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The Role of Technology in Developing Unconventional and Tight Gas Reservoirs

16 March 2014

Abu Dhabi, UAE | The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa

About this Workshop


An unconventional resources revolution requires 1) resources in place, 2) favorable geomechanics, and 3) the use of appropriate production technology to optimise flow rates and ultimate recovery. Two key technologies are especially relevant, extended reach horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking. Neither technology is new: horizontal drilling emerged in the 1930 and the first well was fracked in 1947.  However, it was only recently that the technologies were refined and made cost-effective for accessing unconventional and tight gas resources on a large scale. Progress has been so effective that the experience from unconventional hydrocarbon exploitation is increasingly applied to conventional tight reservoirs.

The initial groundwork to develop the tremendous potential of unconventional hydrocarbons can be credited to the US Department of Energy, the Gas Technology Institute and the visionary Texan oilman George Mitchell, a pioneer of the technique of hydraulic fracturing to tap unconventional reserves of oil and gas. Since then, technology continuously improved, mainly driven by R&D, a highly competitive service industry and risk taking operators in the USA leading to an unprecedented rise in gas development. The first part of the workshop aims at establishing the state of the art of the technologies that have been a key to revolutionise the North American gas markets.

In contrast, the Middle East is unchartered territory with most world maps showing the potential of unconventional hydrocarbon resources being blank for the region. This is in sharp contrast to the regions established rank as a top producer of conventional hydrocarbons. Potential huge resources, a clean slate in prime target areas, and a positive business environment are key factors that should drive rapid development of these new reservoir targets if the latest technologies are applied. A first step in maturing these resources in the Middle East is to take stock in their potential and make an inventory of the current activities and experiences of operators in the region. This task is the subject of the second part of the workshop.  It should set the scene for developing strategies and identify key technologies to be applied in the Middle East for the maturation of unconventional and tight gas reservoirs. Recovery and cost efficiency will ultimately determine commercial success.

And the focus should not only be on technologies applied for more efficient exploration, appraisal, and development of the resources but also on addressing the environmental impacts of drilling and production operations. This includes factors such as site footprint, air emissions, water usage, flowback water management, wellbore integrity, and the reduction or elimination of unplanned discharges.

Visa Information

SPE Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia will assist in providing a visa invitation letter, upon request in writing, to confirmed registrants after receiving full payment of registration fees. Visa invitation letters take five days to issue from the date of request and it is the delegate's responsibility to obtain their own visa. SPE cannot issue the visa nor can we guarantee it will be obtained.


Workshop Guidelines


One (1) day of informal discussions prompted by selected keynote presentations and discussions. Workshops maximise the exchange of ideas among attendees and presenters through brief technical presentations followed by extended Q&A periods. Focused topics attract an informed audience eager to discuss issues critical to advancing both technology and best practices. The majority of the presentations are in the form of case studies, highlighting engineering achievements and lessons learnt. In order to stimulate frank discussion, no proceedings are published and the press is not invited to attend.


  • Proceedings will not be published; therefore, formal papers and handouts are not expected from speakers.
  • Work in progress, new ideas, and interesting projects are sought.
  • Professionally-prepared visual aids are not required; handwritten view graphs are entirely acceptable.
  • Note-taking by participants is encouraged.


Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The Steering Committee encourages attendance from those who can contribute to the workshop most effectively either in discussions or with posters. A mix of attendees in terms of geographic origin, companies, and disciplines will be encouraged.

Workshop Deliverables

  • The Steering Committee will appoint a “scribe” to record the discussions and to produce the full workshop report for SPE.
  • This report will be circulated to all attendees as the workshop deliverable within 4–6 weeks following the workshop. The copyright of the report is with SPE.
  • PowerPoint presentation materials will be posted on a specific SPE URL address after the workshop. Provision of the materials by the speakers will signify their permission for SPE to do so.


In keeping with workshop objectives and the SPE mission, commercialism in posters or presentations will not be permitted. Company logos must be limited to the title slide and used only to indicate the affiliation of the presenter and others involved in the work.

Attendance Certificate

All attendees will receive an attendance certificate attesting to their participation in the workshop. This certificate will be provided in exchange for a completed Workshop Questionnaire.

Continuing Education Units

Attendees at this workshop qualify for SPE Continuing Education Units (CEU) at the rate of 0.1 CEU per hour of the workshop.