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North Sea and European Area Stimulation

5 – 7 November 2013

Lisbon, Portugal | Tivoli Lisboa

Technical Agenda

Tuesday, 5 November, 0910–0940

Keynote Address: The New Regulatory Environment for Fracturing in Germany

Speaker: Steffen Liermann, Wintershall Holding GmbH

Hydraulic fracturing has a long history in Germany with its earliest applications in the late 1950s. More recently, on-going tight-gas projects and first attempts at shale gas in Germany have been delayed due to negative public opinion and changes in the regulatory framework. In this presentation, Steffen will discuss his company’s experiences dealing with these new regulations.


Sessions 1a and 1b: Offshore Stimulation in Tight-Gas Sands and Stimulation in Tight-Gas Sands

Session Managers: Sami Haidar and Josef Shaoul

Tight-gas fracturing has a long and sporadic history in the North Sea and Europe and it is still far from being an easy development option in the current economic climate.

Onshore, there has recently been a pause in activity in Germany (the main tight-gas producer in Europe), while activity continues in Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands. In addition to new field development, there is also potential development of tight-gas horizons within existing fields. The economics of such developments are much more attractive than standalone tight-gas projects, although there are often operational issues that need to be considered.

Offshore tight-gas has made a lot of progress in the last few years. The definition of offshore “tight-gas” is not clearly defined, but it is generally accepted that the permeability needs to be much higher than onshore tight-gas, due to the economics of offshore developments.

There has been a flurry of activity recently in the UK and Dutch sectors, with multiple fractured horizontal wells. There is now sufficient production history from a number of horizontal multiple-fractured wells to be able to judge the long-term deliverability of these wells.

Focusing on case studies, this session will examine recent developments in tight-gas stimulation, both onshore and offshore. It will build on recent experience to push the envelope of tight-gas sand stimulation practices.


Session 2: Stimulation in Chalk Oil Fields

Session Managers: Stewart Anderson and Bob Burton

Chalk stimulation is the most mature of all stimulation practices in the North Sea. This session will review field stimulation techniques and results from major chalk reservoirs. Different stimulation strategies have been applied including hydraulic fracturing, fracture acidising, and matrix acidising. In this session, we will focus on case histories of these different approaches. Field design and operational issues will be discussed along with well productivity results. The discussion will also review how operators determine the “best” stimulation technique for individual reservoirs.

Topics in this session will include:

  • Matrix acid stimulation in chalk reservoirs
  • Acid fracturing in chalk reservoirs
  • Proppant fracturing in chalk reservoirs


Session 3: Fracturing at Extremes

Session Managers: Simon Austin and Josef Shaoul

This session will address new technologies and practices in the areas of stimulation in Europe for application in high pressure/high temperature reservoirs, as well as other difficult situations, such as fracturing sub-sea wells.

The focus will be on:

  • Advances in fluids, equipment, and techniques
  • Fracturing in depleted high-temperature reservoirs
  • Global state-of-the-art and new technologies for European fields

Wednesday, 6 November, 0930–1030

Session 4: Completion Optimisation for Stimulation

Session Managers: Stewart Anderson and Bob Burton

The biggest enabler for making offshore tight-reservoir development economical, has been the use of horizontal wells stimulated with multiple fractures. The original application of this technology by Maersk in the 1980s, required the use of a rig during the entire completion and stimulation process. Recent well developments with a tight-gas focus used a variety of completion technologies each of which has different advantages and limitations.

This session will focus on case studies of wells using different completion technologies to achieve rapid multizone hydraulic fracturing.


Session 5: Data and Design

Session Managers: Bjørn Berntsen and Dario Stemberger

The critical nature of characterising reservoir properties is well understood; however, stimulation through hydraulic fracturing requires the design engineer to simultaneously couple mechanical and reservoir properties to provide the best result.

In this session we will explore the challenges and the latest techniques in detailed mechanical properties determination to assess the interaction of the stress field and the reservoir for fracture placement.


Session 6: Breakout Session: Pros and Cons—Cased-Hole vs. Open-Hole Horizontal Well Fracturing; What Is Best Practice, Onshore vs. Offshore

Session Managers: Stewart Anderson and Mark Norris

This breakout session will address the question: what is the best completion type for multiple-fractured horizontal wells, onshore and offshore? There have been a lot of developments in North America in both types of completion, with the main goal of reducing cost in an onshore “factory” fracturing environment. The question is: what are the most important criteria for choosing the best completion for use in Europe, both onshore and offshore.


Session 7: Shale and Unconventional Gas in Europe

Session Managers: Mark Norris and Dario Stemberger

Unconventional oil and gas reservoirs, although less common and less well understood, have become an increasingly important resource base for many North American operators. The significant success of these reservoirs has seen the global industry take notice and in recent years there has been a large acquisition of unconventional acreage in many areas. This includes Southeast Asia, China, Australasia, North Africa, and most recently Europe where independents and super majors have been aggressively adding to their portfolios. Of the many different reservoir types that have been classified as unconventional it is predominantly coal bed methane and organic rich shale that have been the main focus for European operators (mainly Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine).

Due to the operational and environmental issue of developing these plays, the addition of significant reserves to the operators’ bottom line does not come without its challenges. Hydraulic fracturing holds the key to unlocking potential vast reserves. The last decade has seen considerable improvements in the efficiency of the operation. It is imperative that operators implement the best in-field technologies to realise economic developments; yet European operators face additional demands including resource shortages, environmental scrutiny, and condensed time frames to bring their projects to fruition.

In this session we will discuss the opportunities and challenges that fracturing in unconventional reservoirs brings to the European operator, and promote discussion on how fracturing is being designed and executed in a new-frontier environment.

The debate will focus on issues such as:

  • Review of shale gas activity in Poland
  • Shale gas potential in the UK
  • Seismic activity experience in UK shale gas fracturing

Thursday, 7 November, 0900–1030

Session 8: Onshore Fracturing

Session Managers: Simon Austin and Mark Norris

In spite of recent problems with regulatory agencies and public opinion, there continues to be a limited amount of onshore hydraulic fracture stimulation activity in Europe. This session will focus on case studies of recent activity, such as:

  • Fracturing of mature/depleted moderate-permeability gas reservoirs
  • Development of tight oil reservoirs with horizontal multi-fracture wells
  • Application of specialised completions for rapid fracture execution in horizontal wells


Session 9: New Materials

Session Managers: Bjørn Berntsen and Dario Stemberger

In this session, we will explore recent developments in the materials used for stimulation, such as proppant and fluids.