Applying Lessons Learned To Minimize Overall Investment in Unconventional Plays

Topics: Asset/portfolio management
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The development of unconventional resources in North America was aided by the readily available infrastructure, water resources, expertise, and a general understanding of potential sweet spots caused by numerous well penetrations. Even with these favorable conditions, an estimated 40% of unconventional wells are uneconomical. This paper provides a retrospective assessment of the Barnett and Eagle Ford Shale plays to highlight lessons learned and the associated value of those learnings.


Although horizontal drilling and multistage fracturing (MSF) have changed the economic viability of unconventional resources significantly, such drilling has also encountered a wide range of production variability. This nonideal production performance further leads to consumption of local resources such as water and proppant that are used in hydraulic-fracturing treatments. The poor economic performance of a high percentage of wells is the result of spatial variability in reservoir characteristics such as hydrocarbon in place, gas/oil ratio (GOR), and reservoir pressure; lateral heterogeneity along the wellbores; limited accuracy of well placement; and variability in drilling, completion, and stimulation practices.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 172973, “USD 40 Billion Learning Curve: Leveraging Lessons Learned To Minimize the Overall Investment in Unconventional Plays,” by C.N. Fredd, SPE, J.L. Daniels, SPE, and J.D. Baihly, SPE, Schlumberger, prepared for the 2015 SPE Middle East Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition, Muscat, Oman, 26–28 January. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Applying Lessons Learned To Minimize Overall Investment in Unconventional Plays

01 December 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 12