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Abstract In some basins, large scale development of unconventional stacked-target plays requires early election of well targeting and spacing. Changes to the initial well construction framework can take years to implement due to lead times for land, permitting, and corporate planning. Over time, as operators wish to fine tune their development plans, completion design flexibility represents a powerful force for optimization. Hydraulic fracturing treatment plans may be adjusted and customized close to the time of investment. With a practical approach that takes advantage of physics-based modeling and data analysis, we demonstrate how to create a high-confidence, integrated well spacing and completion design strategy for both frontier and mature field development. The Dynamic Stimulated Reservoir Volume (DSRV) workflow forms the backbone of the physics-based approach, constraining simulations against treatment, flow-back, production, and pressure-buildup (PBU) data. Depending on the amount of input data available and mechanisms investigated, one can invoke various levels of rigor in coupling geomechanics and fluid flow – ranging from proxies to full iterative coupling. To answer spacing and completions questions in the Denver Basin, also known as the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin, we extend this modeling workflow to multi-well, multi-target, and multi-variate space. With proper calibration, we are able generate production performance predictions across the field for a range of subsurface, well spacing, and completion scenarios. Results allow us to co-optimize well spacing and completion size for this multi-layer column. Insights about the impacts of geology and reservoir conditions highlight the potential for design customization across the play. Results are further validated against actual data using an elegant multi-well surveillance technique that better illuminates design space. Several elements of subsurface characterization potentially impact the interactions among design variables. In particular, reservoir fluid property variations create important effects during injection and production. Also, both data analysis and modeling support a key relationship involving well spacing and the efficient creation of stimulated reservoir volumes. This relationship provides a lever that can be utilized to improve value based on corporate needs and commodity price. We introduce these observations to be further tested in the field and models.
Miller, Fred (Carrizo Oil & Gas, Now with Navigation Petroleum) | Payne, Jon (Eureka Geological Consulting, Formerly with Liberty Resources) | Melcher, Howard (Liberty Oilfield Services) | Reagan, Jim (Liberty Oilfield Services) | Weijers, Leen (Liberty Oilfield Services)
Abstract The Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin has seen oil and gas production for more than a century. It is going through a new cycle of development with horizontal drilling and high-intensity hydraulic fracturing. Since the first horizontal wells in 2008 nearly 4,000 Niobrara and Codell horizontals have been drilled. While completion practices have remained fairly standard across the basin, production results vary wildly. We utilized a high-quality digital log dataset to accurately characterize reservoir quality in the Niobrara and Codell formations in the DJ Basin. The final dataset included 562 digital logs spread across the current extent of horizontal drilling in the DJ Basin. A petrophysical workflow was developed and detailed mapping of the reservoir attributes was completed. The log derived parameters, along with an aeromagnetic and vitrinite reflectance dataset, provided excellent insight into which geologic parameters could be best tied to well production response. Through bivariate and multivariate analyses using reservoir and completion data, and an economic evaluation to determine the "best bang for your buck", we have identified several completion changes for the basin that result in a significant reduction in the cost per bbl of oil produced. While geological parameters have been found to matter greatly for the production success of DJ horizontals, completions matter as well. The high GOR areas of Inner Core Wattenberg benefit most from jobs with more proppant, whereas areas with poorer reservoir quality generally benefit from higher stage intensity and jobs with larger fluid volumes. All suggested completion changes have a major impact on lowering $/boe over the long term and result in lowering incremental cost per incremental boe within a period of only 365 producing days in the current low oil price environment.
Owens, Matt (Extraction Oil & Gas) | Silva, Jesse (Extraction Oil & Gas) | Volkmar, Matt (Extraction Oil & Gas) | Poppel, Ben (Liberty Oilfield Services) | Siegel, Joel (Liberty Oilfield Services) | Losacano, Tony (Liberty Oilfield Services) | Weijers, Leen (Liberty Oilfield Services)
Abstract The Denver-Julesburg Basin has been going through a new cycle of development with horizontal drilling and high-intensity hydraulic fracturing. Since the first horizontal wells in 2008, more than 4,000 horizontals have been drilled, leading to a four-fold production increase between 2008 and 2012. While completion practices have been fairly similar across the basin over these early-development years, several operators are now starting to experiment with different completion designs. The objective of this paper is to discuss the benefits of these new designs and further evaluate what completion changes deliver the most "bang for the buck" in a challenging pricing environment. Use of a novel completion design and development of a low-cost ultra-low concentration fluid system resulted in significant cost saving while maintaining or improving overall production, thus lowering $/BOE in a challenging industry environment. Lowering cost per BOE drove a process of completion design changes that started with fluid compatibility testing, including regained permeability testing in proppant load cells, which showed that a light and more cost-effective Borate Guar can result in similar or better cleanup than a CMHPG-Zirconate system traditionally used in the DJ basin. Multi-variate analysis results from an extensive petrophysical / completion / production database showed production in the basin predominantly benefits from increase proppant volume and higher stage intensity. Field implementation of this system and a design with more proppant and stage intensity focused on consistently being able to place higher proppant loadings with less polymer. More than 150 horizontal wells were completed between mid-2014 and early 2016 in T5-6N R64-67W while implementing this strategy. When compared to about 350 other horizontal wells, mostly completed without these changes, overall results of the new completion strategy have been very encouraging: Higher injection rates and improved pump time to downtime resulted in a 20+% reduction in days required to complete a typical 8-well pad. Over a period of about 130 pumping days, more than 2,100 frac stages were completed. Supply chain efficiency improvements were implemented to keep up with proppant demand averaging 3.5 million pounds of sand every day, occasionally peaking to above 8 million pounds of sand per day; A new ultra-low concentration Guar Borate system was developed that could be crosslinked at concentrations down to 8 lbs/Mgal. Together with high rate, this fluid system enables placing proppant concentrations up to 6 PPA, making the system significantly cheaper and cleaner than the conventional 20+ lbs/Mgal CMHPG systems that were routinely used in the DJ Basin. Overall production in both Codell and Niobrara was above results for nearby peers over a wide range of production metrics. A petrophysical workflow was developed to arrive at a proper apples-to-apples comparison of historical production response in the area as compared with the results associated with this new strategy. Through various statistical analysis tools such as multi-variate analysis, the authors evaluated the importance of both reservoir and completion changes, and identified several key characteristics that are closely tied to the highest production responses in the DJ Basin.
Abstract This paper presents construction and validation of a reservoir model for the Niobrara and Codell Formations in Wattenberg Field of the Denver-Julesburg Basin. Characterization of Niobrara-Codell system is challenging because of the geologic complexity resulting from the presence of numerous faults. Because of extensive reservoir stimulation via multi-stage hydraulic fracturing, a dual-porosity model was adopted to represent the various reservoir complexities using data from geology, geophysics, petrophysics, well completion and production. After successful history matching two-and-half years of reservoir performance, the localized presence of high intensity macrofractures and resulting evolution of gas saturation was correlated with the time-lapse seismic and microseismic interpretations. The agreement between the evolved free gas saturation in the fracture system and the seismic anomalies and microseismic events pointed to the viability of the dual-porosity modeling as a tool for forecasting and future reservoir development, such as re-stimulation, infill drilling, and enhanced oil recovery strategies.
Abstract It is better to know what you don't know than not know anything at all. For operators, this means using data analytics to understand shortcomings and successes in their own operations as well as competitors. Unfortunately, public data sources aren't always maintained to the same standards as internal data, making field analysis difficult and accurate recommendations inconsistent or impossible. Leveraging multidisciplinary data analytics from raw public data such as digital well logs and production and completion data can help deliver necessary insights to understanding key successes and shortcomings of unconventional plays. A case study of the Wattenberg field will be presented in this session, demonstrating why public data cannot be used in its raw format and the exponential value gained from a cross-discipline analytical process. Within the field, four geological horizons are targeted through horizontal drilling – the Niobrara (A-C Chalks) and Codell formations. The Niobrara consists of alternating chalk and marl units, whereas the Codell Formation consists of a clay-rich sandstone; both were deposited within the Interior Cretaceous Seaway. The petroleum system is overpressured and is believed to be self-sourced from the organic-rich marl intervals. This study analyzed 1,100 digital well logs to generate a surface-based geological model that delineates where horizontal wells were drilled. In addition, completion and production data from over 4,500 wells were compiled, with type curves generated based on sub-region within the field, operator and vintage to normalize for geological variabilities. Highlights of this work include: geological parameters for optimal targets; differing estimated ultimate recoveries (EUR) on a lateral foot basis as operators transition away from the core of the play; optimal completion design; and changes in wellhead liquids percentages across the play. Results can be directly traced to conclusions such as higher proppant loading and longer well lateral lengths yield materially better well performance. In general, data accessed through public sources allows for larger sample sizes; however, it's through a technically-sound methodology that the data can be analyzed at a granular level, illustrating the effectiveness of using a multidisciplinary approach.