Improving Wolfcamp B3 Drilling from Geologic Analysis

Ye, Hongzhuan (Pioneer Natural Resources) | Waite, Lowell (Pioneer Natural Resources) | Meek, Robert (Pioneer Natural Resources) | Bodziak, Robert (Pioneer Natural Resources) | Kelly, Evan (Pioneer Natural Resources)


The Wolfcamp Shale of the Midland Basin in West Texas is emerging as one of the nation's premier liquids-rich unconventional resource plays. Multiple target zones within the very thick mudrock unit, include, from youngest to oldest, the Wolfcamp -A, -B, -C, and Wolfcamp-D. This presentation focuses on the geologic characterization of the lowermost portion of the Wolfcamp B zone, designated here as the Wolfcamp B3. Utilizing a robust, integrated geologic, engineering, and drilling data set, we discuss how the presence of thin, yet laterally extensive, carbonate stringers impact drilling performance of the unit and how these thin beds may be identified utilizing various 3D seismic inversion methods. Data from core, mud logs, wire-line logs, seismic, and drilling performance allow drill-bit rate of penetration (ROP) to be correlated to gamma-ray log response, seismic impedance, Young's modulus and formation brittleness. As a consequence, drilling performance of individual horizontal wells may be optimized by implementation of detailed, multipoint well planning and application of precise geo-steering.