SPE logo

Panel Sessions

Monday, 11 November • 1400–1530 •  Great Hall 1

Panel Session 1:  Advancements in Unconventional Resources Petrophysics

Most unconventional resource plays are in early stages of development compared to conventional reservoir systems. However, based on the multi-level scale of processes which occur in unconventional reservoirs, petrophysics provides a critical (and necessary) component in our understanding and development of resource plays.

Specifically for unconventional resource systems, petrophysics provides a key link in:

  • Differentiating what is resource and what is reserves
  • Reducing the uncertainty or quantification of the resource potential
  • Predicting the performance of the resource

In this session, recent advances in tools, testing, and analysis methods to enable better petrophysical evaluation of unconventional resources are presented and discussed. The scales of interest for unconventional resources range from the nano-pore-scale to the well log-scale, which can be several orders of magnitude.

Session Chairpersons:                        

Usman Ahmed, Baker Hughes Inc.
Dilhan Ilk, DeGolyer and MacNaughton
Steve Shubarth, Schubarth Inc.

Panel Speakers:

Matt Bratovich, Global Director Petrophysics, Baker Hughes
Rick Lewis, Unconventional Petrophysics Technical Manager, Schlumberger
Randy Miller, President, Integrated Reservoir Solutions, Core Laboratories
Carl Sondergeld, Professor and Curtis Mewbourne Chair, Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering


Tuesday, 12 November • 0830–1000 • Great Hall 1

Panel Session 2: Delivering the Mega-Projects

Successful delivery of "Mega Projects" depends on successfully addressing key technical project management, political and community issues. Sanctioning Mega Projects often requires a careful balance between the urgency of securing early market position and the ideal time for full project definition. Specifically, the "technical" metrics of such Mega Projects are:

  • Project scope
  • Project costs
  • Project scheduling
  • Clearly defined/achieved business benefits

In addition, there are a number of "non-technical" issues/challenges that can affect the viability of Mega projects, including:

  • Gaining social license to operate
  • Government policy
  • Global financial uncertainty

This session provides a forum for key speakers to discuss delivery of Mega Projects with a particular focus on unconventional gas.

Session Chairpersons:  

John Baily, BG Group
Rod Bresnehan, CFT Energy Ltd.
Mariano Gurfinkel, Hess Corp.

Panel Speakers:

David Baldwin, Chief Development Officer, Origin Energy
Trevor Brown, Vice President, Santos GLNG
David Craft, Project Director (Midstream), QCLNG, QGC
Miguel Galuccio, Chief Executive Officer, YPF Argentina
Van Lineberger, Chief Operating Officer, Origin Energy


1030–1200 • Great Hall 1

Panel Session 3: Emerging Unconventional Exploration Areas and Successes

Unconventional Resources have become a major focus of the global oil and gas industry, becoming successful enough to actually dictate the current gas market in North America.  Based on that success, unconventional gas and liquid-rich resource plays are being vigorously pursued in various parts of the world—for example in Argentina, Australia, China, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, and others.

  • What plays are "hot"?  What activity is underway, planned, or still stuck at the starting gate? 
  • Where and how have we successfully ported our industry know-how to efficiently launch exploratory and appraisal campaigns?
  • What special challenges does the industry face in these new areas, and lessons learned?
  • How can we most efficiently locate the "sweet spots" in emerging areas, with the minimum number of exploratory wells?

An expert panel will share their experiences, views, and forward outlook on the global spread of the unconventionals "shale gale."

Session Chairpersons:                                          

Usman Ahmed, Baker Hughes Inc.
Claudia Hackbarth, Shell
Mark Pitkin, Beach Energy Limited

Panel Speakers:

Brian Gratto, Manager, Unconventional Resource Explorattion & Development, Saudi Aramco
Hans van Marle, Unconventional Venture Manager, Shell Intl.
Martin Riley, General Manager – Asset Development, Origin Energy
David Warner, Principal, DSWPET Pty. Ltd.


Wednesday, 13 November • 0830–1030 • Great Hall 1

Panel Session 4: Strategies for Evaluating Stimulation Effectiveness

This panel session will address the current state of understanding and practice for hydraulic fracture stimulation and reservoir response evaluation. The questions to be addressed and discussed by the panel are:

  1. Is there an agreed current understanding of hydraulic fracture growth in naturally fractured reservoirs?
  2. How do different monitoring methods help with this question?
  3. Is there an agreed current best approach to evaluating stimulation effect on production?
  4. What is missing from the current methods?
  5. Do the fracture geometries and stimulation effects as currently understood fit with the observed and modelled reservoir response?

Without a doubt, the single most important enabling technology for unconventional resource development is hydraulic fracturing—as this is currently the only technology that can deliver economic production rates and enable favorable reserves. In order to generate effective stimulation designs a reasonable understanding of the reservoir character must be achieved. 

The question remains as to how an engineer can be assured that his design will be effective. Over the past 40 years the stimulation industry has developed methods to model fracture growth and proppant placement—incorporating simple designs based on vertical well trials to large-scale mechanical earth models (MEMs) based on a range of well, petrophysical and geophysical parameters. In more recent times, we have several types of post-stimulation monitoring data (e.g., microseismic monitoring, surface deformation tiltmeters, chemical/radioactive tracers, temperature and pressure monitoring) with which to better calibrate fracturing, reservoir and production models.

However, for modern horizontal wells with multiple hydraulic fracture treatments, many factors can combine to limit the viability of this approach—and such limitations become evident when predicted production does not correlate with actual well performance behavior. Furthermore, fracture performance-related properties (e.g., stimulated reservoir volume, fracture half-length, fracture conductivity) obtained from production data analyses often do not match fracture parameters obtained from history matching of the stimulation treatment and monitoring data sets (such as microseismic).

This "gap" in predicted versus actual results is addressed by the members of this panel. These multi-disciplined experts will discuss methods that are now (or will shortly into the future) be applied to better evaluate the effectiveness of stimulations based on a wide range of experiences and perspectives.

Session Chairpersons:                                       

Doug Elliot, ProTechnics Division of Core Labs
Rob Jeffrey, CSIRO
Bob Poe, Schlumberger

Panel Speakers:

Dave Anderson, Vice President, Software Technical Development, Fekete Assocs. Ltd.
Craig Cipolla, Senior Completions Engineering Advisor, Hess
Dick Leonard, ProTechnics Division of Core Labs
Michael Mayerhofer, Director Fracturing Centre of Excellence, Pinnacle – a Halliburton Service
Xiao Wei Weng, Principal Engineer & Project Manager, Schlumberger


1100–1230 • Great Hall 1

Panel Session 5: Unconventional Reserves—Making the "New Standards" Work in Practice

The accepted standards for reserve and resource evaluations for conventional reservoir systems have been challenged with the advent and increasing commercial impact of unconventional oil and gas resources. In late 2011, guidelines were published to help build a consistent industry-wide assessment approach for unconventional resources.

The speakers in this panel session will provide greater clarity on these "new standards" by discussing areas where unconventional reserve and resource assessments differ from conventional assessments.  The discussions will include the following elements:

  • Pilot/Demonstration Projects: How much technological and geological pilot testing is required to demonstrate the repeatability of results sufficient for defining reserves status? How far can resource and reserve estimates be confidently applied away from regions with substantial well control?
  • Technical Tools: What are the best-in-class set of technical tools to generate/validate resource and reserve assessments?
  • Reserves Definitions: Unconventional resources often require product pricing improvements and successful technology trials to convert resources to reserves. What is the best process to define the critical barriers to resource to reserve conversion? How is well construction and technology learning incorporated into this process?
  • Large-Scale Developments: Unconventional reservoirs almost inevitably require large-scale developments to attain the "economies of scale" necessary to establish criteria for reserves booking.  Specific to this discussion; how should the reserve assessment be made—as one large development, as several discrete developments, or as individual well developments?

Session Chairpersons:

Peter Behrenbruch, U. of Adelaide
Mark Pitkin, Beach Energy Limited
Mike Zuber, Schlumberger

Panel Speakers:

Geoff Barker, Partner – Leader Unconventional Gas Practice, RISC Pty. Ltd.
Greg Horton, Chief Reserves Engineer, Santos
Doug Peacock, Principal, Gaffney, Cline & Assocs.


1400–1530 • Great Hall 1

Panel Session 6:  Unconventional Experience

Since the early 2000s, numerous unconventional gas and oil projects have been established across North America and exploration/development projects are underway in most of the remaining continents.  However, unconventional resources are not ubiquitous—vertical and lateral reservoir heterogeneity can be substantial, and production performance can vary significantly over very short distances. In fact, the successful development of unconventional resources is dependent on the concept of first finding and then optimising the best portion of the play, which is often referred to as the "sweet spot." Some questions that arise from the "North America experience" include:

  • What has the industry learned in North America that can be applied elsewhere?
  • What concepts/processes/practices went well, and which did not?
  • What lessons were learned by trial and error (perhaps mostly by error); and
  • What has evolved that will improve and/or enable future resource play sweetspotting?

In current practice, a statistically significant number of wells must be completed and have production established in order to establish a "sweet spot." How can we reduce the number of wells needed to make a determination on a particular area, and to optimise what we have? Improvement areas for establishing a "sweet spot" will likely include:

  • Better use of subsurface data and reasoning such as seismic attributes, sequence stratigraphy, and lithofacies derived from core samples and petrophysical logs.
  • Proper choice of horizontal well azimuth and lateral landing depth based on lithologies and stresses.
  • Better monitoring technology to get feedback on hydraulic fracture treatment placement and delivery.
  • Correlation of microseismic events to production metrics (performance indices and cumulative volumes).
  • Determination of optimal well spacing for a particular portion of a play; and
  • Locating and avoiding faults, geohazards, and water zones.

The expert panelists in this session will address various strategies of identifying target locations as well as the optimal design and placement of hydraulic fractures to optimise well productivity and recovery.

Session Chairpersons:

Tom Blasingame, Texas A&M U.
Ray Johnson, Armour Energy Limited
Jim McGowen, Halliburton

Panel Speakers:

Mike Gatens, Chief Executive Officer, Unconventional Gas Resources Canada
Claudia Hackbarth, Manager of Unconventional R&D Global, Shell
Chris Hopkins, Technology Director and Vice President, Schlumberger
Page Maxson, Chief Executive Officer, Australia Pacific LNG Pty. Ltd.