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URTeC 2014: Panel discussion on converting technology into dollars

PRAMOD KULKARNI

DENVER – A select panel of technology experts from operators, service companies and industry organizations presented their views on how best to extract economic value  out of applying advanced technologies in the shale plays.

The panel consisted of D. Nathan Meehan, Sr. Executive Advisor, Baker Hughes; Bob Hardage, Sr. Research Scientist, Texas Bureau of Economic Geology; Mark Sonnenfeld, V.P., Whiting Petroleum; Dennis Degner, Director of Operations, Range Resources; Jeff Meisenhelder, V.P., Unconventional Resources; and Michael Ming, GM Oil &  Gas Technology, GE Global Research.

Dr. Meehan presented results of his evaluation of oily areas with 12 months of production in the Eagle Ford and Bakken plays. “The production declines and EURs are very similar in both plays,” he elaborated. “But bottom 30% of the Bakken wells are better.”

Meehan said the spatial correlation of reservoir quality is still poorly understand and the industry needs to develop better ways of predicting well placement. Assuming that the sweet and sour spots are randomly distributed, many operators resort to a statistical pattern of drilling and fracing, Meehan suggested. In order to increase production, Meehan recommends the drilling of more multilaterals, but admitted,”More dollars are reserved for higher density fracing.”

Dr. Hardage presented the bureau’s research on applying shearwave (S) seismic to better sense the rock fabric, because S waves react more strongly to subtle faults and fracture orientation. This technology has been commercialized through VertiShear service. According to Hardage, VertiShear Technology unlocks multi-component seismic benefits from legacy 1C library data, and expands 3C data to become 9C data from a single, vertical force source acquisition, thus allowing geophysicists to dramatically improve their production decisions, without incurring the traditional multicomponent acquisition’s high costs.

Sonnenfeld described the development of an inhouse rock lab that Whiting has been using to develop a multidisciplinary approach to reservoir characterization. The lab is able to develop 3D textural models and determine kerogen vs. bitumen  through a mosaic of 300 SEM images.

Describing Whiting’s technology applications as approaching that of an offshore platform, Sonnenfeld said the company is using micriseismic, tracers and pressure monitoring to optimize drilling and completion of wells that cost as much as $5.5 million per well.

Degner explained how Range Resources used a variety of technology applications, including nitrate reducing bacteria in place of biocides, gas jack compression for vapor recovery, remote shut-in and resumption of gas wells, and refracing to increase production and reduce costs.

Meissenhelder urged a scientific approach to technology uptake and explained how it is better to view production results over 18 months to assess the value of a new approach than just initial production. He called for systematic technology development evaluated against ROI and service compny led consortiums.

The second annual URTec conference continues in Denver until August 27 afternoon with technical presentations  and exhibits. The conference has experienced a record attendance of 4,600 delegates and 237 exhibits.
 

08/26/2014

 

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