Applying Technology To Enhance Unconventional Shale Production

Source: Getty Images.

The oil and gas industry has an amazing opportunity at present; the demand for energy around the globe is increasing and our industry has answered the call in the form of unconventional oil and gas production. Advancements in directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing have transformed low-quality resources into economically viable sources of energy. Over the past 7 years, exploration and production (E&P) companies have increased production rates, but not necessarily recovery rates, and therein lies the challenge.

Predicting and maximizing estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) is crucial for moving from efficient to effective unconventional shale completion operations. E&P companies are drilling and producing shale reservoirs at an increasing rate, which is contributing significantly to North American oil and natural gas; however, significant reserves are being left behind.

Techniques for predicting EUR vary by operator. Some calculate EUR by extrapolating from initial production rates while others may apply decline curve trends from one play to another. Each method has its advantages and each its caveats. Operators need 6 months to 1 year of production history to truly estimate EUR. However, extrapolation of initial production rates rarely tells the whole story. Some operators may have insufficient data to understand the longer-term behavior, and though traditional decline curve analysis has proven effective for prediction of conventional reservoir production, we are seeking different, more realistic methods to apply to unconventional shale reservoirs.

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Applying Technology To Enhance Unconventional Shale Production

Jeff Foster, President and CEO, MicroSeismic

01 December 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 12

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