Session Chairs: Hans-Christian Freitag, Baker Hughes; Qassim Al Riyami, Petroleum Development Oman
Rapid domestic demand growth for gas, primarily for power generation and the petrochemical industry, has coincided with a decline in conventional gas production in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The supply shortfall expected in the near future may be met by unconventional gas, with its large volumes and long-term potential. The production of this resource has gained momentum worldwide because of the unprecedented success demonstrated recently by North America, where it has the potential of transforming a net importer into a gas exporter.
This session will focus on current and future challenges for unconventional gas exploitation in the MENA region. These challenges include:
Session Chairs: Abdulwahab AlBulushi, Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production; Osama Amin Al Shaarawy, ADCO
Shale and tight gas reservoirs are real sources for future gas supply. Reservoir quality is one of the major challenges for the development of shale and tight gas reservoirs. In shale gas plays, sweet spot is characterised by high TOC (Total Organic Content) and reasonable maturity (Ro) that reflect the ability of the shale to generate hydrocarbons. Huge shale volumes exist everywhere in sedimentary basins, the sweet spot is where Ro and TOC rest within the gas window. Intensive geochemical analyses are required to assess the potentiality of shale plays; hence, its hydrocarbon impending. This session will focus on future challenges related to:
Session Chairs: Ehtesham Ali, Arrow Energy; Qassim Al Riyami, Petroleum Development Oman
In North America, advances in technology have improved shale and tight gas well drilling. Current drilling technologies include pad and batch, horizontal, multi-laterals, motor, bit optimisation and top drive system. Mapping fit for purpose tailored drilling technologies for the play development and where it will be implemented, is a key enabler in unlocking shale and tight gas reservoirs. The unique nature of tight gas reservoirs poses many challenges to drilling operations. These challenges include formation damage, slow ROP, HPHT, wellbore instability, and well integrity. This may result in reduced production, increased development costs, and HSE exposure.
This session will focus on:
Session Chairs: Francisco E. Fragachán, Trican Well Service; Tim Huang, Baker Hughes
The driver behind every well completion strategy, whether for a complex or basic well, is to recover, at a reasonable cost, as large a percentage of the original hydrocarbon in place as possible; unconventional gas reservoirs are not excluded. As we move into more complex reservoirs with challenging conditions due to ultra-low permeability, depth, temperature, pressure, and situations requiring remote operations (e.g. deep water and desert environment reservoirs), the unavoidable question is “What will be required in the future to produce hydrocarbons from these challenging reservoirs?” This applies to currently producing reservoirs and as well as those from newly discovered ones.
With an ever increasing global energy demand, the industry has to focus on the discovery of resources not only in previously unexplored locations, but through smart intervention systems that will, ideally, safely self-diagnose for production optimisation and enhancement. New completion and diagnostic technologies are required to harness the full potential of the invariably complex reservoirs; examples of which are:
Session Chairs: Francisco E. Fragachán, Trican Well Service; Osama Amin Al Shaarawy, ADCO
Conventional stimulation for shale and tight gas reservoirs include hydraulic fracturing and/or acid fracturing. Laser perforation and radioactive stimulation, for instance, could become future alternatives by means of which, shale and tight gas reservoirs can be converted into commercial producible reservoirs. Other alternatives such as the cavitation hydrovibrator, designed to fracture rock using pressurised water pulse, and "Terra Slicing", involving an environmentally and ecologically safe excavation process in which fracturing is possible and highly determinable, could potentially become viable alternatives to current conventional stimulation.
Obviously, technology is not limited to those specifically mentioned applications, and future innovations could evolve into alternative solutions. Future applications should include innovative approaches to developing smart wells that do not rely on pulling the completion, for instance, to identify the underperforming areas. This session focuses on the development of new technologies like:
Session Chairs: Dale Zankl, Weatherford; Ehtesham Ali, Arrow Energy
Tight and shale gas reservoirs are typically developed with well designs that aim at maximising the reservoir contact area for higher productivity. Wells with long reach, multilateral, fishbone, and other architectural styles are typical examples of unconventional gas wells that have achieved commercial production. While it is acknowledged that surveillance and reservoir management create significant value in the lifecycle of a given field, they may not be fully factored into the well design/completion strategy. This could result in wells that are not suitable for surveillance and management in the “Operation” phase after it is handed over to the asset team.
Therefore, the reservoir surveillance and management strategy for shale/tight gas development needs to be stipulated in the project concept/design phase before the basis of well design is finalised. This session will discuss:
Session Chairs: Hazim Abass, Saudi Aramco; Tim Huang, Baker Hughes
As we lay the groundwork for technology change through long term research and development, it is important to consider the environmental concerns and responsibilities surrounding unconventional gas development. The proven advanced technology should be responsibly applied to access this vast and needed energy resource. This session introduces concepts and discusses practices that need to be incorporated, to extract the gas from shale formations, with the new technology developments, to achieve:
Session Chairs: Abdulwahab AlBulushi, Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production; Hans-Christian Freitag, Baker Hughes
The so-called “Shale Revolution” in North America was actually more of an evolution that happened over a period of thirty years—a whole generation of learning was necessary to successfully unlock the potential of this new resource. Now the rest of the world wants to benefit quickly from the experience gathered in North America by transferring and applying it to new plays, some of which are significantly different from the North American unconventional settings. Unconventional plays always require an unconventional approach—what works in a conventional setting, be it drilling, formation evaluation or completion practices, may be a poor choice in an unconventional environment. At the same time, the industry is facing a generational change in its qualified, technical staff, sometimes referred to as “The Big Crew Change”. Examples of key factors in separating success from failure are:
The above will all provide several means of building independent E&P companies’ future capabilities in this area. Moreover, building and maintaining expertise will be a key differentiator for operation and service companies alike in helping to unlock the much needed shale and tight gas resources to support and maintain the world’s future growth opportunities as well as giving companies a competitive advantage in exploiting unconventional resources.