Second Shale Revolution Is On The Horizon

  • Date: 16/04/18
  • mrt news

In less than two decades, Permian Basin operators have unleashed a shale revolution that has virtually tripled crude production from the region and upended global energy markets. Now a second revolution is on the horizon as operators prepare to re-enter those wells that launched the first revolution and implement secondary recovery projects.

That can consist of operators reinjecting gas into the reservoir to restore pressure and then producing the additional crude and natural gas.

“It looks like the second shale revolution will be huge,” said Lewis Matthews, data scientist with CrownQuest Operating.

He said the Permian Basin has been producing for close to 100 years and “we’re not even close to getting all the oil.”

CrownQuest alone has 200 years of drilling inventory, said Matthews, who expects companies such as Concho Resources and Pioneer Natural Resources have similar inventories.

The Permian Basin is renowned for its stacked plays – up to 3,000 feet of potential producing formations, some of which have yet to be developed.

“The number of benches we’re looking at today, we know there’s more there,” Matthews said.

Matthews discussed this coming revolution and its challenges during a recent quarterly luncheon of the Petroleum Professional Data Management association at Midland College’s Petroleum Professional Development Center.

The challenges of the second revolution will be similar to those of the first: optimizing spacing and completion techniques, but with additional cycles of injecting gas to repressure the reservoirs, he said. But operators are using what he called heterogeneous completion techniques and relying on heterogeneous geology, geophysics, geomechanics and geometry.

Just as a doctor would not prescribe the same identical medication for each patient, “each well requires unique spacing and completion,” he said.

But devising unique spacing and completions for each well requires data, and data is in short supply, Matthews said.

“We have tiny data sets on spacing and completions,” he said. “The newest wells are the most interesting and the most economic. But a single operator may have a data set that’s tiny – 10 to 20 wells if they’re lucky.”

As the industry turns to advanced technology such as machine learning to help find the best drilling locations and improve operations efficiencies and production, he said data on just 20 wells isn’t enough.

That’s why he spent the last year calling for a consortium solution, whereby operators pool data and help speed the cycle of machine learning.

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