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Ask the Experts: Better Foresight Comes With Strong Flowback Philosophies

Source: Devon Energy/Tyler Conner.
Oil samples collected from several wells in the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas. Though they were all collected within a 5-mile radius, the contrast of the samples reveals a wide spectrum of fluid properties, underlining the need for rigorous flowback analyses that provide better predictions of a well’s future.

The final act of completing a horizontal well and bringing it on line represents a special period for unconventional oil and gas producers. Typically done weeks or months after drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations, this stage—known as flowback—is akin to the moment of birth. Like a newborn baby, as each new well takes its first breath and exhales, it is customary to evaluate its health and start projecting how it will grow up.

For a shale producer, this moment weighs heavily upon its future since flowback analysis feeds into long-term recovery estimates and economic models. Flowback data are also cheap compared to many other reservoir diagnostics. The challenge lies in the fact that there is no single flowback analysis method that operators can use to land on the “right” conclusion, while locking into the wrong one can be costly.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to narrow the band of uncertainty to paint a clearer picture of what early-time flow is really saying about how a well was completed, and what it will deliver going forward.

Several of the latest industry insights and best practices on this topic were shared last winter at a conference organized by the Calgary-based completions-focused training startup SAGA Wisdom. The firm’s first annual meeting in St. Augustine, Florida, featured a panel of reservoir engineering experts that offered candid and practical advice on how to run a flowback analysis program. The discussion reflected the shale sector’s need for data management and improved modeling methods to illuminate what really drives tight-rock production.

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Ask the Experts: Better Foresight Comes With Strong Flowback Philosophies

Trent Jacobs, JPT Digital Editor

31 March 2020

Volume: 72 | Issue: 4

No editorial available

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