Unconventional Measures For Shale Reservoirs

Courtesy of Fracture ID
Fracture modeling, based on rock property data gathered during drilling by Fracture ID, shows how the performance of three stages will likely vary due to distinctly different rock properties. The nine figures on the right predict how fracs will develop at each of the perforations. The numbered pictures on the right predict what is likely at the numbered locations along the yellow horizontal well shown on left.

One of the biggest ways to lower the cost of production from shale would be to identify zones that are productive, or not, before fracturing them.

There is a growing group of companies selling new ways of cutting the cost and time required to gather data while drilling, which will allow completion engineers to reduce the number of stages producing little or nothing.

“I think better placement is where the money is,” said Vikram Rao, executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium.

While the methods and data points vary, these new ventures are all seeking to gather data or samples during normal operations that can be quickly turned into a report on a limited number of data points, which can be used to improve fracturing productivity.

Customers “want it cheap, want it fast, and want to see a return quickly,” said Chuck ­Matula, a board adviser for Drill2Frac, a startup company created by Vorpal Energy Solutions, that uses data recorded while drilling to compare rock hardness along a wellbore.

It is competing with another newcomer, Fracture ID, whose website describes what it does as “drill bit geomechanics.” Both are selling rock property analysis methods that are lower-cost alternatives to accepted methods, such as well logs, whose price limits their use in unconventional plays. But the cost, data-gathering method, and output of these two methods differ significantly.

Others are relying on readily available, alternative sources of data: cuttings, fluids, or well pressure readings. They are hitting the market at a time when low oil prices have created an appetite for new ideas.

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Unconventional Measures For Shale Reservoirs

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

01 May 2016

Volume: 68 | Issue: 5