TOPICS OF INTEREST
Sealed Wellbores and the Unlikely “Breakthrough” Behind Cheap, Accurate Fracture Diagnostics
When engineers went searching for clues on how fractures move beneath the surface, they expected to uncover important learnings. They did not know they were on the path to a new invention.
UPDATE: Oil Industry Budget Cuts Adding Up Across the Globe
The list of companies that are slashing millions and sometimes billions from their annual spending programs is growing longer as the ripple effects of a price war and pandemic spread across the globe.
Industry Faces Long Road to Recovery
Leaders of Rystad Energy went online recently to talk about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the oil and gas industry, and the prognosis isn’t good.
Record US Production Topped 12 Million B/D in 2019, Will Climb Slower This Year
Led by Texas and New Mexico, year-over-year crude output jumped by 11% according to the US Energy Information Administration. Going forward, new records will be set but at a slower pace.
Podcast: Highlights from SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference
In this episode, we discuss some of the latest research and emerging techniques that were shared at the industry’s leading hydraulic fracturing gathering earlier this year.
Why Shell Drilled a “Horseshoe” Well in the Permian Basin
Sometimes problems turn out to be an opportunity to try something new. In this case, the result was a well design unlike anything most in the shale sector have seen before.
Operators Seeking Faster, Cheaper Ways to Screen Fracturing Ideas
High-tech testing is playing a bigger role than ever in helping shale producers reduce the time needed to screen out bad ideas.
An Unconventional Challenge: Can Casing Failures During Hydraulic Fracturing Be Stopped?
The shale sector is seeking answers to a complex issue involving casing deformations that block access to long sections of a lateral. As opposed to frac hits, this rising problem is considered to be an intrawell phenomena.
Superior Energy Becomes Latest Service Firm to Abandon Pressure Pumping
As completions activity slows down in the US, the second service company in a week’s time has said it is exiting the business of hydraulic fracturing.
Basic Energy Services to Leave Pressure Pumping Business
The company said it will avoid the pumping business's “structurally disadvantaged position” and instead focus on well servicing and water logistics.
Permian Basin Decline Rates Have “Increased Dramatically” Amid Ongoing Slowdown
A new report says that production growth in the world’s most prolific unconventional basin is on the verge of stalling out.
Questions Over Permeability Prompt Producer-Led Group To Rebuild Key Fracture Diagnostic
For the past 20 years, the diagnostic fracture injection test has been used across the frontlines of the shale revolution to paint a picture of what cannot be seen. However, that picture has not always been so clear in the eyes of subsurface engineers.
SPE Talks Tech: 2020 Technology Watch List
With 2020 on the horizon, JPT editors put together our Top 10 list of technologies and ideas to keep an eye on in the coming year.
ConocoPhillips Leaning on Conventionals Near-Term, Unconventionals Long-Term
Most of ConocoPhillips’ oil and gas production by the end of the next decade will come from its unconventional operations. But, for the near-term, the Houston independent will rely on conventional assets as it seeks to keep spending in check, decline rates low, and cash flow on the rise.
SPE Talks To: Andrew Pepper
Fluid saturation isn't what it used to be when it comes to unconventional reservoirs. Our guest is among those sharing new research to discuss the shale sector’s changing perspectives on the importance of mobile hydrocarbons vs. immobile hydrocarbons.
UT Study: Permian Seismic Activity Up Dramatically
New research links a rise in seismic activity in West Texas with increased oil and gas development over the past 20 years and, in particular, the past decade.
Britain Imposes Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing
The decision comes 2 months after UK shale operator Cuadrilla Resources halted stimulation work at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire because of a magnitude 2.9 seismic event.
Newly Merged C&J Energy, Keane To Become NexTier Oilfield Solutions
Expected to close 31 October, the deal will create one of the largest pressure pumpers in the US.
Schlumberger, Halliburton Mull New North American Land Strategies
The two largest oilfield services firms grapple with a worsening North American land market.
To Spark Real-Time Revolution, Fracture Diagnostic Firms Partner Up and Innovate
The types of advancements made in real-time drilling data acquisition and processing are now on the doorstep of the North American completions sector. Technology developers are banding together under the umbrella of “coopetition” in a bid to change the way producers fracture tight reservoirs.
Louisiana Austin Chalk: Hundreds of Millions Down the Drain?
ConocoPhillips has pulled out of the much-hyped Louisiana Austin Chalk play after the company’s test wells yielded a gusher of water. Meanwhile, an Australian operator flying under the radar continues to pursue the adjacent-but-even-more-challenging Tuscaloosa Marine Shale.
Dallas Fed Survey: Oilfield Service Woes Fuel 3Q Upstream Industry Contraction
Lower equipment utilization and prices have worsened the pain for oilfield service companies in Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana, while operators continue to grapple with the industry’s shifting business climate.
Report: “Simple” Well Spacing Calculations Are Inaccurate and Costly
Figuring out how far apart to place horizontal wellbores remains one of the biggest challenges facing the future of the shale revolution. One roadblock appears to be the way in which the sector has traditionally measured these distances.
Shale Sector’s Switch to Slickwater Highlights Compatibility Issues with Produced Water
Not all friction reducers are created equal. With dozens of varieties on the market, industry research suggests that oil and gas companies be choosy.
Study of DUCs Concludes Better Later than Never
Average production from Bakken wells completed more than 3 years after they were drilled was approximately equal to wells drilled a year before they were put into service, according to a study by the US Energy Information Administration.
Chemical Tracer Flowback Data Help Understanding of Fluid Distribution
This paper presents a data set involving the pumping of multiple, unique chemical tracers into a single Wolfcamp B fracture stage.
Colombia’s New Ambitions Include Caribbean and Shale Development, But Are They Achievable?
Colombia is walking a thin line between becoming another fading petroleum province and Latin America’s next big success story. Its aces in the hole: unleashing its nascent offshore and unconventional sectors.
To “Right Size” Fractures, Producers Adopt Robust Monitoring and Custom Completions
If you can see it, then maybe you can control it. This sums up the latest quest that the unconventional engineering community embarked upon to get a better understanding of proper well spacing and how fractures really interact.
“Dominator Project” Raises Key Questions About Future of Cube Drilling
The shale sector is studying the results of a 23-well experiment in the southeastern corner of New Mexico to learn what the wider implications might be.
Dallas Fed: US Shale Boom Accounted for 10% of US GDP Growth
Researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas quantified the economic impact of the US shale revolution for the first half of this decade.
Santos To Resume Shale Drilling in Australia’s Northern Territory
The green light for Santos Energy’s drilling program in the McArthur Basin comes after a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory was lifted in 2018.
Analytics Firm: Permian Fracturing Work Underreported by 21% in 2018
Findings from Kayrros suggest the average Permian well is both less productive and more expensive than reflected in public data.
Permian Operators Collaborate to Improve Understanding and Performance of Unconventional Reservoirs
Permian Basin operators and service companies met to discuss completions diagnostics, flowback strategies, water management, and artificial lift strategies.
Cuadrilla to Fracture Second Well in UK Bowland Shale
The UK shale operator will move forward with fracturing and testing its second well at its Lancashire site despite strict constraints on induced seismicity that hampered fracturing work on its first well.
Permian Basin Frac Hit Notification System Under New Management
First developed as a proprietary system by a large Permian Basin operator, this hydraulic fracturing schedule exchange will be run by a data company and opened up to the entire North American shale sector.
US Crude Production Tops 12 Million B/D in April
The new milestone was reached less than a year after the country surpassed 11 million B/D last summer, and is driven by activity in the Permian Basin and new fields in the Gulf of Mexico.
US DOE To Fund 12 R&D Projects To Boost Unconventional Characterization, Recovery
Twelve organizations—universities and private technology companies—will conduct research and development on emerging shale plays and technologies covering everything from digital pressure-sensing to smart microchip proppant.
New Merger to Create Third-Largest US Pressure Pumper
As the hydraulic fracturing market faces pressure to lower costs, Keane Group and C&J Energy Services announce they will combine their businesses.
Exploring the Innovative Evolution of Hydraulic Fracturing
The evolution of hydraulic fracturing is a long and circuitous one that deserves examination. Engineering and completions leaders from Liberty Oilfield Services did just that, authoring a paper that encapsulates the high points in the development of the groundbreaking completions practice.
Phosphonate-Based Inhibitor Reduces Scaling Potential of Seawater
In this study, a laboratory analysis was conducted to study the effect of a phosphonate-based scale inhibitor on a mixture of hypersaline Arabian Gulf seawater and formation water under high-temperature/high-pressure conditions.
Computational Model Predicts Breakdown Pressures in Unconventional Plays
This paper presents a newly developed model to predict the breakdown pressures in cased and perforated wells.
Surface Drilling Data Can Help Optimize Fracture Treatment in Real Time
This paper presents a unique work flow that addresses in real time the challenges of perforation and fracture-treatment design while accounting for the lithologic and stress variability along the wellbore and its surroundings.
Chemical-Diversion Agents Can Aid Acid Fracturing in Openhole Horizontal Wells
This paper presents a newly designed triaxial fracturing system and describes a series of experiments that verified the validity of tool-free chemical diversion for multistage fracturing of openhole horizontal wells.
As gas development focuses more on tight and ultratight formations, the challenges to produce economically become diverse and more intense. One main challenge faced while fracturing a well is a high fracture gradient.
China’s Shale Dream Rests Atop Chaotic Geology
As the country pushes for higher output from its emerging unconventional sector, nature is pushing back. To get better results, operators there are increasing their reliance on technology.
Factory-Model Approach Improves Performance of Coiled-Tubing Drillout
This paper presents a factory-model approach to improving CT drillout performance that has been used successfully for more than 3 years and has become standard practice.
Real-Time Formation-Face-Pressure Analysis Improves Acid-Fracturing Operations
This paper contains a detailed discussion of methods and a software tool that has been developed to generate information that predicts formation-face pressures in real time with the help of live bottomhole-pressure data.
Operator Executives Share Haynesville Development Strategies
Indigo Natural Resources, Aethon Energy, and Rockcliff Energy are among the most active operators in the revived Haynesville Shale of North Louisiana and East Texas. And most people outside of the region likely have never heard of them.
Looking for Fracturing Sand That Is Cheap and Local
The very first fracturing job used sand scooped from a nearby river. After decades of buying sand based on tight size standards, unconventional operators are increasingly going back to a broad range of sizes, similar to that river sand.
Shale EOR Delivers, So Why Won’t the Sector Go Big?
There is every reason to believe that enhanced oil recovery through huff-and-puff injections in US tight-oil plays could be a technical success across large numbers of wells. However, widespread economic success remains uncertain.
New Operators, Well Designs Drive Record Gas Production in Haynesville
After a long cooling off period, this dry-gas shale play is once again red hot.
Shale Producers Look for Fracturing Power, See a Tighter Market
In the fast-moving US shale sector, no market trend seems to last long. The pressure pumping market exemplifies the maxim.
Shale Pioneer: Hard Ceiling on Production Growth Coming
The complicated parent-child relationship in US shale fields is emerging as a turning point in the US shale revolution. One of the first executives to exploit tight oil says the issue will reverse the sector’s cumulative growth rate by 2025.
Shale CEO on Parent-Child Challenge, Well Declines: We Know
Encana CEO Doug Suttles assures that shale executives are acutely aware of the parent-child well challenge, and he doesn’t think it’s “a big threat” to the sector.
Imaging Fracturing’s Unexpected Changes
Pictures shot in fractured wells show how a high-pressure slurry of water and sand carves up the perforations.
Shale Executives Address Investor Concerns Over Production, Frac Hits, Up-Spacing
The technical challenges imposed by tight well spacing and fracture interactions have become a focal point of recent earnings calls between investors and the leaders of several shale producers. The picture of the future is becoming clearer, and there are fewer oil wells in it.
Keeping Up with the Older Generation Proves Costly and Futile in the Permian
Another reminder that it costs more to coax the same amount of oil from new wells as for older wells nearby, with a closer look at the big plays and how the wells are completed.
Noble Energy Touts Output Gains, Potential From “Row Development” Concept
Noble’s first row of wells in its massive Mustang project is helping increase the operator’s DJ Basin output, and similar results are soon expected in the Delaware Basin.
EIA Adds New Plays to Shale Gas, Tight Oil Reports
The agency updated its methodology and production volume estimates to factor increasing production from new, emerging plays as well as older plays that have rebounded thanks to drilling advancements.
The Eagle Ford Still Looks Good to Operators
The Eagle Ford Shale has reclaimed its standing as one of the most attractive US onshore liquids basins, and for good reason. Does this mean more operators will seek to buy in to the play, and could further consolidation take hold following last year’s big deals?
UK Shale Flow Test Positive, But No Regulatory Relief in Sight
UK’s first horizontal shale well has yielded positive results after an initial flow test. But further testing—and fracturing of a second well—will have to come amid a continuation of UK’s stringent regulations on induced seismicity.
To Solve Frac Hits, Unconventional Engineering Must Revolve Around Them
The struggle to overcome the challenge of frac hits has led to a critical dialogue about which pathway the shale sector should take. One idea is to simply put the problem at the center of every major decision.
US Shale To Drill And Complete 20,000 Wells This Year
A new report expects US producers to drill their highest number of wells since 2014, and that completion activity may exceed drilling for the first time since 2016.
After-Closure Analysis of DFITs Drives Design of Hydraulic-Fracturing Programs
This paper describes a diagnostic fracture injection test-analysis program and the suitability of the results from ACAs for use in hydraulic-fracture design.
C&J Energy, Seismos Combine Technologies To Evaluate Fractures As They Are Made
Using drilling data and a downhole acoustic signal, developers aim to assess unconventional fracture networks in real time and give engineers ability to customize each stage.
ProPetro Completes Acquisition of Pioneer’s Pressure Pumping Assets
ProPetro closed its deal to purchase Pioneer’s pressure pumping fleet, boosting its services in the Permian Basin.
Reservoir-on-a-Chip Technology Opens a New Window Into Oilfield Chemistry
An oil and gas startup has attracted the business with a major operator thanks to its ability to forecast whether production-enhancing chemicals will work as advertised.
Shale’s Big Sand Switch Is Delivering Dollars, but Not Eroding All Concerns
Producers in Texas have claimed an economic victory with their transition to local sands that they once avoided using in horizontal wells due to their low-quality.
How Does Vaca Muerta Stack Up vs. US Shale? Data Tell the Tale
Vaca Muerta production is on the upswing. Will increasing activity propel the Argentine play to the ranks of US shale? Data suggest it is both already there and has a ways to go.
Led by Frac, The Oilfield Services Space Could Get Interesting in 2019
Slumping oil prices may throw a wrench into a positive outlook for the global oilfield services and equipment industry. Even if prices rebound, complications in the US fracturing market—and elsewhere—are expected to persist.
USGS’s Largest-Ever Assessment of Continuous Oil Potential: Permian’s Wolfcamp-Bone Spring
Production and proved reserves in the Permian Basin’s Wolfcamp Shale and Bone Spring Formation are reaching new heights, and a new assessment from the US Geological Survey indicates the industry is just scratching the subsurface when it comes to what may be technically recoverable.
Fighting Water With Water: How Engineers Are Turning the Tides on Frac Hits
If the shale sector’s most complex problem can be solved, it will require companies to use their wells as a team. Newly detailed field work shows that a good defense is the key to success.
Three Trends Shaping Global Production: US Well Spacing, Argentine Shale, and Middle East Conventionals
For the next several years, supplies of crude will depend on several macro factors. Some are easier to forecast than others.
Total, ADNOC To Explore for Unconventional Gas in Abu Dhabi
The French major will become operator of the Ruwais Diyab concession, and ADNOC says additional companies are lining up to partner on the emirate’s other unconventional areas.
Setback Rule Defeated in Colorado, But Industry There Remains Threatened
Colorado voters soundly defeated a measure 6 November that would have restricted the vast majority of new development in the country’s fifth largest oil-producing state. The outcome was a big relief for the oil and gas industry, but its existential fight in the state hasn’t ended.
Frac Hits To Take Center Stage at SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Conference
The upcoming event will provide the shale sector with a venue to share new learnings and approaches meant to overcome one of its greatest subsurface challenges.
Gas Begins Flowing From UK Shale Well
Small quantities of gas and water are flowing to the surface from the UK’s first horizontal shale well—just days after operator Cuadrilla paused injection work for a second time amid earthquakes.
Can Machine Learning Mitigate Frac Hits?
BHGE is developing an analytics and machine-learning approach that offers descriptive and predictive insights on frac hits, with the aim of eventually offering a real-time monitoring capability to be deployed during frac jobs.
Liquids-Rich Permian Showcased as a Model Basin
The SPE Liquids-Rich Basin Conference in Midland, Texas, merged topics that have dominated recent industry discussions: technologies centered on big data, interwell communication, and Permian Basin production.
Small Earthquakes Pause Fracturing of UK’s First Horizontal Shale Well
Cuadrilla has encountered its first bumps in the road while fracturing its Preston New Road shale gas well, with two quakes already temporarily halting injection operations.
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27 March 2020