Over the last several years, horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing have become the norm across the industry and proved crucial for economic production of natural gas from unconventional shale gas and ultra tight sandstone reservoirs, also referred to as nano-Darcy reservoirs.
Following the success of the Barnett shale, horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing has spread across North America with new emerging shale gas plays such as the Eagle Ford, Woodford, Haynesville, Marcellus, Utica, Horn River
changing the industry's landscaping. In the current economic environment of high drilling and completion costs, coupled with lower commodity prices, the economic success of shale gas developments has become reservoir specific.
Evaluation of well's initial performance in a particular field and especially the ability to accurately predict the long term production behavior and EUR is critical to the efficient deployment of large capital investments. Field analogies making use
of arbitrary "type curves?? can have a significant negative impact on the project's bottom line.
With the growing number of multi-stage horizontal wells producing from shale gas reservoirs, many "unconventional?? production analysis techniques have been developed based on new concepts such as stimulated reservoir volume (SRV),
fracture contact area (FCA), or sophisticated mathematical relationships (power law decline curves, linear flow type curves, to name a few). These sophisticated engineering processes are well documented in the literature and have been presented at
numerous industry work shops and conferences. However, for the majority of these techniques there is one common reoccurring theme: performance evaluation of shale gas production cannot be analyzed using conventional methods (e.g.
This paper will demonstrate how the conventional approach of reservoir characterization, well performance evaluation and forecasting, can be implemented for all unconventional gas reservoirs, using traditional well testing and production data
analysis techniques. We will present one simple analytical model based on the solution of the pseudo steady state equation and will introduce the concept of a shale gas normalized production plot. In our view, the shale gas normalized production
plot is one type curve generally applicable to any shale gas reservoir.
Finally, pre-frac in-situ testing techniques will be reviewed and special consideration will be given to the perforation inflow diagnostic (PID) testing. We will emphasize the importance of specific reservoir parameters (pore pressure and in-situ shale
matrix permeability) and show their impact on drilling and completion strategy and design. Field case examples including well test results and production data from wells completed in several shale gas reservoirs are presented.
This paper presents a methodology for connecting geology, hydraulic fracturing, economics, environment and the global natural gas endowment in conventional, tight, shale and coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs. The volumetric estimates are generated by a variable shape distribution model (VSD). The VSD has been shown in the past to be useful for the evaluation of conventional and tight gas reservoirs. However, this is the first paper in which the method is used to also include shale gas and CBM formations.. Results indicate a total gas endowment of 70000 tcf, split between 15000 tcf in conventional reservoirs, 15000 tcf in tight gas, 30000 tcf in shale gas and 10000 tcf in CBM reservoirs. Thus, natural gas formations have potential to provide a significant contribution to global energy demand estimated at approximately 790 quads by 2035.
A common thread between unconventional formations is that nearly all of them must be hydraulically fractured to attain commercial production. A significant volume of data indicates that the probabilities of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluids and/or methane contaminating ground water through the hydraulically-created fractures are very low. Since fracking has also raised questions about the economic viability of producing unconventional gas in some parts of the world, supply cost curves are estimated in this paper for the global gas portfolio. The curves show that, in some cases, the costs of producing gas from unconventional reservoirs are comparable to those of conventional gas.
The conclusion is that there is enough natural gas to supply the energy market for nearly 400 years at current rates of consumption and 110 years with a growth rate in production of 2% per year. With appropriate regulation, this may be done safely, commercially, and in a manner that is more benign to the environment as compared with other fossil fuels.
Fractal and power law distributions have been found in the past to be useful for modeling some reservoir properties following the assumptions of constant shape and self-similarity. This study shows, however, that pore throat apertures, fracture apertures, petrophysical and drill cuttings properties of unconventional formations are better matched with a variable shape distribution model (as opposed to constant shape). This permits better reservoir characterization and forecasting of reservoir performance.
Pore throat apertures, fracture apertures, petrophysical properties and drill cutting sizes from tight and shale reservoirs are shown to follow trends that match the variable shape distribution model (VSD) with coefficients of determination (R2) that are generally larger than 0.99. The good fit of the actual data with the VSD allows more rigorous characterization of these properties for use in mathematical models. Data that could not be described previously by a single equation can now be matched uniquely by the VSD. Examples are presented using data from conventional, tight and shale formations found in Canada, the United States, China, Mexico and Australia.
In addition, the study shows that the size of cuttings drilled in vertical and horizontal wells can also be matched with the VSD. This allows the use of drill cuttings, an important direct source of information, for quantitative evaluation of reservoir and rock mechanics properties. The results can be used for improved design of stimulation jobs including multi stage hydraulic fracturing in horizontal wells. This is important as the amount of information collected in horizontal wells drilled through out tight formations, including cores and well logs, is limited in most cases.
It is concluded that the VSD is a valuable tool that has significant potential for applications in conventional, low and ultra-low permeability formations and for evaluating distribution of rock properties at the micro and nano-scale.
Fractal geometry was introduced by Mandelbrot (1982) in his seminal work "The Fractal Geometry of Nature.?? He indicated that this type of geometry applies to many irregular objects in nature. Since then, fractals have been shown to be useful in many disciplines including geology, petroleum engineering, earthquakes, and economics to name a few. In geology, the approach has been used, for example, to evaluate the distribution of natural fractures in outcrops and reservoir rocks; also for evaluating stratigraphic units. In petroleum engineering, they have been used in efforts to capture the distribution of natural fractures for well test analysis. In the case of telluric movements, fractals have been used to evaluate very small to very large earthquakes. In economics, fractals have been used to analyze the distribution of income amongst populations. In the case of the oil and gas industry as a whole, fractal geometry has been used for estimating the spatial distribution of hydrocarbon accumulations (Barton and Scholz, 1995).
Neber, Alexander (Schlumberger) | Cox, Stephanie (Schlumberger) | Levy, Tom (Schlumberger) | Schenk, Oliver (Schlumberger) | Tessen, Nicky (Schlumberger) | Wygrala, Bjorn (Schlumberger) | Bryant, Ian David (Schlumberger)
New tools are now available to provide a rigorous and systematic play-based exploration approach to the evaluation of unconventional resources. Coupled with petroleum system modeling, this methodology offers an efficient and effective approach to identify "sweet spots?? early in the life of resource plays. Petroleum system modeling can be applied to predict the type and quantity of hydrocarbon in shale formations, as well as the proportion of adsorbed gas and geomechanical properties that are important for hydraulic fracture stimulation of shale reservoirs. Maps of these properties are then converted to chance-of-success maps for hydrocarbon generation, retention, and pore volume that can be integrated with nongeological factors, such as access and drilling depth required to reach target reservoirs. These play-based maps are expressed in probability units, so simple map multiplication provides a map of the play's overall chance of success, delineating the sweet spots. A similar methodology is applicable to evaluation of coalbed methane resources.
In this paper, we illustrate this methodology using examples from shale oil and gas shale plays in North America. These include data-rich plays from the North Slope of Alaska and data-poor plays from the northeastern and southern regions of the United States, which are more representative of many Asia-Pacific basins. We show how predictions from petroleum system modeling based on sparse data provide a good match with results of subsequent development drilling and production.
Petroleum system-based assessment of resources in place, combined with an assessment of overall play risk, enables companies to make decisions on acquisition of acreage early in the life of unconventional resource plays based on the probability of them containing economically viable resources.
Thermal maturity is an important parameter for commercial gas production from gas shale reservoirs if the shale has considerable organic content. There is a common idea that gas shale formations with higher potential for gas production are at higher thermal maturity status. Therefore estimating this parameter is very important for gas shale evaluation. The present study proposes an index for determining thermal maturity of the gas shale layers using the conventional well log data. To approach this objective, different conventional well logs were studied and neutron porosity, density and volumetric photoelectric adsorption were selected as the most proper inputs for defining a log derived maturity index (LMI). LMI considers the effects of thermal maturity on the mentioned well logs and applies these effects for modelling thermal maturity changes. The proposed methodology has been applied to estimate thermal maturity for Kockatea Shale and Carynginia Formation of the Northern Perth Basin, Western Australia. A total number of ninety eight geochemical data points from seven wells were used for calibrating with well log data. Although there are some limitations for LMI but generally it can give a good in-situ estimation of thermal maturity.
Thermal maturity and total organic carbon (TOC) are very important geochemical factors for evaluation of the gas shale reservoirs. There is a common hypothesis that gas shale layers with the higher potential for gas production (i.e. sweet spots) are located at the higher thermal maturity. Thermal maturity is an indicator for determining maximum temperature that a formation reached during different stages of hydrocarbon generation.
This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 149472, "Analyzing Variable-Rate/-Pressure Data in Transient- Linear Flow in Unconventional Gas Reservoirs," by P. Liang, SPE, L. Mattar, SPE, and S. Moghadam, SPE, Fekete Associates, prepared for the 2011 Canadian Unconventional Resources Conference, Calgary, 15-17 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed.