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Abstract Unconventional resource plays, herein referred to as source rock plays, have been able to significantly increase the supply of hydrocarbons to the world. However, majority of the companies developing these resource plays have struggled to generate consistent positive cash flows, even during periods of stable commodity prices and after successfully reducing the development costs. The fundamental reasons for poor financial performance can be attributed to various reasons, such as; rush to lease acreage and drill wells to hold acreage, delayed mapping of sweet spots, slow acknowledgement of high geological variability, spending significant capital in trial and errors to narrow down optimal combinations of well spacing and stimulation designs. The objective of this paper is to present a systematic integrated multidisciplinary analysis of several unconventional plays worldwide which, if used consistently, can lead to significantly improved economics. We present an analysis of several unconventional plays in the US and Argentina with fluid systems ranging from dry gas to black oil. We utilize the publicly available datasets of well stimulation and production data along with laboratory measured core data to evaluate the sweet spots, the measure of well productivity, and the variability in well productivity. We investigate the design parameters which show the strongest correlation to well productivity. This step allows us to normalize the well productivity in such a way that the underlying well productivity variability due to geology is extracted. We can thus identify the number of wells which should be drilled to establish geology driven productivity variability. Finally, we investigate the impact of well spacing on well productivity. The data indicates that, for any well, first year cumulative production is a robust measure of ultimate well productivity. The injected slurry volume shows the best correlation to the well productivity and "completion normalized" well productivity can be defined as first year cumulative production per barrel of injected slurry volume. However, if well spacing is smaller than the created hydraulic fracture network, the potential gain of well productivity is negated leading to poor economics. Normalized well productivity is log-normally distributed in any play due to log-normal distribution of permeability and the sweet spots will generally be defined by most permeable portions of the play. Normalized well productivity is shown to be independent of areal scale of any play. We show that in every play analyzed, typically 20-50 wells (with successful stimulation and production) are sufficient to extract the log-normal productivity distribution depending on play size and target intervals. We demonstrate that once the log-normal behavior is anticipated, creation of production profiles with p10-p50-p90 values is quite straightforward. The way the data analysis is presented can be easily replicated and utilized by any operator worldwide which can be useful in evaluation of unconventional resource play opportunities.
Abstract There are mainly two types of solids in the oil field waters; Suspended Solids (SS) and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). While it is easy to remove SS from water, removal of TDS requires the application of advance filtration techniques such as reverse osmosis or ultra-filtration. Because these techniques cannot handle high volumes of the oilfield waters with high TDS content, produced waters originated from hydraulic fracturing activities cannot be treated by using these advance technologies. Thus, in this study we concentrated on the pretreatment of these waters. We investigated the feasibility of the Coagulation, Flocculation, and Sedimentation (CFS) process as pretreatment method to reduce mainly SS in Produced Water (PW) samples. We collected samples from 14 different wells in the Permian Basin. First, we characterized the water samples in terms of pH, SS, TDS, Zeta potential (ZP), Turbidity, Organic matter presence and different Ion concentration. We tested varying doses of several organic and inorganic chemicals, and on treated water samples we measured pH, TDS, SS, Turbidity, ZP and Ions. Then, we compared obtained results with the initial PW characterizations to determine the best performing chemicals and their optimal dosage (OD) to remove contaminants effectively. The cation and anion analyses on the initial water samples showed that TDS is mainly caused by the dissolved sodium and chlorine ions. ZP results indicated that SS are mainly negatively charged particles with absolute values around 20 mV on average. Among the tested coagulants, the best SS reduction was achieved through the addition of ferric sulfate, which helped to reduce the SS around 86%. To further lessen SS, we tested several organic flocculants in which the reduction was improved slightly more. We concluded while high TDS in the Permian basin does not implement a substantial risk for the reduction of fracture conductivity, SS is posing a high risk. Our study showed, depending on components of the initial PW, reuse of the pretreated water for fracturing may minimize fracture conductivity damage.
Abstract The vast shale gas and tight oil reservoirs cannot be economically developed without multi-stage hydraulic fracture treatments. Owing to the disparity in the density of natural fractures and the different in-situ stress conditions in these formations, micro-seismic fracture mapping has shown that hydraulic fracture treatments develop a range of large-scale fracture networks. The effect of these various fracture geometries on production is a subject matter in question. The fracture networks approximated with micro-seismic mapping are integrated with a commercial numerical production simulator that discretely models different network structures. Two fracture geometries have been broadly proposed, i.e., orthogonal and transverse. The orthogonal pattern represents a network with cross-cutting fractures orthogonal to each other, whereas transverse profile maps uninterrupted fractures achieving maximum depth of penetration into the reservoir. The response for a single stage is further investigated by comparing the propagation of each stage to be dendritic versus planar. A dendritic propagation is a bifurcation of the induced hydraulic fracture due to the intersection with the natural fracture (failure along the plane of weakness). For the same injected fracture treatment volume, the transverse network attains a higher penetration into the reservoir, achieves a higher stimulated reservoir volume (SRV), and produces around 40-65% more than the orthogonal network over a timespan of 10 years. The SRV will largely dictate the drainage area in a tight environment. The cumulative production rises until the pressure drawdown reaches the extent of the fracture fairway. For the orthogonal network, the unstimulated reservoir boundary is reached at a sooner time than the transverse network. It is found that by increasing the fracture spacing in both the networks from 100 ft to 150 ft, the relative production was enhanced in the orthogonal network by 41%, but when it was further increased to 200 ft- there was a minor drop (not increase) in the relative production (4.5%). For an infinite conductivity fracture, the width of the fracture has minimal effect on oil and gas production. For the dendritic pattern, the size of the SRV created due to the interaction between the induced and natural fractures largely depends on the length of natural fractures and the point of interaction (center, off-center, or extremity). Effect of length, distance of natural fracture from wellbore, and the point of interaction is evaluated. A novel approach for reservoir simulation is used, where porosity (instead of permeability) is used as a scaling parameter for the fracture width. The forward modeling effort, including the comparative fracture geometries setup, induced, and natural fracture interaction parametric study, is unique.
Abstract This paper presents a continuum-scale diffusion-based model informed by pore-scale data for gas transport in organic nanoporous media. A mass transfer and adsorption model is developed by considering multiple transport and storage mechanisms, including bulk diffusion and Knudsen diffusion for free phase, surface diffusion for sorbed phase, and multilayer adsorption. The continuum-scale diffusion-based governing equation is developed solely based on free phase concentration for the overall mass conservation of free and sorbed phases, carrying a newly-defined effective diffusion coefficient and a capacity factor to account for multilayer adsorption. Diffusion of free and sorbed phases is coupled through the pore-scale simplified local density method based on the modified Peng-Robinson equation of state for confinement effects. The model is first utilized to analyze pore-scale adsorption data from the krypton (Kr) gas adsorption experiment on graphite. Then we implement the model to conduct sensitivity analysis for the effects of pore size on gas transport for Kr-graphite and methane-coal systems. The model is finally used to study Kr diffusion profiles through a coal matrix obtained through X-ray micro-CT imaging. The results show that the sorbed phase occupies most of the pore space in organic nanoporous media due to multilayer adsorption, and surface diffusion contributes significantly to the total mass flux. Therefore, neglecting the volume of sorbed phase and surface diffusion in organic nanoporous rocks may result in considerable errors. Furthermore, the results reveal that implementing a Langmuir-based model may be erroneous for an organic-rich reservoir with nanopores during the early depletion period when the reservoir pressure is high.
Abstract A critical component of natural gas in organic-rich shales is adsorbed gas within organic matter. Quantification of adsorbed gas is essential for reliable estimates of gas-in-place in shale reservoirs. However, conventional high-pressure adsorption measurements for coal on the volumetric method are prone to error when applied to characterize sorption kinetics in shale-gas systems due to limited adsorption capacity and finer pores of shale matrix. An innovated laboratory apparatus and measurement procedures have been developed for accurate determination of the relatively small amount of adsorbed gas in the Marcellus shale sample. The custom-built volumetric apparatus is a differential unit composed of two identical single-sided units (one blank and one adsorption side) connected with a differential pressure transducer. The scale of the differential pressure transducer is ± 50 psi, a hundred-fold smaller than the absolute pressure transducer measuring to 5000 psi, leading to a significant increase in the accuracy of adsorption measurement. Methane adsorption isotherms on Marcellus shale are measured at 303, 313, 323 and 333 K with pressure up to 3000 psi. A fugacity-based Dubinin-Astakhov (D-A) isotherm is implemented to correct for the non-ideality and predict the temperature-dependence of supercritical gas sorption. The Marcellus shale studied displays generally linear correlations between adsorption capacity and pressure over the range of temperature and pressure investigated, indicating the presence of a solute gas component. It is noted that the condensed phase gas storage exists as the adsorbed gas on shale surface and dissolved gas in kerogen, where the solute gas amount is proportional to the partial pressure of that gas above the solution. To our best understanding, it is the first time to observe the contribution of dissolved gas to total gas storage. With adsorption potential being modeled by a temperature dependence expression, the D-A isotherm can successfully describe supercritical gas sorption for shale at multiple temperatures. Adsorption capacity remarkably decreases with temperature attributed to the isosteric heat of adsorption. Lastly, the wide applicability of the proposed fugacity-based D-A model is also tested for literature adsorption data on Woodford, Barnett, and Devonian shale. Overall, the fugacity-based D-A isotherm provides precise representations of the temperature-dependent gas adsorption on shales investigated in this work. The application of the proposed adsorption model allows predicting adsorption data at multiple temperatures based on the adsorption data collected at a single temperature. This study lays the foundation for accurate evaluation of gas storage in shale.
Summary Reserves estimation is an essential part of developing any reservoir. Predicting the long-term production performance and estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) in unconventional wells has always been a challenge. Developing a reliable and accurate production forecast in the oil and gas industry is mandatory because it plays a crucial part in decision-making. Several methods are used to estimate EUR in the oil and gas industry, and each has its advantages and limitations. Decline curve analysis (DCA) is a traditional reserves estimation technique that is widely used to estimate EUR in conventional reservoirs. However, when it comes to unconventional reservoirs, traditional methods are frequently unreliable for predicting production trends for low-permeability plays. In recent years, many approaches have been developed to accommodate the high complexity of unconventional plays and establish reliable estimates of reserves. This paper provides a methodology to predict EUR for multistage hydraulically fractured horizontal wells that outperforms many current methods, incorporates completion data, and overcomes some of the limitations of using DCA or other traditional methods to forecast production. This new approach is introduced to predict EUR for multistage hydraulically fractured horizontal wells and is presented as a workflow consisting of production history matching and forecasting using DCA combined with artificial neural network (ANN) predictive models. The developed workflow combines production history data, forecasting using DCA models and completion data to enhance EUR predictions. The predictive models use ANN techniques to predict EUR given short early production history data (3 months to 2 years). The new approach was developed and tested using actual production and completion data from 989 multistage hydraulically fractured horizontal wells from four different formations. Sixteen models were developed (four models for each formation) varying in terms of input parameters, structure, and the production history data period it requires. The developed models showed high accuracy (correlation coefficients of 0.85 to 0.99) in predicting EUR given only 3 months to 2 years of production data. The developed models use production forecasts from different DCA models along with well completion data to improve EUR predictions. Using completion parameters in predicting EUR along with the typical DCA is a major addition provided by this study. The end product of this work is a comprehensive workflow to predict EUR that can be implemented in different formations by using well completion data along with early production history data.
Abstract The ultimate recovery factor in tight and shale resources is limited and is usually in the range of 5-10%. Although high-intensity fracturing and refracturing can increase recovery, an enormous amount of oil will remain in place, hence the desirability of enhanced oil recovery methods. Many of the shale reservoirs are oil-wet with negligible water uptake. By altering the wettability, water can spontaneously imbibe into the formation matrix, creating a counter-current flow that forces the oil out. Here, we assess the likelihood of increased oil recovery by modifying the fracturing-fluid composition (salinity and ion concentration) that transforms the formation wettability into a more water-wet state. Oil wetting of tight formations is usually controlled by the adhesion of oil droplets on the surface of clay minerals. When clay minerals are not predominant, the oil attached to carbonate minerals can significantly control rock wettability. In this study, we first identify the primary reactions that define the initial wettability of the rock depending on the formation mineralogy, formation water composition, and oil type. Second, we build a geochemical model considering the surface complexation of various minerals to mimic the wettability state of the reservoir. Third, we validate our method on zeta-potential, contact angle, and imbibition data from a previously published study using different fluids with different salinities. Finally, we present a mechanistic approach to model the wettability-alteration impact on spontaneous imbibition and compute the incremental oil recovery contributed by different fracturing fluid compositions. Based on the studied case, the oil adhesion to clay can be reduced by tuning the fracturing fluid salinity. The ionic concentrations of 2.5 wt.% of NaCl and 5.0 wt.% of CaCl2 induced the smallest contact angles of 44.7 and 51.2 degrees. We observe that further brine dilution increases the contact angle. For example, distilled water shows the most oil-wet condition with a contact angle to 93.4 degrees. We argue that the main factors that maximize water wetting for the reported optimum salinities are the contrast in the rock and oil surface potential and the sodium concentration. Spontaneous-imbibition simulations indicate that the low salinity fluids promote a change in water-oil capillary pressure, leading to increased water uptake in the cores and improved oil recovery compared to distilled water. The agreement between the developed model and experimental data implies that the wettability in shale and tight formations can be quantitatively predicted and regulated.
Abstract We present an integrated, automated analysis workflow that can be performed in real-time where collected data populate templates while drilling (every 90 ft.). This workflow significantly improves the geosteering and wellbore placement, reduces uncertainty, and provides near wellbore rock characterization which is used for completion optimization. Several steps should be executed before data interpretation. Steps are: (1) importing Pilot Hole (PH) and Drilling Well (DW) data, and developing high level well log analysis including correlating pilot hole and drilling well gamma-ray data to obtain higher than 85% correlation coefficient, rocks classification, and constructing percentage pie-chart, K-mean clustering, and calculating volume of clay (Vclay), gamma-ray minimum, mean, and maximum every 90 ft., (2) visualizing gas compound and ratios to evaluate gas/oil ratio (GOR), reservoir boundaries and fluid types, and identification of potential water intervals, (3) analyzing mineralogical data to provide insight into carbonate influx (debris flow), and brittleness, and (4) calculating mechanical specific energy (MSE) which is used for identification of rock properties and potential geohazards (e.g., faults), and assisting in completion decision regarding stage length and cluster spacing selection and treatment recipe. Sequence stratigraphic concepts such as fining or coarsening upward cycles along the lateral length, for each survey, are also used to adjust stage and cluster intervals, and to identify depositional cycles and tectonic activities. The workflow has been tested and proved on public well data from Permian Basin, Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Hayneville formations. Valuable information volumes are captured which are not normally pinpointed due to constraints on data collection technologies, cost reduction measures, and limitations of current geosteering and well placement concepts. Testing resulted in identifying lithologic and geomechanical groups and variations, potential oil and gas producing intervals, out-of-target intervals, landing point comparison, and fault zones identification. Interpretation of all drilling data and plots assists in defining "similar rocks" intervals and selection of appropriate stage locations and length which will reduce frac hits among wells with a potential cost saving between 15 to 20 percentages in completion operation. The implementation of this methodology leads to: • Lowering risks and uncertainty, and increasing cost-effectiveness by reducing possible errors in geosteering operation. • Increasing confidence in wellbore placement and time and cost savings regarding the data validation, reservoir characterization, and identification of potential faults below seismic detection limits (30 ft.). • Identifying potential hydrocarbon types in different intervals and water-bearing zones. • Promotes increased efficiency in the selection of stage and cluster numbers and spacing, proppant and water volumes, and pump rate. • Reduction of potential well interferences when completing neighboring wells.
Benge, Margaret (Oklahoma State University) | Lu, Yunxing (Oklahoma State University) | Katende, Allan (University of Pittsburgh) | Rutqvist, Jonny (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) | Crandall, Dustin (National Energy Technology Laboratory) | Haecker, Adam (Continental Resources) | King, George (GEK Engineering) | Renk, Joseph B. (National Energy Technology Laboratory) | Radonjic, Mileva (Oklahoma State University) | Bunger, Andrew (University of Pittsburgh)
Abstract The Caney Shale is emerging as a target for hydrocarbon production, creating opportunities to study rock mechanical origins of observed/anticipated challenges to effective and sustained stimulation. Here we examine five subunits within the Caney, two of which are dubbed "ductile" and three of which are dubbed "reservoir" rock types. The "ductile" versus "reservoir" identification is initially based on elastic properties ascertained from well logs. By comparing core-based mechanical tests, it is found nominally ductile and reservoir layers do not differ in terms of brittleness, but instead the nominally ductile layers tend to be weaker and more prone to creep deformation compared to the nominally more brittle reservoir layers. This difference in mechanical properties is shown to generate higher susceptibility to proppant embedment in the weaker and more creep-prone layers. Specifically, over a 5-year period, the creep is expected to have little impact on reservoir layers but is predicted to reduce propped fracture aperture by a factor of 2 in the ductile layers. Introduction The Caney shale is located in southwest Oklahoma, located below the Springer shale and above the Woodford shale formations (Cardott, 2017). Recent attention has turned to the Caney as an emerging target for hydrocarbon production. Some of the main challenges are thought to be related to high clay content (Awejori et al, 2021, Radonjic et al, 2020) and the presumably ductile behavior with negative implications for effectiveness of stimulation. However, recently it has been argued (Benge et al, 2021) the Caney is not demonstrably "ductile" by the typical measures of brittleness/ductility ascribed to rocks. Hence, a more thorough mechanical study is required to highlight challenges associated with stimulation/production from the Caney so solutions can be developed to suit the specific challenges. Firstly it is necessary to revisit what is meant by the terms "brittle" and "ductile". While such terminology is often used in a casual sense, there are at least two relevant mechanical definitions. One definition compares the peak and residual strength of a material (Bishop, 1967). Brittle materials lose strength abruptly when subjected to stress (i.e. tensile and/or shear) which exceeds the peak strength of the material, while ductile materials maintain a residual strength which can be nearly equal to the peak strength. Another definition has its roots in fracture mechanics, with brittle materials considered to ascribe to the assumption inelastic strain is confined to a very small region near a propagating crack tip (as compared to the crack length) and the energy required for crack propagation is assumed to be an intrinsic property of the material (e.g. see discussion in Papanastasiou and Atkinson, 2015).