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SPE Key Factors for Success in Unconventional Reservoir Development Forum

12 - 17 June 2016 :: San Antonio, Texas, USA

Technical Agenda

Monday, 13 June 2016

Session 1: Technological Challenges for the Future

Chair: Peter Bastian, Unconventional Gas Resources; Erdal Ozkan, Colorado School of Mines

While advances in drilling, completion, and stimulation were big drivers in the unconventional revolution, challenges for sustained development remain strong. The new perception of unconventional reservoirs raises more questions about reservoir characterization, drilling and completion design, and development optimization. This session will highlight key technical challenges for today and the future, such as

  • What key reservoir characterization pieces are missing today?
  • What drilling and completion technologies need improvement?
  • Are our predictive models good enough, considering what we know and don’t know about the reservoir?
  • Can we, and should we, accelerate development strategies?

Session 2: Characterizing the Unconventional System - Part I Geology, Geochemistry, and Geomechanics

Chairs: Randy Lafollette, Baker Hughes; Jim Sorensen, Energy & Environmental Research Center

Predicting fluid movement in any reservoir requires knowledge of its geological, geochemical, and geomechanical properties. Characterizing these properties in unconventional reservoirs is complicated by their tight nature, complex flow pathways, and variable fluid chemistries and wettability regimes. Understanding these unique properties is crucial to developing production schemes that will improve recovery factors. While standard characterization techniques provide some insight, new approaches are necessary to move forward.

This session will examine

  • Characterization of multi-scale porosity-permeability systems (from macroscale fractures to nanoscale pore throats)
  • Challenges with respect to fluid chemistry and wettability characterization
  • Correlation of laboratory data to well logs

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Session 3: Characterizing the Unconventional System - Part II Reservoir Dynamics

Chairs: Curtis Whitson and Chris Clarkson, University of Calgary; Steve Marinella, CNF

Unconventional reservoirs have unique fluid flow and storage properties that, in-part, are caused by the ultra-fine (often nanoporous) structure and ultra-low (often nanodarcy) permeability in the matrix. While multi-fractured horizontal laterals have provided the necessary surface flow area for economical production,  characterization of reservoir parameters and the formation interface is still in an ‘early time’ state. These characterizations are critical for accurate modeling and analysis to understand the impact of completion and production practices and protocols, including chemistry and flow at the interface. This session will focus on the role of laboratory experiments and field applications in evaluating future potential resources, knowledge sharing practices and practices of future possibilities.

Session 4: Data Acquisition and Piloting Strategy

Chair: George Waters, Schlumberger

In unconventional reservoirs, the value of data must always be challenged by its cost. Is ignorance bliss, or can we truly improve field recovery via a rigorous data acquisition program? This session will discuss the what, when, how, and why of data acquisition now and in the future.

  • Cost of data versus cost of ignorance
  • What kind of data is required, how frequently and when might it be acquired during the field life-cycle to reduce development uncertainties?
  • How may we integrate, analyze and justify data to drive faster and better business decisions?
  • How might we reconcile data inconsistencies from multiple sources?
  • What data is needed for the future?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Session 5: Improving Field Life Cycle Through Diagnostics

Chairs: Ahmad Salman, Alta Resources; Randy Lafollette, Baker Hughes

Diagnostics translate reservoir responses into quantifiable representations that attempt to explain what is occurring below ground. The type, pace of utilization, and ease of integration of diagnostics are variables that influence actionable change. This session will discuss ways to advance diagnostics and improve life cycle development in the future.

Questions to consider include

  • How can we increase the accuracy of non-production data sets to advance production-based results?
  • What methods can be introduced to use initial flowback data to make timely decisions?
  • What diagnostics should be employed as unconventional fields mature?

Session 6: Field Development - Optimization and Risk Management

Chairs: Brent Evans, Marathon Oil; Dave Nasse, Shell

The oil and gas industry has attempted to optimize well spacing and completion design in isolation although these items are interdependent.  Additionally, operational risk and overcapitalization risk both increase as well spacing has become tighter.  The key questions for now and the future are

  • Optimization:
    How can we efficiently optimize well spacing vertically and horizontally while addressing the interdependence of completion design?
    How is non-core acreage identified early to prevent overcapitalization?
    What inputs are critical for optimal well design for the life of a field?
  • Risk Management:
    How do we improve safety and efficiency with simultaneous operations?
    How do we avoid or reduce wellbore placement errors?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Session 7: Production Forecasting and Macro Economics

Chairs: Creties Jenkins, Rose and Associates; Ahmad Salman, Alta Resources

Not only do we need to generate more accurate production forecasts in the future, but we need to attain these more profitably.  With this in mind, this session will consider the following discussion questions

  • Is it important that our models honor the physics of fluid flow to generate accurate forecasts?
  • What do history tell us about the accuracy of our forecasts and how we can improve them?
  • How does the uncertainty of our production forecasting impact decision making?
  • How do the unique aspects of projects outside of North America impact forecasts and economics?

Session 8: Resource Utilization - How to Improve Recovery

Chairs: Olivier Houze, KAPPA; Jim Sorensen, Energy & Environmental Research Center

Calculation of recovery factors depends on our understanding of the system in place, the main drive mechanisms, and the bulk volumes affected by a given well. In unconventional plays, each of these assessments is a challenge. Current recovery factor estimates are largely undocumented. The only thing certain is that they are low, and the main challenge moving forward will be to improve them.

This session will examine the following issues

  • How can we better assess recovery factors?
  • How can we improve primary recovery factors?
  • What are the possible directions and challenges of enhanced recovery in unconventional plays?

Friday, 17 June 2016

Session 9: Summary Session - Establishing a Benchmark

Chair: Peter Bastian, Unconventional Gas Resources

This session will focus on results-oriented planning for the future.