If you can see it, then maybe you can control it. This sums up the latest quest that the unconventional engineering community embarked upon to get a better understanding of proper well spacing and how fractures really interact. Devon Energy will be getting simpler and smaller by selling two no-growth assets—gas acreage in the Barnett Shale in Texas and oil sand operations in Canada. Its future is staked on growing oil production in the Permian’s Delaware Basin and three other unconventional oil plays. The struggle to overcome the challenge of frac hits has led to a critical dialogue about which pathway the shale sector should take.
If you can see it, then maybe you can control it. This sums up the latest quest that the unconventional engineering community embarked upon to get a better understanding of proper well spacing and how fractures really interact. First developed as a proprietary system by a large Permian Basin operator, this hydraulic fracturing schedule exchange will be run by a data company and opened up to the entire North American shale sector. The complicated parent-child relationship in US shale fields is emerging as a turning point in the US shale revolution. One of the first executives to exploit tight oil says the issue will reverse the sector’s cumulative growth rate by 2025.
A typical “frac spread” used to exploit the intricate fabric of shale reservoirs. Hydraulic fracturing as it is now executed in North American shale plays may have to be replaced with a much more intricate scheme—one that better matches the complex fabric of tight reservoirs. The impetus for an engineering overhaul is being forced by the prevalent well-to-well fracture interactions known as frac hits. These events are the subject of intensifying study by US and Canadian shale producers that have attributed them to lowering oil recovery factors from new child wells by 20-40% while inflicting even higher losses on older, yet less productive, parent wells. How the industry manages the impact of frac hits going forward is likely to define its future growth rate.