Eagle Ford ShaleTech Breakfast Series: “Partnerships enable systematic technology development”


Eagle Ford ShaleTech Breakfast Series: “Partnerships enable systematic technology development”


SAN ANTONIO – Systematic technology development through operator-service company partnerships result in productivity gains was the key message at the inaugural ShaleTech Breakfast Series: Eagle Ford, held August 12 morning.

Gulf Publishing President John Royall welcomed the select audience of Eagle Ford operators, service companies and equipment manufacturers.

The first speaker was Leodoro Martinez, Chairman of the Eagle Ford Shale Consortium, who gave an overview of the economic transformation that has taken place in South Texas as a result of the growing oil and gas production from the Eagle Ford shale play.

“We’ve finished the reactionary phase, where people were asking, ‘How long will this last?’, said Martinez. “Now we can plan for the future, build capacity, and develop sustainable approaches.”

Martinez cited the results of a UT-SA economic study which reported: 127,919 new jobs, $2.1 billion in higher revenues for local governments, and $2.2 billion in additional tax receipts for the state government.

“Eagle Ford has been transformational for our local counties in terms of property values,” said Martinez. “With the development of the Brownsville port for oil and gas exports and a pipeline to Mexico for gas exports, the future is very promising.”

Rod Skaufel, Asset President – Shale for BHP Billiton, said the company is spending $4 billion per year on shale assets, mostly in the liquids-rich portion of Eagle Ford. “We’re producing 100,000 bopd from Eagle Ford right now, and expect to reach 200,000 bopd by FY 2016.”

Speaking of applying technology to achieve productivity gains, Skaufel said, “We’re benchmarking constantly, so that the next well is better than the last one, and comes in at a lower cost.”

As a result of systematic technology applications, BHP Billiton has been able to reduce drilling time by 20% and costs by 24%, according to Skaufel. “We’re using models to diagnose performance issues, rather than trial-and-error,” Skaufel continued. “We used a proppant placement model and used production logging and microseismic monitoring to discern that only 38% the vertical frac height was getting propped.”

BHP Billiton has been able to achieve uniform fracture geometry and use stress from adjacent wells to achieve complex frac patterns that are more productive at the initial stage and as much as a long-term span of two years.”

Robert Drummond, President of North America for Schlumberger, praised BHP Billiton as a company that is “quick to adopt new technology”.

Drummond said Schlumberger’s R&D investment has increased from $400 million in 2000 to $1.2 billion in 2013, with greater portion going to unconventional resources.

Referencing shale plays, Drummond said, “We’re transitioning from the industrial stage that started in 2013 with factory style drilling and fracturing to the post-industrial era, when technology is being used to improve ROI as sweet spots begin to dwindle.”

In conventional shale completions, as much as 40% of the wells are uneconomic, according to Drummond. He explained two Schlumberger technologies that have helped increase production, but also reduced water use by 53% and proppant volume by 27% per well.

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