Monday, November 20
This session considers the so-called "sweet spots" in unconventional reservoirs, which is loosely defined as the most prolific locations to drill, complete, stimulate and produce a well. Unconventional reservoirs are inherently complex in terms of geological and geophysical settings and well production. Well performance typically varies widely across basins, fields, and even from well‐to‐well. For reference, one comprehensive definition of a "sweet spot" is an area where a unique combination of rock properties, pressures, fluids, geological history, and technology combine to facilitate the optimal production of hydrocarbons. The premise of this session is that commercial success depends upon finding and developing these reservoir "sweet spots." To date, a given "sweet spot" in an unconventional reservoir has most likely been found with the drill bit. The purpose of this session is to define and assess the challenges of finding sweet spots in unconventional reservoirs, and identify and evaluate the technologies that industry currently uses to define and exploit these areas.
Similar to the establishment of production "sweet spots" (discussed in Session 2), there is arguably no greater value driver for oil and gas exploration in unconventional reservoirs than the choice of the basin, play and drilling target. However, not all aspects of high-grading drilling targets deal with technical or economic goals. There are also socio-political drivers that influence these efforts (e.g. minimal-impact well pads, much longer laterals, and fit-for-purpose completions). The dual goals of driving down costs while simultaneously improving efficiencies may seem incompatible, but these goals are the fundamentals underlying success factors in unconventional plays. This session explores cases where the drivers of lowering costs and optimizing efficiencies have led to strategic, basin-entry decisions and high-grading well targeting for exploration and development. This session covers a cross-section of these issues and how they have impacted exploration, appraisal, and development activities in Australia and internationally.
This session addresses fit-for-purpose data requirements and workflows required to assess well performance data and to develop representative reservoir characterization studies. Unconventional reservoirs are often viewed as "under-described" in terms of reservoir data and the need to develop appraisal and development decisions is often hindered by inadequacies of data. Put simply, the goal of this session is to provide insight into how the use of field data can help achieve appraisal and development answers quickly, with or without reservoir modelling. While reservoir modelling (i.e., numerical simulation) has been a cornerstone in both the appraisal and development of unconventional resources, the workflows and data requirements associated with numerical simulation are very intensive. To underpin commercial decisions, numerical simulations are expected to provide and deliver proportionately more accurate and comprehensive estimates. Practically, most numerical simulation studies take several months to create, calibrate, and forecast, making it impractical nor warranted to create a numerical simulation model for every well. This session explores guidance on the integration of results from other methodologies that can assist numerical simulation to ensure the compatibility of production forecasts.
This session considers the "state-of-the-art" in understanding the mechanisms of fluid storage, fluid flow, and reservoir fluid phase behavior in unconventional reservoirs. Specifically, this session will focus on some of the latest efforts to understand and model fluid properties and fluid flow characteristics within ultra-low permeability reservoirs. This session will examine the interaction of different porosity types and different flow mechanisms and the interaction of local pore pressure and stress conditions on results. The goal of this session is to stimulate the discussion whereby improving the understanding of these fluid behaviors and flow mechanisms will enable significant advances in targeting, drilling, completion, and production performance. As well as providing guidance on future potential well remediation techniques, this session will explore enhanced oil and/or gas recovery.
Tuesday, November 21
The session presents scenarios where the drilling/completion environment requires advanced geomechanical analysis and modeling (as opposed to routine near-wellbore geomechanical or geophysical analysis). In some cases, the reservoir response reflects geomechanical effects such as a stress-induced drop in productivity index. In addition, progressive depletion during production can change geomechanical boundary conditions. Given such geomechanical complexities, how do we plan future (infill) drilling and completions? This session focuses on presentations and discussions which lead to a progressive evolution of drilling and completion strategies during the lifecycle of exploration, development and production in challenging geomechanical conditions. One aggressive potential area for improvement could be early-time choke management, where this behavior shown benefit in production and recovery. Additional cases or observations will be explored along with theoretical/practical studies of geomechanical effects in unconventional reservoirs.
This session focuses on the production practices related to optimizing production practices in coal-seam gas (CSG) developments. In the Australian energy industry, the inventory of GSG wells continues to expand (and will for many decades) and the need for optimization of production performance becomes imperative. Such a challenge is further amplified by the relatively high operating costs in CSG operations (in Australia and elsewhere) and the rise in workover frequency. Specific to CSG challenges, this session will focus on all major factors of influence from the completion design, well stimulation practices, and artificial lift selection, to snubbing and work-over best practices.
The focus of this session is global tight gas (i.e., permeabilities ranging from 0.001 to 1 md). The purpose of this session is to provide guidance on the best practices related to the optimization of well performance, including: well targeting and placement, well stimulation, production practices and optimization (including artificial lift), and the evaluation of well performance in tight gas reservoirs. As this session considers global impact, examples from around the world will be presented and discussed. Currently, tight gas is of lesser priority in North America, but many regions of the world have yet to develop virtually any of their tight gas (e.g., North Africa, certain countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, etc.). This session highlights the need to prioritize tight gas development as a (generally) less expensive and more prolific alternative to shale/resource systems and explore key aspects leading to successful tight gas developments.
This session considers the most practical of all aspects of unconventional reservoir development — parent-child performance degradation and well-to-well fracture interference (more commonly known as "frac-hits”). Infill well sequencing in unconventional reservoirs has proven to be more challenging than expected for a variety of reasons — including depletion of local pore pressure, localised effects on geomechanics, parent-child performance degradation, and offset well stimulation interference (or frac hits). From these negative effects, production performance of infill wells has often been disappointing and affect well performance and field economics. In every unconventional play, numerous efforts have been attempted to mitigate these problems — but local conditions require specialized solutions which are likely not transferrable from play-to-play. For this session, cases will be explored to provide context for successful and less successful cases and what correlating factors or conditions can lead to success.
This session focuses on new and emerging technologies as well as the associated opportunities relevant to unconventional reservoirs. As an example, a little more than a decade ago, horizontal wells with multi-stage hydraulic fracture treatments were new and emerging technologies with uncertainty around viability or practicality. With the benefit of hindsight, no one would argue that these two phenomena have revolutionized unconventional reservoir development, but what is next? Optimization of the multi-fractured horizontal well (MFHW) is inevitable, and some would argue that we may have reached technical limits at the present, but we know optimization of MFHWs will continue.
This session will explore new technologies to push the boundaries such as advances in:
- data mining and data analytics;
- fracturing fluids (e.g., minimal or water-free fracturing fluids);
- smart fluids and proppants to verify created and propped fracture volumes;
- improved/enhanced oil recovery (e.g., waterflooding, gas flooding, surfactants);
- artificial lift technologies for horizontal wells; and
- fibre-optic diagnostics (strain, pressure, and chemical).