Technology-Driven Approach To Develop Shale Gas in Saudi Arabia

Topics: Tight gas/shale gas/coalbed methane
Fig. 1: Hydraulic-fracture efficiency along the lateral. SW=slickwater; Conv=conventional.

Shale-gas resources were explored in Saudi Arabia by adopting a “technology-driven” approach against the US-based approach that might be termed the “factory” or “statistical” approach. The technology-driven approach and the customized work flow applied in this project have minimized the time required to understand the reservoir and apply the appropriate technologies. To date, this work flow has been used and calibrated with single-well analysis.


The technology-driven approach to acquiring data was accomplished by maximizing data collection and developing a customized work flow to rapidly incorporate lessons learned for the next wells drilled. The overall challenge was to perform the assessment quickly and execute operations efficiently because of the quick drilling program with multiple rigs working.

Typically, a resource rock is evaluated, tested, and produced with individual tools and optimized by a statistical approach because of the number of wells drilled and completed in the area. In the study case, the well is an exploration well 1500 km away from the oilfield infrastructure with no offset-well information to support evaluation of the well. The approach was to build a single functioning model, combining a basin resource work flow with a hydraulic fracture-­design work flow.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 172695, “Technology-Driven Approach To Develop Shale Gas in Saudi Arabia,” by Kirk M. Bartko and Brian Coffin, Saudi Aramco, and Roberto Tineo, Schlumberger, prepared for the 2014 SPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, 8–11 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Technology-Driven Approach To Develop Shale Gas in Saudi Arabia

01 November 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 11