The understanding of how to estimate unconventional reserves and resources properly has definitely grown over the last few years. The realization that we should not look at any individual aspect of the business without considering its place in the project life cycle reflects a maturity within the industry, as does learning how to reflect our assets effectively in a changing regulatory environment.
Two points stand out in the development and status of technology for production and facilities. The first is the amount of innovative ongoing work related to piping, pipelines, and materials for severe service. The second is the amount of work involving the use of digital simulations, including computational fluid dynamics.
Bits and bottomhole assemblies, until recently, have been designed and considered for vertical applications. That is changing. While inherent design changes and innovations made to BHAs and bits can be applied to both vertical and horizontal wellbores, the industry is targeting horizontal applications. Conventional drilling disciplines and techniques require additional attention and thought when applied to a horizontal wellbore.
The demands for fresh water used in hydraulic-fracturing operations are placing constraints on water resources in some regions of the United States. Along with higher acquisition costs for fresh water, produced-water-disposal costs also have increased. To overcome these challenges, operators are using alternative methods of water management, including recycling and reusing produced water, to help reduce the total amount of fresh water required for their fracturing operations and, at the same time, reduce the amount of produced water that must be transported, treated, and disposed of.