Figure 1—The impact of fracturing on perforations varies within a stage. Greater erosion occurs during fracturing of the four perforations in cluster 5 (heel side on top row) than in cluster 1 shown at bottom (toe side, bottom row). Fracturing leaves its mark on each of the perforations penetrating the steel casing. The array of perforations above (Figure 1) were eroded by water and sand surging through these entry holes, some more than others. Dave Cramer, senior engineering fellow for ConocoPhillips, said pictures shot after fracturing are full of telling details when combined with other diagnostics.
Shell’s pioneering design for a floating platform, such as the Olympus platform shown here, allowed for greater deepwater development. For the oil industry to remain competitive, it will need to break with the tradition of sharing little information with competitors, a top drilling executive from Shell says. Dewitt delivered the keynote address at the SPE/IADC International Drilling Conference in The Hague on 5 March, DeWitt stressed the need for greater industry collaboration to speed learning during a period of drastic change as alternative energy sources are fast becoming a factor in the overall energy picture. Afterward, some delegates who heard the speech said they were struck by the call for openness and wondered when and how it would begin. Dewitt said in a later interview that while the need for change is apparent, there has been little change yet.
You have access to this full article to experience the outstanding content available to SPE members and JPT subscribers. To ensure continued access to JPT's content, please Sign In, JOIN SPE, or Subscribe to JPT For petroleum engineers, it is aggravating to hear negative comments about the oil and gas industry, often by people who don’t understand the industry or get the facts wrong. She agreed that it is disappointing to hear the work you are proud of misrepresented, and misconceptions can lead to bad policies. For example, those who assume that a transition from oil and gas to wind and solar will take just a few years rather than decades are also likely to oppose government policies that will allow for the exploration and production required to meet global energy demand. Adding to the challenge, managing public perception is not something that petroleum engineers learn in college.
Yet another SPE paper has concluded that old wells outperform new ones, but this study offers a lot more detail about development in the Permian. The paper, authored by Schlumberger (SPE 194310), offers comparisons of five major plays in the Midland and Delaware basins, including details down to the pounds of proppant pumped per foot, that show that completions are becoming increasingly similar. Older wells outperform newer ones even when adjusting for the fact that new horizontal wells extend further through the reservoir and more proppant is pumped. In the process of reaching that conclusion, the latest paper traveled through a forest of charts, offering an unusual level of detail showing that what you see in production numbers from the Permian’s Midland and Delaware basins can be deceiving. Consider this chart showing that average daily production in the Midland Basin (black line) was better than ever in 2018.
Devon Energy will be shedding its holdings in the Barnett and the Canadian oil sands as part of a program to shrink the company to focus on four US unconventional oil plays. The program announced along with earnings is the last step in a series of asset sales to create a “New Devon,” which also promises to reduce annual costs by $780 million by 2021, with most of that done by the end of this year. The “sustainable cost reductions” will target expenses in field operations, drilling, and completions. It did not specifically mention job reductions, but the list of cost saving steps includes “better aligning personnel with the go-forward business.” Devon’s moves, described by Dave Hager, president and CEO of Devon, as “the final step in our multiyear transformation” will stake its future on large positions in the Delaware Basin, the Eagle Ford, the STACK, and the Powder River Basin.
Well pads in the Permian Basin seen from above. The relentless growth of oil production in the Permian Basin is a test of the industry’s will to keep drilling the wells needed to fill the gap left by fast-declining older wells. The future cost of drilling so many wells will depend on well productivity. Less production per foot drilled means more wells will be required for growth. A recent report from Schlumberger showed newer Permian wells produce less than older ones, after adjusting for differences in the drilling and completions.
In 2040, Will There Be Jobs for Petroleum Engineers? Wind turbines, storage tanks and pipelines share space in BP’s Rotterdam refinery. BP’s detailed Energy Outlook 2019 can be reduced to a single question: Is petroleum engineering a good, long-term career choice for a college student? The short answer from BP CEO Bob Dudley is yes. The evidence for that was in the company’s latest annual outlook, which examined several possible scenarios of the energy future, all of which will require finding and producing a lot more oil.
The rising tide of produced water in the Permian Basin is requiring operators to re-engineer how they manage water. One big difference in the Permian is that water production from unconventional reservoirs exceeds output from most other plays, particularly in the Delaware Basin. Prolific water production has long been a given in conventional fields there, but most of that could be reinjected to maintain production, which is not an option in the ultratight rock. Instead, billions of gallons of produced water have been pumped into saltwater disposal wells in shallow formations, such as the San Andres, significantly increasing the pressure drillers encounter, creating a hazard for drillers moving in and out of them from lower-pressure zones. To isolate the higher-pressure zones passed on the way to the Wolfcamp, operators have increased the number of strings of casing used from three to four.
An operator decided to fracture three wells near an old one, but there was a fault in the vicinity crossing the path of the three laterals. The company decided to go ahead with the fracture anyway to see what would happen. It got an unusually detailed look. The fluid injected during a zipper fracture of three Anadarko Basin wells that flanked an older parent well was monitored with an electromagnetic imaging system developed by Deep Imaging. A technical paper presented Tuesday at the SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference (SPE 194313) described how the fluid was illuminated by an electromagnetic signal from two transmitter lines placed on the surface parallel to the laterals.
A student works on a drilling simulator at the University of Texas at Austin's Rig Automation and Performance Improvement in Drilling research consortium. The constant talk about the data-driven future of the oil and gas business poses a threatening question for some petroleum engineers: What do I need to know to ensure I have a job next year? Many universities are adding digital data and analytics programs to prepare petroleum engineering students, many of whom are also taking the initiative on their own to master the tools used for this new way of working in the industry. Jim Crompton, an adjunct faculty member at the Colorado School of Mines who created and taught some of the first such classes, said students who grew up in the Internet era pick it up quickly. He said he worries, though, about working engineers.