They, How Are They Created and Are They Important Anyway?

Tennant, S. H. (Shell Exploration & Production) | Giles, M. R. (Shell Exploration & Production)


The term sweet spot means multiple things to different people, for some it might be the economically attractive part of the play for others the cheapest part to access, while others consider that it is represented by a unique property of the play. Often people search for a single silver bullet to predict them. Here we define a sweet spot as that portion of the play that has top quartile EUR (Estimated Ultimate Recovery) performance. Such sweet spots are not random but occupy only a small area of the total play. Sweet spots come in two forms, simple and composite. The former are typically the result of stratigraphic features while the later are commonly the result of a combination of multiple geological factors that coincide e.g. maturity, drive energy, etc,. For composite sweet spots the recipe that works in one play may be different from that which works in another. Thus predictive methods that work for one sweet spot may not work for all as the fundamental underlying geological causes can vary and hence the search for silver bullets may be fruitless. Composite sweet spots are by far the most common. In all cases, sweet spots hold the key to creating value in an unconventional plays.
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