Shale Resource Development – A Step by Step Process from Exploration/Appraisal to Development/Production and Rejuvenation

Management and Information Production and Operations Reservoir Descriptions and Dynamics HSSE

Course Description

The course begins with the understanding of fundamentals associated with unconventional resources, which includes shale as well as tight and CBM formations. The course then focuses on shale resources development with the understanding that the same principle, with some modification of the methodology, can be applied to other unconventional resources. The course takes a “life cycle approach to shale resources development starting with exploration, appraisal, and moving towards development and production. Then, it looks at technology and means to rejuvenate shale resource." Participants will become familiar with the associated technologies needed to develop the shale resource in each of the five phases. The course content will provide a critical understanding about the development process and technologies in terms of what is “must have”, what is “necessary”, what is “necessary but questionable”, what is “nice to have”, and “what has been oversold” leading to development of the understanding to put a basin / reservoir exploration, evaluation, and development plan in a cost effective manner.

Day 1 – Introduction to Unconventional Resources

  • Definition of Unconventional Resources, similarities and differences, geographical distribution, role in current and future energy mix
  • Unconventional resource plays in China and neighboring countries
  • Seismic, geology, geomechanics, petrophysics and reservoir engineering for Unconventional Resources:
        • Rich resource in place
        • Maturity of source rocks
        • Oil, wet gas or dry gas?
        • Porous and permeable
        • Good quality reservoir filled with the desired hydrocarbon fluids
        • Economically recoverable with current technology
        • Drillablity
        • Fracability
        • Geomechanical properties
        • Stress distribution
  • Shale Resources Development: A life cycle approach that addresses exploration, appraisal,  development, production and rejuvenation
  • Exploration Phase – focus on reservoir understanding. What data is needed?
  • Appraisal Phase – when is it time to move from exploration?
  • Development Phase – focus on cost reduction for drilling and stimulation
  • Production Phase – options for maintaining production at stable levels
  • Rejuvenation Phase – extending the production plateau with infill drilling, re-fracturing, etc.
  • Economics of Unconventional Resources (including case studies)

Day 2 – Advanced Subsurface Characterization and Stimulation Design for Unconventional Resources

  • Comparison of various shale plays around the world – similarities and differences
  • Lessons learned from North American Unconventional Resource plays
  • Re-cap of Shale Resources Development life cycle: Exploration, Appraisal, Development, Production and Rejuvenation
  • Advances and integration of key formation evaluation disciplines
  • Seismic attribute mapping for accurate sweet spot identification (CGG)
  • Petrophysics and geochemistry for TOC, maturity and mineralogy analysis
  • Geomechanics for frac stage selection, frac treatment design, production forecasting and reservoir behavior during production
  •  Advances in key enablers to reservoir access
  • Directional drilling and well placement
  • Hydraulic frac treatments and social “license to operate” – an integrated approach (includes water management)
  • How to achieve cost and risk reduction simultaneously with productivity enhancement
  • Advanced economics of large scale unconventional plays

Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the fundamentals associated with Shale Resource Development
    • Familiarize with the associated technologies needed to develop the shale resource
    • Have a critical understanding about the development process and technologies in terms of what is “must to have”, what is “necessary”, what is “necessary but questionable”, what is “nice to have” and “what has been oversold”
    • Develop an understanding to put a basin / reservoir exploration, evaluation and development plan

Learning Level


Course Length

2 Days

Who Attends

Geoscience practitioners, supervisors and managers; drilling, completion, reservoir engineers, supervisors and managers; and executives making technical, commercial and logistic decisions.


Engineers are responsible for enhancing their professional competence throughout their careers. Licensed, chartered, and or/ certified engineers are sometimes required by government entities to provide proof of continued professional development and training. Training credits are defined as Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or Professional Development Hours (PDH).

Attendees of SPE training courses earn 0.8 CEUs for each day of training. We provide each attendee a certificate upon completion of the training course.


Usman Ahmed

Usman Ahmed, with more than three decades of petroleum engineering experience, is Baker Hughes’ Vice President and Chief Reservoir Engineer. He leads Baker Hughes’ reservoir-driven and integrated solution approach to Unconventional Resources Business Unit (URBU) globally. Ahmed joined Baker Hughes in 2010 and has previously worked for Schlumberger, TerraTek, and ran his own reservoir and production engineering consulting firm Energy Resources International. He holds a BS and MS (both in petroleum engineering) from Texas A&M University. Looked to as a technical and professional industry leader, Ahmed has two patents and is the author and co-author of more than 100 industry papers and textbooks and have been invited to numerous events as key note speakers and panelist. He is the SPE 2013-2014 Distinguished Speaker on “Unconventional Resources Development”.