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Volume 67 Number 12


The fundamental principles covering the treatment of produced water
are becoming increasingly important in the production of hydrocarbon
resources. Understanding how produced water contaminants and water
quality determine mechanical and chemical treatment options, along with
capital and operating costs, is essential.


Companies and researchers are investigating the many different ways in
which the flowback stage can be analyzed and controlled to yield cheaper
and better-performing horizontal wells.


The metric for drilling efficiency in unconventional plays has been speed,
but the savings from further reductions in the days needed to create
wellbores may be small compared with the long-term cost of poor quality
Drillpipe laid next to a rig in the
holes. The tradeoffs are hard to measure, but some are working on
Horn River Basin of British Columbia,
quantifying the impact of crooked holes. Canada, where shale producers are
using different flowback analysis
48 Q&A strategies to improve fracture designs
Mikhail Chertenkov, deputy chief executive officer of field development and accelerate the learning curve.
technology with Lukoil-Engineering, describes his companys current Photo courtesy of Nexen Energy.
projects and technology applications.


The SPE North Africa Technical Conference and Exhibition held recently
in Cairo focused on Egypt and the opportunities offered there despite
thegeopolitical risks. DEPARTMENTS
The challenges encountered in deepwater development have led to the
10 Company News
use of increasingly complex subsea systems. Consequently, operators
have become more reliant on subsea monitoring equipment and 12 Presidents Column
instrumentation to provide field information for understanding production 16 Comments
and equipment conditions. 22 Technology Applications
26 Technology Update
30 E&P Notes
91 SPE News
92 People
93 Professional Services
95 Advertisers Index
96 SPE Events

An Official Publication of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Printed in US. Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers.
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Greg Horton, SPE, Retired, and Barbara Pribyl, SPE, Reserves and
Resources Manager, Santos superpowers
57 Chance of Development: Definition, Estimation, and Use
60 Aligning Diverse Portfolios and Execution for Capital Efficiency
62 Applying Lessons Learned To Minimize Overall Investment in
Unconventional Plays
66 A Technical-Limits Approach Applied To Maximizing Gasfield Recovery dreamed of.
69 PRODUCTION AND FACILITIES Introducing the worlds
Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, Engineering Advisor, SPEC Services
first X-Ray technology
70 Optimized Design of Autonomous Inflow-Control Devices for Gas for oil wells.
and Water Coning
VISURAYs revolutionary VR90
72 Deployment of a Remote Acoustic Monitoring System for not only finds downhole blockages
Pipeline-Asset Integrity
faster, it lets you see 2D and 3D
74 A Study of Wettability-Alteration Methods With Nanomaterials reconstructions of the obstruction.
Application Well illuminate the problem, youll
eliminate the problem. Better yet,
76 BIT TECHNOLOGY AND BOTTOMHOLE ASSEMBLIES youll eliminate downtime and
Casey McDonough, SPE, Drilling Manager, American Energy Partners
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77 Designing and Testing of New Rotary-Steerable System for Use Onshore
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79 Hydraulic Percussion Drilling System Boosts Rate of Penetration,
81 Rotation by Reciprocation Casing-Landing Technology

Syed A. Ali, SPE, Technical Adviser, Schlumberger

84 First Reuse of 100% Produced Water in Hybrid Treatments With


87 Permian Basin Fracturing Systems Using Produced Water

89 Water Management: Lessons Learned and Considerations
for a Shale Play in Argentina


The complete SPE technical papers featured in this issue are available
free to SPE members for two months at


Any well type. All forms of lift.
2015 Weatherford. All rights reserved.

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Drilling & Formation Evaluation | Well Construction | Completion & Stimulation | Production

POC Comps.indd 3 10/13/15 1:25 PM

Anelise Quintao Lara, Petrobras
2016 President
Nathan Meehan, Baker Hughes
John Hoppe, Shell
Helge Hove Haldorsen, Statoil Matthias Meister, Baker Hughes


Janeen Judah, Chevron Salis Aprilian, PT Badak NGL


Libby Einhorn, Concho Oil & Gas
Roland Moreau, ExxonMobil Annuitant

Adeyemi Akinlawon,
David Curry, Baker Hughes
Bob Garland, Silver Creek Services
J. Roger HIte, Inwood Solutions
MID-CONTINENT NORTH AMERICA Jennifer Miskimins, Barree & Associates
Michael Tunstall, Halliburton
Howard Duhon, GATE, Inc. THE

NORTH SEA Tom Blasingame, Texas A&M University
Carlos Chalbaud, GDF Suez E&P UK


Phongsthorn Thavisin, PTTEP
Dan Hill, Texas A&M University OF WEATHERFORD
RUSSIA AND THE CASPIAN Khaled Al-Buraik, Saudi Aramco
Anton Ablaev, Schlumberger Liu Zhenwu, China National Petroleum Corporation

We want to be your
JPT STAFF The Journal of Petroleum Technology magazine is a
registered trademark of SPE.
SPE PUBLICATIONS: SPE is not responsible for any
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COPYRIGHT AND USE: SPE grants permission to make
Mary Jane Touchstone, Print Publishing Manager up to five copies of any article in this journal for personal Well Construction
Stacey Maloney, Print Publishing Specialist use. This permission is in addition to copying rights grant- ____
ed by law as fair use or library use. For copying beyond
Laurie Sailsbury, Composition Specialist Supervisor that or the above permission: (1) libraries and other users Completion & Stimulation
dealing with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) must
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pay a base fee of USD 5 per article plus USD 0.50 per Production
page to CCC, 29 Congress St., Salem, Mass. 01970, USA
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copyright holder under the US Copyright Act.
Canada Publications Agreement #40612608.

2015 Weatherford. All rights reserved.



Algeria 1370 1370 1370 1370 5 USD/million Btu
Angola 1860 1810 1760 1810 4
Ecuador 558 553 553 548
Iran 3300 3300 3300 3350
Iraq 3525 3425 3825 3861 2
Kuwait* 2550 2650 2650 2650
Libya 370 360 475 505












Nigeria 2470 2470 2420 2520
Qatar 1514 1520 1525 1531
Saudi Arabia* 9640 9740 9940 9940
UAE 2820 2820 2820 2820 WORLD CRUDE OIL PRICES (USD/bbl)
Venezuela 2500 2500 2500 2500

TOTAL 32477 32518 33138 33405 MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT
Brent 55.89 59.52 64.08 61.48 56.56 46.52 47.62 48.43

THOUSAND BOPD WTI 47.82 54.45 59.26 59.82 50.90 42.87 45.48 46.22


Argentina 533 529 531 533
Australia 337 314 249 299 WORLD ROTARY RIG COUNT
Azerbaijan 847 847 847 852
Brazil 2469 2431 2413 2394 REGION APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT
Canada 3879 3901 3770 3910 US 976 889 861 866 883 848 791
China 4232 4218 4254 4258 Canada 90 80 129 183 206 183 184
Colombia 1035 1029 1023 1028 Latin America 325 327 314 313 319 321 294
Denmark 158 161 153 163 Europe 119 116 113 108 109 109 108
Egypt 508 516 525 519 Middle East 410 398 401 391 393 396 403
Eq. Guinea 249 249 249 249 Africa 120 100 103 94 96 96 93
Gabon 215 215 215 205 Asia Pacific 228 217 215 212 220 218 213
India 767 766 776 751
TOTAL 2268 2127 2136 2167 2226 2171 2086
Indonesia 792 792 797 823
Kazakhstan 1692 1670 1660 1650
Malaysia 680 693 697 675
Mexico 2290 2370 2356 2235
Norway 1588 1599 1596 1622 MILLION BOPD 2014 2015
Oman 960 958 977 960 Quarter 4th 1st 2nd 3rd
Russia 10220 10150 10050 10020
SUPPLY 95.03 94.44 95.41 96.35
Sudan 257 257 257 257
DEMAND 93.25 92.85 93.37 94.70
Syria 26 26 26 26
UK 872 813 868 947
USA 9305 9432 9692 9701
Vietnam 348 341 338 325 + Figures do not include NGLs and oil from nonconventional sources.
Yemen 113 113 93 78 * Includes approximately one-half of Neutral Zone production.

Other 2465 2457 2499 2458 1 Latest available data on

2 Includes crude oil, lease condensates, natural gas plant liquids, other hydrocarbons for refinery feedstocks,
Total 46837 46847 46911 46938 refinery gains, alcohol, and liquids produced from nonconventional sources.

Total World 79314 79365 80049 80343 Source: Baker Hughes.

Source: US Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration.



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AFRICA by the Ministry of Land and Resources needed to assess the recoverability of oil
to380.6billion m3. from the basin and the rate of recovery.
Z The drillship Ocean Rig Athena is
preparing to drill appraisal and exploration AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA MIDDLE EAST
wells offshore Senegal for a joint venture
(JV) led by Cairn Energy. Two wells will Z Pilot Energy said that an independent Z Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP)
appraise the SNE discovery, which was audit of prospective oil resources for its said the gross proved and probable
ranked by IHS CERA as the worlds largest WA-507-P exploration permit offshore reserves atitsShaikan oil field in the
for oil last year. An exploration well will Western Australia has confirmed the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is estimated to
also be drilled in the Bellatrix prospect, for potential for multimillion-barrel oil be 639millionbbl. The estimate is more
which mapping has indicated a potential discoveries. The audit findings by than double the previous gross estimate
168 million bbl of oil resources. Cairn holds Gaffney, Cline & Associates supplement of 299millionbbl. Discovered in 2009, the
a 40% interest in the JV, with remaining Pilots previous announcement of a field is considered to have the potential to
interests held by ConocoPhillips (35%), confirmed potential for multi-Tcf natural produce 100,000B/D. The independent
FAR (15%), and Petrosen (10%). gas discoveries in the permit, located report findings could help GKP lower its
in the Carnarvon Basin. Pilot holds an field development costs.
Z The Ksiri West-A exploration well 80% working interest in the permit,
drilled by Circle Oil on the Sebou permit and Black Swan Resources holds the NORTH AMERICA
onshore Morocco has flowed gas at a rate remaininginterest.
of 8MMcf/D following tests. Reaching a Z Noble Energys Big Bend and Dantzler
total depth of 6,200 ft, the well perforated Z The first cargo of liquefied natural gas field projects in the US Gulf of Mexico
its primary Main Hoot target interval from (LNG) from the Gladstone LNG project moved toward startup by year-end as 8-in.
5,964 ft to 5,993 ft. It is being readied for in Australia has been delivered to Korea steel catenary risers, eight 100-ton subsea
production. Circle holds a 75% interest Gas (Kogas). Operated by Santos, the structures, and 40 miles of pipe-in-pipe
in the permit and Office National des Queensland-based project produces natural flowlines were installed by EMAS AMC. In
Hydrocarbures et des Mines holds the gas from coal seams and converts it to water depths ranging from about 6,600ft
remaining 25% interest. LNG for shipment to buyers, mostly in Asia. to 7,300 ft, the fields will be subsea tiebacks
Santos holds a 30% interest in the project to the Murphy-operated Thunder Hawk
with the other interests held by Petronas semisubmersible platform in Mississippi
(27.5%), Total (27.5%), and Kogas (15%). Canyon Block734. Noble holds working
Z Indian Oil Corp. said it had allocated interests of 54% in Big Bend and 45% in
USD5 billion over the next 5 to 7 years Dantzler. Gross combined production is
to expand its exploration and production expected to reach 40,000BOEPD.
business to capitalize on the more Z Lukoil discovered a natural gas field
affordable prices for upstream assets in the Trident block (EX-30) offshore SOUTH AMERICA
resulting from lower oil prices. The Romania. The Lira 1X well was drilled
largest refiner and fuel retailer in India, to an 8,858-ft depth by the deepwater Z Petrobras said that a third exploratory
the company plans to participate in semisubmersible GSF Development well found light oil in the Carcara offshore
international and domestic auctions of DrillerII and has been temporarily discovery in the Santos Basin offshore
hydrocarbon acreage. abandoned for the evaluation of the Brazil, confirming that the find extends well
discovery. Seismic data have suggested beyond the initial discovery. The Carcara
Z OMV discovered natural gas at the that the field could hold more than 1.05 Tcf NW well lies 5.5 km (3.4 miles) northwest of
Latif South-1 well in the Latif exploration of gas reserves. Lukoil holds a 72% interest the initial discovery well and was drilled to
license in Pakistan. During testing, in the project with the other interests a depth of 2 km. When discovered in 2012,
the well flowed at a rate of 15 MMcf/D held by PanAtlantic Petroleum (18%) and Carcara was the biggest oil column ever
(2,500BOEPD). Appraisal work is needed Societatea Nationale de Gaze Naturale found in Brazils pre-salt region. Petrobras,
to confirm the size of the discovery. OMV Romgaz (10%). the operator, holds a 66% interest in the
holds a 33.4% interest in the license with area with the remaining interests held by
Pakistan Petroleum and Eni each holding Z UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) Galp Energia (14%), Barra Energia do Brasil
33.3%interest. said that a study has calculated a gross Petroleo e Gas (10%), and Queiroz Galvao
best estimate of 15.7 billion bbl of oil in Exploracao e Producao (10%).
Z An industry report cited by Sinopec place (OIP) to lie in three Jurassic shale
estimated that proved reserves have and interbedded limestone tight oil plays Z Compania General de Combustibles
nearly tripled at the Fuling project, the underlying the companys license areas (CGC) discovered a natural gas deposit in
largest shale gas discovery in China. The in the Weald Basin. Reservoir intelligence the Santa Cruz province of Argentina. The
report said that newly proved reserves firm Nutech reported that a net OIP Morena Sur well tested at an initial rate of
for the Jiaoshiba block in the Chongqing estimate of 3.9billion bbl is attributable to 3.5 MMcf/D. The company estimates that
municipality of southwest China total UKOGs eight license interests in the basin the discovery could increase its reserves in
273.8billion m3. The estimate would raise in southern England. OIP calculations are the Austral Basin of Patagonia by 40 Bcf
Fulings proved reserves figure certified not reserves estimates. Further study is to50 Bcf. JPT


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E.ON has signed an agreement to sell installation of four wellhead jackets at Bul-
all its shares in E.ON E&P Norge in Norway Hanine field offshore Doha. McDermott is set
Petsec Energy has completed the to DEA Deutsche Erdoel. The transaction to install two jackets by December of next
acquisition of the participating interests value is USD 1.6 billion, including year, with the two remaining installations by
of Mitsui E&P Middle East (8.5%) and USD100million in cash on the balance July 2017. The jackets will be fabricated at
AWE (21.25 %) in Block 7 of the Al Barqa sheet effective January this year. E.ON the firms facility in Dubai.
permit in Yemen. The block is an onshore E&P Norge holds the Norwegian portfolio
exploration permit covering 5000 km2 of E.ONs oil and gas upstream business in Wood Group was awarded a contract
located approximately 340 km east of the North Sea and controls equity interests by Bechtel to provide an automation
Sanaa, the capital. It contains the Al Meashar in 43 licenses including a 28% interest in solution consisting of detailed engineering,
oil discovery and an inventory of leads the Skarv field and a 30% interest in the control hardware, and remote instrument
and prospects with significant oil potential Njordfield. enclosures for Tengizchevroils crude
as defined by 2D and 3D seismic surveys. storage capacity project at the Tengiz field
Oil Search (34%) remains the operator of Det norske oljeselskap has entered in Kazakhstan. The project will increase the
the block, with the other interests held by into an agreement to acquire Svenska capacity of the tank farm to accommodate
Petsec Energy Yemen (29.75%), KUFPEC Petroleum Exploration for a cash the upgrading of the existing tank farm.
(Aden) (21.25%), and the Yemen General consideration of USD 75 million on a cash-
Corporation for Oil and Gas (15%). free, debt-free basis. Svenska holds 13 Siemens has signed a long-term
licenses in Norway, including interests in agreement with gas company Dolphin
Total has signed an agreement to sell the Krafla/Askja (25%), Garantiana (20%), Energy to support its Dolphin gas project in
a 15% interest in the Gina Krog field in the Frigg Gamma Delta (40%), and Fulla/ Qatar, which supplies gas to UAE and Oman
Norwegian North Sea to Tellus Petroleum Lille-Frigg (25%) discoveries in the North by pipeline from the North field in Qatar. In
for USD 172 million (NOK 1.4 billion). The Sea. In addition, the company holds four the deal, Siemens will provide service and
field is expected to come on stream in 2017, exploration licenses in the Norwegian Sea. maintenance for nine aeroderivative gas
and produce 60,000 BOPD and 9 million m3 The transaction is expected to close in the turbines and nine compressors for 18 years.
of gas per day. Following the closure of the first quarter of next year.
transaction, Total will retain a 15% interest Saudi Aramco has awarded Saipem a
in the field, Tellus (15%), PGNiG Upstream contract for the engineering, procurement,
International (8%), and Det norske construction, and installation of structures
oljeselskap (3.3%). Statoil is the operator 2H Offshore has been awarded at the Karan field, offshore Saudi Arabia.
ofthe field and holds a 58.7% stake. a contract by Chevron to manage a The structures are the observation platform,
production riser weld qualification testing wellhead production deck module, auxiliary
AziLat Petroleum has entered into a program. The development of 20,000-psi platforms, 20-in. internally cladded flowline,
transaction with OGX Petroleo e Gas to technology is aimed at qualifying the and composite power cable.
acquire OGXs full interest in two blocks equipment required to develop future
offshore Brazil. The blocks, CE-M-603 and offshore fields with design pressures Technip USA and 3D at Depth have
POT-M-475, are located in the Ceara Basin above 15,000 psi and temperatures above signed a joint development agreement
and the Potiguar Basin, respectively, in 250F. The program will incorporate test to expand and commercialize the Light
the Equatorial Conjugate Margin and are pipe specifications, procurement and Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology
operated by ExxonMobil Exploracao Brasil. qualification of new welding and automated for subsea metrology, field survey, and
Following the completion of the transaction, ultrasonic testing procedures, and inspection, repair, and maintenance
AziLat will control 50% participating comprehensive fatiguetesting. (IRM) applications. Known as laser
interest in the first block and 65% in the scanning, the LiDAR technology collects
second block, with ExxonMobil holding the Technip Umbilicals and Angoflex have precise 3D models of subsea structures
remaining interest. been awarded a contract by Eni to supply and seabed topography, and helps
umbilicals to its East Hub development address the challenges of subsea data
Infosys will acquire Houston-based project in Block 15/06, offshore Angola. collection and imaging in deep waters for
Noah Consulting, an advanced information The contract covers project management metrology survey programs and as-built
management consulting services company and manufacture of approximately 15 km fieldconfiguration.
for the oil and gas industry, in a cash deal of dynamic and static steel tube umbilicals
worth USD 70 million. The new acquisition for the field, which is located 350 km north Eni awarded Saipem a contract for the
will combine Noahs industry knowledge, of Luanda in water depths of 450 m to engineering, procurement, construction, and
information strategy planning, data 600m. The manufacturing of the umbilicals installation for its East Hub development
governance, and architecture capabilities is set to be completed in the second half of project in Block 15/06 offshore Angola.
with Infosys ability to provide technology nextyear. The contract includes the provision of five
and outsourcing services on a global flexible risers and 20 km of rigid flowlines,
scale to oil and gas customers. The sale Qatar Petroleum awarded a contract and the installation of subsea umbilicals,
is expected to close before the end of the to McDermott International for the risers, and flowlines. The project is set for
third quarter of next year. engineering, procurement, construction, and completion by the end of next year. JPT



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Manara JPT October, November, and December 2015 15-CO-41442 AD.indd 1 9/14/15 8:45 AM

The Perfect Day

Nathan Meehan, 2016 SPE President

What constitutes a perfect day? It The SPE journey to an incident-free workplace began with
depends. To a surfer, it is a day of warm a forum titled Getting to ZeroAn Incident-Free Workplace:
sunshine and perfect waves. To sports How Do We Get There? Sessions addressed defining zero as
fans, perhaps a great win by their favorite zero HSE incident occurrences, management systems and met-
team. We each have our own idea of what rics; understanding and developing a safety culture; stakehold-
makes a perfect day. ers and their roles and importance; and taking the risk out of
Another aspect of a perfect day may the work process.
not be a conscious thought but is of ut- Based on the success of the forum, a workshop was held in
most importance: arriving home safely at the end of the day. Houston in 2011 to enable more open sharing of information
Last month, I wrote about how the Society of Petroleum En- with 90 attendees from 10 countries and 55 companies. Out-
gineers (SPE) mission statement reflects the role of the Society comes of this workshop included identifying the top three in-
and its members in serving the public benefit. This month, let fluencing factors for getting to zero:
us discuss how we are going beyond statements to actions to im- Having leadership commitment and engagement
prove peoples lives by not only enabling affordable energy, but Creating a culture of perfection
also by doing it in the healthiest, safest, and most environmen- Having a common language of communication
tally responsible way possible. Identifying these factors focused efforts on the desired out-
come. It also provided a framework for ongoing discussion on
HSE: An Evolving Approach three provoking questions for shaping exploration and pro-
When I started my career, the topic of health, safety, and envi- duction (E&P) industry HSE management going forward.
ronment (HSE) was often seen as a regulatory obligation to 1. How can leadership be effected and implemented?
meet government requirements. HSE is now recognized as the 2. What is a culture of perfection? How can it be achieved?
right thing to do for two very important reasons. 3. What does a common HSE language consist of and how
1.It is part of our moral and ethical responsibility to our em- does it gain acceptance?
ployees, customers, contractors, the communities in which On 30 June, the journey to zero was re-energized with the
we work, and to the future of our planet. first in a series of global interactive sessions called Getting
2.HSE is good for business. There is no downside to good to ZeroThe Road to Stavanger. I participated in this event
HSE practices. Conversely, the cost of poor practices can via the web and was impressed at how well the web event and
drive companies out of business. the live presentation in Houston were integrated. A second
More organizations are striving to eliminate or significantly session was conducted in September in Stavanger, a third in
reduce HSE incident occurrences. This trend in performance October in Kuala Lumpur, and a fourth in Rio de Janeiro in De-
improvements over the past decade has plateaued. We need cember. Conversations will also take place in the Middle East,
a breakthrough. This will not occur overnight; it will require along with follow-up sessions in the United States. These ses-
ajourney. sions will culminate with an interactive workshop in April
2016 in Stavanger, prior to the biennial SPE International
Getting to Zero Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Envi-
SPE has a long commitment to HSE and I strongly encour- ronment, and Social Responsibility.
age you to visit its website at This free web- These interactive sessions include in-room and online pre-
site for HSE professionals is an informative public resource. sentations and questions and answers with real-time polling
HSE is a growing discipline within SPE globally. OnePetro of all participants. They will address the following questions:
( now has 6,000 published HSE papers. Is getting to zero achievable?
As the number of professionals sharing knowledge on HSE What are the most critical values to achieving zero?
increases, SPE offers the ideal place where they can gath- Which issues need more time?
er, access resources, increase learning, and collaborate to We have an early consensus that achieving zero HSE inci-
improve industry practices. dent occurrences is possible. The most critical core values, as

To contact the SPE President, email


No? Lets look below the surface. The one on the right listens
to its equipment underwater, predicts problems, prevents
failures and protects its surroundings. So what you cant
see at sea level is predictive analytics that lead to reduced
production costs and increased reliability and availability.

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15-GE-0427 - Spot the Difference Ad - Journal of Petroleum Technology - 11.10.indd 1 11/5/15 8:33 AM
identified in the initial sessions, are visible leadership, team- could understand would require changing the conversation and
work, and openness to change. Top influencing components changing the vocabulary.
needing more time and effort include a total alignment of all We began with an internal communications campaign that
stakeholders in relation to a vision of zero, human behaviors included videos, testimonials, conversations, posters, a Web
and a common language of communication. page, and resource materials designed to make getting to zero
more meaningful and to help employees at all levels embrace it
Getting From Words to Action as much as possible. The perfect HSE day was defined as a day in
Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher who is credited which everyone in the company goes home safe, with no record-
with writing the classic text, the Tao Te Ching. In it, he wrote able injuries, no seriousmotor vehicle accidents, and no signifi-
, which is translated as The journey of cant environmental spills. We began to measure and track per-
a thousand miles begins with a single step. Many cultures share fect HSEdays.
the recognition that significant change cannot take place until Everyone shares one simple metric for measuring suc-
action is taken to bring it about. cessno acronyms, no jargon, and no incident rates. There
My employer has taken that first step on the journey to zero is one simple number: zero. Each day is a new opportunity to
by revolutionizing the way the company manages HSE with achieve it. Everyone in the company can see how their actions
the concept of a perfect day which equates to no injuries, impact the company and its outcomes. On every day that we
no accidents, and no spills. Jack Hinton, vice president of HSE record a perfect day, each employee receives an email from
at Baker Hughes, participates in all of the Getting to Zero our chief executive officer. It is the email I most look forward
interactive sessions. When Hinton introduces his section of to eachday.
the program, he asks the audience to reconsider the con- Results have been remarkable. In 2012, the company logged
cept of needing more time to address issues critical to achiev- 22 perfect HSE days. In 2013, the number improved to 42. In
ing zero. 2014, the total was 92, the equivalent of a perfect quarter. On
We talk about needing more time, but do we really need 6 October 2015 we crossed the 100 perfect HSE Days mile-
more time, or is it more about needing to do something differ- stone. Many of our operating units have recorded a year or
ent, and needing to do it now? asks Hinton. more of consecutive perfectdays.
This was the question facing Baker Hughes in 2009. We had Uncertainty and anxiety surrounding market conditions
made significant progress in standard HSE measures but it is and other potential distractions have historically result-
hard for an employee to relate to a total recordable injury rate. edinHSE incident rates trending up. We are seeing theopposite.
What we did redefined who we were and how we did business,
including how we manage HSE. We made a decision to reorga- Moving Forward on the Journey
nize from a number of companies made up of product lines and As part of our goal of making every day a perfect HSE day, we
services to a single company with an interdependent culture. mine the wealth of information we have on any incident that
As part of this culture, we stated our purpose: enabling safe, occurs. We have identified five basic issues common to every
affordable energy, and improving peoples lives. This purpose incident, regardless of classification.
is defining; it is within the DNA of the people who make up 1. Hazard identification: What hazards might I face while per-
the company. forming this task?
As Hinton says, When you have a purpose, you really do not 2. Hazard control: How can I control the hazards to avoid
have more time. The time is now. being injured?
Safety is as much our purpose as energy is, so we made it in- 3. Process education: Am I properly trained and do I under-
tegral to the company and outlined a business framework for it, stand the task?
as we did for other key aspects of the business. 4. Change management: What is outside my normal scope
The Perfect HSE Day 5. Sharing lessons learned: How can I share what I have
Like most companies, Baker Hughes was comfortable measuring learned with my coworkers?
HSE performance incrementally. Our journey caused us to fun- Learnings are fed back into the HSE incident management
damentally shift such that we were no longer happy with incre- system for future use. We are unsatisfied with being able to clas-
mental improvement. Our employees wanted more, and our sify incidents and determine why they happened; we must fix
leadership supported it. Getting to zero became a reflection of them so they do not happen again.
who we already were, rather than a new initiative. This is not a campaign; it is a progression in our thinking. It
The perfect HSE day embodied our definition of zero and all has evolved into the way we do business. It can become the way
that was necessary to achieve it: engaged and visible leadership, business is done throughout the E&P sector. That is where we are
teamwork, trust, willingness to change, a culture of perfection, heading. That is what we can accomplish when we envision every
andextremely importanta common vocabulary of HSE. employee as an HSE professional. That is how we will get to zero.
The perfect HSE day that everyone throughout the organization That is the perfect day. JPT


Bernt Aadny, University of Stavanger
Syed AliChairperson, Schlumberger
Tayfun Babadagli, University of Alberta

The IEAs Prediction

William Bailey, Schlumberger
Ian G. Ball, Intecsea (UK) Ltd
Mike Berry, Mike Berry Consulting
John Donnelly, JPT Editor
Maria Capello, Kuwait Oil Company
Simon Chipperfield, Santos
Nicholas Clem, Baker Hughes
The International Energy Agencys (IEA) new energy outlook Alex Crabtree, Hess Corporation
paints a generally optimistic view of the supply/demand balance Gunnar DeBruijn, Schlumberger
and oil price picture to 2020. The annual report is one of the
Alexandre Emerick,
most widely watched and respected energy forecasts. Petrobras Research Center
The IEAs World Energy Outlook 2015 offers two possible sce- Niall Fleming, Statoil
narios for the near future: a tightening supply/demand balance Ted Frankiewicz, SPEC Services
that leads to oil prices rising to around USD 80/bbl by 2020, and
Emmanuel Garland, Total
a less optimistic view that has oil in the USD 5060/bbl range
Stephen Goodyear, Shell
5years from now. Here are the highlights of the report:
Reid Grigg, New Mexico Petroleum Recovery
The IEAs central scenario sees oil prices gradually rising to USD 80/bbl by 2020
Research Center
and continuing to increase after that. On the demand side, that prediction hinges
Omer M. Gurpinar, Schlumberger
on global consumption increasing by 900,000 B/D per year. The supply side
A.G. Guzman-Garcia, ExxonMobil (retired)
outlook sees declining non-OPEC production as the upstream price cutting that
began this year begins to take hold. Some estimates have companies cutting up to Greg Horton, Consultant

20% of global upstream spending this year. A BP executive last month was quoted John Hudson, Shell

as saying that oil majors have canceled 80 projects this year and cut capital Morten Iversen, BG Group
expenditures by as much as USD 22 billion. Leonard Kalfayan, Hess Corporation
The agency also believes that OPEC cannot indefinitely keep its current strategy Tom Kelly, FMC Technologies
of flooding the market with oil to maintain market share. At some point in the Gerd Kleemeyer, Shell Global Solutions
near future, the loss in oil revenue to OPEC states will not be sustainable. The InternationalBV
IEA is also somewhat skeptical that output growth from Iran and Iraq will not Thomas Knode, Statoil
beachallenge. Marc Kuck, Eni US Operating
Tight oil growth in the US has changed the global oil market because of the short Jesse C. Lee, Schlumberger
investment cycle of tight oil and its ability to respond quickly to price signals. Silviu Livescu, Baker Hughes
That means that when oil prices do recover, growth in the US tight oil sector will
Shouxiang (Mark) Ma, Saudi Aramco
recover with them and, in addition, producers are becoming increasingly adept at
John Macpherson, Baker Hughes
operational efficiency and use of technology. But the sweet spots eventually will
Casey McDonough, Chesapeake Energy
be depleted and operations in less productive areas will lead to higher production
costs. The IEA predicts that US tight oil production will reach a plateau in the Stephane Menand, DrillScan

early 2020s at slightly above 5 million B/D before beginning to decline. Badrul H Mohamed Jan, University of Malaya
A period of lower for longer cannot be ruled out because of the possibility of Lee Morgenthaler, Shell
tepid global economic and oil demand growth, OPECs continuation of its market Michael L. Payne, BP plc
share strategy, and resilient supply from US tight oil and other non-OPEC sources. Zillur Rahim, Saudi Aramco
However, the IEA considers this a less likely scenario. Jon Ruszka, Baker Hughes
Global concern about climate change will continue to have an impact on the oil
Martin Rylance, GWO Completions
and gas industry. Investment and development in alternative energy sources Engineering
is growing, as is support from government subsidies. The industry will come Otto L. Santos, Petrobras
under additional pressure this month during the United Nations Conference Luigi A. Saputelli, Hess Corporation
on Climate Change in Paris. There should be no energy company in the world Sally A. Thomas, ConocoPhillips
[which] believes that climate policies will not affect their business, IEAs
Win Thornton, BP plc
Executive Director Fatih Birol said in November. The conference goal is to reach
Xiuli Wang, Minerva Engineering
a legally binding, global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this
Mike Weatherl, Well Integrity, LLC
year, 10 major energy companies declared support for a global deal on climate
change, with some recommending that governments agree to carbon pricing as Rodney Wetzel, Chevron ETC

akeystrategy. JPT Scott Wilson, Ryder Scott Company

Jonathan Wylde, Clariant Oil Services
Pat York, Weatherford International
To contact JPTs editor, email


Entering the Matrix
First Global Installation
MATRIX (MPL) bridge plug is the latest
edition providing our clients with
even more flexibility solving your
well needs and challenges
Please contact Interwell sales representative
in your area for more information.

Well Completion Reservoir Plug and

Intervention Products & Flow Abandonment

Treating Produced Water With Understanding

Daniel Shannon, Produced Water Product Manager, Cameron

desalinization desalinization
The American Petroleum Institute esti- Offshore

mates that oil and gas exploration and Produced water TDS <40,000 mg/L
production in the US generates approxi-
Onshore Fine Fine
mately 20 billion bbl of produced water Total particle droplet
annually. And, because the production suspended removal removal

life of wells is usually advanced, the ratio Porous
formation TDS >40,000 mg/L
of barrels of produced water to hydro- Free oil
carbons recovered can be as high as 9:1. reduction Reinjection
Accordingly, in the past several formation Fine Fine
particle droplet
decades, produced water has become removal removal
the largest byproduct in the oil and gas
Hot water/steamflood
industry. Managing all this produced Thermal enhanced


water includes injecting the water into oil recovery

the formation to maintain formation Fine Fine
SAGD particle droplet
pressure, thereby increasing hydro- removal removal
carbon production, or disposing of the Hydraulic fracturing. New fluids only (limited treatment).
water in deep wells. Before the water
Disposal well
can be injected, disposed of, or dis- (salt water disposal)
charged offshore, it is necessary to
remove oil, suspended solids, or both to Disposal well
protect formation rheology or to meet
dischargeregulations. A water process engineers initial approach to produced water treatment
If you ask an experienced produced applications and options.
water process engineer working in the
oil and gas industrythey are get- formation and its associated hydrocar- effective and efficient produced water
ting harder to find these dayshow to bons. Plus, the properties of produced treatment strategy.
treat produced water, be prepared to water and its volume vary considerably While an initial analysis could begin
answer a lot of questions. And, these depending on the location of the field, with a number of variables, contami-
are likely to be on a range of topics such its geologic formation, the type of hydro- nants in the water and the water quality
as local operating conditions, charac- carbon product being produced, and the requirements determine the treatment
teristics of the produced water, water reservoirs age. process. Contaminants are generally
treatment requirements, and available For those new to produced water, categorized into three types: suspended
treating options. It is also important to the preceding information can be over- oil droplets/particles, dissolved organics
understand that produced water con- whelming. But for produced water and inorganics, and biological matter.
tains chemical characteristics of the experts, it is the basis for developing an
Free Oil and Suspended Solids
Free oil and suspended solids represent
Daniel Shannon is the produced water product manager for the most common challenges to treat-
Camerons Process Systems division. During his 35-year career, ing produced water. For offshore dis-
Shannon has held senior product management, commercial, and charge, oil removal is necessary to meet
engineering management positions in water treatment at Calgon, local regulations. When water is inject-
Baker Petrolite, GE Water & Process Technologies, and Halliburton. ed, both onshore and offshore, the par-
ticulate threatens the formation rheol-
ogy, well productivity, and well life. Left


Denham Capital has a simple and straightforward investment platform.
Our core focus is on partnering with and capitalizing oil and gas entrepreneurs
who possess both the technical and economic sophistication necessary to win.

Energy and resources-focused private equity firm with over $7.9 billion in invested and committed capital |
Denham Capital does not offer or sell securities to the public. No solicitation or offer to sell securities is made hereby.
Cost Range TSS Spec Oil Spec
Contaminant to be Removed
USD/bbl mg/L micron mg/L
Suspended solids and free oil removal 0.20 to 2.50 10 mg/L <10 25
Fine particulate removal 0.50 to 2.00 <5 NTU <2
Oil removal prior to desalination
0.50 to 1.50 <1
Fine droplet removal
Desalinationdischarge/agricultural upcycling TDS mg/L
Membrane 3.00 to 5.00 10 to 30 mg/L
Thermal 6.00 to 8.00 <1 to 10
Biological programs are often monitored
Nonoxidizing biocides 0.50 to 2.50
based on bug counts. Real metrics are
observation of evidence of biological activity
Oxidizing biocides 0.10 to 1.00
such as presence of slime in tanks, etc.

Approximate costs for produced water treatments.

to separate from the water naturally, the on the droplet/particle size, density, and dissolved solids 40,000mg/L, thermal
process could take years, making the the velocity of water. desalination technologies, including mul-
method impractical. Decreasing the density of oil droplets/ tistage evaporators and vapor recompres-
The rate of separation of free oil particles can be accomplished by attach- sion, are used. For produced water with
and suspended solids from produced ing them to gas bubbles. Decreasing their total dissolved solids 40,000 mg/L,
water can be accelerated using the densities to a point that is substantially membrane systems areused.
followingmethods: lower than the produced water in which
Increasing oil droplet/solid particle they are suspended allows the particles Biological Matter
size to rise and separate. It can be done by Biological matter includes bacteria and
Changing water flow direction injecting gas, producing bubbles that all their metabolic byproducts. Bacteria
Decreasing water flow velocity range in size from 100 and 200 microns, develop in produced water as a result of
Decreasing oil droplet/particle or by causing a pressure drop that releas- contamination during exploration and
density es dissolved gas bubbles as small as 10 production. Bacteria and their metabol-
Increasing the size of droplets/par- to 20 microns. The oil droplets/particles ic activity can cause equipment fouling
ticles is effected through charge neu- entrained in the water will attach to gas and failure as well as reservoir damage.
tralization by adding cations such as bubbles or be drawn up by the bubbles Control of the microbiological commu-
iron or aluminum. Once neutralized, lift and rise to the waters surface where nity in a water system can be sustained
the oil droplets/particles collide and they can be removed with a skimming or through good housekeeping, which can
stick together in what is termed the overflow device. substantially reduce the use and expense
agglomeration process. As the particles of biocides that must also be applied.
coalesce and form larger aggregates, Dissolved Organics
their separation speed from the water and Inorganics Summary
increasesgeometrically. Dissolved organics and inorganics The fundamental principles covering the
Changing the direction of a produced include hydrocarbons such as aromat- treatment of produced water are becom-
water stream containing oil droplets, ics, and inorganic salts such as calcium ing increasingly important in the pro-
particles, or both causes these entrained carbonate. These contaminants must be duction of hydrocarbon resources.
contaminants to separate from the water. removed for discharging into the envi- Understanding how produced water
By using coalescing media, a stream of ronment or upcycling into agricultural contaminants and water quality deter-
produced water can be forced to change or upstream applications, such as steam- mine mechanical and chemical treatment
direction multiple times. This process assisted gravity drainage. Dissolved options, along with capital and operat-
can separate the heavier particles and the organic contaminants can be removed ing costs, is essential. Removing con-
lighter oil droplets from the water. The from produced water by destabilization taminants is crucial to maintaining well
resulting high coalescence of droplets and precipitation prior to fine particu- productivity, well life, equipment integ-
and particles increases the collision rate, late removal. rity, and sustaining environmental com-
causing agglomeration. Desalination is the process by which pliance. Expert water process engineers
Decreasing the velocity of a produced inorganic salts are removed. Desalina- provide a core competency in the devel-
water stream promotes the separation of tion process technologies are generally opment of an effective produced water
solids and oil. The rate and efficiency at categorized into two types: thermal and management program that optimizes
which this process occurs is dependent membrane. For produced water with total costs and water quality.JPT


Simple is the New Standard

PosiFrac Toe Sleeve

PosiFrac HALO Frac Seat

Two Revolutionary Designs:

Industry Standard Redefined.
TAM developed the PosiFrac Toe Sleeve and the PosiFrac HALO large bore frac
seat to eliminate the need for coiled tubing in a plug-and-perf completion.

The PosiFrac Toe Sleeve is designed to open on bleed down after the high-pressure
casing test. Multiple sleeves can be installed at the toe of the well and can be opened
simultaneously, providing more than one fracture initiation point.

The PosiFrac HALO large bore frac seat has the largest ID of any frac plug on the
market, and it does not require mill-out following plug-and-perf completion operations.
The simple design increases reliability and virtually eliminates the risk of pre-setting
while being pumped to setting depth. Using industry standard wireline setting tools,
the PosiFrac HALO is setting a new standard for plug-and-perf completions. PosiFrac HALO is a HydraWell, Inc. technology licensed exclusively to TAM International.


TAM-173_PosiFrac_ToeSleeve_0909.indd 1 9/9/15 10:50 AM


Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Mature-Asset Solution challenges: optimizing production from wells. ScaleGone and ScaleGone CI are
The Baker Hughes DeclineShift solution existing wells, maximizing revenue from slow-release products, providing long-
for mature assets is designed to help oper- production, and increasing recoverable lasting scale and corrosion protection up
ators get the most out of their mature resources. By use of accurate asset profil- to several years depending on loading.
assets through a focus on maximizing cap- ing and root-cause analysis of decreasing These products can prevent deposition
ital efficiency and returns; expertise to performance, Baker Hughes designs effi- in the wellbore region and the tubing
design a customized plan and to execute cient, integrated solutions to maximize just as powerfully as they can at the for-
it precisely and surgically in the field; and immediate and long-term value. Because mation face, to prevent scale and costly
an innovative technology portfolio that each solution is engineered in a precise production problems. U.S. Waters family
offers advanced, integrated production- manner, most require only a small wellsite of ScaleGone products can provide flow
characterization and -enhancement solu- footprint and can be designed to address assurance and asset integrity through-
tions. The resulting fit-for-purpose solu- multiple challenges in a single operation. out the life of a well, with no need for
tion is engineered to ensure minimal For additional information, visit truck-treating liquid products or tanks
disruption, downtime, and footprint and pumps for continuous feeding of liq-
and increased returns. When building uid chemicals. ScaleGone helps ensure
a DeclineShift solution for a particular Scale Inhibitor maximum well production by preventing
asset, Baker Hughes takes an individual U.S. Water introduced ScaleGone and scale deposits that reduce flow and helps
approach, focusing on the asset profile ScaleGone CI, an innovative, long- provide extended well integrity with cor-
and the operators objectives and drivers lasting (up to several years), slow-release, rosion protection.
(Fig. 1). Each solution begins with close solid scale inhibitor (SI) and a combined For additional information, visit
examination of the areas that have the SI/corrosion inhibitor (CI) for hydraulic-
greatest effect on each operators bottom fracturing fluids as well as use in produc-
line. This examination can range from ing wells. ScaleGone solid SI particles, Production and Reservoir-
individual-well diagnostics to full-field which measure the same size as prop- Management System
analyses, and focuses on three primary pant, can be introduced during stimu- Schlumberger, in collaboration with Saudi
lation treatment, ensuring distribution Aramco, has developed a new comple-
throughout the well fracture (Fig. 2). Safe tion system that provides simultaneous
to use with other stimulation products, control of multiple zones across multiple
ScaleGone slowly releases into well pro- well sections, increasing recovery while
duced fluids. In addition, ScaleGone can reducing lifting and intervention costs
be introduced into already-producing (Fig. 3). The Manara production and res-

Fig. 1Each DeclineShift solution

is developed with a collaborative
approach, leveraging the operators
asset expertise and Baker Hughes
broad technology portfolio and
application knowledge, to deliver
fast, high-impact results. Fig. 2U.S. Water operation in Colorado.


ing and wireline; procedures are already
available for thisoperation.
For additional information, visit

Consulting Service
Weatherford introduced its production-
optimization consulting services. The
consultants are in-house subject-matter
experts who collaborate with operators
to design integrated optimization solu-
Fig. 3Schlumbergers Manara production and reservoir-management system. tions for proactive well, reservoir, and
asset management. Drawing from a com-
ervoir management system, which uses the benefits of the original Duoline DL prehensive portfolio of lift equipment
inductive coupler technology to provide Ring System (Fig. 4). Duoline Flush is and a 480,000-well history of successful
power and telemetry, can be deployed in a glass-reinforced-epoxy lining system software deployments, consultants assist
conventional or extended-reach wells, in that, when installed into carbon-steel cas- with choosing the right technologies
two or more sections, or across any num- ing and tubing, protects the base mate- for the optimal outcome. The consult-
ber of lateral junctions. The system incor- rial from corrosion from materials that ing team can configure offeringswhich
porates compact stations positioned in may be present in the well fluid. Reservoir include artificial-lift systems, surface
zones within each well section to mea- cleanup with hydrochloric acid at concen- and downhole sensors, controllers, and
sure water cut, fluid-flow rate, pressure, trations up to 28% can be accommodated production-optimization software
and temperature in real time. Multiple to ensure good flow rates. Duoline Flush to suit assets ranging from convention-
stations can be placed in each lateral, may be installed into threaded oil-country al and deepwater sources to unconven-
providing precise control of zonal pro- tubular goods, either new or used, with- tional shale and heavy-oil sources. The
duction or drawdown. Work flows that in most connection options. The Duoline team also can recommend comprehen-
normally take 3 to 6 months can be per- Flush System uses the patented FL-Ring sive solutions for various operational
formed in 1 day. Sensors placed upstream system that permits lining of shoulder-to- challenges. For example, they can part-
of stations analyze production from the shoulder premium connections without ner with operators to maximize produc-
associated zone, with data communicat- affecting the geometry and performance tion in naturally flowing and artificially
ed to the surface through a single elec- of the connections. The system can be lifted wells with high outputs, or they can
tric control line. When a particular zone installed into a wide range of bore diam- help to reduce operational costs in assets
sees water breakthrough, the system can eters and weights. Duoline can accommo- with thousands of minimally producing
adjust the electric flow-control valve to date interventions with both coiled tub- wells. The services follow a cycle of ongo-
hold back the water while other zones
continue producing. The Manara system API Ring
has been installed in four wells in the Mid- API Pipe Coupling Grout API Pipe
dle East. In one case, six stations and four
inductive couplers were deployed in three
laterals of a well, providing daily down-
hole monitoring, reservoir management,
and drawdown control in each zone.
For additional information, visit

Lining System
The Duoline Flush System is an extension
and natural progression to the success-
ful Duoline DL System, which has been
used in thousands of onshore and off-
Liner Liner
shore wells worldwide over the past 10
years. Using the same component mate- API Flush Flare
rial with an enhanced internal geometry, Fig. 4The new Duoline Flush System provides increased through bore
Duoline is now able to offer an increased while maintaining all the benefits of the original Duoline DL Ring System.
through bore while still maintaining all (API=American Petroleum Institute.)


Adjust Appraise

Analyze Optimization Select

Monitor Design

Fig. 5Weatherford production- Fig. 6Thermoflex PE, a lightweight polyethylene pipe for cold-weather
optimization consulting uses a six- climates from Polyflow.
stage cycle to help operators enhance
performance and achieve full-field

ing improvement, which mirrors the

industry-recognized structure to opti-
mize performance and maximize profit-
ability. The cycle includes well appraisal,
lift selection (if needed), system design,
performance monitoring, data analysis,
and operational adjustments (Fig. 5).
For additional information, visit

Cold-Weather Pipe
Polyflow, a manufacturer of spoolable
reinforced thermoplastic pipe for trans-
porting hydrocarbons, water, and other Fig. 7A map-view slice from one well of, from left, a stimulated rock
fluids, announced the launch of Thermo- volume (SRV), an APV approximately 2 years into production, and an APV
flex PE, a lightweight polyethylene pipe approximately 3 years into production from Global Geophysical Services.
for cold-weather climates. Production of
Thermoflex PE is currently under way, installation, and support to its ExPERT contributing to production. Fluid noise in
and it will be available in various sizes pipeline-rehabilitation program. the fracture system is also imaged. When
and pressure ratings (Fig. 6). The market For additional information, visit a well is producing, the drainage network
need for pipe that can withstand tough that is connected to the wellbore experi-
climates calls for a better choice than ences enhanced activity because of the
steel or other plastic pipe in the Bakken. Production-Monitoring System movement of fluid; the resultant changes
Thermoflexs unique polymer construc- Ambient seismic activity generated by in local stress cause failure events. Glob-
tion and aramid-fiber reinforcement producing wells can be used to map the al Geophysical Services Ambient Seis-
deliver high resistance to hydrocarbons volume of rock surrounding the well- mic production monitoring is useful for
in sour and sweet environments around bore. This acoustically active rock vol- observing changes in APVs over time. This
the world. Operators in cold environ- ume is termed the active production 4D monitoring, when conducted at regu-
ments can benefit from Thermoflex volume (APV). While monitoring micro- lar intervals over years of production, pro-
PEs resistance to corrosion and cycli- seismic activity during hydraulic fractur- vides unprecedented views of reservoir
cal loading. This allows oil and gas ing has become a common practice, using production (Fig. 7). These APVs can be
exploration-and-production companies the lower-amplitude ambient signal to used for making predrill predictions about
in the Bakken and other northern regions monitor production is a new and prom- production volumes, for understanding
to get wells flowing faster for increased ising technology. Small changes in local the interactions between producing wells,
profitability while enhancing safety, stresses can result in failure on small pre- and for determining refracturing candi-
reliability, and longevity. In support of existing fractures. This generates acoustic dates and infill-drilling strategies. JPT
Thermoflex PE, Polyflow delivers ser- activity that, when imaged, reveals reser- For additional information, visit
vice in the field as well, from modeling, voir features including the volume of rock



Magnetic Resonance-While-Drilling System

Improves Understanding of Complex Reservoirs
Kirill Kuptsov, Roger Griffiths, SPE, and David Maggs, SPE, Schlumberger

Reservoirs consisting of heterogeneous with the surrounding matrix at a funda- The relaxation time for a molecule
carbonates and shaly sands pose for- mental level. The technology provides a near a pore wall surface tends to be much
mation evaluation challenges for con- more complete, real-time assessment of faster than that for a molecule in the bulk
ventional logging-while-drilling (LWD) producibility in complex reservoirs. fluid volume. A distribution of all the
measurements. Widely used resistivi- relaxation times, known as a T2 distribu-
ty, density, neutron porosity, and sonic Evolution of the Technology tion, can be used to derive both irreduc-
measurements are all sensitive to both The industry has used NMR technol- ible and producible fluid volumes, and
the formation matrix and the fluids, ogy for formation evaluation for more an improved estimation of permeability.
which may create ambiguities in the than 25 years, during which significant These measurements are also important
evaluation of reservoir fluids. technical and operational developments for identifying bypassed pay zones and
The Schlumberger proVision Plus have greatly enhanced its capabilities estimating productionrates.
magnetic resonance-while-drilling and applications. In porous media, NMR The first NMR tools were deployed
(MRWD) technology offers enhanced techniques reveal pore and fluid prop- on wireline after the hole had been
evaluation capabilities. By manipulating erties by exciting the nuclear states of drilled, which added rig time and cost
the hydrogen atoms in the fluids, nucle- hydrogen-containing molecules in the to the operation and did not allow for
ar magnetic resonance (NMR) meth- formation fluids and measuring the real-time changes to the wellbores tra-
ods provide a focused measurement of relaxation times for the induced excited jectory. Schlumberger shifted the ser-
fluid properties and their interactions energy states. vice from wireline to a while-drill-
ing application in 2002. This early
work focused on redesigning the sen-
Mineralogy-Independent Porosity Facies Analysis Pore Size Distribution sor array to make it more robust and
capable of withstanding dynamic drill-
T2= ing environments.
Signal distribution
Signal distribution

The design effort culminated with

the introduction of the companys lat-
est MRWD system in 2012. Its new sen-
sor makes reliable measurements under
rapidly changing downhole tempera-
tures and pressures and withstands the
T2, msec T2, msec vibrations and drillstring shocks that are
common during drilling.
Irreducible Water and Free Fluid Continuous Permeability Further design enhancements allow
the tool to be placed anywhere with-
Signal distribution

Signal distribution

in the bottomhole assembly (BHA). A

sleeve stabilizer minimizes tool motion
without affecting the steerability of the
BHA. Powered by a downhole electri-
cal turbine, the tool does not need to be
tripped to replace batteries.
T2, msec T2, msec
A Complete Petrophysical
Fig. 1The magnetic resonance-while-drilling technology acquires a T2
distribution to provide lithology-independent petrophysical measurements. By yielding lithology-independent
Graphics courtesy of Schlumberger. porosity, pore-size distribution, and


The 2015 generation Anti Stick-Slip Tool (AST) uses a new
counterforce solution for balancing the load on the PDC cutters
in both axial and angular directions. This makes it possible to land
any PDC drill-bit on hard rock without risk of impact damage.


The better protection of the PDC cutters in the first contact 3D & LAYOUT: RENDER.NO
with the bottom of the hole has already delivered impressive
results. An operator in South-Eastern Europe recently drilled
a deep 6.0 inch section in one bit-run with excellent ROP.
The bit drilled for 235 hours to a local TVD record of 5350m
(17500). Back on surface, the bit was graded 1-3-WT.

A similar result was obtained by a major operator drilling on

the UK shelf where the planned turbine and impregnated bit
was replaced by a conventional PDC bit and the AST solution. The 2015 counterforce upgrade enables the AST
to prevent the onset of damaging vibrations as the
cutters first engage the rock.
Contact us:
Aberdeen: +44 1224 561313
Houston: +1 713 557-7542
Stavanger: +47 51 95 11 70
Rio de Janeiro: +21 3497-5083
Attenuation Resistivity
at 40-in Spacing

Dry-weight fraction of quartz, feldspar, and mica

0.2 ohm.m 2,000
Attenuation Resistivity
at 28-in Spacing

Volume fraction of quartz, feldspar, mica

0.2 ohm.m 2,000

Dry-weight fraction of carbon

Dry-weight fraction of pyrite

Attenuation Resistivity Bound Fluid

Dry-weight fraction of clay

Volume fraction of carbonates

at 16-in Spacing
Free Fluid

Volume fraction of pyrite

0.2 ohm.m 2,000

Volume fraction of clay

Phase Shift Resistivity, Magnetic Resonance Magnetic Resonance

Irreducible water
Rate of Penetration 40-in Spacing Porosity Porosity
< 3 ms Cumulative Porosity Net

Bound water
0 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 0.6 ft3/ft3

Oil volume
100 m/h ft3/ft3 0 0.6 0

Free water
T2 Distribution Formation
310 ms Pressure-While- Cumulative Porosity Gross
Phase Shift Resistivity Thin-Bed
Bound Fluid Drilling Permeability Analysis
Formation Sigma at 28-in Spacing Density 1030 ms
Density Image Spectroscopy T2 Logarithmic Mean Volume Cumulative Porosity Gross
0.1 mD 10,000 0.5 3.5
0 cu 40 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 1.65 g/cm3 2.65 30100 ms
1.96 2.33 0.50 4.50 0.5 ms 5,000 0.6 ft3/ft3 0 0 m 15
Phase Shift Resistivity, Magnetic Resonance Thin-Bed 0.50 8.50
Caliper Gamma Ray 16-in Spacing Neutron Porosity Density Image Spectroscopy T2 Cutoff Density Porosity 100300 ms Cumulative Porosity Net
Permeability Analysis Volumetrics
105 in 510 0 gAPI 150 0.2 ohm.m 2,000 0.6 ft3/ft3 0 0.68 g/cm3 3.9 0 1 0.5 ms 5,000 0.3 g/cm3 0 > 300 ms 0.1 mD 10,000 0 unitless 1 0 ft3/ft3 1 0 m 15

pay zone

pay zone

Fig. 2In a deepwater well offshore West Africa, the Schlumberger multifunction logging-while-drilling system
clearly identified two distinct pay sands. When these logs were combined with the magnetic resonance-while-drilling
measurements, two additional laminated sand-shale sequences were discovered. The result was a 60% increase in
calculated reserves.

continuous permeability measure- sourceless formation evaluation-while- meability in both shaly sands and
ments, and providing direct detection of drilling technology, which uses pulsed heterogeneouscarbonates.
hydrocarbons, the technology offers a neutron generator technology to yield a The MRWD system also identifies
number of benefits in the assessment of detailed description of the rock matrix areas of low permeability, thus helping
complex reservoirs (Fig.1). Because the mineralogy. Taken together, the two to improve decision making about where
data are acquired as the well is drilled, technologies provide sophisticated rock and how to produce. When additional pay
petrophysicists and reservoir engineers and fluid property evaluation without zones are discovered, the data can be used
can assess the formation fluids before chemical sources. to create a targeted completiondesign.
they commingle with drilling fluid, The combined use of the two tech-
which complicates evaluation. nologies yields a complete petrophys- Case Studies
The MRWD data complement other ical picture of reservoir quality, mak- An operator drilling a deepwater well
LWD data, enabling advanced petrophys- ing it possible to identify pay zones that offshore West Africa required a better
ical evaluation of complex reservoirs. For would otherwise be passed over and means of evaluating potential pay zones
example, the system can be run with a accurately determine reservoir per- in a thinly bedded sandstone reservoir.


The MRWD technology enabled the measurement of lithol-
ogy-independent porosity and provided the ability to distin-
guish between irreducible and free fluids, both of which were
critical in identifying bypassed pay, evaluating reserves, and
determining producibility.
The T2 distribution relaxation times enabled the operator to
characterize two laminated sand-shale sequences in real time,
resulting in a 60% increase in calculated reserves. The analy-
sis also allowed for estimates of net-to-gross and continuous
permeability, which guided the selection of perforation inter-
vals and helped optimize the completion design (Fig. 2).
The technology also provides more detailed characteriza-
tion of carbonates than is possible with the use of triple-combo
logging alone.
An operator in South America identified a heterogeneous
formation comprising limestone, dolomite, sand, silt, and
clay, which was drilled with a 12-in. bit. The operator ran
a triple-combo logging suite to evaluate the formation, but
because carbonates were mixed with shales, there was insuffi-
cient information for accurate porosity evaluation.
The MRWD system was proposed as a means of more accu-
rately characterizing the carbonate sequences, thus increas-
ing the likelihood that all feasible pay zones could be exploit-
ed. The operator ran the technology with a coring system that
allowed the LWD data to be compared with laboratory core
measurements. Petrotechnical experts provided real-time
support to facilitate informed changes to the drilling opera-
tion while the tools were still in the hole.
Using the MRWD technology, the operator was able to
log the interval in drilling mode, with no interference to the
coring operation. The system acquired data that accurately
reflected the rock properties as confirmed by core analysis,
despite the large hole size and wellboredeterioration.
The data enabled additional operator insight into the reser-
voir, leading to the identification of a previously undiscovered
sand body that was unexpected in the geological sequence.
The additional pay sand was of higher quality than the origi-
nal target sand body and added significantly to the productiv-
ity of the field.

Continued Innovation
The latest generation of the MRWD system has been used in
more than 250 wells worldwide, with more than 250,000 m
of formation logged. Further advancements have been made
to the system, including a larger tool size. To complement
the 6-in. tool for 8-in. holes, the MRWD 8-in. tool was
introduced this year for 12-in. holes.
New processing techniques are also being developed to
extract greater value from the measurements provided by the
technology. The techniques will help reveal the porosity and
fluid signatures in the data. Ultimately, this information will
extend the systems ability to reveal previously hidden pay
zones and optimize completion strategies to maximize the
producibility of complex plays. JPT



Study Finds Surface Spills a Higher Risk

to Groundwater Than Fracturing
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

Researchers at Yale University who ana- tion to a shale gas well in the study area, The samples with the highest con-
lyzed groundwater wells in the Marcellus said Brian Drollette, the studys lead centration of organic compounds were
Shale area have determined that hydrau- researcher and a PhD student at Yale. taken from water wells less than 300 ft
lic fracturing is highly unlikely to be a Furthermore, we saw that this relation- deep. Additionally, two of the positive
direct source of contamination. ship also existed between the concen- samples contained a known hydraulic
The 3-year study, published in the Pro- tration and the distance to the nearest fracturing additive, which Drollette said
ceedings of the National Academy of Sci- gas well that had an environmental and supports the likelihood that chemicals
ences, also found that well casing failures health safety violation. released onto the surface will potentially
and produced water containment ponds From 2012 through 2014, Drollette leach into groundwater sources.
did not impact the groundwater samples took samples from 64 residential water For the organic compounds addressed
taken during the study. The research- wells spread across about 7400 km2 in by US federal safe drinking water stan-
ers concluded that the samples that test- northeastern Pennsylvania, making it dards, the study found that the concen-
ed positive for some of the same organ- the most extensive study of its kind to trations were well below those the laws
ic chemical compounds used in drilling date. Unlike earlier studies that have allow and could be easily removed with
and completion operations, but not in focused exclusively on methane migra- inexpensive and widely available carbon
dangerous concentrations, resulted from tion into groundwater, the Yale-led effort filters. For those chemicals where no
accidental spills on the surface. also analyzed water samples for a sub- standards exist, specifically the diesel-
We found that there was a significant set of heavier chemicals that represent range organic compounds, the research-
relationship between the levels of diesel- about 10% of those disclosed through ers said their concentrations were also
range organic compounds and the loca- public databases such as FracFocus. very low.
The researchers analyzed the sam-
ples using techniques such as noble
gas analysis and inorganic fingerprint-
ing that allowed them to dismiss other
potential sources of contamination.
Analysis of the samples with the
highest concentration of organic
compounds showed that the aquifer
water was geologically young
compared with the saline water
associated with the Marcellus Shale,
which indicated that the upward
migration through thousands of feet
of rock was unlikely.
Had the heavy organic compounds
been transported into the
groundwater via a leaking well
casing,they likely would have
been accompanied by high levels
of lighter gases such as methane,
which were not observed.
Residential wellsites from one of the most active areas of the Marcellus Shale If there were breaches in
in northeastern Pennsylvania were tested to determine likely sources of containment ponds, levels of
groundwater contamination. Image courtesy of Yale University. inorganic compounds such as


bromide and chloride would have ing at Yale and a coauthor of the study, Nevertheless, Plata said the study
been elevated. explained that while the unrestricted should be a signal to the shale industry
Diffusion through the polymer flow from the Marcellus Shale layer to that it needs to pay closer attention to its
liners used in containment ponds aquifer layers is not supported by this aboveground activities and strengthen
was found to be highly unlikely after studys findings, there may be regions controls regarding spills to address con-
computer modeling showed that the where unique geology would allow for cerns over groundwater contamination.
process would have taken decades. such a phenomenon. What happens at the surface is real-
While many of the studys key find- I think thats encouraging from an ly important and actually much more
ings are in line with the shale indus- industry perspective because it means controllable, so you should take advan-
trys claims that hydraulic fracturing you do have some separation between tage of the opportunities to try and pre-
poses minimal risk to groundwater, the those horizons, she said. But the truth vent those releases, she said. When
researchers cautioned against extrap- is that if youre essentially engineering they do happen, respond to them real-
olating the findings beyond the the subsurface, you could create a prefer- ly quickly or inform the people living in
sampleregion. ential flow path that results in enhanced the area so that they can take control of
Desiree Plata, an assistant professor of communication with deep shale horizons their own water sources and treat for
chemical and environmental engineer- or fluids and the shallow groundwater. thesematerials.

Statistics Point to Water Injection as Cause of Earthquakes,

But Understanding Why Remains a Geological Puzzle
Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

A surge in earthquakes tightly clustered 30

in southern Kansas that followed the large
2 3 4
increase in produced water injections 25
prompted the state to cut the daily limits
Number of Earthquakes

on disposal wells in that area to see if that 20

will help solve the problem.
Based on 3 months of reduced injec-
tions through mid-September, the results
were encouraging, said Shelby Peterie, a
research geophysicist at the Kansas Geo-
logical Survey. Her presentation at the
Society of Exploration Geophysicists
annual meeting in New Orleans in Octo-
ber showed there has been a reduction in 0
the intensity of the earthquakes reported,
but not the number of them.
The limits imposed by Kansas regula-
A dramatic rise is shown in the number of seismic events that peaked
tors were extended another 6 months
betweenlate last year and early this year in Kansas. Graphic courtesy of the
in September to see if the earthquakes, Kansas Geologic Survey.
which climbed only after a couple years
of increased water disposal beginning As for the cause of the large increase in existing fault system and, under certain
around 2011, will go down gradually incidence, Peterie said, It is likely that circumstances, allow a fault to move,
overtime. not all of these are naturally caused. said Rex Buchanan, interim director of
The rate of earthquakes per year in The cautious comment reflects a politi- the Kansas Geological Survey, in a testi-
Kansas of magnitude 3 or more, which cally charged issue, where the statistical mony on 26 January.
is the level at which they are easily link appears clear. The rise in seismic An advisory from the survey in August
observed, has jumped to about 50 per activity has been concentrated in a small about the potential for triggered earth-
year in 2014 and 2015, up from less than area in south-central Kansas where quakes added, Linking a specific earth-
one every 2 years, she said. there was also a sharp increase in salt- quake to a specific human activity, such
This represented a jarring change in water disposal. as wastewater disposal in a single well,
the status quo in a state in the center of The added volume of injections deep is difficult.
the country located far from the earth- into the subsurface may lower the fric- The rise in earthquakes has been con-
quake-prone parts of the country. tional resistance between rocks along an centrated in two counties that histori-


cally were not prone to earthquakes. Five linking the phenomenon, and based on of predicting when injection may cause
areas within those counties were mapped papers at the conference, the fact that increased activity, and when it will not.
based on the rise in earthquake activity. increased water and earthquakes appear The vast majority of the wells are
Within that cluster, increased oil and gas linked in some areas and not in others is injecting a lot of fluid and not seeing
exploration and production activity had not well understood. more earthquakes or any at all, said
pushed injection per disposal well from An article in Science (19 June 2015) by F. James Verdon, a postdoctoral fellow at
an average of 8,000B/D to 20,000 B/D Rall Walsh III and Mark Zoback reported the University of Bristol.
40,000 B/D, and even higher. There was that in Oklahoma, induced seismic activ- The study considered a statistical
a 700% increase in saltwater disposal ity may be the product of multiple dispos- analysis approach and also a geologi-
and a corresponding rise in the earth- al wells injecting fluids that affect a broad cal approach, and the results from both
quake rate, Peteriesaid. area. Peterie mentioned the study about appeared to work when history-matched
In June, the injection rates within the conditions in Oklahoma and oil and gas in the fields studied.
cluster were reduced to the levels before operations extending north to the part of But petroleum engineers insisting on
the rise in unconventional exploration, to Kansas seeing a rise in earthquakes. proof in the ground need to consider the
an average maximum of about 8,000 B/D. Seismic activity began after sever- effort it took to categorize the geologi-
The program limits injections into the al years of increased injections related cal features in the Salah field in Libya,
deep Arbuckle aquifer. In addition, the to unconventional oil and gas explora- the results of which were used to predict
drastic drop in oilfield activity due to con- tion and production in those two coun- induced seismic activity.
tinued low oil and gas prices is also likely ties. She cautioned that these are early This was a huge amount of work, he
to be reducing the amount of waterpro- results, and it is too soon to judge the said. The analysis included modeling the
duced and requiring injection disposal. programseffectiveness. stress and pressure within 300,000 frac-
Oil industry groups have questioned Another presentation at the ses- tures in the Salah field. This may not be
whether there is geological evidence sion addressed the difficult challenge commercially feasible for everyproject.

From Air to Sea: Introducing Crew Resource Management

to the Offshore Industry
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

Despite a number of recent and high- communication and operational training 1977 where 583 people were killed when
profile jetliner crashes, commercial avi- program known as crew resource man- two Boeing 747s collided on the runway.
ation has entered into a new era of safe- agement (CRM). A dense fog that enveloped the airport
ty. Seven of the past 10 years have seen The basic principle of CRM is to encour- the day of the crash certainly played a
the fewest fatal accidents in the indus- age key personnel to speak up when they role. However, what ultimately led to the
trys nearly 7-decade history and this detect problems or notice mistakes while disaster was the poor communication
year is on track to be the safest yet. maintaining the hierarchy of authority. between pilots and air traffic controllers
Aside from the significant improve- The concept was born from the ashes and the bad decision making thatensued.
ments made in aircraft reliability, much of the aviation industrys deadliest acci- In the search for answers on how
of the progress has been attributed to the dent at the Spanish island of Tenerife in to avoid such preventable tragedies in
the future, the experts determined that
improving communications in the cock-
pit was critical. In 1979, CRM was devel-
oped and by the 1990s, it became a hall-
mark of airline training programs around
the world. Today, CRM is credited with
saving the lives of countless passengers
and airline crews.
The hope is that someday the same can
be said for the offshore drilling sector.
Five years removed from the Macondo
subsea blowout that killed 11 crewmen
and led to the worst oil spill in US histo-
Key personnel working through problems in a rig simulator. Coupling
ry, the offshore sector has made signifi-
simulators with enhanced communication training, some believe rig operations cant strides in work safety. Yet it remains
can be made safer and more efficient. Photo courtesy of The Well Academy. to be seen whether that event will lead to


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2407 Pieces NXT BOP Ad.indd 1 10/6/2015 12:54:01 PM

the widespread adoption of CRM in the
offshore sector. Accident Rate
One of the safety experts pioneering
the effort to see that it does is George Gal-
loway, the director and cofounder of The
Well Academy in Apeldoorn, The Neth- Aircraft Departures
erlands. The training facility is one of
four in the world participating in a CRM
pilot program organized by the Inter-
national Well Control Forum (IWCF), a
leading certification body for the oil and
gas industry. In October, Lloyds Register
1970 1980 1990 2000
Energys Training Academy announced it
was partnering with The Well Academy The implementation of crew resource management (CRM) has helped make
to develop new courses using CRM, the commercial aviation the safest mode of transportation. This achievement has
led to the expansion of CRM to an increasing number of industries in which
first of which is expected to be offered good teamwork can save lives. Image courtesy of Indelta Learning Systems.
this month.
Galloway has nearly 30 years of experi- are given an update on what the previ- for companies that want to send their drill-
ence working in the North Sea as a petro- ous shift completed and a well schematic ing crews back through the program. The
leum engineer involved in various off- before going to work. refresher program focuses largely on job
shore operations. He came to understand And then we will continue to play an preparation and the use of checklists. Gal-
the value of CRM through a safety-focused event, Galloway said. They may be in loway said he would like to see the type of
work group that in 2011 brought togeth- the process of circulating with a heavy program his school offers become an indus-
er industry groups and regulators from fluid and we will suddenly introduce try standard; as it stands today, there are no
the UK, Norway, and The Netherlands to water into the circulation, which light- requirements for offshore drilling crews to
improve the training of drillingcrews. ens the fluid and could potentially lead to receive training in CRM orsimulators.
The early program that we devel- an influx of hydrocarbons into the well. Many companies only send individ-
oped was still very much technically Once a wrench is thrown into the ual drilling crew members to train-
based, he said. We were putting people works, the CRM assessors observe how ing facilities to complete the mandato-
through various well control situations the team recognizes the problem, and ry classroom coursework and written
and assessing them more on their techni- more importantly, how it responds. Spe- exams, which were recently overhauled
cal competence. But what we realized was cifically, they are grading the crews on in response to the lessons learned from
missing were the human factors. their situational awareness, decision Macondo. With the industry now facing
The following year, Galloway and making, leadership, teamwork, and com- a prolonged downturn in oil and gas pric-
other oil and gas industry professionals munication skills. es, Galloway expressed concern that the
founded The Well Academy, which would Galloway said when teams go through offshore sector will train drilling crews
implement many of the lessons learned the first simulation, their communica- only to meet the minimumrequirements.
from the work group. To address the tion deficiencies typically exacerbate the A big challenge we face right now is
human factor issue, they brought in an problems they face. Those in the lead- the current climate we are in, he said.
aviation psychologist who incorporated ership roles begin issuing orders and Everyone is reducing costs, and we find
CRM into the schools rig floor simulator attempt to take control of the situation. that in a cost-cutting environment, train-
training exercises. Without CRM training, Galloway said, ing is often one of the first things that
It completely changed the whole We will often find that he will take them tends to go.
dynamics of the course and the pro- down the wrong path and they will cre- Even before the oil price crash, Gallo-
gram, said Galloway. He explained that ate a blowout because they have not dealt way said the industrys investment in pro-
the focus shifted from assessing the tech- with the situation quick enough. active measures such as CRM and train-
nical abilities of crews to assessing their He added that following the simulator ing simulators was lagging far behind
behavior when dealing with a well con- exercise, many of the junior crew mem- the billions spent on capping stacks and
trol event. bers admit that while they felt mistakes other spill response systems.
Assistant drillers, drillers, tool push- were being made, they did not have the If you look at what has happened
ers, offshore installation managers, and confidence to counter the orders of those post-Macondo, and where a lot of the
operator representativesall the people in charge. As CRM is implemented, these focus and attention has been given, it has
on a rig responsible for a wells construc- communication barriers are eroded. really been given to containing a situa-
tiontake part in the simulations. Each As it enters its third year of CRM and tion should it happen againrather than
scenario begins just like a typical crew simulator-based training, The Well Acad- focusing resources and money on the
change in the real world. The trainees emy recently launched a refresher course prevention, he said.


Air Gun Inventor Creates A Lower Pressure Option
Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

More than 50 years after inventing the The working name for the device is By reducing the air pressure by more
air gun, Stephen Chelminski is working the Low Pressure Source (LPS), which than 50% and significantly increasing
on a new version of the industry stan- he refers to as a sound source. That the volume of air used to create the
dard designed to be more in tune with distinction reflects the negative asso- sound, the device increases the dura-
the current needs of the industry and ciations that have been attached to the tion of the sound emitted, changing it
itsregulators. name airgun. to a lower frequency boom. The output
While the components used would be In redesigning the original, the goal also is said to offer a larger volume of
familiar to anyone who has worked with was to create a familiar device that emits the low-frequency signals needed for
an air gun, it has a fatter shape and pro- a lower energy burst of sound concen- determining rock properties and imag-
duces sounds in a lower range. If it were trated on less than 100 Hz, with more ing deepertargets.
a horn, it would be a tuba and a standard of the hard-to-get signals below 10 Hz. Those figures were based on testing of
air gun would be a trumpet. The low frequencies are critical, a reduced-size prototype of the device in
The goal is to reduce the energy emitted said Shuki Ronen, external and col- Seneca Lake, New York, which is home
to produce the lower frequency range that laborative research manager for Dol- to a testing facility used by the US Navy
is useful for seismic, while decreasing the phin Geophysical, which is supporting for testing sonar equipment.
emission of frequencies said to cause trou- Chelminskis work to commercialize the If Chelminskis air gun reaches the
ble for marine life. Something like 3% to LPS. He said the device can generate a market, it will be up against a newly
6% of the energy from an air gun is turned signal that is a quarter octave lower than designed air gun with a limited high-
into useful energy for seismic. The rest is a standard air gun, which is valued for frequency bandwidth from Teledyne
wasted, said Chelminski, chief executive what it can reveal about rock properties Bolt, whose website traces its air gun
officer of Chelminski Research, during an and deeper layers. business back to Chelminskis original
interview at the recent Society of Explora- The seismic services company design in the mid-1960s.
tion Geophysicists (SEG) annual meeting planned to decide late this year whether The Teledyne Bolt air gun is called
in New Orleans. to pay to build a full-sized version of the the E-source air gun and was developed
new sound source for testing, which will in conjunction with Schlumberger. It is
depend on whether there are interested ready for use in a full seismic survey,
users, Ronen said. said David Gerez, technology manager
It is competing for attention at a of sound sources at Schlumberger, in an
time when there has been an upsurge SEG conference presentation.
in new sound source development, Looking ahead, there are multiple
ranging from new-generation guns companies, including Teledyne, work-
to marine vibrators. All are aiming at ing on a new generation of marine
better frequency control and lower vibrators, which open the possibili-
energysignals. ty of sound sources with even more
Frequencies higher than 100 Hz are frequency control and longer, lower-
an environmental issueresearchers energy signals that are more of a hum
say they are a threat to marine mammals than a pop.
and certain fishwhich has led to the Ronens SEG presentation showed
need for compliance with regulations that a new generation of lower pressure
that may cause costly delays in survey devices based on an air gun design may
work. The higher-frequency sounds are not equal what the marine vibrators are
of little use for seismic imaging because promising in terms of reduced sound
they dissipate in the earth, contributing energy and frequency control. But air
little to images based on the signals that guns have a significant edge because
echo up to the surface. they are familiar devices that the off-
Chelminski described how the air gun shore industry has embraced due to
works: A large volume of air emitted at their reliability and low cost.
Stephen Chelminski, the inventor of
a moderate pressure bursts through a The LPS from Chelminski has the same
the air gun, is now testing a new-
generation device designed to deliver large port to create a bubble, which pro- elements as older air guns, he said, adding
better seismic surveys with reduced duces the sound waves needed for seis- he was trying to design something that
environmental impact. mic surveys. does not present challenges to users.


Drilling Competition Offers Real-World Skills Challenge
Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

Vimlesh Bavadiya is leading a team of tell them the rocks physical proper- the drilling string in and out of the
engineering students at the Universi- ties, such as its average compressive hole and played a critical role during
ty of Oklahoma (OU) to repeat its vic- strength. We will let them know what construction, sharing his knowledge of
tory in SPEs Drillbotics competition formations we expect to deliver, but it machine tools with the team members
nextyear. could changeslightly. that were fabricating parts.
The competition to build the best Hard times in the business are add- John Kibe said he used his experi-
automated drilling machine was creat- ing another taste of reality: Teams will ence as an electronics technician to find
ed to provide engineering students with need to raise the money to build their more accurate and cheaper substitutes
a dose of real-world experience, where equipment with budgets again capped for the electronic components that cost
teamwork is required to attack a com- at USD 10,000. And the maximum far more than the team couldafford.
plex challenge when time and money weight on bit has been reduced from The derrick structure was designed
are limited, the rules change, and in the 50 lb to 20lb, making it harder to drill by Henry Le, who devised a model-
end, things break. efficiently. ing technique to visualize how the rig
It was a very difficult path. But it The slight winning edge in last years components would work together.
was very good, Bavadiya said, sum- competitionwhere Florence said it Mathematical formulas came from all
ming up the experience of the five-mem- was almost impossible to differentiate the team members, with Christy and
ber team that won the first ever Drill- the winnercame down to how the Kibe converting them into the control
botics competition, which was created OU team responded to a late change in systemprogram.
by the SPE Drilling Systems Automation the required drillpipe to a thin-walled It was a marathon effort. We had dif-
TechnicalSection. aluminum tube. ferent classes, day jobs, and families
The OU team goes into this school All the teams made adjustments to with kids to take care of, Bavadiya said.
year with a working drilling rig, as do deal with that weak link. Bavadiya said We would get in the lab to start around
the teams from the University of Texas the judges told his team that it gained an 8 pm and work to midnight. Sometimes,
and Texas A&M University, which also edge by taking the extra step of modify- we could go to 2 a.m. or 4 a.m.
competed over the last school year. The ing the hydraulic system to pressurize Having a working rig is a good start-
goal is to create a device able make the the inside of the pipe to resist buckling. ing point, but controlling drilling in a
adjustments needed to drill through a A key team member behind that step different type of rock will require sig-
block made from multiple layers of rock was Mohammad Aljubran, who was in nificant adjustments to keep up with
with no human intervention. charge of the hydraulics system, which the competition, which could grow
Last year, the challenge was to pro- had to be revamped up to add the right to six teams or more, Florence said.
gram the driller to change settings amount of pressure, Bavadiya said. While last years teams will be modify-
to adjust to the change of hardness The change required action by others ing rather than building a rig, he did
when moving from sandstone to gran- on the team to adjust the equipment and not think that will provide a signifi-
ite. This academic year, the teams control program to the properties of a cant edge.
must drill straight through layers run- pressurized pipe. Team members shared Unlike our overly competitive indus-
ning at different angles, which will their knowledge of drilling, mathemat- try, academia readily shares knowledge
tend to push the drill bit off course, ics, electronics, process control, struc- without undue emphasis on intellectual
said Fred Florence, president of Rig tural engineering, machining, and weld- property ownership. The new entrants,
Operations, who is the cochair of ing, said Ramadan Ahmed, the team and even the previous ones, for that
the competition. mentor, associate professor of petro- matter, can review the other concepts
Test rocks will be covered with leum engineering at OU. and choose how they wish to proceed,
cement so competitors cannot see lay- Bavadiya said he drew on his years of he said.
ers that are described only as not copla- drilling experience and the people skills Either way, it is a tough test, and Flor-
nar. We want to surprise them, but he gained while leading clubs and other ence said those who compete demon-
not shock them, Florence said. When organizations to create the team effort strate valuable skills. He said that even
we drill a well in the real world, we that brought out good ideas and kept the in this down market, employers should
have some idea of what rocks we should project on track. hire the graduating competitors because
encounter. There is uncertainty about Team member Stephen Christy they know more about this today than
the depths and thicknesses. So we will designed the traveling block that moved you know. JPT



Improving Shale Production

Through Flowback Analysis
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

A row of frac tanks used to hold water before and after a hydraulic fracturing
operation stand ready at a wellsite. An increasing number of researchers and
companies believe the flowback stage holds many of the keys needed to unlock
more potential from shale wells. Photo courtesy of Joshua Doubek.

nce a horizontal well is hydrau- driver shared by all the interested pro- there. We have the data, but nobody has
lically fractured, the next step ducers is that for the most part, they are the time or perceives the value to inter-
is to clean up the well by flow- already required to record the flowback pret the data.
ing it back to remove water and loosen stage per US and Canadianregulations. But there are a few outliers crunch-
proppant from the wellbore. So arguably, the cost of collecting this ing the numbers. Companies including
Most shale producers in North Amer- data is nil, said James Crafton, presi- Devon Energy are using the early produc-
ica have given little thought to this flow- dent of consultancy firm Performance tion and flowing pressure data of flow-
back stage and see it merely as a prelude Sciences, who has been working with ser- back fluids to establish their production
to the cash-flow generating production vice companies and shale producers on benchmarks. Nexen Energy is among
stage. However, a few companies have different flowback issues for more than those also using flowback data to quick-
come to realize it represents a valuable 15years. ly screen the effective size of fracture
opportunity to learn more about their Crafton and others involved in this designs, determine key reservoir prop-
wells in a week or two than their compet- area have long been trying to convince erties, and to predict long-term produc-
itors are learning after several months the shale business that how a well is tion. Ongoing flowback research is look-
ofproduction. flowed back is often as important as the ing at the chemical makeup of flowback
Essentially, flowback data is a bridge completion itself and that by ignoring fluids to see what else can be learned
between what happened during a com- this maxim, they are leaving money on about shale reservoir behavior.
pletion and what will happen as hydro- the table. It is that simple, he said. At the Black Hawk field in Texas, Devon
carbons are produced. An important The frustration for me is that the data is reports that flowback analysis has led to


And even though the most effective
90-Day Inial Wellhead
Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOED)

flowback analysis strategies require the

Producon Rates in Eagle Ford use of high-rate data gathering systems
1,000 at the wellhead, the capital investment
remains modest compared with other
diagnostic technologies. For instance,
downhole fiber-optic systems cost
500 Average: 440 BOED
about USD 1 million per installation and
250 microseismic surveys may run between
USD2million and USD 5 million, which
0 is why their use is typically limited to a
Devon Peers select number of pilot wells.
Obviously, flowback analysis is cheap-
After implementing a unique flowback and production strategy that uses
er and simpler than other techniques,
high-frequency data acquisition, Devon Energys 90-day production rates
in the Eagle Ford Shale soared above the competition. Graphic courtesy of said Hassan Dehghanpour, an assistant
DevonEnergy. professor at the University of Alberta
(UA), who is conducting research with a
remarkable improvements in early pro- than the ones drilled since. Its com- consortium of Canadian shale producers.
duction. Located in the heart of the Eagle pletion strategy has not changed that The whole idea is that we have this data
Ford Shales oil and condensate window, mucheither. that people measure after opening the
the company acquired its acreage there The big differences in the initial and well, but we need to have a representative
in 2013 and has since doubled the 30-day 90-day production rates have resulted model to integrate the data.
initial production rates to 1,950 BOEPD. from using flowback analysis to devise The models developed so far by Deh-
In that same span, the 90-day rates a new approach to choke management. ghanpour and others are capable of fore-
increased by 87% to 1,000BOEPDthe I would challenge that if there is any casting a wells production based on just
highest figure in the continental US, and completion technique or technology that the first few days of flowback. These
125% higher than the industry average resulted in this kind of production uplift, serve as critical early warning systems for
in the rest of the Eagle Ford, according we would be up here talking about that multimillion-dollar developments. After
to Devon. technology vs. the production strategy, a well is fractured and starts flowback,
Like all shale producers, the com- said Toby Deen, an operations engineer producers can input the data and quickly
pany high grades its acreage, meaning with Devon, during a presentation at the generate a ballpark figure to determine
that the lower performing wells from recent SPE Annual Technical Conference whether early well designs will be profit-
2013 were actually drilled in better rock and Exhibition in Houston. able, breakeven, or losers.

100,000 300,000

30-Day Cumulative Production (BOE)

90-Day Cumulative Production (BOE)



50,000 150,000



0 0
Jan-12 Jun-12 Dec-12 Jun-13 Dec-13 Jun-14 Dec-14 Jun-15 Jan-12 Jun-12 Dec-12 Jun-13 Dec-13 Jun-14 Dec-14 Jun-15
Date of First Production Date of First Production
Legacy Strategy Delayed Strategy New Strategy Legacy Strategy Delayed Strategy New Strategy

Data from every oil and condensate well Devon Energy operates that began producing from January 2012 to March
2015 show an average production increase of 100% for 30-day and an 87% increase for 90-day cumulative production in
wells using a new strategy based on flowback analysis. Graphic courtesy of Devon Energy.


If the numbers look bad, a producer
may need to adjust the fracture treat-
ment. And while not all changes will yield
higher production, they could improve
the economics.
If you know that pumping in more
water during fracturing does not neces-
sarily give you more effective fractures,
then you can cut back on that cost,
said Obinna Ezulike, a research assis-
tant at UA, who is also working with
As beneficial as flowback analysis is,
it is not threatening to disrupt the other
more expensive diagnostic technologies.
Rather, Ezulike said, it should be seen as
another effective tool that companies can
widely apply to improve fracture designs.
Unconventional reservoirs are a hard
instrument to play, he said. There is
so much uncertainty everywhere, so you
need a complementary analysis using all
that you can get. Because the Horn River Basin area in British Columbia, Canada, is only
accessible in the winter, engineers rely on flowback analysis to quickly
Devons Flowback Strategy improvewell and completion designs. Photo courtesy of Nexen Energy.
It is important to emphasize that Devon
is using flowback analysis to speed up ini- choke sizes to reduce the risk of damag- ing the release of flowback often meant
tial production, not to increase ultimate ing the well. the difference between a live well and a
recovery. From the companys perspec- Devon says its unique approach is to dead one.
tive, the sooner high volumes of hydro- ditch these schedules and instead use Crafton, who is also an SPE distin-
carbons are extracted from its wells, the near real-time flowback and production guished lecturer and author of several
sooner they turn a profit. monitoring to predict when well damage SPE papers on flowback, coined the term
The capital investment is already in will occur, and then respond by increas- slowback to describe how his clients
the ground, explained Deen. So our ing the choke size. in the Haynesville managed to overcome
goal with flowback is to maximize our With this approach, tiny changes reap their early failures. While working for an
time-sensitive economics without crater- huge rewards. When it first tested this operator there, he found that crews were
ing the well. strategy, Devon changed the choke size in being paid bonuses to get the flowing sur-
Devon refers to its strategy as both one well from 14/64 in. to 20/64 in. and the face pressure of gas wells from 1,000 psi
managed drawdown and choke manage- production rate nearly doubled. to 2,000 psi down to the line pressure of
ment. The basic idea is to use chokes at The company also developed a sys- 300 psi within 36 hours.
the wellhead to maintain as much bot- tem to adjust the chokes in just a few I started looking at the production
tomhole pressure as possible, which seconds compared with the old system histories and you could see these were
delays fractures from closing and keeps that required a well to be shut in for half awesome completions, he said. But
oil and gas flowing up to the surface on an hour or longer. Devon is now explor- when they would impose that enormous
its own for a longer period. This also mit- ing ways to implement similar flowback pressure drop, the wells were ruined.
igates the production that may be lost analysis and choke management pro- The trick was to slow down the flowback
from unwanted, but very common events grams across the company. stage, he said. This practice of slowback
such as a frac hit suffered during the became widely adopted by major play-
completion of an offset well. Initial Production ers in the Haynesville that have credit-
If the choke strategy is too aggressive, or Increased Recovery? ed it with increasing ultimate recovery
then too much lifting pressure is lost, In general, the practice of managing ratesby 5%.
which cuts into a wells recovery factor flowback to protect a fracture job in a Crafton believes this type of flowback
and may lead to a wellbore collapse. With horizontal well is not new. Gas produc- management that maximizes recovery
that in mind, almost all shale producers ers working the Haynesville Shale, a will deliver much greater value to the
use a conservative method that relies on relatively soft formation in Louisiana, shale business than the strategies that
predetermined schedules for graduating learned several years ago that manag- drive up initial production, something he


acknowledges may be more attractive to zation decisions have to come 9 months are going to flow back first, and how that
a producers investors. before thatand we are talking about is going to impair production, he said.
A gentle flowback results in high 100-million-dollardecisions. Is it the bottom one, the middle one, or
[estimated ultimate recovery], and a So the old way meant that the com- the top one, and why?
lower risk to well damage Crafton said. pany had to wait up to 6 months to The company is studying several other
But the downside is that slower flowback obtain enough production data to make ways to leverage flowback data. One of
means a lower short-term rate of return. changes on the following years well them involves analyzing the chemistry
So its all about company philosophy, designs. With flowback data, the cycle of flowback fluids to quickly determine
he said. of data acquisition to decision making how fractures are performing. Nexen
is shortened to 2 months or less, which is working on this and other aspects
Future Planning With Flowback allows changes to be made in the same with UA as part of the consortium that
Flowback analysis is also an integral part drillingseason. includes Encana, Cenovus Energy, Atha-
of Nexens development plan at its Horn Some of the changes Nexen has made basca Oil, FMC Technologies, and Trican
River Basin acreage located in the north- based on flowback data include deter- WellServices.
ernmost area of British Columbia, Can- mining the optimal number of stages
ada. Operating in this part of the coun- needed in a lateral section and in which
try presents logistical issues due to the wells to use less proppant while getting For Further Reading
extreme environment. As spring temper- the same production results as older off-
atures rise and the winter ice thaws, the set wells. It has also helped detect when SPE 119894 Modeling Flowback Behavior
or Flowback Equals Slowback
ground becomes too soft for drilling rigs infill and parent wells are communicat-
by J.W. Crafton, Performance Sciences.
to move around easily. ing, and if so, how to space them for opti-
This leaves Nexen with a narrow win- mal reservoir drainage. SPE 174831 Maximizing Well Deliverability
dow of opportunity to drill and complete Nexens overall Horn River develop- in the Eagle Ford Shale Through
wells while the ground is still frozen. ment plan is to tap into three different Flowback Operations by T. Deen,
It also leaves little time for the trial- shale layers using pads with as many J.Daal, and J. Tucker, Devon Energy.
and-error process involved with iden- as 20 wells. Virues said the company SPE 175143 Flowback Fracture Closure:
tifying the best completion designs. is looking into how flowback analysis A Key Factor for Estimating Effective
Claudio Virues, a reservoir engineer at may help engineers figure out the best Pore-Volume by D.O. Ezulike,
Nexen, explained the situation: If we are way to do that. You have to have an O.A.Adefidipe, Y. Fu, University
spending money next year, our optimi- understanding of which formation you ofAlberta, et al.

Salty Flowback Research May Explain Fluid Movement in Shale

A nother area of great interest to

those researching flowback is the
interaction of water and salt inside the
contained in formation water, but not
always. So figuring out how exactly
that salt ends up in the wellstream may
becomes how to upscale what we know
from the lab observation to the field.
If the salt is dissolved from the frac-
shale reservoir. After a well is stimu- explain how oil and gas move through tures, then it might be increasing per-
lated, the flowback fluids tend to show the shale matrix, into the fracture net- meability. However, researchers at the
a rising concentration of salt that falls work, and eventually the wellbore. University of Houston (UH) believe as
back to near zero over time. The University of Alberta (UA) the injected water is produced back
The goal is to analyze this salt concen- researchers are using core samples from over time, more salt may leach out from
tration curve to determine the complex- different Canadian shales to model the the shale matrix and crystallize in pore
ity of a wells fracture network. This is increased fracture area based on the dis- throats, fractures, and even the spac-
important since complex fractures are solved salt content in the flowback fluid. es between the proppant, decreasing
estimated to have a flowing surface area So far, they have established three types thepermeability.
of 50 to 1,000 times greater than a sim- of salt that may explain how it moves: Hoagie Merry, a petroleum engineer
pler, or planar, fracture. loosely attached, moderately attached, who researched dissolved salt content
The applications for this area of study and strongly attached. in flowback fluids for his masters thesis
could be far reaching because nearly We are doing a lot of research on the program at UH, believes if this dissolved
all North American shale plays were source of salt and its really challenging, salt theory can be proven by analyzing
once covered by salty seas. As the water said Hassan Dehghanpour, an assistant the flowback and production chemistry,
evaporated over the eons, the salt was professor at UA. But, if we know the producers may have cheaper options for
left behind. In some shales, the salt is source of the salt, then the question restimulating a well.


in treating the water to knock the salt out
and dispose of it, he said.
In high-salt parts of the field, opera-
tors may also opt for initial fracturing
jobs that use a greater amount of fresh
water to dissolve as much salt as pos-
sible to increase the performance of the
well. If you got your lease there and
you want to drill it out, I think its prob-
ably beneficial to know if its salty, how
youre going to deal with it, Merry said.
Developed with scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray
spectroscopy, elemental maps of the salts found in flowback water from
an Evie Lake shale well in Canada reveal their complex composition. Image For Further Reading
courtesy of the University of Alberta.
SPE 168598 Fracture Characterization
Using Flowback Salt-Concentration
Instead of refracturing with prop- The other question that UH research- Transient by A. Zolfaghari,
pant and everything else, we think they ers are working on is whether a pro- H. Dehghanpour, E. Ghanbari,
could try refracturing with fresh water, ducer wants to see salt at all. We think University of Alberta, et al.
redissolving that salt in the main frac- probably not, Merry said. But in cases
SPE 175061 Model for a Shale Gas
ture and secondary fracture systems and where it is simply unavoidable, produc-
Formation with Salt-Sealed Natural
perhaps even a little bit more salt in the ers may be able to use openhole logs to
Fractures by H. Merry, Sentinel
formation, and obtain a larger dissolved determine which parts of a field have the Technology Solutions, C.A. Ehligh-
stimulated rock volume and reactivate highest salt content and incorporate that Economides, University of Houston,
the salt that precipitated out, which was information into their economic models. and P. Wei, Sinopec Research Institute
costing you permeability, he said. There is much more cost at the surface of Petroleum Engineering.

Letting It Soak In: Delaying Flowback Delivers Unique Results

O n the far end of the flowback spec-

trum is a completion process
called soakback. Instead of allowing the
Among the most common fears is
that the water swells the clays inside
the shale, which then leads to fracture
flushed out, which is often the case dur-
ing normal flowback operations.
Thats where the eureka moment was
well to flow back right after completion, damage. Yet, in the past 15 years, weve for me, he said. My approach is if you
some operators are forced to shut in their been putting a ton of water in these same can keep it shut in and you dont mind
wells for months at a time until take- reservoirs and getting good results, losing the water, thats to your bene-
away capacity is available. The comple- Hawkes said. He thinks such results have fit and its not going to be detrimental,
tion fluids then soak into the shale rock. been possible because the mixed fab- which is really unconventional thinking
What happens during that process is still ric of shale can tolerate vast volumes for all of us.
being debated, but flowback analysis may ofwater. So while this leads to a stronger initial
provide some answers. This mixture of clay and stronger well performance, what operators are
Robert Hawkes, the corporate direc- materials might also explain why produc- not saying is whether soaking enhances
tor of reservoir solutions at Trican Well tion sometimes comes on very strong in recovery rates. However, soaked wells
Service, has been studying the issue for gas wells where flowback is commenced may be more economically beneficial
the past few years and collaborates with months after the completion. In one gas since they incur less water disposal costs
the research team at the University of well that was shut in for a year after com- for the first few months of the wells life.
Alberta. He is pushing a controversial pletion, the initial production rate was Of course, a high degree of patience
theory, which holds that, in many cases, five times that of a similar offset well on the part of the operator is required to
the water used in stimulation treat- brought on just days aftercompletion. realize such a benefit. Hawkes said the
ments is not a damaging mechanism for Hawkes said in many other instanc- biggest issue with soaking at the moment
shale reservoirs. Hawkes said his idea es, shut-in wells are observed to have is that its almost impossible for reser-
is supported by a number of Canadian very clean wellbores, which indicates voir simulators to account for the phys-
operators that have recently come to the that the propped fractures healed around ics, which makes it hard to determine
same conclusion. the near-wellbore area instead of being where it may apply.


Following Flowback With Chemical Tracers

R ising demand for flowback tech-

nologies that reduce the uncer-
tainties associated with horizontal shale
wells is also leading to the creation of
more hydrocarbon and water tracers.
Used to identify the source of produc-
tion in a well, these chemical-based trac-
ers may play an important role in the
shale industrys effort to come up with
more cost-effective fracture designs.
The tracers are deployed downhole
along with the sand or proppant mate-
rial that is being pumped into the frac-
tures. The chemical compounds are
tailored to flow with oil or the water
produced in oil and gas wells. Unlike
radioactive tracers, which require a well
to be shut in for a log run, chemical trac-
ers are sampled at the wellhead in con-
tinuous intervals during the flowback
A multiwell cutaway shows how chemical tracers analyze the flowback process
and production periods and then ana-
and identify the production and interactions of different zones. Image courtesy
lyzed in a laboratory. of CoreLabs ProTechnics Division.
For production analysis, the concen-
tration of the tracers that flows back to
the surface over time can determine the marily using chemical tracers to deter- have a unique tracer per segment or per
effectiveness of each stage. All things mine whether any production was com- stage, if possible, for each well.
being equal, on a 30-stage well, the trac- ing from the toe of a wellthe area of For example, on a pad with six wells,
ers from each stage would represent the lateral section believed to contribute each well may have 25 stages, which
between 3% and 4% of the total con- the least overall production. would require 150 different tracers to
centration of tracer material sent down- The number of stages and the num- identify each stage from each well. Since
hole. But in reality, that is hardly ever ber of clusters per stage has significant- that number of individual tracers does
the case. ly changed since the beginning, said not exist, a single tracer is used in dif-
We see cases where stages are pro- Ramos. Now, 20 to 30 stages is normal, ferent well segments to detect commu-
ducing 10%, 12%, or 14%, and others and 50 stages is not too outside of nor- nication: one tracer for the heel, one
where there is hardly any1% or less, mal. He added that some companies for the middle section, and one for
said Claudio Ramos, a region engineer- are even experimenting with 80, 90, the toe, and then repeat this for each
ing adviser with CoreLabs ProTechnics and 100 stages. well. For a pad site with six wells, this
diagnostic service. Another factor driving demand is makes it possible to do the job with only
ProTechnics began the year with that many shale producers have moved 18 tracers.
10 oil tracers, 10 gas tracers, and 14 into the infill development stage, which ProTechnics advises a minimum flow-
water tracers. This fall, those numbers involves drilling wells closer together back sampling period of 90 days to get a
increased to 28, 15, and 29, respectively. to produce as much as possible from fair assessment of well behavior. How-
By early next year, the company plans to their acreage. Also becoming increas- ever, lately, we have been asked more
have 34 tracers for oil and water, and, ingly common are stacked drilling pro- often about what is happening with pro-
hopefully, more gas tracers as well. grams that target different formations duction 6 to 9 months after the frac,
This rapid pace of development is at different depth intervals from the Ramos said.
being driven largely by the growing same pad site. To extend the analysis period, he said,
number of fracture stages that shale So now, they want to know whats the sometimes a double dose of tracer mate-
producers are placing in horizontal vertical communication between these rial is used to distribute detectable con-
wells. The first multistage shale wells wells and whats the lateral communica- centrations for up to a year. In at least
drilled several years ago had about three tion between these wells, said Ramos. one case, ProTechnics has been able to
stages separated by 2,000 ft or 3,000 ft. And this presents us with the need for recover tracers 22 months after produc-
At that time, most companies were pri- more tracers because often we want to tion began. JPT


Drilling Wells Ever Faster May
Not Be the Measure of Success
Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

he standard for progress in shale gy Practice, raised a seemingly sim-
development has been the dras- ple question: Having good directional
tic reduction in the number of control gives you better wellbore qual-
days needed to drill a well, from more ity. I wonder why we are not measuring
than 20 to less than 5 in some unconven- thatsystematically?
tional plays. But some question whether No one at the ATCE or since has
it has become a misleading metric for an offered a simple formula to answer that
industry needing more productive wells. question. The measure of a produc-
The human tendency is to optimize tive wellbore will vary based on
within a given constraint. Right now, it is corporate business models and
reaching the total depth in the shortest the opinions of exploration
time, said Robello Samuel, technology and production experts
fellow, drilling, at Halliburton. If all you from a variety of disci-
care about is that quantification, you do plines, often with con-
not worry about tool damage or wellbore flicting points of view.
quality, or what it is like to complete it. To a geologist, what
Maximizing drilling performance and constitutes a produc-
efficiency is not the same as optimizing tive wellbore leans
it, he said. toward geosteering
Everyone needs to remember why to guide the hole
they are drilling the hole. As much oil through the most pro-
and gas needs to come out as possible, ductive rock, which
said Bart Critser, geosteering manag- can run counter to
er for Terra Guidance. Otherwise its the goals of a produc-
just a multimillion dollar, fancy hole in tion engineer worried
theground. that the ups and downs
The payoff for drilling faster has large- of a tortuous wellbore
ly been realized. While further time sav- will lead to long-term
ings are possible, the discounts now blockages. It is often
offered by service companies hungry hard to put a dollar value
for work have slashed the potential sav- on some potentially
ings. In September, the day rate for a
typical rig in the Permian Basin was
USD 18,000, according to Hart Energy Subsidence in a
Market Intelligence. That is equivalent to producing oil field
likely caused
only 360bbl of oil at USD 50/bbl. tubing (orange)
Saving a day of drilling is a bad trade inside two
if the hole quality suffers. The downsides casing strings
of a badly drilled well can range from to corkscrew.
casing damage and pump breakdowns, This example
of extreme
to missed sweet spots and accumula- tortuosity
tions of sand in low spots slowing the was imaged
flow, according to drilling experts at the using
recent SPE Annual Technical Conference Gyrodatas
and Exhibition (ATCE) held in Houston, Micro-Guide
and in interviews since. Graphic
One of them, Moray Laing, oil and courtesy of
gas lead for the SAS Americas Ener- Gyrodata.


costly long-term side effects of a poorly tration could exceed the ability of the Rod String Tension (T)

drilledwell. tools used by geosteering consultants to

The objectives of the departments advise drillers on where the target for-
doing drilling, fracturing, and produc- mation is located. Concentrated
tion are not the same, said Robert Shel- I have been involved in a few proj- Normal
Contact Force
ley, director for well performance evalu- ects where, as the geosteering specialist,
ation at StrataGen, Carbos fracturing I was at the brink of begging the driller
consulting arm. Drilling is measur- to slow down, Critser said. Once they
ing the dollars per foot. The goals for drill over 250 ft/hr, a lot of the high-qual- Radius of
completions and production are a little ity data become useless. Centralizer Curvature
Spacing (R)
moreabstract. The US is not alone in this struggle.
In many oil places across the planet, Uniformly Distributed
Simple Incentives geologists are rewarded for production Normal Contact Force
There is anecdotal evidence that hasty quality, and engineers are rewarded for
drilling can reduce productivity later speed, he said. The struggle between Concentrated
and substantially increase maintenance geology and engineering plagues the Normal
costs. For example, a US operator recent- industry as a whole. Contact Force
ly used SAS advanced analytics to look Engineers are not all on the same side.
for patterns in maintenance data, seek- Those in charge of completing and pro-
ing ways to reduce downtime in horizon- ducing the wells complain about the Rod String Tension (T)
tal wells where rod pumps were rapidly obstacles they encounter in the wells that
Illustration from a Canadian study
wearing holes through the tubing. they inherit from drilling. I suspect what (SPE 22852) showing how tight
The study showed that the root cause we continue to do is we offer no incentive curves in wellbores can lead to rapid
of more than 80% of the tubing failures to do anything different, regardless of tubing wear. Illustration courtesy of
were curves so tight that the centraliz- what happens. That has got to change; it C-FER Technologies.
ers on the rods could not hold them off is costing too much money, Critser said.
the tubing in that dogleg. The obvious savvy companies with drilling depart-
assumption is they drilled too hard, too Quality Measures ments that set standards and ensure
fast, with too much dogleg, Laing said. The bottom-line argument for change they are delivered, to small operators
This case bears a striking resem- from Edward Stockhausen, a corporate whose oversight depends on the skill of
blance to problems reported 30 years geosteering and well planning special- the superintendent they send to awell.
ago in several heavy oil fields in Alber- ist for Chevron known for his ceaseless Efforts to improve well productivity
ta by C-FER Technologies. The technol- campaign to better measure and control would benefit if more information was
ogy development and testing organiza- drilling, is that proper wellbore position shared on problems and solutions, he
tion also found that tightly drilled curves improves reservoir value. said. C-FER is working to put together a
caused the rod strings driving downhole When corporate earnings are re- joint industry project to collect wellbore
pumps to wear holes in the tubing, with leased, though, the focus remains on and pump performance information in
failures within weeks, or even days. faster drilling. Recently, Anadarko the Permian Basin.
In both cases, drillers said they Petroleums chief executive officer You have got to keep things in front
were responding to the incentives that (CEO), Al Walker, mentioned the com- of people by using data and information
rewarded faster drilling. In the 1980s, panys enhanced wellbore design, but from fields, he said. A wider view can
there were even races, with steak dinner described its value by discussing how it quantify what you need to do.
offered to the team that drilled the fast- reduced drilling times and the cost-per- As unconventional explorers have
est directional well that day, said Cam foot by nearly 15%. learned that production in these huge
Matthews, a C-FER fellow. While crews For consultants, wellbore problems formations requires hitting sweet spots,
in shale plays are not competing for din- remain a steady source of work. Mat- they have adopted tools used in con-
ner, bonus payments are still based on thews said C-FER has been working ventional formations to steer through
drilling speed. on a joint industry project to identify the best rock, such as gamma ray
We tend to forget what we learned the maximum bend that can be toler- loggingtools.
years ago, Matthews said. The panic to ated by an electric submersible pump Clients are trying to drill more pre-
get as many holes in the ground as quick- during installation and operation. The cisely, said Iain Wilson, CEO for Geo-
ly as we can is a big factor, distracting work includes a study comparing the Steering. The [gamma log] tools have
operators from a focus on holequality. well path promised compared to what been around for 20 years, but innova-
Drilling has generally slowed com- wasdelivered. tion is making them cheap and readily
pared to the peak of the unconvention- Matthews sees a range of drilling available, which increases their use for
al boom. Back then, the rate of pene- quality-management efforts, from large unconventional drilling.


Well Quality Matters
Problems that can be caused by wellbore quality
issues include:
The margin of error on drilling can put wells
outside the most productive zone. Protector Displacement
Poorly located wells can end up outside the lease Transducers
lines, leading to potential litigation or regulatory Intake
The resistance created by crooked (tortuous)
wellbores increases the difficulty of running Pump
casing in long horizontal wells.
In extremely tortuous wells, casing sometimes
does not reach the end of the well, reducing
the production zone, or is damaged during
It is more difficult to achieve a quality cement
seal when casing is up against the walls of a
undulating wellbore.
Operating an electric submersible pump in even
a slight curve in a wellbore (more than 23 per
100 ft) can lead to an early failure.
Tight curves (severe doglegs) can put rods used
to drive pumps into damaging contact with
Extreme doglegs can block or break tools and
Hydraulic Ram
Rising and falling wellbores (porpoising) can Load Cell
cause severe gas slugging and flow assurance
issues as well as leave low spots where solids
An electric submersible pump was bent in this test to
Inaccurate well path information built into
measure how much it could curve before the strain on its
reservoir models can yield misleading results.
parts caused an early failure. Photo courtesy of C-FER

Drillers are also being asked to drill control centers put drilling and geo- talking to those in completions and pro-
longer laterals stretching out 2 miles or steering experts side by side to balance duction about their definition of a pro-
more within moving target zones. Devon the sometimes conflicting goals of drill- ductive well.
Energy, which has been involved since ing a relatively smooth wellbore that There is a major disconnect between
the beginning of unconventional devel- also comes in contact with the maximum drilling engineers and production, said
opment in the Barnett Shale, turned to amount of productive rock as it moves up John de Wardt, president of de Wardt &
geosteering several years ago when it or down. Company. The consulting firm advised
began developing the Woodford Shale in a company operating in South America
Oklahoma, said Bill Wheaton, a produc- Critical Conversations to reorganize its drilling operations to
tion engineer in exploration and strate- There is no handbook that describes the increase cooperation among the drilling,
gic services for Devon. characteristics of the most productive completions, and production depart-
Geosteering had not been needed in wellbore. The key performance indica- ments. The result was a 66% reduction
the Barnett, which is extremely thick tors would need to be defined by the in well costs and a 20% rise in produc-
and easily fractured, making precise well company operating the well, said Fred tion, he said.
paths less critical. In the Woodford, geo- Florence, president of Rig Operations. Laing points out that the asset man-
steering was required to ensure the well In my opinion, each operator will have agers approving drilling should use that
reached the more productive spots. their own criteria based on the impact to authority to set the standards of the well
Devon is one of the bigger compa- each ones bottom line. to be drilled. It is a two-way street, de
nies using analytics to set standards for Consultants who work with operators Wardt said. Those in completions and
building and managing wells to increase say the first step toward greater produc- production need to say this is the prod-
productivity, Wheaton said. Its drilling tivity is to get those who manage drilling uct I want delivered to me.


Geosteering advisers are hired to keep On the job, geosteering consultants such as early pump failures caused by
drilling within specific target zones, but have to translate geologic interpreta- overly tight turns, said David Moore, a
Critser said in some cases, they have to tions of gamma logs into language that senior account manager and artificial
elicit specific directions from an explo- the drilling decision makers understand lift placement specialist for Gyrodata.
ration team. andtrust. These [well evaluations] are really
Our company has been asked to steer In the past year, Gyrodata has adapt- appreciated more by completion and
target windows from 5 to 50 ft, Crits- ed its gyroscope-based survey sys- production engineers than by the drill-
er said. With a large target window, if tem to create a service called Micro- er. Actually, it is disliked by some drill-
the geologist tries to tell us that a bore- Guide, which creates a detailed 3D ers, said Steve Mullin, director of mar-
hole anywhere in that zone should be image of the wells based on foot-by- keting for Gyrodata.
fine, we will try to define a subtarget of foot measurements after they have For completions and production engi-
about 10ft and base our target decisions been drilled. neers, the data have aided their work by
onthat. These images show features missed identifying obstructions and providing
We always get suspicious when by measurement-while-drilling sur- information to better model the force
a drilling engineer tells us that being veys that are usually taken every 90 ft, needed to insert hardware into the well.
out of zone slightly is okay because the which tend to offer a smoother view of For the drillers, it offers a detailed cri-
fracking will still penetrate the win- wellbores. The more detailed images tique of their work, showing both the
dow, hesaid. have helped clients diagnose problems, good and the bad.

The Search for Measures of Drilling Imperfection

T he only wells that are straight or

follow a smooth curve are in the
pictures in well plans. Real wellbores
It is an elegant formula, but years of
experience and testing have shown that
it poorly describes the work of rota-
to only 30-ft segments on rigs equipped
with a kelly drive. An unintended down-
side was the reduction in the number
are shaped by the mechanics of direc- ry steerable tools or directional drill- of times that data are gathered to once
tional drilling tools, the skills and atten- ing tools using bent mud motors to every 90 ft, when the mud pumps are
tion of drillers, the force of gravity, and build curves. In the process, the data turned off forconnections.
the path followed by hydrocarbon-rich sent back to the surface can lead to
seams ofrock. errors in critical measures, particularly
Well path modeling commonly gen- in the total vertical depth. The level of
erates smooth curves, whereas an actual uncertainty is greater when using a bent
well contains severe doglegs and other housing, but neither tool is immune
irregularities, said Robello Samuel, toerror.
technology fellow, drilling, at Hallibur- Crooked wellbores may undulate
ton. A major interest for Samuel is cre- with doglegs, spiraling, and washouts.
ating measures to address a problem In a word, it is tortuous. Rocks can
he raised in a 2009 paper (SPE 124710): test a drillers ability to keep drilling
There are not clear criterion for defin- on course. Gravity also can also alter The red bands
ing the quality of the wellbore. the course of the drill bit to below the show spiraling
There are several companies with planned course. on the well
wall. This image,
methods for estimating the friction- Drilling advances that made it pos- created using
al force added by irregular wellbores, sible to target smaller deposits have Halliburtons
which grew out of the long-standing complicated drill bit navigation. Using CAST ultrasonic
effort to more accurately measure directional drilling to follow the unpre- tool, reveals a well
the path of narrow holes drilled dictable path of a pay zone introduces quality problem that
can interfere with
milesunderground. well tortuosity almost by design, said
hole cleaning during
They are seeking more realistic mea- Cam Matthews, a fellow at C-FER Tech- drilling, add to the
sures of wellbore quality than those nologies, a not-for-profit oil industry force needed to run
offered by established formulas, such as research and testing center. casing, and alter the
the minimum curvature method, which Adding to the uncertainty was the flow of cement, making
it harder to create an
assumes the well follows a smooth curve advent of topdrives, which allowed even seal around the
based on the shortest possible radius larger rigs to add 90 ft of pipe at a well. Image courtesy of
from the previous measurement point. time to the drillstring, compared Halliburton.


In 1993, Matthews coauthored a paper by his book, 501 Solved Problems growing number of its applications by
(SPE 22852) warning of the measure- for Drilling. engineers managing completions and
ment errors that could be introduced The drawback of the available mea- production, said Steve Mullin, director
by wider gaps between survey measure- sures, he said, is that they are concep- of marketing for GyroData.
ments. Edward Stockhausen, a geo- tually similar to medical ratings, which New data will spark new arguments
steering specialist for Chevron, spent rank symptoms to assess if a patient is at about what it means. Samuel pointed
years working to identify the potential risk of a heart attack, but do not provide out that many of the small variations
magnitude of such errors, which could direct evidence of the condition. These in the well path are often not observ-
lead to an error of 25 ft in total verti- subjective measures leave it up to the able inside the stiff walls of casing. Mul-
cal depth, according to a 2003 paper whims of users to decide how much lin responds that users will find value
(SPE 79917). weight to apply to them, Samuel said. in details not seen in standard surveys
A problem with a bent-angle motor Samuel developed a mathematical done every 90 ft to 100 ft.
is the potential introduction of small formula to calculate the energy required A 100-ft survey gives the impres-
errors each time it switches from sliding to overcome friction caused by a tor- sion that the well is smooth. Usually it
to rotating mode to drill forward. While tuous wellbore, which is termed well is not smooth, Mullin said. Our sur-
rotary steerable tools are less prone to profile energy by Halliburton. It uses vey is showing all the bends between
error, they are not not immune. Dur- the well survey data gathered every thosepoints. JPT
ing a panel discussion at the recent SPE 90ft to model the well path and calcu-
Annual Technical Conference and Exhi- lates the minimum energy needed to
bition, Stockhausen said using both sta- move an elastic beam through a hole in
tionary measures and streams of con- thatshape.
For Further Reading
tinuous location measures offer a more The company is working to build it
accurate fix on location, but he is still into dashboards used by drillers so they SPE 22852 Drilling and Production
seeking a satisfactory formula for com- can see how the twists and turns of the Practices To Mitigate Sucker Rod/
bining the two. wellbore being drilled will affect the Tubing Wear-Related Failures in
The payoff for Stockhausens dogged torque and drag required to push casing Directional Wells by C.M. Matthews
pursuit of errors can be significant. In into the wellbore. and L.J. Dunn, C-FER.
a large, offshore field driven by water With a scorecard, it is rated high or
rising from below, a 1-foot difference in low. When you do well profile energy, it SPE 79917 Continuous Direction and
the total vertical depth, can change the is mathematical and physical, Samuel Inclination Measurements Lead to an
ultimate oil recovered by 100,000 bbl, said. In an interview, he showed a dis- Improvement in Wellbore Positioning
by E. Stockhausen, ChevronTexaco,
which even at the current low price is play under development with a graph-
and W.G. Lesso Jr., Schlumberger.
worth nearly USD 5 million. ic of a drillstring moving horizontally
At the ATCE, he presented recent surrounded by bubbles displaying data, SPE 124710 Wellbore Drilling Indices,
work demonstrating small measure- including the torque and drag added by Tortuosity, Torsion, and Energy: What
ment errors in logging tools equipped wellbore tortuosity as of that point. Do They Have To Do With Wellpath
with two gamma rays (SPE 175048), Halliburton is also directly mea- Design? by R. Samuel, Halliburton,
which if unnoticed could significantly suring wellbore geometry effects by and X. Liu, Sinopec.
reduce the rock contacted when geo- installing strain gauges in bottomhole
steering through a formation. assemblies that measure the magnitude SPE 173039 Strain-Gauge Bending-
The significant thing is if you do not and direction of the force caused by Moment Measurements Used to
pay attention to what you do, you are wellboreirregularities. Identify Wellbore Tortuosity by
C. Marland and J. Greenwood,
going to get the same things [errors] And it is competing with Schlum-
over and over, Stockhausen said. berger, which has published papers
on quantifying the effect of tortuosi- SPE 173103 Wellbore Tortuosity Analyzed
New Tools ty and is looking for ways to improve by a Novel Method May Help to
As improved measurement tools reveal drillingtools. Improve Drilling, Completion, and
smaller wellbore features, there is a Gyrodata, which is known for making Production Operations by J. Bang,
growing body of work aimed at measur- a line of precise well survey tools based O. Jegbefume. and A. Ledroz,
ing the physical effect of the flaws. on gyroscopes, has developed a method Gyrodata, et al.
There have long been quality mea- to use foot-by-foot wellbore measure-
sures such as the drilling difficulty ments, which are used to create a 3D SPE 175048 Computation of Apparent
Formation Dip From Single Azimuth
index and the wellbore quality score- model to calculate the physical effect Sensor Data Having Different Depths
card. None satisfy Samuel whose focus oftortuosity. of Investigation by E. Stockhausen,
is on developing formulas to drill The method outlined in a paper early Chevron; and J. Rasmus and S. Bammi,
more systematically, as evidenced this year (SPE 173103) has inspired a Schlumberger.



Mikhail Chertenkov, Deputy CEO of Field Development

Technology, Lukoil-Engineering
Abdelghani Henni, JPT Middle East Editor

The Yarega heavy oil field is an tions from the processes, and significant- hole assembly and drillstring. Another
example of Russias technical ly improved workplace health and safety issue was the inability to reach target
advancements in heavy oil and protection. The counterflow SAGD also depth with casing because of the rigs
bitumen production. Describe the allowed us to develop new areas in the low weight, friction, and an inability to
technologies deployed in the field Yarega field that were not prepared by push down casing from the surface.
andtheir effects on production. functioning mines. The use of a slant drilling rig resolved
Due to the requirements for high oil these issues. However, we had to use
production rates and final oil recov- What are the benefits of using slant workover rigs later on.
ery factors, we applied a counterflow thermal production technologies? In oil mining, the horizontal drill-
steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) In the Yarega field, there is no alternative ing technology has been changed sev-
technology in Yarega, which resulted in to thermal methods for oil production. eral times in Yarega. Before 2011, hor-
even reservoir coverage by thermal expo- The majority of the nonthermal devel- izontal well lengths did not exceed
sure, higher oil production rates, and opment technologies for heavy oil fields 300 m because of technical constraints
lower steam/oil ratio values. Modeling are known to be economically inefficient. and wells were drilled blindly. Start-
results also had shown higher expected Lukoil is working on improving thermal ing in 2011, we increased horizontal well
final oil recovery factors. methods for production in its heavy oil lengths up to 800 m with the application
A surface/underground thermal fields. We have set a goal to increase oil of new mining drilling systems. In addi-
oil mining field development method production rates by 40% and final recov- tion, measurement-while-drilling tech-
is in common use in the Yarega field. ery factors by 10% by developing the nology allowed us to maximize the length
The oil production performance indi- currently employed methods and apply- of reservoir contact. As a result, oil pro-
ces of the oil mining method were sig- ing new approaches and technologies in duction rates increased significantly and
nificantly improved by the follow- pilot project programs. operating expensesdecreased.
The lengths of horizontal wells What are the lessons learned in using How can intelligent well technology
drilled from underground mines vertical drilling rigs and rack-type increase heavy oil production?
were tripled due to new directional rigs at the field? The key factor in successful SAGD proj-
drilling systems, thus oil rates from The main issues associated with drill- ect implementation is to provide suf-
new wells were increased. ing from traditional vertical rigs were a ficient steam quality supported with
An upgrade of a surface steam result of the high dogleg severity associ- instrumental daily control and reservoir
generation unit raised the steam ated with the reservoirs shallow depth heating monitoring along the horizontal
pumping pressure. (200 m to 220 m in total vertical depth). welllengths.
By implementing counterflow SAGD Among the challenges faced were low The steam dryness factor, pressure,
technology, we increased horizontal penetration rates because of insufficient and temperature are monitored online
welllength, reduced operational expens- weight on bit owing to buckling and from the steam generation facility to the
es, eliminated adverse working condi- the inadequate weight of the bottom- wellheads on Yarega field. To control res-
ervoir heating along a production wells
length, fiber-optic systems are mounted
Mikhail Chertenkov, SPE, is the deputy chief executive officer of
behind casing on screens in the horizon-
field development technology at Lukoil-Engineering. His areas of
scientific interest include improvement in the processes for tal parts of the well. In steam-injection
development of heavy oil fields and new technologies. Chertenkov wells, fiber-optic systems are mounted
holds a degree in geology and prospecting of oil and gas fields on tubing.
from the Tomsk Polytechnic University in Russia. He was a Fiber-optic sensors provide reservoir
program committee cochair at the SPE Russian Petroleum temperature profile data to allow on-
Technology Conference in Moscow in October. time decision making for steam cham-


ber expansion control (by steam pump- development of the multistage fractur- What are the technology trends
ing rate), mode adjustment for electrical ing technology required the use of high- anticipated in the next 5 years?
submersible pumps, maintenance of the powered fracturing equipment to gener- Current oil and gas reserves developed
pumping/production ratio to achieve ate higher pumping pressures compared by Lukoil can be characterized by thin
optimal subcooling, and engineering and with those that are commonly used on pays, low permeability and tight reser-
remedial operations based on well integ- Russian oil fields. It also required the use voirs, and oil rims. In these reservoirs,
rity monitoring. of weighted fracturing fluids to eliminate multilateral wells are required, includ-
formation damage. These solutions are ing some with multistage fracturing.
Given the harsh environments such used today in our regular operations on Therefore, we expect more exploration
as those in the Caspian region, what a large scale. of these technologies in the next cou-
are the challenges when deploying We are getting ready to start drilling ple of years. So far, the company has
new technologies? in the Filanovskogo (Filanovsky) field in drilled approximately 100 multilater-
Lukoil assets include heavy oil reserves at the Caspian Sea where we will implement al wells with continual improvement in
depths greater than 1.5 km. The compa- extended reach drilling technology and a thetechnology. JPT
ny is working on issues related to steam remotely operated and self-acting inflow
delivery without large heat losses to control completion system. For Further Reading
SPE 171275 Improvement of Drilling
suchdepths. As part of the improvements in res-
Technology for the Yarega Heavy
We have also successfully developed ervoir management processes, there is
Oil Field Development by SAGD
tight-rock carbonate reservoirs at depths progress in deploying fiber-optic mon- Method With Counter-Producing and
to 4 km. We revised the field develop- itoring systems and inflow indica- Injecting Wells by D.S. Loparev and
ment approach, rejected vertical well tion chemical tracers that are placed M.V. Chertenkov, Lukoil-Engineering;
drilling, and switched to horizontal well either under the completion or in G.V.Buslaev, USTU Oil and Gas R&D
drilling with multistage fracturing. The fracturingfluid. Institute; et al.



Upstream Opportunities in North Africa

Depend on Advanced Technical Knowledge
Abdelghani Henni, JPT Middle East Editor

The SPE North Africa Technical Confer- matically, putting more pressure on Egypt also requires increased efficiency
ence and Exhibition held in Cairo in Sep- upstream activities, where existing and throughout the oil and gassectors.
tember highlighted the upstream sector future oil and gas opportunities cannot In terms of drilling, we have pro-
with a focus on Egypt and the opportuni- be explored without applying state-of- gressed from drilling tens of meters
ties offered in the region, despite its eco- the-art-technologies, he said. to many kilometers below the surface,
nomic hardships and geopolitical risks. Innovation is required for tapping the both vertically and horizontally. The
Delivering the keynote speech on regions vast resources. We can also total number of wells put on produc-
behalf of the petroleum minister, Sherif expect further innovations to reduce the tion during 20142015 is 388, producing
Ismail, who was appointed as Egypts escalating costs of exploration and pro- 80,800BOPD and 13,400 B/D of conden-
prime minister one week before the duction, unlock additional resources, sates, El-Bakly said.
event, Sherif Sousa said that North Afri- and increase supplies, Sousa said. He also referred to the discovery of
ca offers many opportunities in the Ahmed El-Banbi, program chairman the Zohr supergiant gas field. It could
upstream sector. Sousa is the first under- and a professor at Cairo University, said become one of the worlds largest natural
secretary of gas affairs at Egypts Petro- that the oil price downturn may not con- gas discoveries and help meet Egypts gas
leum and Mineral Resources Ministry. tinue for a long time, and the industry needs for decades, he said. It will be a
There are as many opportunities will emerge for the better and more effi- game changer for Egypt and the Mediter-
today as there ever were, but they are cient. We have done this before, and ranean in terms of energy stability and
different and lie in more harsh environ- we will do it again. So, get ready for the will give a boost forward for more natural
ments requiring advanced technologies industry when it bounces back, he said. gas discoveries in the area.
and greater investments. A clear exam- Osama El-Bakly, chairman of Agiba Eni reported that available well and
ple is the recent Zohr discovery achieved Petroleum, said that soaring domestic seismic data indicate that the Zohr discov-
by Eni, he said. Zohr is the largest gas consumption has led Egyptian General ery could hold a potential of 30 Tcf of lean
discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) to speed up its gas (5.5 billion BOE) in place covering an
Mediterranean Sea. development plans. He spoke on behalf area of approximately 100 km2.
The region is also facing rising costs. of Tarek El Molla, conference chairman The Zohr 1X NFW discovery well was
Exploration and production [E&P] costs and the chief executive officer (CEO) drilled to a total depth of approximately
in different regions are escalating dra- ofEGPC. 13,553 ft (4131 m) and hit 2,067ft (630m)
To achieve this target, we require the
coordination and cooperation between
various E&P companies in the country,
including EGPC, EGAS [Egyptian Natu-
ral Gas], and Ganope [Ganoub El-Wadi
Petroleum], he said.
Among the proposed solutions to
meet the growing local demand, Egypt is
increasing E&P activities and reviewing
agreements and development leases with
foreign partners. We are also developing
unconventional resources, increasing the
Ahmed El-Banbi, program chairman use of enhanced oil recovery [EOR] meth-
and a professor at Cairo University, ods, as well as changing the strategic use Osama El-Bakly, chairman of Agiba
says that the oil price downturn may Petroleum, says that soaring domestic
of oil and gas to increase its value, he said.
not continue for a long time, and the consumption has led Egyptian
industry will emerge for the better The widening gap between the demand General Petroleum Corp. to speed
and more efficient. and supply of petroleum products in upits development plans.


of hydrocarbon column in a carbonate
sequence of Miocene age with excellent
reservoir characteristics (approximately
400 m of net pay). The wells structure
also has a deeper Cretaceous upside that
will be targeted with a dedicated well in
the future.

Small, Medium Firms Needed

The plenary session highlighted the
importance of small- and medium-
size enterprises (SMEs) in driving the
industry in the region to the next level.
Panelists said that the current peri-
od offers opportunities for investment
and innovations for SMEs, even though
governments in the region are remov-
ing subsidies, which help SMEs to tap
But governments in the MENA [Mid-
dle East and North Africa] region need
to incentivize SMEs as they are the main
drivers for innovation and for the econ-
omy in general, said Abdul Jaleel Al-

Khalifa, CEO of Dragon Oil. Unlike IOCs
[international oil companies] which
come to the region and take concessions,
SMEs focus on marginal fields with low
overhead, but their contribution to job
and wealth creation is huge.
Al-Khalifa said that major companies
can help local SMEs through talent shar-
ing, technology transfer, and business
partnerships. In return, SMEs should
avoid taking high risks and plan for bet-
ter capital management, he said.
Ali Mira, president and CEO of Sahara 152 SENIOR INDUSTRY
Oil and Gas, said that SMEs play a vital role
in the Egyptian oil industry as they pro- EXPERTS
duce more than 115,000 B/D of Egyptian
oil. Medium companies produce about
91,000 BOPD, while small enterprises
produce around 24,000 BOPD, he said.
Mira said that there are 37 SMEs
working in the oil and gas industry in
Egypt, with Khalda Petroleum, which is
an Apache-operated joint venture with
EGPC, Petrobel [Belayim Petroleum], and
Gupco [Gulf of Suez Petroleum] leading
the market. These companies also face
the challenges of a shortage of skilled
labor and lack of capital.
SMEs are very important to the
countrys economy and overcoming the

(Continued on page 96)

Subsea Condition Monitoring: Does Effective

Diagnosis Increase Availability?
Chen Yuru Serene, FMC Technologies, and Leong Pei Chze, Forsys Subsea

The challenges encountered in deep- Subsea condition Data Collection: Read-only

water development have led to the use software to acquire real-time
of increasingly complex subsea sys- monitoring is one of andhistorical knowledge from
tems. Consequently, operators have the beneficial real- thesubsea control system.
become more reliant on subsea mon- Storinghistorical data and
itoring equipment and instrumenta- time diagnostic tools in supporting analysis based on
tion to provide field information for the subsea production historical trends.
understanding production and equip- Analysis: Onshore analysis
ment conditions. Production monitor- surveillance system. server applies statistical analysis,
ing is typically the field operators main signal processing, mathematical
priority, and equipment condition and modeling, and simulations to
performance are sometimes overlooked, Condition Monitoring ascertain system conditions.
resulting in equipment failures and Condition monitoring is a proactive Requires experience-based product
long production downtimes because of maintenance strategy combining soft- knowledge and reliability analysis
unplannedmaintenance. ware and people. Data are used to diag- to target known failure modes and
Equipment failures often occur with- nose changes in the integrity of a sys- performance issues. System may
out warning and may sometimes, when tem such that corrective action may be tuned and updated in order to
caused by environmental factors, be planned in a cost-effective manner continuously improve its online
become inevitable. To determine the to increase system availability. Condi- diagnostic performance.
cause, field operators sift through vast tion monitoring is not a novel technol- Collaboration and Discussion:
amounts of distributed data from the ogy and is currently used in the aero- Estimation of potential impact
subsea controlsystem. nautical and automobile industries. on production (availability) is
The system downtime can be reduced The condition monitoring system takes built into the system based on
and system availability can be increased integrity monitoring beyond tradition- operational and maintenance
by performing effective equipment diag- al key performance indicators by uti- philosophy. With remote
nosis. With the current low-oil-price lizing all available data and informa- surveillance, multiple onshore
environment, subsea operators are tion from the system and looking for and offshore users are able to
looking to maximize returns on invest- trends of equipment degradation prior operate the system on a web-
ment, and condition-based monitor- to equipmentfailure. based graphical user interface for
ing offers the possibility of lowering A condition monitoring system is typi- monitoring and troubleshooting
operational expenses while increasing cally based on the following three-step of the subsea field. To simplify
fieldproduction. monitoring process: monitoring, each component and
associated potential failure mode
is designed with its individual
Chen Yuru Serene is a reliability engineer for subsea engineering services at FMC userinterface.
Technologies, focusing on subsea reliability studies, facilitating the identification of The status of each component is deter-
potential risks, and running reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) analysis mined after the processing and analy-
for subsea production systems. Serene holds a bachelors degree in mechanical sis of the raw data. The integrity of
engineering from Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity. each component also contributes to the
Leong Pei Chze is a life of field engineer at Forsys Subsea, focusing on subsea parentcomponent.
condition monitoring systems. Before this, she was a production performance
services engineer and a controls and data management product design engineer at Subsea Failure Trends
FMC Technologies. Pei Chze holds a bachelors degree in electrical and electronics Based on the field experience of opera-
engineering from Universiti Tenaga Nasional. tors, typical offshore and onshore equip-


Control System, 70.6% Manifold, 1.9% Control System, 81.16%
Wellhead and Christmas Tree, 27.0% Flowline, 0.4% Christmas Tree, 13.04%
Template, 0.1% Others, 5.80%
All images courtesy of FMC Technologies.

Fig. 1A comparison of failure distribution in a subsea system (left) and focus area of condition monitoring

ment failure trends may be obtained Theoretical Model The key differences in modeling a sys-
from the reliability data source, OREDA, A Markov chain is a method to study tem with condition monitoring and one
a database used to collect and exchange the transition from one state to anoth- without are:
reliability data for the improvement of er based on conditional probabilities There is no complete loss in
safety, reliability, maintenance effective- (Fig.3). It is commonly used to describe equipment functionality when
ness, and to enhance industry reputation systems that follow a chain of linked the condition monitoring system
on equipment and plant performance. events, in which what happens next proactively detects a failure.
The database provides subsea equipment depends on the current state of the sys- Mostof the functions of the
performance history for a wide range of tem. The effect of introducing a condi- equipment are still available.
equipment from system to component tion monitoring system on the availabil- Thisisrepresented by the
level. This information can be used to ity of equipment is demonstrated using restoration parameter b from
predict the availability performance of this approach. thepartial failure state to the
systems and facilities.
Data from OREDA24 Databank Version
5000.2.1 up to 11 June 2015 was analyzed
for the number of failures in various sub-
systems, including control system, well-
head, subsea tree, template, manifold,
and flowline. The control system was
identified as the leading contributor of
subsea system failures, followed by the
wellhead and subsea tree. The condition
monitoring system is designed to moni-
tor the subsea conditions with the same
order of focus (Fig.1).
A closer look at control system fail-
ures shows that the subsea control
module (SCM) is the largest contribu-
Control/signal failure, single well shutdown, 58%
tor (33%) to subsystem failures. Fur-
Other, single well shutdown, 6%
ther examination of the critical failure
Internal leakageutility medium, single well shutdown, 6%
modes of the module (Fig. 2) reveals External leakageutility medium, reduced production/injection, 6%
that the failure rate of the control/signal External leakageutility medium, single well shutdown, 6%
(58%) is the largest contributor to sin- Fail to function on demand, reduced production/injection, 6%
gle well shutdown. The ability to moni- Fail to function on demand, no consequence, 6%
tor the condition of the SCM and plan Fail to function on demand, single well shutdown, 6%
ahead for maintenance is, therefore,
crucial in reducing downtime. Fig. 2Failure distribution for subsea control modules based on OREDA.


working state as represented In this analysis, we define the failure ures. In this analysis, the failure trans-
in theMarkov chain. For the transfer ratio asfollows: fer ratio is assumed to be 0.95, meaning
purpose of this analysis, b=0.80, that the condition monitoring system is
representing that 80% equipment Failure transfer ratio= capable of diagnosing 95% of failures
function is still available when on the equipment. Weibul distribution
condition monitoring system Failure probability from working state is used in this analysis.
detects a potential failure. to partial failure state
The probability of equipment The Value of Condition
failure is distributed such that Failure probability from working state Monitoring
the condition monitoring system to complete failure state Condition monitoring provides real-
will detect the failure before time visibility on the condition of the
total equipment failure happens. =f1/(f1+ f2) system. Partial system failures are also
This transfers the susceptibility readily detected and diagnosed, allow-
of failure to the condition A higher ratio correlates to a greater ing forward planning for maintenance.
monitoringsystem and reduces effectiveness of the condition monitor- Such maintenance is typically more
thelikelihood of equipment failure. ing system to diagnose and detect fail- cost-efficient than performing reactive
maintenance, where the extent of fail-
f 1+ f 2 ure and associated costs are far greater.
The life cycle of equipment can be rep-
b resented by three regions of the bath-
tub curve, characterized by the value
Working Partial Complete (Fig. 4). A particular analysis was per-
R(t )
f1 Failure State
Failure State formed for a value of 0.5. This denotes
the installation of the condition moni-
toring system in the equipments early
life. The results indicate: a) Lower prob-
Maintenance d ability of maintenance for equipment
with condition monitoring (Fig. 5); and
b) Higher equipment availability with
condition monitoring, up to 18.5%. This
Unplanned trend was found to be true for all regions
m Maintenance
of the bathtub curve.

Operational Example
Fig. 3A Markov chain for equipment condition. a is the probability that signs The first full condition monitoring sys-
of failure can be diagnosed correctly given that the equipment is in a partial
failure state; b is the probability of equipment to be working given it is in a
tem by FMC Technologies, Condition
partial failure state; c is the probability that condition monitoring triggered and Performance Monitoring (CPM),
maintenance will be carried out to restore the equipment to a working state; was delivered to an oil and gas field in
d is the probability that a failure can be diagnosed correctly given that the the North Sea. The system consists of
equipment has failed; m is the probability that maintenance will be carried out data collection software and historical
and will restore the equipment to a working state; and R(t) is the probability
that equipment remains working given that it is currently working.
data storing, together with an onshore
analysis server.
The electronic components in the
Wear-out Life,
Early Life, >1
subsea router module are sealed at
<1 atmospheric pressure. An internal pres-
Failure Rate

sure transmitter records the pressure.

Three weeks into the initial tuning of the
CPM system, the system detected a con-
tinuous pressure increase. This prompt-
Useful Life,
=1 ed the operators to investigate further,
and it was later concluded that the mod-
ules internal pressure had been increas-
ing for the past 2 months because of a
Time weakness in the fiber penetrator on the
Fig. 4Each region on this bathtub curve is characterized by the shape subsea router module. The module con-
parameter, value. tinued operating for a further 3 months



Probability of Maintenance (%)

Reactive maintenance
(without condition monitoring)
15 Proactive maintenance
(with condition monitoring)

Reactive maintenance
(with condition monitoring)

5 4.72%

0 5 10 15 20
Time (years)

Fig. 5The probability of maintenance was found to be higher for equipment without condition monitoring than for
equipment with condition monitoring.

until failure, after which the subsea control system automati-

cally switched to the redundant module.
The early detection allowed the operator to have full vis-
ibility of the modules condition and subsequently prevented
Shale Plays Development
otherwise unforeseeable communication errors. Given early Optimization
warning, the operator was provided sufficient time to concur-
rently plan an intervention campaign while troubleshooting Amros Corporation uses standard
open-hole log data to calculate a
Conclusion production profile that shows where
Subsea condition monitoring is one of the beneficial real-time recoverable oil is located, where to
diagnostic tools in the subsea production surveillance system. frack vertical wells and where to drill
The benefits of the condition monitoring system were studied and frack horizontal wells.
through the application of a Markov chain. The maintenance on
equipment was distributed to two states representing proactive In the Permian Basin Amros
maintenance and reactive maintenance. The condition moni-
toring system was theoretically proven to increase the equip-
Technology reduces the cost of
ments availability, especially if the system is installed during fracking up to 50% while increasing
the equipments early life. Although the analysis was performed well production at least 20% with an
at the equipment level, the resulting trend is the same when average of 900% rate of return.
applied to a system with a high level ofredundancy.
The more effective the condition monitoring systems diag- FRACK LESS PRODUCE MORE
nosis, the higher the chance for it to capture the equipment
degradation prior to failure and increase the equipments avail-
ability. For an efficient condition monitoring system, the type Most Promising Company at
and amount of data received is critical to enable a comprehen-
sive system of fault diagnosis. However, this remains a chal-
RICE Alliance in 2015 twice
lenge as there is limitation on data access and availability from



Reserves/Asset Management
Greg Horton, SPE, Retired, and Barbara Pribyl, SPE, Reserves and Resources Manager, Santos

The oil and gas industry has undergone of their businessat strategic, tactical, ibrating performance, to extract value
dramatic change in recent times. On one and operational levels, underpinned at from lessons learned to be used in devel-
hand, technology has driven an increase all times by sound and unbiased techni- opment of realistic learning curves, is
in availability of supply, primarily from cal and commercial work. assessed in paper SPE 172973.
unconventional sources. Concurrently, The suite of papers in this feature The need for cost and capital efficiency
global economic and political influences addresses various aspects of these criti- calls for careful integration of technical
have resulted in sustained oversupply of cal business requirements. At the strate- and commercial elements. Many com-
oil and gas, despite declining demand. gic level, the importance of using a robust panies will be able to cite examples of
The effect on the industry has been to framework for ranking exploration, disconnect between these elements, with
return to operating conditions not seen appraisal, and development projects in resultant destruction of value and loss of
for decades, with sustained low prices order of commercialization maturity, as opportunity. Recognition of uncertainty
and sluggish demand forecast to contin- embodied by the Petroleum Resources and sound technical input into commer-
ue at least in the near to medium term. Management System promulgated by cial and financial models are critical and,
The solution space for oil and gas com- SPE, is discussed in paper SPE 170747. when done correctly, allow effective port-
panies to stay viable during this diffi- At the tactical and operational level, the folio analysis to be conducted. Paper OTC
cult period is challenging and cannot be importance of systematic application of 26061 provides an excellent overview of
reliant on external factors of rapid price standards and guidelines for technical the elements of such an analysis.
increase, uplift in demand, or reduction work and of maximizing the benefit by a These papers highlight the critical
in supply. Instead, companies need to truly multidisciplinary approach to deci- importance of application of overarch-
find efficiencies within their capital- and sion making and development of a road ing strategic frameworks within oper-
operating-cost base and to examine close- map to show the way forward to opti- ating and service companies as key
ly and make optimal use of their assets. mize recovery and maximum value is enablers to realizing required efficiency
Business as usual no longer exists, and described in paper SPE 175004. Further- improvements. These frameworks must
companies must challenge every aspect more, the value of look-backs and cal- include mechanisms to consistently and
objectively assess portfolios of assets, to
identify their strengths and weaknesses,
Greg Horton, SPE, is retired from Santos after 33 years of to provide confidence levels that reflect
reservoir-management responsibilities and maintains an active the inherent risk and uncertainty that
role in improving the SPE Petroleum Resources Management
exist within oil and gas projects, and,
System (PRMS). He holds an honors degree in civil engineering
from Adelaide University. Horton joined Santos as a field petroleum
above all, to ensure best use of human
engineer in 1982. Since then, he has worked in many petroleum, capital and incorporate lessons learned
reservoir, and planning engineering roles and in financial roles. from past experience. JPT
Horton has managed extensive external audits of Santos reserves
and contingent resources. He was a member of the SPE Oil and Gas Reserves
Committee from 2011 to 2014, is a member of the PRMS Improvements Subcommittee,
Recommended additional reading
and serves on the JPT Editorial Committee.
at OnePetro:
Barbara Pribyl, SPE, is reserves and resources manager at Santos. SPE 175527 Validating Analog Production
Type Curves for Resource Plays
She has more than 20 years of experience as a geologist and in
by Mark McLane, Rose & Associates, et al.
reserves and resources management based in the Australian oil
and gas, coal exploration, and coal-seam gas industry. Pribyl holds IPTC 18063 Is Your Trap Filled To Spill?
an honors degree in geology from the University of Wollongong. by Douglas Peacock, Gaffney, Cline &
Her focus in recent years has been on Australian and international Associates
oil and gas reserves and resources assurance and reporting. Pribyl IPTC 18128 The Art of Balancing the Cost
has been a member of the SPE Oil and Gas Reserves Committee and Value for Field Development
since 2014. by Keng Seng Chan, Petronas, et al.


Chance of Development:
Definition, Estimation, and Use

C hance of Development (CoD)

iscommonly used as an
input toeconomic assessments
Development Not Viable, where
there are no current plans to acquire
additional data because of limited
Contingent Resources. When consider-
ing CoD for Contingent Resources, it is
important to understand the boundar-
and valuations where it is often production potential. ies that define this classification. These
quoted withlittle explanation The PRMS also allows Contingent Re- boundaries are, first, the discovery test,
of the frameworkused. In such sources to be further divided according which allows Prospective Resources to
circumstances,it may be misleading to economic status. be reclassified as Contingent Resources,
and overly simplistic to multiply Marginal Contingent Resources and, second, the commerciality criteria
the project net present value (NPV) are technically feasible projects required for Contingent Resources to be
by a single CoD factor to derive a that are either currently economic reclassified as Reserves.
risked NPV as a proxy for value. or projected to be economic For many conventional accumulations,
This paper will examine ways in under reasonably forecasted the discovery test may be quite conclu-
which CoD can be defined better, improvements in commercial sive, but in other situations (e.g., uncon-
methods for its estimation, and its conditions but are not currently ventional resources or high-cost envi-
appropriateapplication along with committed for development because ronments), it can be ambiguous. In these
common misuses. of one or more contingencies. cases, the results of early exploration
Sub-Marginal Contingent may not be sufficient to indicate whether
Introduction Resources are those associated a discovery has occurred.
The Petroleum Resources Management with discoveries for which A more onerous discovery test may
System (PRMS) is an international stan- analysisindicates that technically prevent accumulations from easily be-
dard petroleum-reserves-and-resources feasible development projects coming Contingent Resources, such that
classification system based on industry would not be economic or those that do will likely have a higher
best practices and is described in de- othercontingencies would CoD. Conversely, if a discovery test is eas-
tail in the complete paper. The PRMS not be satisfied under current ier to pass, then large volumes may be-
encourages the use of subclasses that or reasonably forecasted come Contingent Resources, but these
provide some qualitative assessment of improvements in commercial may be less likely to be matured into Re-
CoD. These subclasses include conditions. If evaluations serves quickly and easily. It may also be
Development Pending, where are incomplete, it may also possible to limit the extent of a discovery,
project activities are ongoing to be possible for economic such that only part of a potential accumu-
justify commercial development in status tobeundetermined. lation is discovered.
the foreseeable future. Thus, Marginal Contingent
Development Unclarified or On Resources would typically have Comparison of CoD
Hold, where project activities are a higher CoD than Sub-Marginal With Geological Chance
on hold or where justification as a ContingentResources. of Success (GCoS)
commercial development may be A comparison with GCoS is relevant here.
subject to a significant delay. This Boundaries CoD is almost analogous to GCoS in that
subclass refers to quite different of Contingent Resources it is the chance of maturing a project
situations; Unclarified typically CoD is especially important for Contin- from one resources class to the next. The
refers to internal decisions, gent Resources; once a discovery is made, analogy is not perfect, however, because
whereas On Hold is more related CoD is equivalent to chance of commerci- Reserves may still have some residual,
toexternalfactors. ality. A large range of CoD is possible for but very low, risk of not reaching com-
mercial producing status until they are
actually on production. For GCoS, there
This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights is a generally well-accepted methodolo-
of paper SPE 170747, Chance of Development: What Is It? Can We Estimate It? How gy for risk assessment that uses standard
Should We Use It?, by Doug Peacock, SPE, and Tracey Jennings, SPE, Gaffney, Cline petroleum system elements. Risk factors
& Associates, prepared for the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, associated with the key elements such as
Amsterdam, 2729 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Source, Migration, Reservoir, and others

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


are typically combined in order to gener- Discovered recoverable volumes a recent discovery, but with positive char-
ate a GCoS. (Contingent Resources) may be consid- acteristics, such that it is likely to pro-
A major difference between CoD and ered commercially producible, and thus ceed to development with no significant
GCoS is that CoD contingencies can be Reserves, if the entity claiming commer- delay. Even a large, complex offshore
changed or removed by taking certain ac- ciality has demonstrated firm intention project with no significant delay would
tions. For example, if partner approvals to proceed with development and such be expected to proceed from discovery
are not forthcoming, a company might intention is based upon all of the follow- to commercial producing status within
choose to develop a project under sole ing criteria (complete-paper-author em- 1015 years. Delays would be indicative
risk; or, if infrastructure was not avail- phasis added): of contingencies, which would therefore
able, it could be constructed. Evidence to support a reasonable reduce the CoD. Would 5 years then be
timetable for development appropriate? This would be consistent
Factors for Consideration A reasonable assessment of with the recommended 5-year period for
When Estimating CoD the future economics of such Reserves and, when combined, would
Given that the practice for defining development projects meeting allow up to 10 years from discovery until
GCoS is accepted, it is worth considering defined investment and operating commercial producing status.
whether a similar methodology can be criteria However, consider a project with no
used for CoD. Instead of petroleum sys- A reasonable expectation that contingencies other than the fact that
tem elements, the technical and commer- there will be a market for all or at it is not planned for development for,
cial factors or contingencies that must least the expected sales quantities say, 78 years. Would this project have a
be overcome to progress the project and of production required to justify very low or even zero CoD purely on the
that may prevent a project from reach- development basis of its timing? In such a case, would
ing commercial producing status can be Evidence that the necessary it be reasonable to use the same discre-
considered. In order to do this, the start- production and transportation tion as used for Reserves? To avoid such
ing point would likely be to reference the facilities are available or can be issues, it may be useful to consider a
criteria required for volumes associated made available 10-yeartimeframe.
with a project to be classified as Reserves. Evidence that legal, contractual, Another element that requires further
In addition to evidence of commercial environmental, and other social definition when estimating the chance
producibility, these criteria are stated in and economic concerns will allow of commerciality is a development plan.
the PRMS as follows (PRMS 2007): for the actual implementation As a project-based system, the PRMS en-
of the recovery project being courages definition of a project at all
evaluated. stages, although it is recognized that less-
Such contingencies could be used to- mature projects will have less-well-
Changing Your gether to provide a qualitative estimate of defined, more-conceptual develop-
the CoD. Typical factors considered (oth- mentplans.
Address? ers are provided in the complete paper)
are as follows: CoD for Prospective Resources
Let SPE know.
Government approval Prospective Resources have both a
Company/partner internal sanction chance of discovery and a chance of de-
Infrastructure risk velopment. Therefore, even if a discovery
Market risk (typically a bigger issue is made, it may not be commercially de-
for gas developments than for oil) veloped. One method commonly used is
Update Your Technology requirements (use to estimate an economic threshold that
of new, or yet to be proved, determines a minimum economic field
Member Profile technology) size. An often-used guideline is that any-
thing above the threshold will be devel- Timeframe oped; anything below will not. Such early
members/update The PRMS uses terminology such as assessments are often made using a con-
reasonable timeframe and significant ceptual development plan, perhaps based
delay in relation to Reserves but not on nearby commercial developments, if
for Contingent Resources. For Reserves, available. For a discovered accumulation
a benchmark of 5 years to attain/recom- below the threshold, it may be possible
SPE Benefits mence commercial production is sug- to tailor a more-efficient development
gested, but this will depend on specific plan, develop as part of a cluster, use
Discover the possibilities.
circumstances and may be longer. new technology, or find some other so- It seems reasonable that there should lution to allow commercial development
members/benefits be a timeframe for CoD, and that a CoD to occur. Even if the discovery volume
estimate should relate to this timeframe. surpasses the economic threshold, there
A project may be quite immature, perhaps may be other contingencies that prevent


commercial development. Therefore,
the same criteria discussed previously
for Contingent Resources should also be
considered for Prospective Resources. Virginia Tech, College of Engineering
Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering
Use and Misuse Assistant or Associate Professor
of CoD in Valuations
In the context of the PRMS, CoD is sim- Geoenergy Engineering
ply a technical estimate (similar to that This position is under the Virginia Tech (US) and the University of Nottingham (UK)
of GCoS) that represents the chance of joint initiative, a Best with Best alliance, designed to enable high-impact research to
address the Global Energy Trilemma grand challenge (security of supply, affordability,
the volumes associated with a specific and sustainability). This challenge encompasses (i) enhanced oil and gas recovery; (ii) safe,
development project becoming Reserves. permanent and economic CO2 sequestration and utilization; (iii) effective production of
alternative hydrocarbons (e.g. shale gas, coal bed methane) with minimal environmental
However, CoD is often used for other pur- impact; and (iv) a sound basis for management & protection of water resources. While there
poses, particularly for valuations. A com- are substantial individual efforts within aspects of these areas in the global academic and
research communities, this partnership led by VCCER (Virginia Tech) and GERC (University
mon and often inappropriate assump- of Nottingham) is novel due to its overarching, multi-scale and heuristic approach towards
tion is to use CoD as a risk factor that impacts in energy production and CO2 management.
can be multiplied by an NPV to produce a  Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research: VCCER is a leading group in the US
Mining and Minerals Engineering, engaging in both academic and industry-led research and
lent to such a risk factor? with a portfolio in excess of $30m. VCCER operates and conducts research on a number
Where an economic evaluation is re- of large-scale industrial test sites including shale gas, coal bed methane, and CO2 storage.
quired, an appropriate approach is to  GeoEnergy Research Centre: GERC is a pioneering joint venture co-established by the
generate a range of scenarios that takes University of Nottingham (UoN) and the British Geological Survey (BGS). It is supported by a
3m strategic investment from both institutes and has a research focus on the multi-disciplinary
into account different development sce- theme Rock-Fluid Interactions. Both institutes are conveniently located in Nottingham;
narios and technical uncertainties, but Engineering is based at the University Park campus and BGS at the Keyworth campus.
also considers sensitivities to timing and VCCER and GERC have combined capabilities in: (i) site monitoring (geophysics, remote
ed with the Contingent Resources vol- DQG LLL  PXOWLVFDOH PRGHOOLQJ PXOWLSKDVH XLG RZ IURP SRUH VFDOH reservoir scale).
one based at Virginia Tech and the other at the University of Nottingham (see posting at
scenarios are selected to represent low,
best, and high estimates. Although CoD The Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering and the VCCER at
estimates may be used for valuation pur- Virginia Tech invite applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant
the chance of volumes associated with a an internationally recognized and externally funded research program in the broad
natural gas engineering, chemical engineering, mining engineering, geosciences
not values.
be minimized to allow the successful applicant to focus on securing new research funding,
values associated with low, best, and submitting high quality publications, and leading US-UK collaborative activities between
it should not be possible to have dif- FRRUGLQDWLRQRI VSHFLFLQLWLDWLYHV
high estimates. However, there may be programs in North America with 10 full-time faculty members, +200 undergraduate
College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech, the land-grant University of the
are flexible and additional wells may Commonwealth, is located in Blacksburg, Virginia, and has a total enrollment of +30,000
be drilled as required as part of normal with +7,000 enrolled in the College of Engineering.
fieldoperations. JPT Candidates who wish to be considered for these positions should apply online at to posting number TR0150149. The review of applications will begin on January 18,
Petroleum Resources Management System. Virginia Tech is committed to the principle of diversity and, in that spirit, seeks a broad
2007. Prepared by the Oil and Gas Reserves spectrum of candidates including women, minorities and people with disabilities.
Transformation Award to increase the participation of women in academic science and
Engineers; reviewed and jointly sponsored engineering careers.
by the World Petroleum Council, the
American Association of Petroleum
Geologists; and the Society of Petroleum
Evaluation Engineers. Richardson, Texas,
USA: Society of Petroleum Engineers.


Aligning Diverse Portfolios
and Execution for Capital Efficiency

A ligning a diverse portfolio with

an organizations execution
capabilities and capacity is imperative


in achieving capital efficiency and 1.0

meeting shareholder expectations.
Constructing a portfolio that provides 0.0
both cash flow and long-term growth is a 1.0
challenge. There should also be a direct Uncoventional Oil and Gas
connection of the organizations strategy 2.0 Deep Water ad Ultradeep Water
with its investment proposition. Should Oil Sands
companies mitigate risk by diversification CSG LNG
across countries, asset types, or play 4.0 Floating LNG
types? Or, alternatively, should they be a Integrated LNG
focused pure-play organization, leaving
the investment diversification to the Fig. 1Typical net-cash-flow profiles for various plays.
Portfolio Composition tradeep water and the oil sands are char-
Industry Trends Significantly different net-cash-flow pro- acterized by high upfront investments and
As complicated as the oil and gas business files (Fig. 1) apply to different oil plays much longer times required to generate
may seem at times, at its core it is quite such as deep water and ultradeep water, a positive net cash flow. In NPV metrics,
simple. It begins by acquiring prospective unconventional, oil sands, and gas plays these plays can add substantive growth.
acreage and exploring to find resources. To such as those requiring integrated lique- The differentiation between deep water
realize the value, produced oil and gas then fied natural gas (LNG), floating LNG, or and oil sands is that the deepwater cash
has to be connected to the markets. But the emerging coal-seam-gas (CSG) con- generation is strong in the early produc-
connecting the three links of this process version to LNG. These differences make tion phase but drops off quickly, whereas
(Resource/Develop/Market) alone is insuf- construction of a portfolio mix, and ar- the oil sands generate steady long-term
ficient. There are external factors, such as riving at its risk weighting, a challenge. cash flows. Gas-play characteristics are
interacting with host governments, com- Onshore unconventional oil and gas similar to those of deepwater oil and oil
munities, regulators, or public policy, that plays are characterized by less upfront in- sands because they require significant up-
must be satisfied. It is only when these fac- vestment (compared with deepwater) with front investment. Where they differ is that
tors are combined appropriately, and their rapid cash-flow generation but continu- the threshold volumes for economic inte-
impacts understood, that value can be re- ous capital investment. When consider- grated gas and export projects increase the
alized. All these aspects must be consid- ing internal-rate-of-return metrics, pro- scale of these projects, with even more up-
ered in constructing an oil and gas portfo- ducing a single onshore well is promising, front capital and longer project schedules.
lio. From a historical perspective, the gaps but to achieve a material growth, using a
that exist between finding the resource, net-present-value (NPV) metric, requires Deepwater and
developing it, and delivering it to the mar- a continuous capital investment with mas- UltradeepwaterPlays
ket for consumers havewidened. sive repeatability. The deep water and ul- The complexity related to developing
deepwater resources is often greater than
This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of that associated with conventional on-
shore or shallow-water resources, driv-
paper OTC 26061, Aligning Diverse Portfolio and Execution for Capital Efficiency, by
en by the need for technology to achieve
Martijn Dekker, Shell; Paul McNutt, ConocoPhillips; Greg Roder, Woodside Energy;
the required high threshold volumes for
Stuart Wheaton, Tullow Oil, and Sandeep Khurana, Granherne, prepared for the an economic development. A companys
2015 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 47 May. The paper has not been capabilities, expertise, and financial re-
peer reviewed. sources are also a critical input in assess-
ing the strategy to develop a discovered
Copyright 2015 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission. resource: These dictate the required pace

The complete paper is available for purchase at OnePetro:


to return cash flow and define the com- opment of regulations. As these issues are ger than that for typical unconvention-
plexity of a project in the context of the resolved, the experience is used to expand al plays or even for deepwater and ul-
companys capabilities. Schedule drivers into internationallocations. tradeepwater plays.
and project complexity are the most im- Unconventional plays are manpower-
portant dimensions in selecting an appro- intensive because they involve interact- Gas Plays
priate field-development strategy. Field- ing with numerous landowners, drilling, For domestic sales, gas is constrained to
development strategy in this context and fracturing, and at the same time con- markets available within pipeline reach.
refers to the choices around reservoir- stantly reducing environmental footprint If a pipeline goes beyond a countrys
depletion management, project phasing, and making the operation as unobtrusive border, there may be protracted de-
and approaches to newtechnology. as possible to the surroundings. While bates over tariffs, fees, and usage rights.
The most-common development strat- the rewards are strong for those that de- Given massive volumes, commercializa-
egies, however, are the standardized de- liver, skills for developing unconvention- tion of gas can be achieved by convert-
velopment approach and the phased de- al plays are unique and many companies ing gas into liquids for export, with LNG
velopment approach. These strategies still struggle to align the process and peo- being the most common solution. This
provide oil companies the greatest flexi- ple to achieve capital efficiency. also opens up new marketsbeyond
bility to manage capital efficiency and risk the domestic marketsthrough LNG
while ensuring that the cycle time is short Oil-Sands Plays export because shipping transport de-
enough to provide for competitive re- Oil-sands plays can be described as of- livers the key element of destination
turns. The development-strategy frame- fering huge resource with little to low (market) flexibility.
work can be taken as a project-centric decline rate. However, they are capital- The gas value chain requires confi-
lens, with the field-development strategy intensive and have high operating costs. dence in gas supply, where exploration
dictated solely by the field properties and The challenges that come with oil sands expertise and reservoir-depletion exper-
location. However, given that the project include capital management, margin tise play a major role. When it comes
complexity and schedule drivers are to a management, environmental risks, and to securing the market demand, a long-
large extent relative to a companys ca- time scale. term contract at the right price requires
pabilities and financial resources, select- The first of these challenges is cost man- commercial acumen and dealing with the
ing the appropriate development strat- agement. In every aspect of a supply chain government and financing entities. Con-
egy can actually be used by a company as that ranges from rigs to people, the Fort necting gas resources to market with so-
a tool to make it capital-efficient in deep- McMurray Effect (when industry activ- lutions that provide robust flow assur-
water plays. Moreover, it is essential that ity exceeds the ability of the area to sup- ance is where major capital is spent.
stakeholder engagement commence at port it and local inflation sets in) is dom- As for deepwater gas resources, com-
the onset of a project, especially when new inant. Capital escalation over the course bining the technology of LNG facilities
governments and regulators are involved. of a 4-year project typically exceeds 20% onshore, floating systems, and subsea
(given yearly escalation of 5% or more), fields into floating LNG provides a solu-
Unconventional well over background inflation. Success- tion. The floating-LNG solutions, how-
Oil and GasPlays ful companies recognize the challenges ever, must also consider how the gov-
To keep the competitive edge in uncon- and collaborate with contractors to pro- ernment will benefit from an offshore
ventional oil plays, one needs to improve vide steady work that does not exceed the development where the gas resource will
drilling and fracturing efficiency. Efficien- industry capacity. But the challenges do not come onshore. A similar challenge
cy can be improved through supply-chain not end with first oil. The margin must be exists in unconventional gas, convincing
management, autonomous rigs, multilat- managed as well. It can be eroded by high the government to export excess uncon-
erals, well spacing, and longer horizontals operating costs or low netback pricing. ventional gas in North America and ulti-
with more stages. The investment scale Canadian oil-sands projects face trans- mately light crude oil that cannot easily
forces a shift from one-well economics portation constraints, and new projects be refined in Gulf Coast refineries.
to a large-scale-investment-opportunity are no more economical than when oil was Other sources of unconventional gas
mindset similar to that in offshore de- at USD 30/bbl. Environmental risks play a such as CSG (also referred to as coalbed
velopments. One must constantly reduce role as well. One operator is attempting methane) have the potential to supply a
the footprint on drilling and production to shorten higher-cost routes (such as rail significant portion of the market, either
sites and improve efficient use of water and shipping) from Canadian oil sands through domestic gas supply or through
resources, such as recycling flowback and to the US Gulf Coast refining complex- LNG exports. CSG wells are less productive
produced water. Innovative solutions for es. That project has faced environmental compared with conventional gas wells,
handling gas may be evaluated in select opposition rooted in misunderstanding with hundreds of wells required to sup-
cases such as investing in the conver- of fossil-fuels development. A competing port initial LNG production. Once up and
sion of gas into compressed natural gas project to move the crude east through running, CSG production output can al-
(CNG) and small-scale LNG and using it Canada and on to India may eventually most equal that of a conventional gas proj-
as a fuel for drilling and fracturing opera- solve the problem, but at a cost. ect, but it then requires continuouscapital
tions. This requires the creation of part- Finally, the time scale for a return on investment through the drilling of addi-
nerships with communities and the devel- investment on an oil-sands play is lon- tional wells to maintain production. JPT


Applying Lessons Learned To Minimize
Overall Investment in Unconventional Plays

Barnett Shale
T he development of unconventional
resources in North America
was aided by the readily available
Retrospective Assessment
The retrospective assessment for the Bar-
ly the water resource has been contrib-
uting to gas production. When plotted
on an annual basis rather than a cumu-
infrastructure, water resources, nett was simulated for five specified cases lative basis, it becomes apparent that,
expertise, and a general understanding by use of the parameters summarized in from approximately 1985 to 1998, water
of potential sweet spots caused by Table 1 and the corresponding cost pa- effectiveness was higher than the typi-
numerous well penetrations. Even with rameters summarized in Table 4 of the cal 0.3 to 1 Mscf/gal, which corresponds
these favorable conditions, an estimated complete paper. This cost model was used to the time period when conventional
40% of unconventional wells are to represent the average cost throughout crosslinked-polymer fluids were com-
uneconomical. This paper provides a the development. Hence, this retrospec- monly used in the early wells. The water
retrospective assessment of the Barnett tive assessment does not account for the effectiveness is lower than average from
and Eagle Ford Shale plays to highlight actual variability in cost from year to year. 2000 to 2008, which is consistent with
lessons learned and the associated value the high-volume slickwater treatments
of those learnings. Barnett Shale Base Case. The over- that were common during that time pe-
all financial investment amounts to riod and with the transition to more frac-
Introduction USD 64 billion for well capital expendi- turing treatment stages per well as the
Although horizontal drilling and multi- ture (CAPEX) for the more than 21,500 industry moved along the learning curve.
stage fracturing (MSF) have changed the wells drilled from 1981 through 2013. The Wells became more cost-efficient at
economic viability of unconventional re- simulated well cost averages USD 1.5 mil- achieving reservoir contact over time with
sources significantly, such drilling has lion for vertical wells and USD 3.8 mil- increasing lateral length and stage count,
also encountered a wide range of produc- lion for horizontal wells with 10 fractur- but the usage of resources such as water
tion variability. This nonideal produc- ing stages. The per-stage cost (hydraulic and proppant became less effective over
tion performance further leads to con- fracturing plus fracturing water and per- time. This decrease in resource effective-
sumption of local resources such as water forating) represents more than 40% of ness is consistent with the 40% of clusters
and proppant that are used in hydraulic- the financial investment over the history that are not contributing to production
fracturing treatments. The poor econom- of the development (58% from well con- and the 40% of wells that are not econom-
ic performance of a high percentage of struction including rigs and less than 1% ical from the MSF brute-force approach,
wells is the result of spatial variability in from measurements in the base-case de- with lateral-landing challenges, and with
reservoir characteristics such as hydro- velopment), with the per-stage costs rep- changes in reservoir quality as operators
carbon in place, gas/oil ratio (GOR), and resenting 50% of the well CAPEX when moved out of the core areas over time.
reservoir pressure; lateral heterogeneity using higher stage counts per well start-
along the wellbores; limited accuracy of ing in 2009. Barnett Shale Retrospective Cases. The
well placement; and variability in drilling, The effectiveness of water usage is impact of developing the Barnett with
completion, and stimulationpractices. illustrated by the historical volume of the efficiency and effectiveness lessons
The development of best practices and water used compared with the cumula- learned was simulated using the actual
the learning curves associated with the tive gas production. When compared on a number of horizontal wells drilled start-
Barnett and Eagle Ford Shale plays are cumulative basis, the results suggest that ing from 2000 (representing the first
detailed in the complete paper, as are the water usage and gas production show day of production for the retrospective
the rationale and methodology for retro- a consistent trend. The higher the water- cases). Using this well-count investment,
spective assessments of both plays. effectiveness value, the more effective- the production profiles for the five cases
were established. It is obvious that im-
plementing horizontal drilling and MSF
This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights
from Day 1 would have a profound impact
of paper SPE 172973, USD 40 Billion Learning Curve: Leveraging Lessons Learned on the time to produce 15 Tcf, reducing
To Minimize the Overall Investment in Unconventional Plays, by C.N. Fredd, SPE, from the actual 32 years to approximately
J.L. Daniels, SPE, and J.D. Baihly, SPE, Schlumberger, prepared for the 2015 SPE 12 years with MSF Efficiency case.
Middle East Unconventional Resources Conference and Exhibition, Muscat, Oman, The effect of technology and integra-
2628 January. The paper has not been peer reviewed. tion is just as valuable as the innovation

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


Base Case Integration + Technology + Technology +
(Actual) Efficiency Efficiency Efficiency Integration + Efficiency
Well Design Vertical + Horizontal (Actual) Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal
Well Count Actual Since 1981 Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal
(Actual From 2000) (Actual From 2000) (Actual From 2000) (Actual From 2000)
Stages per Well 1 to 10 (Actual) 10 10 10 10
Fraction of Clusters 0.64 0.64 0.82 0.64 0.82
Average Water Volume 200 to 1,000 (Actual) 400 to 1,300 (Actual) 400 to 1,300 (Actual) 500 500
per Stage (1,000 gal)
Average Proppant Mass 0.2 to 0.9 (Actual) 0.2 to 0.6 (Actual) 0.2 to 0.6 (Actual) 0.25 0.25
per Stage (MM lbm/gal)
Table 1Simulation parameters for the Barnett Shale retrospective assessment cases.

of horizontal drilling and MSF, both pro- Eagle Ford Shale nology plus Integration provides the op-
viding the opportunity to reduce the well- Retrospective Assessment portunity to reduce the well-count invest-
count investment by more than 5,000 Eagle Ford Shale Base Case. The over- ment by an additional 3,500 wells. Hence,
wells while achieving the same produc- all financial investment amounts to more even with the application of the MSF Effi-
tion target. The reduction in the number than USD 70 billion for well CAPEX for the ciency practices from other plays, there is
of wells drilled to achieve 15 Tcf obviously almost 13,000 horizontal wells, 300,000 significant additional opportunity to re-
has an enormous economic impact. The fracturing stages, 72 billion gal of water, duce the overall investment with the ap-
retrospective assessment (detailed in the and 69 billion lbm of proppant to deliver plication of Technology plus Integration.
complete paper) indicates that more than 1 billion bbl of oil from 2005 through mid- Given all the lessons learned over the
USD 23 billion in overall well CAPEX sav- 2014. Because of the higher number of past 9 years (moving beyond the MSF Ef-
ings could be realized if the Technology fracturing treatment stages per well in the ficiency to include Technology plus In-
plus Integration plus MSF Efficiency case Eagle Ford, the per-stage cost represents tegration), this retrospective assessment
were implemented from the first day of approximately 58% of the financial in- indicates that the Eagle Ford could have
production in the field. vestment over the history of the develop- delivered higher production or could have
Implementing the efficiencies of hori- ment compared with approximately 40% been developed with more than 4,000
zontal drilling and MSF clearly reduced in the Barnett base case. fewer wells (a greater than 35% reduc-
the investment in the number of wells It is clear that the Eagle Ford took sig- tion), could have saved almost 20 billion
drilled and well CAPEX. The simulation nificantly less time to ramp up in activity gal of water (a greater than 25% reduc-
cases demonstrate that additional im- when compared with the Barnett. This was tion), and 40 billion lbm of proppant (a
provements in investment efficiency because of the application of many of the greater than 60% reduction), and could
are achieved by applying the Technolo- lessons learned from developing the Bar- have reduced well CAPEX investment by
gy plus Integration plus MSF Efficiency nett and other shale plays. An economic USD 18 billion (greater than 20% saved)
case. Only through the technology and well design was reached fairly quickly in while still delivering the same 1 billion bbl
integration strategies was an improve- the learning curve, and the number of wells of oil production if initially exploited by
ment in the resource usage achieved be- drilled increased from fewer than 100 to applying the key lessons learned. In the
cause of an increase in the effective- more than 1,000 per annum over 2 years. Eagle Ford oil window, USD 18 billion is
ness of the completion and stimulation the financial value of the learning curve.
designs. Given all the lessons learned Eagle Ford Shale Retrospective Cases.
over the past 30 years, this retrospec- Because the Eagle Ford already leveraged Implications for New
tive assessment indicates that the Bar- the innovation of horizontal drilling and Unconventional Plays
nett Shale could have delivered higher MSF from the start of the development, When taken together, these retrospective
production or could have been devel- there is a relatively minor change in oil assessments demonstrate that the value of
oped with 11,700 fewer wells drilled (a production between the base case and the the learning curve is more than USD40bil-
greater than 50% reduction), could have MSF Efficiency case. The results also dem- lion for the Barnett (gas) and Eagle Ford
saved 20 billion gal of water (a greater onstrate that Technology and Integration (oil window). This value represents the ef-
than 25% reduction) and 21 billion lbm both provide additional opportunity to in- fect of Technology plus Integration plus
of proppant (a greater than 45% re- crease oil production or reduce the invest- MSF Efficiency on the required investment
duction), and could have reduced well ment required to achieve a given produc- per unit production. The combined reduc-
CAPEX investment by USD 23 billion tion target. For increased oil production tion in investment for the same cumula-
(more than 35% saved) while still deliv- per unit investment, the Technology plus tive production is more than 16,000 wells,
ering the same 15 Tcf of gas production Integration plus MSF Efficiency case has 40billion gal of water, and 60 billionlbm
if initially exploited by applying the key the potential to provide a 70% increase of proppant. Alternatively, Technology
lessons learned. In the Barnett Shale, relative to the base case. The application plus Integration plus MSF Efficiency can
USD 23 billion is the financial value of of MSF Efficiency approaches from Day 1 increase the production per unit invest-
the 30-year learning curve. could have saved 600 wells, whereas Tech- ment by more than 70%. JPT



In the Hydrocarbon Journey, complex production processes often require a complex series of steps to
remove and treat the oil, gas, water, and solids that are extracted from the reservoir. These processes
require technology, experience and innovation.

To meet these challenges, Cameron offers the broadest range of separation and processing technologies
in the industry. In addition, our research centers enable us to create real-world processing scenarios so
we can find answers to even the toughest challenges.

Visit and take the journey with us.



A Technical-Limits Approach
Applied To Maximizing Gasfield Recovery

System Concept
M aximizing recovery of
hydrocarbons from oil and gas
fields represents responsible asset
The system is used to evaluate the life-
of-field recovery potential of oil and gas
rameters (described in detail in the com-
plete paper) used to frame the recovery
factor in each.
management and is extremely valuable to fields, and the steps required to achieve
both the operator and the host country. this potential, on the basis of the follow- Concept Application
Successful pursuit of this goal involves ing key factors: The current process consists of five
a complex combination of technical, Depth of technical knowledge across keysteps:
commercial, organizational, and human multiple functions 1. Prime
factors. This paper describes recent Innovation, creativity, and 2. Establishing baseline
progress in developing a proprietary awareness of latest technologies 3. Capture
recovery-factor-evaluationprocess. Understanding field specificity, so 4. Rank
that identified opportunities are 5. Report
Introduction properly applicable to the field These steps are carried out over two
In 2002, a root-cause analysis was car- under review workshop sessions with the field teams
ried out on the basis of both external- and are applied to both oil and gas fields.
ly published and internally held data to The Efficiency-Factor Framework. The
identify key success factors for increas- systems efficiency-factor framework Session 1. Prime. This step starts with
ing recovery factor in both gas and oil represents the overall recovery factor up-to-date information about current
fields. This root-cause analysis led to the for the oil field as a product of four com- field understanding, dynamic perfor-
development of a robust and systemat- ponent efficiency factors: mance, and possible future activities
ic approach to identify and describe op- 1. Pore-scale displacement (micro- needing to be collated.
portunities called the Reservoir Techni- scopic efficiency of the recovery process) Establishing Baseline. Before think-
cal Limits (RTL) system. Since its first 2. Drainage (connectedness to a ing of ways to improve recovery, the team
application, this process has provided producer) needs to calibrate their forecast of what
a systematic framework to identify new 3. Sweep (movement of oil into pro- the current development scope will re-
recovery-improving activities across a ducers within the drained volume) cover to adequately define the founda-
portfolio of fields, generate clear owner- 4. Cutoffs (losses related to end of field tions for identifying new opportunities.
ship of the activities by field teams and life or access) The systems conceptual framework is
individuals, and identify technology re- Each efficiency factor is given as a frac- used to split the overall recovery into the
quirements (existing or new) to prog- tion between zero and unity and used as different component efficiency factors
ress the opportunities. This process has a multiplier in the recovery calculation. to achieve a good understanding of the
proved highly effective in identifying and For gas reservoirs, the same approach base case. This involves a consensus on
evaluating the practical recovery poten- was adopted to identify the key compo- what the field has delivered to date and
tial within these fields. nent efficiency factors and operating pa- how, as well as what will have been de-
The process hinges on breaking the rameters influencing recovery. There are livered by the end of the current devel-
overall recovery factor into separate- obvious differences between oil fields, opment plan on the basis of previously
component efficiency factors so that tar- volumetric gas fields, and aquifer-drive committed activities. Available field data
geted recovery-enhancing methods can gas reservoirs, with these subsequently should be used to calibrate individual-
be evaluated. reflected in the efficiency factors and pa- component efficiency factors. Field
knowledge and understanding provided
by the field team are then used to evalu-
This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of
ate the contribution of each of these effi-
paper SPE 175004, The Reservoir-Technical-Limits Approach Applied To Maximizing
ciency factors to the base recovery factor.
Recovery From Volumetric and Aquifer-Drive Gas Fields, by Abdelmadjid Alane, Once characterized, the base-case re-
Peter J. Lumsden, P. Craig Smalley, Richard Hallam, Peter A. Salino, SPE, Steven covery factor is benchmarked against a
J. Wells, and Tim J. Primmer, BP, prepared for the 2015 SPE Annual Technical screened set of analogs. This identifies
Conference and Exhibition, Houston, 2830 September. The paper has not been whether the recovery factor is high, nor-
peerreviewed. mal, or low compared with analog fields,

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


giving an idea of the likely potential for
recovery-factor improvement.
Capture. This step is based on a struc-
tured conversation aimed at identify- Virginia Tech, College of Engineering
ing the various activities that may be Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering
employed to push each efficiency fac-
tor toward its maximum potential. With
the systems conceptual framework, the
Department Head
participants generate a list of potential The Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University) seeks applications from motivated and visionary leaders for
new opportunities. Opportunities are de- the leadership position of Department Head. The primary responsibility of the Department
fined as activities with the potential to Head is the administration of the departments programs, faculty, staff and students. This
increase the recovery factor beyond what facilitating communication, and providing leadership and vision. The successful candidate
is achievable in the current development would oversee the teaching, scholarship, research and outreach missions of the department;
serve as an advocate for the department to the college and university administration; work as
plan. Opportunities for incrementally in- the liaison with industry, government and professional organizations; identify, recruit, hire and
creasing the recovery are explored, re- mentor new faculty members; promote creativity and scholarship among the faculty, staff,
and students; advance and expand the departments externally sponsored research programs;
lating each to a specific efficiency factor. spearhead fund-raising efforts by cultivating support from corporate, governmental, alumni,
This marks the end of Session 1 of the and private entities; develop and strengthen the departments interdisciplinary programs;
stimulate international collaborations in teaching and sponsored research; lead and foster
sions is used as working time, typically enhance the participation and success of underrepresented populations.
23 weeks, to evaluate the different op- Candidates must have an earned Doctoral degree in engineering or applied science that is
not limited to, engineering disciplines such as mining engineering, geotechnical engineering,
sion 2. geological engineering, metallurgical engineering, petroleum engineering, natural gas
engineering or applied science disciplines (e.g., civil, environmental, materials, mechanical,
Session 2. Rank. Each of the opportuni- geoscience, etc.) would also be considered provided they have demonstrated experience and
candidate must have academic credentials commensurate with appointment at rank of
a consistent manner to include the op- Professor with tenure in the Mining and Minerals Engineering department. An endowed
scale, which efficiency factor is being The Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech is one of the largest and
modified, incremental resource like- most prominent mining-related engineering programs in North America. The Department
currently enjoys a strong international reputation for its academic, research and outreach
ly to be added, estimates of cost, key programs. The Department is currently comprised of 10 full-time faculty members, with an
risks, actions needed to begin opportu- enrollment of 160-200 undergraduate and 35-40 graduate students. Research expenditures
in the Department, which are currently in excess of $6 million annually, consist of external
nity progression, technology challeng- funding provided by state, federal, industry and private sources. The Department is housed
es, and current status of progress. For within the nationally ranked College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, whose undergraduate
program was ranked 8th and graduate program was ranked 12th among public engineering
each opportunity, the key risks to deliv- schools in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report. Virginia Tech, the land-grant University of
ery are identified and the associated risk- the Commonwealth, is located in Blacksburg, Virginia, adjacent to the scenic Blue Ridge
Mountains. The university has a total enrollment of +30,000 with +7,000 students enrolled
management activities are highlighted. within the College of Engineering. Blacksburg is consistently ranked among the countrys
The identified opportunities are dis- best places to live and raise a family. Educational and economic information, crime rates,
amenities, air quality, and diversity are typical factors considered in the nationwide ranking.
cussed and ranked on the basis of criteria Blacksburg is a high-tech hub located in a scenic and vibrant community in the New River
of feasibility, risk, timing, viability, and Valley between the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains. The town is adjacent to state parks,
trails, and other regional attractions of Southwest Virginia, which are renowned for their
technology. As a result, each opportunity is history and natural beauty. For more information about the university and surrounding
assigned to one of the following categories: region, please visit
Options: opportunities that are Candidates who wish to be considered for this position should apply online at
well-defined, are viable, carry a low to posting number TR0150163. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter,
vision statement, statement of leadership style and experience, and curriculum vitae.
risk, and can be implemented within Applications should also include contact information for at least three individuals willing to
the short term (less than 1 year) provide references, although references will only be contacted for those candidates who are
selected for short list/phone interviews. The review of applications will begin on January
announcement, please visit the Mining & Minerals Engineering Department website at www.
commercial analysis. Questions regarding the search may also be directed to Dr. Gerald Luttrell
Possibilities: opportunities that ( who serves as chair of the departmental search committee.
carry a higher risk, are potentially Virginia Tech is committed to the principle of diversity and, in that spirit, seeks a broad
economic with existing technology spectrum of candidates including women, minorities and people with disabilities. As an
AA/EEO employer, applications from members of underrepresented groups are especially
or with incremental technology encouraged. Virginia Tech is a recipient of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE
development, and are split Institutional Transformation Award to increase the participation of women in academic
science and engineering careers.
according to likely time scale as
medium-term (i.e., less than 5 years)
or long-term (more than 5 years).
Barrier Opportunities:
opportunities with a technical,


Technical Assessment of Resource Opportunity Set repeated for each opportunity in the Op-
1.0 tions, Possibilities, and Barrier Oppor-
0.9 Cut-Offs tunities categories. The resultant effi-
Sweep ciency factors are then used to calculate
0.8 Not
System Pressure
the new recovery factors for each oppor-
Pore Scale 500
0.7 tunity set.
Eff Factors

Volume (million BOE)

The aim is to compare the recovery
Recovery Factor

0.6 400
RTL factor calculated with these two indepen-
0.5 dent approaches. This quality control of
0.4 the opportunity set is aided by the use
of the internal consistency check built
0.3 200
into the system tools. Recovery factors
0.2 derived from the sum of the opportunity
100 volumes (a top-down approach) should
0.1 Produced
be similar to those obtained from the
0 0 efficiency-factor increments (a bottoms-
Sanctioned Options Possibilities Barrier Remaining
up approach). The input volumes and ef-
Fig. 1Screenshot from the system tool used for internal consistency checks.
ficiency factors are dynamically linked to
Stacked bars refer to volumes from the opportunities (top-down), and the
short thick black horizontal lines represent the efficiency-based recovery a summary plot in the system tool, as il-
factors (bottoms-up). lustrated in Fig. 1.
The external consistency check is then
operational, or commercial Quality Control. The identified op- completed, referring to the companys
barrier preventing their current portunities are quality controlled to en- extensive Reservoir Performance Bench-
progression. These are currently sure that they are consistent and reason- marking toolkit. The gas benchmarking
unfeasible or uneconomical and able when compared with other fields. process is based on a proprietary data-
can progress only with a step This is performed in two ways: first, with base of more than 800 producing gas
change in technology, cost, or an internal consistency check (within the fields and reservoirs. The toolkit allows
commercial framework. field under review), and second, with the recovery factors from the system re-
an external consistency check through view to be compared with those from
comparison with performance data from identified analog fields.
analogous fields. Report. This stage consists of two
One Stop for The internal consistency check is car- main activities: first, closing out the
ried out on the basis of the efficiency system workbook, incorporating all of
Everything JPT framework through evaluation of the the identified opportunities and asso-
Get all your online JPT overall recovery factor in two distinct ciated volumes; second, drawing up a
content in one place at and independent ways. resource-progression work plan, cover- 1. The identified opportunities are as- ing all opportunities with clearly defined
sociated with incremental volumes that timelines and accountability for activ-
Responsive Design they are expected to deliver once im- ity. The finalized workbook is submit-
SPE members can access plemented, regardless of whether these ted to the central subsurface-function
the latest issue of JPT are ranked as Options, Possibilities, or team in order to maintain the global
from any of their devices. Barrier Opportunities. These volumes systemdatabase.
Optimized for desktop, are summed together with the vol- Resource Progression. The systems
tablet, and phone, JPT is umes already produced, then divided software suite and supporting documen-
easy to read and browse by the in-place hydrocarbon volume to tation facilitate the process and enable
anytime you are online. obtain the theoretical recovery factor the outcome of the review to be captured,
for each opportunity set if it were to analyzed, and presented in a consistent
beimplemented. manner. Once a review is completed,
2. The same opportunities aim to im- the field team creates and updates their
Offline Access prove one or more of the component resource-progression hopper and the
efficiency factors. As a result, each op- resulting opportunity set is progressed
Download PDF versions portunity is associated with one or more through a defined resource-progression
of 180+ issues dating efficiency factors, and estimates are work plan incorporating all identified op-
back to 1997 for reading made of how much these would be in- portunities with clearly defined timelines
online or when an creased once the opportunity is imple- and actions to progress.
Internet connection is mented. Input from the field team and Three case studies highlighting appli-
not available. challenges from the external technical cation of the system are described in the
experts are crucial at this stage. This is complete paper. JPT



Production and Facilities

Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, Engineering Adviser, SPEC Services

Advances in technologies for produc- One interesting One interesting development asso-
tion and facilities are being driven by ciated with production optimiza-
the development of unconvention- development associated tion is the use of nanotechnologies to
al resources and the need for more- with production address issues ranging from the con-
efficient and -reliable operations. Con- trol of rock wettability characteris-
siderable progress is being made, for optimization is the use tics to the development of fluids with
example, on the design and performance of nanotechnologies improved heat-transfer characteris-
of wellbore-inflow-control devices. The tics. These applications are moving the
to address issues ranging
objective of this technology is to con- field of nanomaterials from the charac-
trol both the volume and the charac- from the control of rock ter of science projects to emerging or
ter of fluids entering an extended-length wettability characteristics commercialtechnologies.
wellbore. Both passive and autonomous Finally, the trend toward the increased
devices are now available from a number to the development use of modeling and simulation technol-
of suppliers. Field experience with this of fluids with improved ogies, which was identified in this fea-
technology was the subject of 10% of the ture last year, continues unabated. More
papers in this years survey of publica-
heat-transfer than 25% of the papers reviewed for
tions and presentations. characteristics. this years feature were concerned with
Pipeline technology continues its the development of models and simula-
rapid evolution with a focus on the gies on any line passing through urban tions or were associated with their use
safe operation of, and the early detec- or other sensitiveenvironments. and validation. The emphasis was heavy
tion of breaks and leaks in, long- With low oil and gas prices being a on the generation of models and simula-
distance lines. The environmental haz- continuing drag on our industry, a sig- tions that were simple to use, were com-
ards associated with unplanned fluid nificant amount of work was reported putationally efficient, and that gener-
losses from material failures or unwel- on field-optimization and operations- ated short-term realizable cost savings.
come human intervention make the improvement (i.e., cost-reduction) tech- One interesting paper described the
deployment of acoustic monitoring tech- nology. Authors worldwide described development of a fuzzynistic model for
nologies increasingly desirable and eco- their efforts to reduce unplanned shut- more accurate predictions of flow pat-
nomically viable. In some geographical downs, lower maintenance costs, improve terns and pressure losses in pipelines, a
areas, strong environmental and safety operational reliability, and squeeze more critical topic for the design and opera-
concerns about pipelines will most likely barrels out of existing wells by develop- tional control of surface facilities.JPT
favor the installation of such technolo- ing field-optimization models.

Recommended additional reading

Ted Frankiewicz, SPE, has more than 30 years of experience with
at OnePetro:
oilfield process systems and produced-water treatment. He holds
a PhD degree in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. IPTC 17977 Performance of Autonomous-
Frankiewicz holds 15 patents. His experience includes hands-on Inflow-Control Completion in Heavy-Oil
operations, equipment design and manufacturing, and process Reservoirs by Eltazy Eltaher, Heriot-Watt
University, et al.
engineering. Frankiewicz has worked for Occidental Petroleum,
Unocal, Natco Group, and SPEC Services. At Unocal, he was SPE 174812 Fuzzynistic Models for
responsible for developing water-treatment systems for the Gulf Multiphase-Flow-Pattern Identification
of Thailand to remove mercury and arsenic as well as residual oil from produced water. by Florentina Popa, Halliburton, et al.
At SPEC Services, Frankiewicz designed equipment and process systems for, and SPE 174746 CFD Study for Heat Transfer
diagnosed performance issues with, facilities and water-treatment systems for major and Flow Characteristics of Nanofluid in
and independent operators. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 200910 and is a a Flat-Tube Heat Exchanger by Mohamed
member of the JPT Editorial Committee. Elsebay, Gempetco, et al.


Optimized Design of Autonomous Inflow-
Control Devices for Gas and Water Coning

S everal designs for autonomous

inflow-control devices (AICDs) are
available. One forces inflowing fluids

AICD 2 Discharge Coefficient

to enter gates, depending on inertial
and viscous forces of the various fluids.
Another is an autonomous valve in 0.8
AICD 2 Discharge
the shape of a free-floating disk that Coefficient
restricts the flow rate of low-viscosity 0.6
fluids and is primarily used to choke
gas and water inflow. Recently, a device 0.4 Nozzle Discharge
with water-swellable rubber inside
the nozzle has been proposed, but it 0.2
is not yet commercially available. The
comparative properties and abilities of 0
these designs are the focus of this paper. 1 100 10,000 1,000,000
Well Model, Reservoir
Simulator, and Optimizer Fig. 1Fitting of AICD 2 data to mixture Reynolds number, compared with a
nozzle-based ICD.
The well model used in this work is part
of a next-generation parallel commer-
cial reservoir simulator and features a ICDs, AICDs may or may not have moving device segments; a possible config-
flexible multisegmented well topology, parts but they can change or modify their uration depicting reservoir grid cells,
enhanced robustness for difficult prob- state in response to inflow. Design of the their connections to an annulus, the de-
lems, and extensive well-model options. AICD determines the particular unwanted vice, and the main tubing segments in
It forms part of a scalable parallel com- fluids that are delayed. There are a num- the well model is shown in Fig. 2 of
mercial reservoir simulator. ber of types available commercially, in- the complete paper. Depending on the
Optimizations carried out in this work cluding a floating flapper, an oil-selector field-completion strategy, there may be
used an optimizer developed to alleviate valve, an autonomous inflow-control looped flowpaths where fluid entering
the computational cost in an optimiza- valve, the rate-controlled-production the well through well-to-cell connec-
tion study where simulation-based ob- (RCP) valve, and a fluidic diode valve. An- tions can move in either direction along
jective functions are expensive to evalu- other design recently proposed is based the annulus in order to find the easiest
ate. When compared with several other on inclusion of water-swellable rubber path into the main tubing.
commonly used optimizers, it was dem- within the nozzle, but this is not yet com-
onstrated that this optimizer outper- mercially available. Both ICDs and AICDs AICD 1. Flow performance of the first
formed others significantly. are often deployed in a compartment AICD used in this work is based on the
whose edges are sealed with a packer, and general flow response of a device re-
Modeling Inflow-Control are placed in the tubing wall between an ferred to as an RCP valve. There is a
Devices (ICDs) annulus and main production stream. free-floating disk that moves toward the
Various ICD designs include those with These devices are modeled in ad- inlet and chokes flow when low-viscosity
nozzle orifices, tubes, and helices. Unlike vanced multisegment well models as fluids such as gas flow through the de-
vice. More-viscous fluids produce an in-
crease in friction loss so that pressure
This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of
on the rear side of the disk decreases,
paper SPE 173203, Optimized Design of Autonomous Inflow-Control Devices for Gas the disk moves away from the inlet, and
and Water Coning, by Terry W. Stone, Terje Moen, David A. Edwards, Alexander higher inflow rates occur.
Shadchnev, and Kashif Rashid, Schlumberger, and Geir Frode Kvilaas and Kjell Data were used to fit device perfor-
Christoffersen, Det Norske Oljeselskap, prepared for the 2015 SPE Reservoir Simulation mance approximately with calibration
Symposium, Houston, 2325 February. The paper has not been peer reviewed. physical quantities and equations pro-

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


vided in the complete paper. The fit is production is limited by process capaci- 1 or AICD Device 2, using optimal cross-
only approximate, and is used to com- ty, first on oil capacity and then on liquid sectional areas; second, a simulation
pare the general flow response of this or water capacity. Field life is estimated was run in which Device 3, with cross-
AICD design with that of other devices to be 20 years. sectional areas directly determined by
and an openhole base case. water cut, was installed in all wells. Cu-
Optimization of AICD mulative oil and water were compared
AICD 2. A fluidic diode device is de- Strengths and Design for all three devices. Cumulative oil at
signed to allow the flow of desirable Studies were carried out to determine the end of production is similar for De-
fluids such as oil and restrict the flow optimum AICD cross-sectional areas and vices 1 and 2 compared with the base
of undesirable fluids such as water. Fur- device calibration exponents. To deter- case, although Devices 1 and 2 produce
ther improvements to this design allow mine the range of cross-sectional areas, less during the middle of the cycle. De-
more-autonomous on/off switching. device nozzles can be configured in vice 3 produces less oil. Cumulative
Fig.1 shows a fit of the device-discharge groups of one, two, three, or four, with water is greatly improved (reduced)
coefficient vs. mixture Reynolds num- diameters ranging between 1.6, 2.5, and with Device 3, which directly responds
ber. Fig. 1 also compares the discharge 4 mm. This permits a continuous range to water cut in each device. Device 1 also
coefficient for this type of device with of cross-sectional areas between a single shows improved (less) water production
that of a standard ICD nozzle. Again, this nozzle of 1.6-mm diameter to four noz- for much of the production cycle, al-
fit is only approximate. zles of 4-mm diameter each. though by the end of production at 23
A total of 237 AICDs are specified years, it has caught up to the openhole
AICD 3. Flow performance of this de- among the six production wells, with a case. Device 2 produces a little more
vice, based on a hypothetical appara- single device assigned to a 12-m joint. water by the end of the production pe-
tus, is designed to hold back the multi- Simulation run time for each run is ap- riod. Comparing actual production val-
phase flow depending on water cut. It is proximately 60 minutes (on four cores). ues, wells equipped withDevices 1 and 2
based on a nozzle-type ICD in which a Clearly, the total number of optimization produced approximately 390 000 std m3
water-swelling rubber is installed direct- variables is too large for a practical opti- of additional oil compared with open-
ly into the nozzle. When water break- mization study. There are several ways hole production, and those with Device
through occurs, the rubber swells, caus- to handle large optimization problems 3 produced 1 932 000 std m3 less oil.
ing a decrease in nozzle area dependent of this type. The direct-continuous ap- Regarding cumulative water produced,
on water cut. proach is chosen for the current work, in wells with Device 1 produced an addi-
To model this particular device, the which the effective cross-sectional area tional 360 000 std m3 of water, wells
multisegment well model in the simu- of each device is defined over a continu- with Device 2 produced an additional
lator was extended such that internal ous domain. Furthermore, to reduce the 1 440 000 additional std m3 of water,
constraints may be imposed on the flow number of simulation variables, groups and producers equipped with Device 3
through any segment pipe. These con- of AICDs in each well are assigned the produced 90 110 000 std m3 less water
straints are an upper limit on either a same set of four variables. Grouping than open hole.
pipes molar rate or oil/water/gas volume of these variables was determined by
rate, calculated at reservoir or surface productivity as a function of measured Discussion
conditions. If a limit is exceeded, then depth along each well. Producer 1 (with Although these results are tentative be-
flow through the segment pipe is auto- 37 devices) was divided into two groups, cause of the approximate nature of the
matically choked back such that the con- Producer 2 (with 47 devices) was divided curve fitting for Devices 1 and 2 and
strained flow rate stays at the limiting into four groups, Producer 3 (with 56 de- the hypothetical response of Device 3 to
value and the internal constraint is said vices) was divided into four groups, Pro- water, wells equipped with AICD 1, based
to be active. At a later point in the sim- ducer 4 (with 16 devices) was presented on a commercially available design, con-
ulation, an internal constraint may be- as one group, Producer 5 (with 46 de- trolled water better than those with
come inactive if the limited rate cannot vices) was divided into four groups, and Device 2 while demonstrating similar
be sustained; flow then drops below the Producer 6 (with 37 devices) was divided improved oil production. AICD 1 also
limit, and automatic choking is disabled. into three groups. This gives a total of 18 matched optimum values of calibra-
groups among the six producers, and, tion parameters better than Device 2.
Field Application of AICDs significantly, only 72 control variables Device 3, not commercially available,
The simulation study is based on the Ivar for optimization purposes. showed less oil but a dramatic decrease
Aasen field (formerly Draupne field), lo- in water production compared with the
cated in the northern part of the North Ability To Improve Oil first two devices. When properly opti-
Sea, west of the Johan Sverdrup field. Production and Control Water mized with full-field dynamic reservoir
The main deposit is a midsized sand- To determine the ability of the three simulations, both ICDs and AICDs im-
stone oil field at a depth of approximate- AICD designs to improve oil produc- prove revenue and control water. This
ly 2400 m in an approximately 60-m- tion and control water production, first, suggests that the strength of the device
thick oil column with a mobility ratio of two simulations were run in which all may be the most important parameter
water to oil of less than unity. Most of the wells were equipped with AICD Device for this field. JPT


Deployment of a Remote Acoustic Monitoring
System for Pipeline-Asset Integrity

S ince 2007, an operator in Nigeria

has registered a significant
increase of oil-spill events caused
by sabotage and oil-theft activities.
The risks for personnel safety and
environmental protection were such
that it was decided to investigate new
detection and monitoring systems.
The technology presented here allows
detecting and locating leaks taking
place at a distance from the sensor of
up to 35 km.

Introduction Fig. 1Satellite view of the Kwale and Akri terminals flanking the Niger River.
The technology of this system is based
upon discrete vibroacoustic sensing.
This technology takes advantage of the Vibroacoustic monitoring implies the ad hoc radio links). The acoustic and
fact that any acoustic signal reaching, recording of the low-frequency elastic elastic waves produced by flow varia-
or generated upon, the pipeline will waves traveling along the pipe body by tions propagate along the pipeline and
introduce vibroacoustic waves within use of accelerometers and geophones, are recorded at the monitoring stations.
the pipeline body and the transported- and of the pressure wave traveling into Multichannel processing of the collect-
fluid medium (crude oil, brine, and nat- the fluid by use of hydrophones. When ed signals enables the detection, local-
ural gas). In addition to the general the sensors are placed on both sides of ization, and classification of the trigger-
noise of the fluid flow within the pipe- a source point, cross-correlation tech- ing events.
line, these acoustic waves are transport- niques enable the localization of the ori- The system has been tested in single-
ed along the conduit for long distances. gin point. If only one recording point is phase and multiphase transportation
Especially within the fluid, the sound available, it is possible to take advantage lines during several field campaigns in
propagation is expected to travel sever- of the different propagation velocity of order to obtain
al kilometers, depending on the density the acoustic waves in the pipe shell and Sound-propagation parameters
of the medium and the pipe diameter. in the inner fluid. within the fluid
In the pipe body, because of the vari- Environmental noise produced
ability of the boundary conditions, the Vibroacoustic Technology by flow-generation/-regulation
calculation of the sound propagation The system comprises a discrete net- equipment
is complex, but mathematical analyses work of pressure and vibration sensors Pressure-noise level produced by
proved the existence of modal solutions installed on the pipeline at relative dis- leak events
that are allowed to travel several kilome- tances of tens of kilometers. Communi- Vibroacoustic transients generated
ters. Moreover, for high-density fluids cation between the acquisition systems by operating pigs
(i.e., crude oil or brine), the acous- and the control unit can be implement- Now, only 5 years after the begin-
tic waves can be measured across the ed with different options (existing pri- ning of the research-and-development
pipeshell. vate network, wired or wireless, or with effort, there are four systems installed
and fully operational in industrial sites:
Three of them are in Italy, and one is in
This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights
the Kwale/Akri pipeline, which is the
of paper SPE 171763, Field Deployment of an Innovative Acoustic Monitoring focus of this paper.
System for Remote Real-Time Pipeline-Asset Integrity, by R. Schiavon, Tecnomare;
G.Bernasconi, Politecnico di Milano; G. Giunta and G.P. Borghi, Eni; and N. Okere, Kwale/Akri Pipeline
NAOC, prepared for the 2014 Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Kwale and Akri pumping stations are
Conference, Abu Dhabi, 1013 November. The paper has not been peer reviewed. connected by a water/oil-mixture-

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


transportation pipeline. The pipe, locat- Every active piece of equipment of the ing into account the magnitude of the
ed in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria pipeline, such as pumps or valves, gen- test performed during the spill cam-
(Fig. 1), has a length of 17.3 km and an erates pressure transients that have to paign. The system correctly generat-
internal diameter of 10 in. The pipeline be considered in the noise analysis, as ed the event notification in 5 minutes
system has a capacity of 50,000 B/D; well as any events located outside of the from the occurrence of the spills and
it starts from Kwale, then arrives at monitored pipeline able to generate vi- sent email and short-message-service
Akri where it gathers Akri wells, then broacoustic effects inside the pipeline. (SMS) alarms.
changes pipe diameters (up to 14 in.) Noise estimation and subtraction are,
and continues to Ebocha (22 km hence, key steps for the correct detec- Communication and
from Akri). tion of spill events occurring along the Web-Based User Interface
As per most other existing pipelines pipeline. For this purpose, an advanced A dedicated server was installed in
of the operator, because of the high software has been developed to detect the Kwale control room with the fol-
probability of theft or vandalization of only events occurring inside a specif- lowing software platforms: acquisi-
instruments, installing sensors on the ic pipeline trunk. This noise-removal tion software, for collecting the sen-
pipeline outside the facilities (pumping processing is crucial for the identifi- sor signals; preprocessor software,
stations and terminals) is not consid- cation and rejection of false alarms for reorganizing and processing the
ered a viable option. The actual installed and for the correct localization of data in order to speed up the subse-
system is made up of two measuring sta- spill events. quent in-depth processing phases; and
tions placed at both ends of the pipe- Analyses performed in the Kwale/ core-processor software, for analyz-
line (inside the Akri and Kwale plants), a Akri pipeline showed that operational ing and processing all incoming data
data-communication system, and a cen- noises are present traveling in both di- and checking for possible events and
tral server at Kwale in the control room rections, with comparable size. anomalies occurring over the line.
for system control, data acquisition and The system is also able to deal with The core processor furthermore pro-
storage, and spill alerts. Detailed de- local noise that does not propagate. duces a series of data containing the
scriptions of the monitoring stations Local noise present in the Kwale/Akri recorded-signal features thatconstitute
and control rooms are provided in the system is in fact mostly caused by a long-term analysis (LTA) dedicated to
completepaper. twoevents: line-efficiencymonitoring.
Mechanical vibrations and pressure For the actual remote monitoring of
Data Analysis noise during daily fluid sampling the pipeline, a user interface is avail-
The sensors were installed in July 2013 Pressure noise during chemical able based upon the availability of the
as part of the qualification process of injection (noise that appears at operators private network connection.
the technology. In May 2014, 10 months intervals of tens of seconds for The system is provided with a graph-
of continuous and global-positioning- some hours a day) ic user interface that allows real-time
system (GPS) synchronized pressure Another source of operational noise display of the status of the pipeline,
data were analyzed thoroughly. This ac- is related to any action resulting from to remotely control the system and to
tivity allowed building statistics aimed product-transportation policy, able to send alerts and alarms by email and
at the following objectives: generate fast pressure transients. SMS. It is a web application with a con-
Assess operational range and trolled access (four levels with user-
pressure-transient noise produced Spill Tests name and password). The software uses
by flow-generation/-regulation On 13 and 14 May 2014, a spill campaign an SQL Server Compact database for
equipment. was performed in the Akri and Kwale fa- managing users and their accounts, and
Obtain propagation parameters cilities, repectively. This campaign had a file-transfer-protocol (FTP) client for
of sound within the transported the aim of system calibration and tun- connecting to the FTP-server data cen-
water/oil mixture. ing to the best parameter settings. The ter and the FTP server where the data
Check actual monitoring-system spills were performed near the moni- acquisition, storage, and processing
performance and define possible toring stations inside the plants bor- are performed.
improvements. ders. Different-diameter spills were per- The web application shows in real
The Kwale-Akri-pipeline transported formed (-, -, -, and 1-in.) with time the overview of the system (sen-
fluid is a mixture of crude oil and water different spill modes, in order to obtain sors, processing, communication, GPS,
in approximately even amounts. The a comprehensive set of events (17 spills and leak); when a spill occurs, a specific
signals from all the sensors were ana- carried out in Akri and 10 spills carried symbol appears on the pipeline image
lyzed in detail. out in Kwale). in the position of the event. This allows
All pressure transients that are not No spills were performed out- any technician to be alerted and to un-
generated by a leak or spill inside the side the pumping stations because derstand what is happening and where.
monitored pipeline are, for the purpose the monitored trunk did not have any Moreover, the web application allows
of asset-integrity monitoring, consid- pipe junctions available for installing display of the traces recorded and pro-
ered noise that adds to the base noise the spill equipment. For that reason, cessed during the event, for a further
of the fluid flow inside the pipeline. synthetic spills were simulated, tak- verification by LTA. JPT


A Study of Wettability-Alteration Methods
With Nanomaterials Application

T he use of nanomaterials for

alteration of wettability is a method
that has grown in prominence after
areas of the reservoir indicate strongly
water-wet behavior whereas some other
areas indicate strongly oil-wet behavior.
On the basis of the component miner-
als, some rocks have water-wetting or oil-
wetting natures. In a water-wet medium,
the development of techniques for This heterogeneous wettability behavior water captures the small pores and also
synthesizing nanosized particles in the is known as fractional wettability. coats the surface of the larger pores while
late 1980s. In this paper, after a review 3. In some cases, the smaller pores are oil filaments are in the larger pores on
of the fundamentals of wettability occupied by water and can be considered the mentioned water surface. The water
alteration, a discussion of nanomaterials water-wet, while larger pores are cap- relative permeability in larger pores is
used for wettability alteration is tured by oil. This type of wettability dis- small both before coreflooding (because
provided. Among these nanomaterials, tribution is known as mixed wettability, presence of oil prohibits water mobility)
nanoparticles of silica and polysilicone in which the residual oil saturation is low and after coreflooding (because the re-
indicate better results in terms of because the oil is displaced more easily sidual oil saturation impedes water rela-
efficiency on incremental oil recovery from larger pores. tive permeability).
inwaterflooding. The solid/fluid and fluid/fluid surface In an oil-wet system, the positions of
energies are governed by the chemical the fluids are reversed, and during water-
Introduction compositions of the fluid and rock. In flooding, the water relative permeabil-
Wettability is the tendency of a fluid to other words, the mineralogy of a rock ity in larger pores increases and impedes
spread over a specific surface and is rela- and chemical properties of the fluid influ- the oil movement faster than in a water-
tive to other existent fluids in that system ence the relative adhesive tensions and, wet system. In other words, an oil-wet
and is defined by the contact angle of a consequently, wettability. system is not a good candidate for water-
droplet of the fluid and the surface. It is The most common methods for wet- flooding compared with a water-wet sys-
a result of adhesion forces between the tability measurements, discussed in tem because more oil would reside in an
fluid and the minerals of the rock. The detail in the complete paper, include oil-wet system after water breakthrough.
wettability of a rock ranges from strong- thefollowing: In some cases in which the oil-/water-
ly water-wet to strongly oil-wet and is a 1. Amott wettability index viscosity ratios are high, breakthrough
result of brine/oil/rock interactions in 2. US Bureau of Mines (USBM) wetta- happens very early and the residual oil
a reservoir. There are different types of bility index saturation becomes significant.
rocks on the basis of these interactions 3. Combined Amott-USBM wettabili-
and wettabilities: ty test Wettability-Alteration Methods
1. If no, or equal, tendency is shown 4. Contact-angle methods Several methods are used to alter wet-
from oil or brine to spread over the sur- Because any clean rock exhibits tability. Most of these methods can-
face of the rock, the system is said to water-wetting behavior, it is believed that not be used in large scale because of
have neutral wettability or intermedi- all petroleum reservoirs were initially their expense and are only used to treat
ate wettability. water-wet. This water was later displaced small cores for experiments that require
2. Because different mineralogies coex- by oil because of migration, and some- cores of different wettabilities. These
ist in an oil reservoir, different wettabili- times there is a shift to relatively oil- wettability-alteration methods include
ties are also expected. If this variety in the wet compared with the initial wetting thefollowing.
reservoir is not negligible, then, in differ- tendency. Some polar components of oil
ent parts of the reservoir, different chemi- then act as surfactants and penetrate Treatment With Organosilanes. Organo-
cal interactions between fluids and rocks through the thin film of water on the pore silanes are widely used as wettability-
are observed and, consequently, some surfaces and adsorb strongly on the rock. altering agents in different industries.
In other fields, they are used as hy-
drophobic agents, which can be in-
This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of terpreted as oil-wetting agents in the
paper SPE 173884, A Review Study of Wettability-Alteration Methods With Regard petroleumindustry.
to Nanomaterials Application, by Milad Jokari Sheshdeh, Technical University
of Clausthal, prepared for the 2015 SPE Bergen One Day Seminar, Bergen, Norway, Treatment With Naphthenic Acids.
22April. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Naphthenic acids are long chains of

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


heavy organic compounds; the label re- cause of adsorption of these surfactants HLP makes a system more oil-wet, and,
fers to all the carboxylic acids seen in and the precipitation caused by the pres- in contrast, LHP makes a system more
crude oil. They are viscous and insoluble ence of divalent cations in the brine, only water-wet. By adding LHP to a water-
in water but completely soluble in organ- 5% incremental oil is produced. Because wet system, the media become extreme-
ic solvents and oil. Because of their tox- of the high residual oil saturation, an oil- ly water-wet, which would hinder fluid
icity, environmental hazards, and high wet reservoir is typically not a good can- movement in flooding. The third type of
viscosity, they can be used only in labo- didate for waterflooding; however, by use NPS, which is NWP, reduces the interfa-
ratory scales to alter wettability. In gen- of surfactants, the interfacial tension can cial tension between the oil and forma-
eral, naphthenic acids make a carbonate be reduced or the wettability can be shift- tion water. Each of these nanoparticles
core more oil-wet because of the reaction ed toward a more-water-wetting system, needs a carrier fluid that preserves par-
of the naphthenic acid and calcium car- which improves the recovery factor. ticle wetting characteristics. Alcohols are
bonates. However, silica cores show the suggested for use with NWP and HLP; in
opposite behavior. Wettability Alteration particular, ethanol is reported to be the
With Nanomaterials best choice because it is converted from
Treatment With Asphaltenes. As- Use of nanomaterials is a recent, and in a very weak surfactant to a very good sur-
phaltenes are heavy componenets of many cases highly effective, method of factant and reduces the interfacial ten-
crude oil that are considered polar. As wettability alteration. Because the sizes sion significantly. Water is suggested to
mentioned previously, all rocks are con- of particles are reduced, their effective- be used as a carrier fluid while using LHP.
sidered to be initially water-wet, although ness is greatly increased. However, this As mentioned previously, an oil-wet
during oil migration some of them turned precision in wettability alteration causes system results in a high residual oil satu-
partially oil-wet. Presence of asphaltenes the method to become more expensive ration after flooding, while a water-wet
in crude oil is one of the reasons for this and less feasible. system is typically a better candidate for
wettability alteration. Asphaltenes rup- In most cases, the wettability of a core waterflooding. However, the best system
ture the thin film of water and are ad- has to be modified to reach a preferable for flooding is an intermediate system in
sorped to the rock surface in large pores, oil recovery; however, in some rare cases which, ideally, no preference for any of
which can cause the larger pores to ex- (mostly experimental), a surface with a the fluids is shown from the rock surface.
hibit oil-wetting behavior. specific wettability is needed and there- Therefore, the aim of any wettability-
fore the fabrication of surfaces with a alteration process would be to alter the
Thermal Methods. During the oil migra- specific wettability is required. Adjust- system to an intermediate status. JPT
tion that turned water-wet rocks to par- ing the wettability of a surface by nano-
tially oil-wet rocks, when a critical cap- structures while it is being fabricated can
illary pressure was reached, the heavy be achieved by electrochemical methods,
oil components penetrated through the plasma etching, or electrospraying.
thick water films on the pore surfac- Nanopolysilicone (NPS) is a nanopar-
es and, by deposition on the surface, ticle used to alter the wettability in cores.
made the surface oil-wet. This process NPSs are classified into three groups:
can be reversed by heating in silicate lyophobic and hydrophilic polysilicone
rocks. Heating causes the deposited (ad- (LHP), neutrally wetting polysilicone
sorbed) active agents to be desorbed, (NWP), and hydrophobic lipophilic poly-
leaving a water-wet surface again. Most silicone (HLP).
of the naturally fractured reservoirs show By adsorption of LHP on the pore sur-
oil-wetting behavior, and, therefore, face, the oil-wetting system would be al-
waterflooding would not be successful tered to water-wet, which would increase
in these systems. Water will imbibe into the relative permeability of oil and de-
the cores but will only pass through the crease the oil relative permeability. This
fractures and result in very low recover- situation is favorable in a waterflood-
ies. However, by heating the reservoir by ing process. NWP adsorption reduces the
hot water or steam injection, the system surface tension and increases the oil rela-
could exhibit more-water-wetting behav- tive permeability generally, which is also
ior and higher recoveries may result. The favorable. However, adsorption of HLP is
water front locates the wetting transition. not favorable because it makes the pore
surface oil-wet, which would increase the
Surfactants. Surfactants are the only ma- residual oil saturation in a flooding pro-
terials also used on a large scale to alter cess. HLPs are transferred by diffusion
the wettability and improve the recov- and convection, and, in the case of accu-
ery. By use of these surfactants and caus- mulation, they would cause pore block-
tics, the interfacial tension is reduced age and reduction in porosity and abso-
and more oil is produced; however, be- lute permeability.



Bit Technology and Bottomhole Assemblies

Casey McDonough, SPE, Drilling Manager, American Energy Partners

A bronze statue of Will Rogers provid- have merit today. But is the prohibition ment. Because horizontal and extended-
ed by the state of Oklahoma in 1939 on crude-oil exports still necessary? The reach wellbores account for the majority
stands in a unique position in front of landscape has changed. The US in now a of the wells being drilled, technologies
the entrance to the US House of Repre- swing producer of crude. geared around that development will
sentatives chambers. Of the 100 statues President Ford continued the vision produce the highest returns. The under-
provided by the 50 states, only Rogers statement in his State of the Union standing and proper application of
statue is pointed toward the entrance of address. He pointed to goals for depend- rotary-steerable systems will continue
the House. Rogers, who derived much of able and domestic energy. The loftiest to provide a step change in the way fields
his commentary material from Congress, goal he stated was, We must develop our are developed. Bit technology continues
said before he died, Even after Im gone, energy technology and resources so that to improve and innovate. It will take per-
Im gonna keep an eye on you. the United States has the ability to supply formance and skill by both operators
In January 1975, President Gerald Ford a significant share of the energy needs and service companies to compete in
delivered his first State of the Union of the free world by the end of this cen- todays low-price environment. Technol-
address in the House of Representa- tury. While we did not achieve energy ogy developed and implemented during
tives chambers. The United States had independence at the end of the century, the boom will receive closer scrutiny and
just survived the oil embargo of 1973, that goal is now reachable. It was tech- evaluation during the bust.
which resulted in a shortage of gasoline nology in oil exploration and extraction For good fortune, legislators rub the
and high energy prices. Energy indepen- (shale oil) that increased our production left shoe of the Will Rogers statue on the
dence was the focus of his address to the by more than 80% since 2008. Demand way to chambers. That shoe has become
nation and the impetus behind the Ener- has not kept up. Since June of 2014, oil worn, like that of the statue of St. Peter
gy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. prices have dropped 60%. The dura- in Rome, by the touch of the devoted. In
The act contained three main com- tion of the current low prices has already January of 2017, the US will swear in a
ponents: (1) oil conservation through exceeded all downturns since the fall of new president and a new class of legisla-
vehicle-fuel-economy standards, (2) the 1985, when the Saudis, while losing mar- tors. May the tradition continue and Will
creation and direction of the Strategic ket share to other nation members of the Rogers good fortune encourage sensible
Petroleum Reserve, and (3) the prohibi- Organization of the Petroleum Exporting energy policy and favorable commod-
tion on crude-oil exports. While no leg- Countries, increased oil production to ityprices. JPT
islation is perfect, the conservation of 10million B/D.
oil and the establishment of the Strate- Technology will play an increasing role
gic Petroleum Reserve are ideas that still in the lower-commodity-price environ- Recommended additional reading
at OnePetro:
Casey McDonough, SPE, is a drilling manager for American Energy SPE 173861 Precise Quantification of
Partners. He has 10 years of practical drilling experience working Deformation of the BHA for Improved
in the Permian basin and with the Barnett, Marcellus, and Utica Performance in Directional Drilling by
shales. McDonough has nearly 23 years of combined consulting, Przemyslaw Kukian, Weatherford, et al.
managerial, technical, and field experience in the oil and gas SPE/IADC 173168 Freeing Differential
industry. He has worked as a consultant providing clients with Stuck Pipe With Nitrogen Reduces Lost-in-
pore-pressure and wellbore-stability studies. McDonough also Hole Drillstrings Significantly by Norbert
held technical and managerial positions in downhole logging- Heitmann, Schlumberger, et al.
while-drilling development for Dresser and Halliburton, where he contributed to SPE 174798 Analytical Model To Estimate
density, neutron, vibration, and hot-hole technology. He began his career as a field the Directional Tendency of Point- and
engineer for Sperry Sun Drilling Services and holds a BS degree in industrial engineering Push-the-Bit BHAs by Yuan Zhang,
from the University of Oklahoma. McDonough serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. Halliburton, et al.


Designing and Testing of New
Rotary-Steerable System for Use Onshore

W hile rotary-steerable systems

(RSSs) dominate the offshore
directional-drilling markets, the land-
string rotation. The RSS described in this
paper was designed to be driven directly
by the topdrive or with a mud motor.
bit will have no side force and will drill
straight ahead. As soon as the two sleeves
are rotated relative to each other, the bit
based markets are still dominated by Three prototypes of the new RSS have will be offset. The tool face and amount of
conventional directional-drilling tools. been designed and tested so far. The first offset can be varied continuously, giving
This paper presents a new RSS that is prototype (Prototype A) successfully smooth control of the drillstring orienta-
being designed and tested specifically demonstrated dogleg-severity capabili- tion and buildup rate.
for the onshore markets. The new tool ty of 15/100 ft. The second prototype However, because this RSS con-
is a short RSS that is designed to deliver (Prototype B) was designed to evaluate trols bit position by displacement of a
a buildup rate of 15/100 ft. It achieves the efficiency of the selected motor-gear rigid, nonrotating stabilizer to alter the
this by the movement of two eccentric design in moving the eccentric shafts bottomhole-assembly geometry rather
shafts relative to one another within when applying significant side loads. The than moving external parts to apply a
the tool. third prototype (Prototype C) was a com- side force to the borehole wall, the steer-
plete rotary-steerable tool that verified ing action described in this paper is ex-
Introduction all aspects of the design, culminating in pected to be less affected by changes in
For directional drilling to be successful, the drilling of directional holes in con- formation strength. The three-point ge-
it is important that the drillers have in- crete blocks. This paper describes the ometry model that is used to determine
formation on the orientation of the tool development of Prototype C, covering the bent motor buildup rate is as appli-
while they are drilling so they can best design, manufacture, and the drill tests cable to this RSS as is the resultant force
align the wellbore orientation to the res- that verified the 15/100 ft dogleg perfor- vector based on weight on bit (WOB) and
ervoir target. Commonly, this is achieved mance through concrete-block drilling. side force, leading to an RSS that is less
with a measurement-while-drilling The paper also covers the subsequent de- sensitive to the ratio of WOB to formation
(MWD) tool that is typically 50ft or more sign improvements made before manu- strength. The side force being applied is
behind the drill bit. In some cases, these facture of the field-test prototypes (Pro- also not reliant on mud flow, so the tool
measurements are supplemented with totype D) and the planned environmental will operate in soft formations that are
some form of near-bit inclination read- and endurance testing of Prototype D be- liable to wash out. Another important
ing. A further improvement would be to fore field testing. benefit of this relatively rigid steering
have both inclination and azimuth mea- stabilizer is that fewer moving parts are
sured close to the bit and integrated into Background Theory exposed to the borehole annulus; very lit-
the drilling tools directional response, The RSS described in this paper is based tle movement of these parts is required to
thereby enabling precise well placement on the push-the-bit method for adjust- effect a significant side force.
without the need to project and correct ing the direction of the well path. The
continually from the MWD tool that lags position of the drill bit is controlled con- Development Process
considerably behind the drilling tool. tinuously by the direction and offset of Prototype A was made for an 8-in. drill
This is the method adopted by the RSS a near-bit stabilizer that is supported bit. After Prototype A had been tested,
described in this paper. on two eccentrically drilled sleeves. The a functional specification for the sys-
In many cases, a downhole positive- amount of eccentricity is exactly the tem was developed. The specification was
displacement motor will be used with the same for both sleeves so that, when they fine-tuned during the testing of Proto-
RSS to increase rate of penetration (ROP) are positioned opposite each other, the type B and the development of Prototype
and reduce casing wear by minimizing net offset is zero and, therefore, the drill C. The lessons learned during the testing
of Prototype C and the subsequent de-
sign review informed the updating of the
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
functional specification for Prototype D,
of paper SPE 173093, Designing and Testing a New Rotary-Steerable System (RSS) for the field-test-pilot series.
the Onshore Drilling Market, by Andrew Gorrara, SPE, Shona Grant, Tore Kvalvik,
SPE, and Stig Bakke, 2TD Drilling, and Peter Clark, SPE, Chevron, prepared for the Prototype A. Prototype A was designed
2015 SPE/IADC Dilling Conference and Exhibition, London, 1719 March. The paper and manufactured with short lead-time
has not been peer reviewed. motor and gear components (Fig. 1). The

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


Fig. 1Prototype A. Fig. 2Prototype B.

prototype was built to prove the steering Some testing equipment was obvi-
concept and to measure steering forces. ous, such as ovens and vibration tables
for testing of electronics boards. Less
Prototype B. Prototype B comprised a clear, initially, were the motor- and gear-
new steering head that could deliver the test setups, the horizontal-drilling ma-
forces required to create a steering re- chine, the endurance-test bench, and
sponse and survive the loads in a down- the component-shock machine that were
hole drilling environment. This model identified as the RSS developed and ex-
comprised a custom-designed hollow isting testing mechanisms proved to Fig. 3Prototype C.
motor and gear solution (Fig. 2). beinsufficient.
A bench-test setup was used for verify-
Prototype C. The significant change for ing the efficiencies of motors and motor/ of shock can be adjusted by modifying
Prototype C was that it was designed to gearbox combinations, with power and the material used for contact when the
suit the drilling of 7-in. hole (Fig. 3). torque in and out being measured con- assembly is dropped and the height of
The design was improved further by tinuously. This test setup was critical in the cam used for operating the arm. The
splitting the motors/gears and stabilizer evaluating improvements in the bearings shock generated is measured by an accel-
steering section into two separate mod- being used and in the configuration of erometer mounted on the test assembly.
ules. This made it possible to isolate al- the gearbox.
most all of the steering stabilizers drill- A horizontal-drilling machine was Conclusions
ing loads into a separate section of the used for controllably applying WOB and The new RSS development could sub-
tool. Prototype C was a complete system monitoring ROP. Coupled with a standard stantially change the drilling landscape
built to demonstrate that the steering 900-hp mud pump and a conventional within the unconventional plays in the US
concept functioned in a predictable and mud motor, the system has a stroke of land market. The tool is short and highly
controllable manner while drilling. 10 ft, with two pneumatic cylinders pro- maneuverable and can be adjusted con-
viding up to 7 t of WOB and the option to tinuously. It also has directional sensors
Prototype D. Prototype D is the field- add drill collars as required to drill addi- close to the bit (6 ft behind) that enable
test-pilot series based on Prototype C, tional length. close control and adjustment of the well
redesigned to meet requirements for a A horizontal-test rig was used that can path. The geometry and design of the tool
production series run, including a mod- rotate the assembly at up to 200 rev/min, enable short-radius wells to be drilled
ular design to make assembly and ser- provide fluid circulation (up to 400 gal/ (dogleg severities of up to 15/100 ft),
vicing simpler. It also benefits from in- min to generate power and cool bear- which is in line with the best available in
creased motor-gear efficiency through ings), and apply WOB and lateral bending the industry today.
improved bearing design and reduc- load to generate up to 50 G of axial shock The testing and development process
tion of other losses, as well as an in- twice per revolution and apply a side load has been a staged progression, from a
creased temperature and pressure rat- along with drag force to the nonrotating simplistic full-scale proof of concept to a
ing to meet real-world environmental stabilizer. This rig was designed after the fully functioning RSS prototype that has
requirements. The overall geometry and initial drill tests through concrete proved undergone significant drill and endur-
key design elements from Prototype C to be too smooth, with very little shock ance testing.
weremaintained. and vibration. The goal was to provide The four prototypes have become
extended periods of controlled shock and more sophisticated over time, with an as-
Testing drilling loads to the whole system while it sociated testing regime commensurate
Simulating real-world drilling conditions was operating. with their capability. Having a smart and
during testing of the RSS was always seen A single-axis shock machine was highly maneuverable drilling tool is not
as challenging. The main objective was used that was capable of generating up enough to generate success in the on-
to ensure that the tool released for field to 200 G of shock approximately once shore drilling market. Testing needs to
testing would be tested sufficiently to per second to assemblies weighing up ensure that it is also highly reliable and
avoid premature failures. to 50 kg. The magnitude and duration can endure. JPT


Hydraulic Percussion Drilling System
Boosts Rate of Penetration, Lowers Cost

D rilling the Severnaya Truba

field in Aktobe, Kazakhstan,
has been costly and time consuming.
lower WOB and will stop working if that
weight isexceeded.
An FPPH is the next step in perfor-
weight that reaches the bit. The down-
ward travel is stopped when the mass
impacts the solid plate below, creating a
In combination with a drilling-fluid- mance drilling. Using the same flow downward percussion force.
powered percussion hammer (FPPH), rates and operating WOB of a conven- The percussion force generated by
a fit-for-application polycrystalline- tional assembly, the tool offers the ben- this impact is transferred directly to the
diamond-compact (PDC) bit with efit of an axial percussion force to facili- bit, which remains stationary through-
depth-of-cut (DOC) -control features tate the cutting action of the bit. Like an out each cycle. As weight is increased,
was used to minimize the exposure air hammer, the axial percussion force is the falling speed is increased, in turn in-
of the cutting structure and prevent generated near the bit to give the cutting creasing the impact force.
breakage. The mechanical lifting and structure more energy and overcome
falling action creates a rapid variation the formations compressive strength. FPPH Theory and Definitions
in weight on bit (WOB), allowing the With a normal drilling system, increas-
bits DOC to fluctuate while overcoming Tool Description ing the DOC would increase the power-
different stresses. These variations, The FPPH consists of a conventional section load, resulting in torque spikes
along with the percussion pulse created power section and the adjustable hous- or even a stall that can stop the rota-
with each stroke, led to increased rates ing from a motor, which are attached to tion of the drill bit. The reaction time
ofpenetration (ROPs). a specially designed bearing assembly for changing the DOC through added
where the axial motion is created. The weight from the surface is too long to
Introduction power section, consisting of a rotor and reach the bit, resulting in little ben-
Drilling with an air hammer is a tech- stator, supplies the rotation speed and efit to the bits performance. Having
nique whereby gases (typically com- torque to actuate the FPPH and turn the the DOC change through weight fluc-
pressed air or nitrogen) are used to op- bit. Within the bearing assembly, a two- tuations only inches from the bit can
erate a pneumatic hammer, to cool the piece mandrel is used to create the axial enhance the cutting efficiency without
drill bit, and to lift cuttings out of the movement in sequence with the exterior causing power-sectionstalls.
wellbore. Air forced down the drillstring housing movement. This movement, or The axial movement and weight vari-
actuates the percussion tool, which, in stroke length, and the frequency of lifts ation work with the cutting action of
turn, creates an axial percussion force can be varied on the basis of the applica- a PDC bit. A PDC bit uses a shearing
directed down to a specially designed tion and bit type being used. cutting action, wherein the cutter is
drill bit. The falling action is a function of the scraped across the formation surface to
The advantages of air drilling are weight applied at the surface, which shear or fail the rock as it slides. How-
that it is usually much faster than using reaches the tool and is variable as bore- ever, most formations do not comprise
drilling fluid and may eliminate lost- hole friction with the drillstring increas- uniformly smooth rock, forcing the cut-
circulation problems. The disadvantag- es. With each cycle (up and down ac- ters to overcome different compressive
es are the inability to control the influx tion), the WOB at the tool is lifted until strengths and failing methods. As hard-
of formation fluids into the wellbore the roller reaches the peak of the slope. er formations are encountered, the cut-
and the destabilization of the borehole Once the roller loses contact with the ter is forced to slow down and build up
wall in the absence of wellbore pres- surface, it accelerates downward. As it energy before it is able to shear.
sure typically provided by the mud col- falls, the weight, which was being lift- This slowing is followed by a sudden
umn. Air hammers are also limited to a ed, goes into free fall, creating a drop in increase in speed once the rock fails and
the stored energy is released. This pro-
cess of rapid bit slowing and accelera-
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
tion is commonly referred to as stick/
of paper SPE 172935, Hydraulic Percussion Drilling System With PDC Bit Increases slip and is prevalent in some degree with
ROP and Lowers Drilling Costs, by Scott W. Powell, NOV, and Ertai Hu, Greatwall all fixed-cutter-bit applications. When
Drilling Company, prepared for the 2015 SPE Middle East Unconventional Gas stick/slip reaches severe levels, it can
Conference and Exhibition, Muscat, Oman, 2628 January. The paper has not been lead to cutter breakage and a shorter
peer reviewed. run life.

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


Stator Contour
Stator Lead
or Stage Length

Fig. 2Power-section stator.

Fig. 1Lobe rotor shown in a stator.

Drilling-Tool sure) mean more torque is being applied
Theory and Definitions to the bit.
By use of an FPPH, this stick/slip is To power the FPPH tool, a lobe power
reduced because of the weight being section was used (Fig. 1). This system Presentation
oscillated directly behind the bit at a comprises five stages and is filled with of Data and Results
high frequency, increasing the cutters an elastomer formulated to maximize The objective of one run was to validate
reaction time. When the cutter inter- poweroutput. the performance gains achievable with
acts with a formation that requires more A power section is a power converter the FPPH tool combined with a PDC
energy to drill, the added energy re- that converts fluid power into mechani- bit compared with standard positive-
leased by the axial motion allows the cal power by use of flow and pressure. displacement mud motors. The offset
cutter to overcome the resistance with- Mechanical power is then used to pro- wells used a combination of three-cone
out slowing or building extra torque. vide rotation and torque to the FPPH insert bits and PDC bits to drill the same
The cutter can shear through the resis- component. The power section consists interval as the subject well.
tant formation while nearly maintain- of a steel rotor within a steel tube filled The subject run drilled 750 m in 108
ing its original speed, reducing torque with a rubber compound matched to fit drilling hours, for an overall average
on the power section and providing the rotor dimensions. ROP of 6.9 m/hr. The entire interval was
consistentperformance. The steel tube is referred to as a sta- finished in one run, taking half the time
tor (being stationary) and contains sev- of the two offset runs. Drilling time was
eral stages, which are measurements reduced from 14 to 7 days, and one bit
of length from one lobe crest to the replaced two runs on the offsets, also re-
next one, as a full 360 spiral is creat- ducing bit cost. The result is substantial
Technical Papers ed (Fig.2). The more stages on a power cost savings compared with previously
section, the more pressure it is able to drilled wells in the area.
The complete SPE technical hold, corresponding to more power and
papers synopsized in this torque. As fluid is forced into the open Conclusions
issue are available free to
cavity between the rotor and stator, it The combination of new technologies to
applies pressure to the rotor, forcing build a complete performance drilling
SPE members for 2 months
it to turn so fluid can continue to pass package has reduced overall well costs
at down the length of the rotor. and drilling time by increasing ROP.
The rotor is connected to the mandrel Not all wells and formations are cre-
within the FPPH tool, and the drill bit ated alike, which is why drill bits come
is connected to the opposite end of the in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles
Subscriptions mandrel. The speed of the rotor is di- meant to tackle most known applica-
rectly proportional to the bit-rotation tions in the world. This new FPPH sys-
Address Change:
speed and will slow as more weight is tem is the same, with a variety of sizes
applied to the bit, creating more re- and configurations that allow it to be
Contact Customer Services
sistance from the formation. Higher- tailored to a particular application and
at 1.972.952.9393 to notify strength power sections are able to bit type.
of address change or resist this drop in speed and hold a con- Current applications for the tool are
make changes online at stant revolution speed as more weight geared toward hard-rock solutions be- is applied. cause of the nature of the tools func-
This resistance is tracked by mon- tion and performance drivers. As new
itoring the hydraulic pressure in the configurations are developed, they will
drillstring, comparing the off-bottom be paired with fit-for-purpose bit solu-
Subscriptions are USD 15 pressure to on-bottom pressure. High- tions, allowing the system to expand
per year (members). er pressure differentials (difference be- into even more regions of drilling and
tween on-bottom and off-bottom pres- cover a wider range of applications. JPT


Rotation by Reciprocation
Casing-Landing Technology

W ith the innovation of extended-

reach and directional drilling,
running casing and liner strings has
become increasingly difficult. Not much
has been done to address the challenges,
which include ledges and obstructions, Fig. 17-in. PDC-bit-drillable with the bronze Rhino eccentric bit.
washouts, swelling shale, bridging,
high doglegs, difficult well profiles, Technology Concept Facilitates reaming the walls of the
fill on bottom, and well collapse. To The tool provides rotation at the end of wellbore.
overcome the challenges, a new product the casing string by reciprocating the Agitates the fill and breaks bridges.
line was developed as a way to facilitate casing string rather than by rotating the Reams tight spots caused by swelling
casing operations, especially for long string at surface. It uses a very small shales and other geological issues.
horizontal strings, production strings, amount of hydraulic pressure, provided Navigates ledges and doglegs.
and intermediate casing strings. by the mud pump, to enable the removal Navigates the washed-out sections
of fill by penetrating through it and circu- of the wellbore.
Introduction lating it out. Also, it provides deflection Assists in keeping cuttings
The technology can rotate independently of the casing shoe to bypass ledges. suspended through nonlinear flow,
from the casing when encountering ob- The tool has a fixed helical mandrel decreasing falloff.
structions and hanging. The rotation is connecting to the casing string, so the Allows circulation of fill out of the
performed by reciprocating the casing lower tool body is able to rotate. bottom.
through 3- to 5-ft strokes that cause the Only 21 psi of internal hydraulic pres- Is compatible with liner hangers.
tool shoe to act as a bit and ream. It drills sure is needed to extend the lower tool Is completely PDC-bit drillable
off the obstruction and guides the cas- body along the mandrel into an open in a short time (approximately
ing string through ledges, tight swollen position. By applying this pressure, the 45minutes for a 7-in. tool and
sections, and doglegs, allowing effective mechanism at the lower assembly of the 2.5hours for the 9-in. tool).
removal of fill and debris from below the tool rotates and extends into an open
casing/liner shoe to land at the intended position. By setting weight on the tool, The Tool Product Line
total depth (TD). the lower assembly moves up along the PDC-Bit-Drillable Version. The tool
The technology comprises two main mandrel, causing right-hand rotation on (Fig. 1) comes in a PDC-bit-drillable ver-
components: the tool body, which is the lower assembly by lowering the cas- sion for the surface- and intermediate-
made similar to the casing grade being ing string. casing strings, with a short aluminum
run, and the internal mechanism, which The tool is effectively torque neutral, mandrel to reduce drillout time. The in-
is made from industrial-grade aluminum causing no torsional torque transmitted ternals are made from industrial-grade
alloy for the mandrels and bronze com- up the casing string. aluminum alloy and bronze components,
ponents for the bit, both of which lend both of which lend strength and durabil-
strength and durability to the tool while Benefits of the Technology ity to the tool while facilitating smooth
facilitating a smooth clean drillout with The tool design clean drillouts without damage to the
a standard polycrystalline-diamond- Provides rotation without rotating PDC drillout bit.
compact (PDC) bit. the casing string. The operator does not need to
make a special bit trip for drilling out
the tool. The drilling bottomhole as-
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
sembly will be used for that, and drill-
of paper SPE 172144, Rotation by Reciprocation Casing-Landing Technology,
ing will continue into the formation
by R. Gosselin and T. Montgomery, Longhorn Casing Tools; A. Muriby, SPE, and after the float equipment and tool are
Moataz Yussef, Wildcat Oilfield Services; and S. Karrani and A. Khamis, AbuDhabi drilled out.
Marine Operating Company, prepared for the 2014 Abu Dhabi International
Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, Abu Dhabi, 1013 November. The paper has PDC-Bit-Drillable Short Version. A
not been peerreviewed. short version of the basic tool is avail-

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


ly out of bronze, with tungsten carbide
cutting faces and tungsten carbide but-
tons to minimize the wear on the bit.
With a 2-in.2 flow area, it includes a
locking mechanism to prevent the bits
rotation when drilling it out. The tool
was designed to be the best all-around
bit, suitable for reaming and bridge re-
Fig. 27-in. tool with the aluminum eccentric bit. moval regardless of geology. The pro-
file of the tool is a long taper, allow-
ing for deflection off ledges, washouts,

Bronze Eccentric Bit. This eccentric

bit (Fig. 1) is a heavy-duty bronze drill-
able bit with a long eccentric profile. It
Fig. 34-in. nondrillable steel basic tool with a bull-nose-profile bit. is equipped with stabilizers and a cut-
ting face, and it provides 360 reaming
capability, with tungsten carbide cutting
faces and tungsten carbide buttons to
resist wear. The long eccentric profile of
Fig. 45-in. nondrillable steel auto-set tool. the bit seeks out open hole through rota-
tion provided by the basic tool.

Bronze Bridge-Breaker Bit. This tool

is all-bronze construction, which makes
it completely drillable, and is outfitted
with tungsten carbide buttons to re-
Fig. 52-in. wellbore-cleanout tool. sist wear and is tungsten carbide clus-
tered to increase its cutting and agita-
able (Fig. 2) to address specific applica- the tool is reset to the open position tion power. Designed primarily for coal
tions and deal with ledges and doglegs by reducing weight on bit rather than seams and swelling shales, the outer
in wells that require cost-effective solu- with hydraulic pressure. The tool can row of cutters is designed to cut the ex-
tions. This version is PDC-bit-drillable be sealed to prevent the production of posed shales and coal into large pieces,
and uses a 1-ft stroke to provide three- sand, cuttings, and paraffin through it which are then broken down further by
quarters of a revolution, which is enough during the run and during production. a row of inside cutters for easy removal
to orient an eccentric bit away from the by circulation.
ledge or obstruction to find the open Wellbore-Cleanout Tool. The cleanout
hole and guide the casing. tool (Fig. 5) features a design similar Bull-Nose-Profile Bit. This tool (Fig.3)
to that of the basic tool but is designed was designed with a rounded bull-nose
Nondrillable Steel Version. The non- specifically to clean out produced sands profile. The bit has four stabilizers
drillable version (Fig. 3) was designed and paraffin from producing wells. It tipped with tungsten carbide, which de-
to provide a mechanical solution to ad- can be equipped to clean hole from 4- flect off ledges, washouts, and doglegs
dress obstacles that interfere with get- to 9-in. inner diameter. When used on and facilitate reaming and agitation.
ting the production-casing string to a service rig, reciprocation of the tubing The bit is available in steel for nondrill-
bottom. The tool is designed to pro- along with pump pressure actuates the able applications.
vide maximum revolutions to facilitate tool, providing a mechanical solution to
reaming, agitating of fill and debris, clean out production-hampering debris. Aluminum Eccentric Bit. This tool
and deflection off ledges, obstructions, When used with coiled tubing, the tool has an eccentric nose profile to facili-
andwashouts. uses the increased hydraulic pressure tate sliding (Fig. 2). It is made of alu-
to auger its way through the obstruc- minum composite, so it is completely
Nondrillable Auto-Set Steel Version. tion and the coil is run in to close and PDC-bit-drillable. The eccentric bit is a
This version (Fig. 4) was developed to reset the tool. This technique is used to cost-effective solution for situations in-
assist in running casing and liners in minimizereciprocation. volving extreme washouts, ledges, and
applications where hydraulic pressure doglegs. Through rotation, the long ec-
cannot be induced to the bit or where Drillable Casing Bits centric nose of the bit is aligned toward
circulation through the casing is impos- Bronze Casing-Pilot Bit. This tool is the open hole, acting as a guide to find
sible. With a high-tensile-spring design, a PDC-bit-drillable bit made complete- the open hole. JPT



Water Management
Syed A. Ali, SPE, Technical Adviser, Schlumberger

Horizontal drilling followed by multistage The need for such vast However, several operating areas, includ-
fracturing is the most prevalent mode ing the Haynesville, Marcellus, and Bak-
of hydrocarbon extraction from shales.
amounts of fresh water ken shales and west Texas areas, have
Hydraulic fracturing of a well encompass- in hydraulic fracturing produced waters with much higher salin-
es, on average, approximately 30 fractur- significantly affects ity (TDS concentrations greater than
ing stages, with each stage using approxi- 150,000 ppm).
mately 3,800 bbl of fresh water, equat- water availability and An ideal solution would be to reuse
ing to approximately 114,000bbl for each sourcing and the cost and the high-TDS produced water in subse-
well. The need for such vast amounts of quent fracturing treatments with mini-
fresh water in hydraulic fracturing signifi- logistics of accessing and mal filtration to remove the suspended
cantly affects water availability and sourc- trucking the water to the solids. In response, a growing group of
ing and the cost and logistics of accessing chemical suppliers, researchers, and ser-
wellsite. ...Thus, in the
and trucking the water to the wellsite. Fur- vice companies are on a mission to devel-
thermore, regulations designed to protect interest of conservation and op fracturing fluids using high-TDS pro-
communities and the environment from sustainability, it is highly duced water as a base fluid that provides
potential sources of contamination are a stable rheology.
becoming increasingly stringent. desirable to maximize The papers featured this month deal
Approximately 1030% of the fresh any opportunity to reuse with the formulation of stable fractur-
water injected into a well during frac- ing fluid from high-TDS produced water.
turing treatments returns to the surface
the produced water for I urge you to look at OnePetro, the SPE
along with various amounts of formation subsequent fracturing online library, and download papers.
water, henceforth referred to as produced treatments. You will find updates on best practices,
water. Thus, in the interest of conserva- case studies, new fluid formulations, and
tion and sustainability, it is highly desir- much more. JPT
able to maximize any opportunity to reuse ate the industrys dependence on fresh
the produced water for subsequent frac- water but also lowers the overall cost of
turing treatments. the fracturing operations. Conventional Recommended additional reading
Produced water usually contains resid- fracturing-fluid systems require fairly at OnePetro:
ual hydrocarbon; high levels of total dis- low TDS to achieve stable rheology, so
solved solids (TDS), including sodium, produced water requires extensive treat- IPTC 18142 Slickwater Chemistry
Concerns and Field Water Management
calcium, magnesium, barium, and other ment before it can be used for fracturing. inTight Gas by David Langille, Shell Canada,
salts; suspended solids; and residual There have been attempts to develop et al.
production chemicals. Reclaiming pro- fluids that can be prepared with produced
SPE 173371 Chemical Compatibility
duced water as the base fluid for hydrau- waters that contain a limited amount of of Mixing Utica and Marcellus
lic fracturing not only helps to allevi- TDS, typically less than 30,000 ppm. ProducedWaters: Not All Waters
Are Created EqualA Case Study
by F.B. Woodward, Shell Exploration
Syed A. Ali, SPE, is a technical adviser with Schlumberger. & Production, et al.
Previously, he was a Chevron Fellow with Chevron Energy SPE 173324 The Freshwater Neutral
Technology Company. Ali received the 2012 SPE Distinguished Challenge: The Need for Protection,
Service Award and the 2006 SPE Production and Operations Reduction, Innovation, and Conservation
Award. He holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees. Ali served as executive by R. Greaves, Southwestern Energy, et al.
editor of SPE Production & Operations and currently serves on SPE 173372 Overcoming Obstacles
several SPE committees, including the JPT Editorial Committee, for Produced Water in Bakken Well
the Formation Evaluation Award Committee, and the Well Stimulations by Darren D. Schmidt,
Completions Subcommittee. Statoil,et al.


First Reuse of 100% Produced Water
in Hybrid Treatments With Gelling Agents

T his paper reports the completion

of a two-lateral well in the
Williston basin where produced
anced out in most cases by various cost
issues around water sourcing.
In contrast, economical and oper-
injection of PW, it is not efficient because
it requires fresh water and introduces in-
herent variability in water quality during
water (PW), filtered but otherwise ationally simple solutions that deliver fracturing operations because the blend-
untreated, was used throughout the crosslinked gels reliably have been more ing levels fluctuate and the quality of
slickwater and crosslinked components difficult to develop, largely because the input water changes.
of approximately 60 hydraulic- chemistry of crosslinked gels is much There are a few documented cases re-
fracturing stages. Proppant was more complicated. The industrys pre- porting 100% PW reuse that employ
placed successfullyin all perforated ferred system, guar crosslinked by boron crosslinked carboxymethyl hydroxy-
zones byuse of a hybrid design that at high pH, has several shortcomings in propyl guar (CMHPG), a costly deriva-
used 7million gal of water (of which highly saline PW, and most service com- tive of guar. These have emerged from
2.2million gal was crosslinked). panies advertise that water beyond 4 to water-stressed areas and from areas
This paper will concentrate on the 8% total dissolved solids (TDS) is highly where fresh water is abundant. In all cases,
development and implementation of undesirable in this system. Boron, cal- the salinity was at least 200,000 ppm
ametal-crosslinked fracturing fluid cium, and magnesium are specific ions TDS. Because these systems depend on a
thatshowed excellentstability. that pose problems. Boron is common polymer that is roughly twice the cost of
in PW, and the water used in this study guar itself, they do not necessarily rep-
Introduction had roughly three times the boron con- resent a true path to minimum comple-
The demand for an economical ap- centration that would be expected in a tion cost even though they are efficient
proach to reuse water from oilfield op- quality borate-crosslinked gel suitable in terms of PW reuse (no freshwater di-
erationsnamely produced, flowback, for use in the same project. The presence lution is required). Uptake by the market
and nonpotable sourcesis not a new of unpredictable and potentially variable appears to have been sluggish, and this
concept. In slickwater fracturing, reuse amounts of adventitious crosslinker in has been attributed variously to concerns
of PW is a solved problem, thanks to the mix water is a major challenge to op- over cost or concerns over the risks in-
the ready availability of synthetic fric- erational success. Calcium and magne- herent in pumping shear-sensitive fluids
tion reducers that are efficient even in sium ions have strong negative effects in long horizontals. There is clearly an
heavy and unpredictable natural brines. on the quality and durability of borate- opportunity for a system that can use
Here, the physical chemistry of the sys- crosslinked guar gels. The typical re- 100% untreated PW as mix water with-
tem (a soluble polymer reducing pipe sponse has been to add stabilizers or out introducing either treatment costs
friction) is fairly straightforward and chelants specific to hardness ions or to or increased costs of chemical additives.
the key innovations driving successful treat the water to remove hardness. Most
friction reduction in PW were easy to water treatments are costly and capi- Fluid Development
identify and import from polymer sci- tal intensive, and many generate waste and Initial Laboratory Testing
ence once the failure mechanisms for the streams. These increased costs can chal- Land-based fracturing in the US and
parent polyacrylamides in PW were un- lenge operators seeking to extract value Canada had been focused on borate-
derstood. Although the synthetic poly- from PW who want crosslinked gels. An- crosslinked-guar fracturing fluids even
mers used in PW are derived from more- other approach is to dilute PW on the fly before the boom in horizontal, multi-
costly feedstocks than the parent poly- with fresh water to a salinity level that stage wells. Such fluids have a predictable
acrylamide/polyacrylate copolymers, the borate-crosslinked guar can accommo- reliability profile as long as water qual-
completion-cost increase is easily bal- date. Although this practice negates re- ity is consistent and the concentrations
of divalent cations and boron do not ex-
ceed certain levels. For proper stability
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
at reservoir conditions, borate fluids are
of paper SPE 173783, First 100% Reuse of Bakken Produced Water in Hybrid formulated at high pH. Typical Bakken
Treatments Using Inexpensive Polysaccharide Gelling Agents, by Blake McMahon, downhole conditions require fluid pH to
SPE, Bruce MacKay, SPE, and Andrey Mirakyan, SPE, Schlumberger, prepared for be above 10. While not a major concern
the 2015 SPE International Symposium on Oilfield Chemistry, The Woodlands, Texas, for fluids blended in fresh water, a pH
USA, 1315 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed. above 10 results in significant precipita-

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


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technologies to address water recycling requirements in oil and gas fields. This
innovative technology, combined with a configurable, site-specific treatment
process generates recycled water that is compatible with todays engineered
fracturing fluid technologies. Our customized treatment features OxiFlo Oxidizer,
a selective oxidant that efficiently destroys sulfidic compounds, including iron
sulfide and hydrogen sulfide, as well as residual polymers in the water. CES
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Sample Temperature (F) Shear Rate (1/second) Viscosity (cp) Another field trial was performed in
250 1,000
which two 30-stage horizontal wells were
900 completed with a hybrid design. Treat-
Temperature (F) / Shear Rate (1/second)

ing pressures were consistent with the

200 800 proof-of-concept trial, and a steady de-
cline in treating pressure was observed
in all cases as proppant concentration

Viscosity (cp)
150 600 increased. On the 20,000-ft-measured-
500 depth well, the pipe time was 17 min-
utes, implying that the fluid would be ex-
100 400 posed to shear for a significant amount
300 of time. Stages at the toe of the well
were treated as expected, with no pres-
50 200 sure spikes leading to incomplete prop-
pant placement. This may imply that the
fluid is less sensitive to shear than would
0 0 beexpected.
0:00:00 0:10:00 0:20:00 0:30:00 0:40:00 0:50:00 1:00:00 1:10:00 1:20:00 1:30:00 1:40:00
The two wells treated had offset wells
Elasped Time (hh:mm:ss)
in close proximity for comparison. The
Fig. 1Borate-crosslinked guar in 100% Bakken PW. wells treated with PW showed equivalent
or better production compared with the
tion of calcium and magnesium hydrox- thermodynamic equilibrium with the for- offsets, despite being choked back.
ide scales if the fluid is formulated in PW, mation. In principle, pumping fluid made
even if it is diluted. with 100% produced connate water back Conclusions
An example of a borate-crosslinked into the stratum that produced it should This paper presents a crosslinked
fluid formulated with 100% Three Forks not result in scaling because reinjection fracturing fluid that can be
PW is shown in Fig. 1. A fluid was pro- is the reverse of the pressure/volume/ formulated to give satisfactory
duced using adventitious boron in the temperature transition of production. rheological performance in
water by carefully adjusting pH to avoid This supposition was checked using a laboratory testing in 100%
syneresis and taking into account how scale-modeling tool and was confirmed untreated Bakken PW of salinity
fluid properties would change with tem- indirectly by satisfactory production re- from 24 to 32% TDS.
perature. Achieving fluid reliability in sults vs. offset wells. The water used in The fluid uses standard oilfield-
this manner is extremely difficult, and this study had reached equilibrium with chemical approaches to
the risk of service-quality issues on lo- the formation from which it was subse- crosslinking, buffering, breaking,
cation would be unacceptably high. quently produced. and pH control.
Not only is implementing a borate sys- The fluid is based on a simple
tem difficult in water such as this, large Field Trials and widely used polysaccharide
amounts of insoluble scale is formed in Initial testing was performed on the gelling agent that is inexpensive
the process. last three stages of two wells using Bak- vs. previous successes in similar
An alternative approach involves ken PW, with 1-m sock filtration only, conditions.
the use of a metallic crosslinker and a as a proof of concept and a demonstra- The fluid can be implemented
metal-crosslinkable gelling agent to pro- tion of service delivery. Despite chang- with high reliability in multistage
duce fluid stable at bottomhole condi- es in mix-water quality throughout the fracturing, using standard
tions and pH below 9 to avoid potential job, there were no fluid-related service- fracturing equipment.
scaling issues. In the first step, gelling quality incidents and all proppant was Observed treating pressures
agent is hydrated in 100% PW at a suit- placed as per design. Post-job treat- indicate that the new fluid offers
able pH to promote fast hydration. In the ing pressure was compared with the some advantages in near-wellbore
second step, a Group IV metal crosslinker borate-based fluid that had been used on proppant transport.
is added and pH is adjusted to achieve the previous stages. Treating pressure The system is highly tolerant of
optimum crosslinking rate. The result- showed a consistent decline as expected fluctuations in water quality during
ing fluid is stable at bottomhole-static- when proppant concentration was in- a stage.
temperature conditions and does not creased compared with the borate-based A special work flow executed in
contain any hydroxide or carbonate fluid, which showed increases in pressure advance in the laboratory ensures
scales that are observed in high-pH bo- as proppant reached the perforations. reliable delivery at the wellsite.
rate fluids in the same mix water. It can also be said that some bridging, Production in the Bakken and Three
One of the potential benefits of this either in the fracture or at the perfora- Forks completions is equivalent or
practice of reusing PW is that the connate tions, was observed using the borate- superior to that of offset wells of
water produced from the well has reached crosslinked fluid. similar design. JPT


Permian Basin Fracturing Systems
Using Produced Water

I n areas where freshwater costs and

produced-water-disposal costs are
problematic, operators and service
4.8 million
companies have shown the desire to
use produced and flowback water in 4,000,000

field operations to enhance overall 3.2 million
completions economics. This paper 3,000,000
details the experience of using new
stabilized crosslinked-fracturing-fluid 2,000,000
systems in the Permian Basin using
borated produced water. The new 0.7 million
1,000,000 0.5 million
fracturing-fluid systems are designed
to delay the crosslinking time when -
needed, using the boron already present Horizontal Gas Horizontal Oil Vertical Gas Vertical Oil
in the water. Fig. 1Average water use per well by type of production.

In the US, nearly half of the wells hydrau- up to 1 million B/D of water over the next deep-zone fracturing at moderate ap-
lically fractured since 2011 were in re- 10 years. This goes a long way toward se- plied pressures. Using produced water
gions with high or extremely high water curing water sources that are not fresh, for crosslinked-gel-based hydraulic frac-
stress and more than 55% were in areas more than 75% over the next several turing not only can expand the beneficial
experiencing drought. In Colorado and years. The Texas Railroad Commission, use of produced water in the oil and gas
California, 97 and 96% of the wells, re- the states oil and gas regulator, reported industry but also may mitigate the effect
spectively, were in regions with high a current collective water-recycling ca- on the freshwater supply.
or extremely high water stress. In New pacity of 1.5 million B/D. Proper rheological characteristics of
Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, the major- Hydraulic fracturing may use as little fracturing fluids are crucial to the success
ity of wells were in high- or extremely- as 500,000 gal of water in a convention- of the stimulation treatment. A signifi-
high-water-stress regions. In Texas, al vertical-well treatment, but multiple- cant amount of produced water with total
which currently has the highest concen- interval fracturing in horizontal wells dissolved solids between 30 000 and
tration of hydraulic-fracturing activity in may require 4 million to 6 million 120 000 mg/L, boron content as high as
the US, more than half of the wells exam- gal/well. Fig. 1 shows the average use per 100 mg/L, and hardness levels below and
ined (52%) were in high- or extremely- well by type of production. Slickwater- above 2000 mg/L is used as base fluid
high-water-stress regions. The World fracturing systems use inertial force to in crosslinked-fracturing-fluid systems.
Resources Institute defines high water minimize the settling of proppants and, Stable rheological profiles are reported
stress as more than 80% of available therefore, are not suitable for deep-zone with use of 100% produced water, saving
surface and groundwater being allocat- fracturing because of the excessive ap- more than 25 million gal of fresh water in
ed for municipal, industrial, and agricul- plied pressure required at the surface. the completion of more than 400 stages
tural uses. Crosslinked-gel systems, on the other with crosslinked-gel systems in the Wolf-
In the Permian Basin of west Texas, hand, with high apparent viscosities, can camp shale.
one oil company already expects to use carry a wide range of sand loading for
Methods and Results
Hydration Curve of Linear-Gel System
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
and Rheological Profile of Crosslinked
of paper SPE 172811, Permian Fracturing Systems Using Produced Water, by Fracturing Fluid at Steady Shear. Hy-
Sarkis Kakadjian, SPE, Joseph Thompson, SPE, Robert Torres, Antonio Pontifes, dration tests of guar and guar derivatives
Amanda Rodriguez, and Yahia Ait Hamlat, Trican Well Service, prepared for were monitored by recording the chang-
the 2015 SPE Middle East Oil and Gas Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, es in the viscosity of the linear-gel sys-
811March. The paper has not been peer reviewed. tems. This was performed by mixing the

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


polymer in produced water at 2,500 rev/ Size Distribution of the Broken
min. The pH of the produced water was Crosslinked-Gel Systems in Pro-
SI METRIC adjusted to the desired value using a buf- duced Water. Guar/borate and CMHPG/
CONVERSION FACTORS fer solution; then, the proper amount of zirconate systems were broken using
The list below includes SImetric guar or derivative was added to the solu- oxidative and enzymatic breakers, re-
conversion factors for common
tion for hydration. spectively. The crosslinked gels were
engineering units.
In order to determine the rheologi- placed inside aging cells, pressurized
acre 4.046 873 E 03 m2
cal profile of the crosslinked-gel sys- to 300 psi, and left overnight inside
tem, the linear gel was first mixed with an oven heated to 140F. The broken
acre 4.046 873 E 01 ha
a gel stabilizer followed by the addi- gels were cooled to room temperature
acre-ft 1.233 489 E 03 m3
tion of a breaker and a crosslinker. The to be analyzed for size-distribution and
ampere-hr 3.6* E 03 C
apparent viscosity was measured at a viscositymeasurements.
1.0* E 01 nm constant shear rate (40 or 100 s1, as a Broken CMHPG/zirconate systems
API 141.5/(131.5 API) g/cm3 function of time). Zirconate-crosslinked exhibited much smaller polymer frag-
atm 1.013 250* E 05 Pa carboxymethyl hydroxypropyl guar ments than broken guar/borates at the
bar 1.0* E 05 Pa (CMHPG) and borate-crosslinked guar microscopic scale and at the macroscopic
bbl 1.589 873 E 01 m3 gels, with and without boron scavengers, scale. CMHPG broken gels showed little
Btu 1.055 056 E 00 kJ wereformulated. residue compared with the guar broken
Ci 3.7* E 10 Bq The rheological effects of ionic gels. The size distribution of the broken
cp 1.0* E 03 Pa s strength and hardness of the water were guar/borate-crosslinked system shows
cycles/sec 1.0* E 00 Hz
evaluated. The following benchmarks of polydisperse behavior, while CMHPG/
the crosslinked gel were used as qualifi- zirconate broken polymer fragments
dyne 1.0* E 02 mN
ers of proper rheological characteristics weremonodisperse.
eV 1.602 19 E 19 J
for hydraulic fracturing:
ft 3.048* E 01 m
Maximum achievable apparent Field Testing. More than 400 fractur-
ft2 9.290 304* E 02 m2 viscosity1,500 cp at 40 s1 shear ing stages were pumped using 100%
ft3 2.831 685 E 02 m3 rate or 600 cp at 100 s1 shear rate untreated Wolfcamp produced water.
F (F 32)/1.8 C Sustainable sand-carrying Estimated bottomhole static tempera-
F (F 459.67)/1.8 K viscositygreater than 200 cp at ture was 140160F, with pump rates
gal (U.S. liq) 3.785 412 E 03 m3 40 s1 shear rate or greater than up to 35 bbl/min. Polymer loadings of
hp 7.460 43 E 01 kW 100cp at 100 s1 shear rate for more crosslinked-gel systems varied between
hp-hr 2.684 520 E 00 MJ than 1 hour 20 and 25 lbm/1,000 gal. The total vol-
in. 2.54* E 00 cm Because the ionic composition of pro- ume of produced water used throughout
in.2 6.451 6* E 00 cm2
duced water can vary significantly from all stages exceeded 25 million gal.
well to well, the first goal of the study
in.3 1.638 706 E 01 cm3
was to optimize and examine the effect Conclusions
kip 4.448 222 E 03 N
of ionic strength on the rheological per- New generations of guar- and
knot 5.144 444 E 01 m/s
formance of the crosslinked gels. Pro- CMHPG-based crosslinked
ksi 6.894 757 E 03 kPa duced water has a high concentration of fracturing fluids, formulated
kW-hr 3.6* E 06 J dissolved salts, which means it is not a with100% untreated produced
lbf 4.448 222 E 00 N good solvent for guar and guar deriva- water, enabled significant
lbm 4.535 924 E 01 kg tives unless different grades of polymer conservation of freshwater
mL 1.0* E 00 cm3 are screened and the optimum pH is aquifers, recycling produced and
mho 1.0* E 00 S found. Proper hydration of guar and guar flowback water and reducing
mile 1.609 344* E 00 km derivatives is also crucial for achieving disposal costs. All 15- to
oz (U.S. fl) 2.957 353 E 01 cm3 the desirable rheological characteristics. 25-lbm/1,000-gal crosslinked gels
psi 6.894 757 E 00 kPa
Adding oxidative breaker to a exhibited viscosities exceeding
25-lbm/1,000-gal guar/borate gel sys- 200cp at 40 s1 or 100 cp at
psi2 4.753 8 E 01 kPa2
tem, prepared using unfiltered/untreat- 100s1 for at least 60 minutes.
sq mile 2.589 988 E 00 km2
ed produced water, induces a decrease of This innovative fracturing-fluid
stokes 1.0* E 04 m2/s
the viscosity in one sample. In all tested approach saved more than 25
ton 9.071 847 E 01 Mg conditions for a second sample, the vis- million gal of fresh water during
ton (metric) 1.0* E 00 Mg cosity of the crosslinked-gel system was more than 400 fracturing stages in
tonf 8.896 444 E 03 N higher than 200 cp after 60 minutes of the Wolfcamp shale.
tonne 1.0* E 00 Mg evaluation. Adding different levels of en- Broken crosslinked-CMHPG gels
zyme breaker in the second sample of exhibited much smaller polymer
*Conversion factor is exact. unfiltered/untreated produced water in- fragments than broken borate-
duced a further decrease of the viscosity. crosslinked-guar gels. JPT


Water Management: Lessons Learned and
Considerations for a Shale Play in Argentina

Water Sources and Stimulation

R ecently, exploration and
development of shale plays in
Argentina, such as the Vaca Muerta,
Given the economic potential of the Vaca
Muerta play, the focus lies on this res-
have begun. To achieve commercial ervoir. The primary sources of water in
production, this type of reservoir must the Neuqun basin used to develop these
be stimulated by hydraulic fracturing hydrocarbon resources are rivers (Neu-
using large volumes of water. This paper qun, Limay, and Colorado), lakes, res-
discusses aspects of water logistics ervoirs (Cerro Colorado and Pellegrini),
necessary during the well-completion or groundwater sources, such as wells
phase, fracture-treatment designs with low salinity. These types of wells for
applied in Vaca Muerta, and laboratory water supply need a permit from the reg-
studies performed on flowback and ulatory authority, and produced water
produced water to help evaluate the is not suitable for human consumption
potential for water reuse. orfarming.

Introduction Types of Systems. The following systems

Well stimulation using hydraulic fractur- used fresh water and contained chemical
ing has been used widely for producing additives to perform variousfunctions:
oil and gas reservoirs in Argentina since SWContained a friction reducer
Fig. 1Map of five hydrocarbon-
the 1960s. This stimulation technique and friction-reducer breaker producing basins in Argentina.
has been applied in the five hydrocarbon- LGContained a gelling agent,
producing basins shown in Fig. 1, as well buffer, and breaker was performed for six fields, A, B, C, D,
as in a variety of formations and types of XLConsisted of a buffer, gelling E, and F. Thirteen wells and more than
reservoirs, such as conventional, tight, agent, crosslinker, and breaker 65 hydraulic fractures were analyzed. In
and, more recently, shale. Additionally, each of the fluid systems general, average water volume per stage
The majority of shale exploration and also typically contained a biocide, clay varied according to the fluid reservoir;
development has been in the Vaca Muer- inhibitors, and surfactant additives. for oil wells, the average water volume
ta formation, but work has also been as- was 1300 m3; it was 1850 m3 for wet-
sessed in other formations, such as Los Types of Treatment. The most com- gas and 2180 m3 for gas wells. The frac-
Molles, Cacheuta, D-129, and Agrio. Ex- mon hydraulic-fracturing treatments turing treatments were primarily hybrid
perience gained related to water man- performed in different plays in Argen- SW/XL, although some cases used
agement in these shale plays during tina were hybrid fracturing designs. The SW/LG/XL. LG was commonly used as a
the completion of more than 40 wells greatest volumes of water by stage cor- contingency in the transition from SW to
(more than 200 hydraulic fractures) by respond to reservoirs of gas and wet XL. Normally, the completion of a Vaca
different operators is presented in the gas in hybrid treatment designs for Muerta well involved a total water vol-
paper. Furthermore, laboratory studies both SW/LG (Los Molles) and SW/LG/XL ume of approximately 6500 m3 for ver-
were conducted on treated and untreat- (VacaMuerta). tical wells and approximately 14 500 m3
ed flowback water, and assessment of its A statistical analysis regarding the for horizontal wells.
use as fracturing-fluid water is presented. type of hydraulic fracture in Vaca Muerta
During the past 5 years, there has been
This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
substantial progress related to water
of paper SPE 174118, Water Management: What We Have Learned and What We
management and logistics for sustain-
Need To Consider for Developing a Shale Play in Argentina, by J.C. Bonapace, SPE, able development of Argentinas shale
Halliburton, and F.G. Alric, A. Angeloni, and L. Zangari, Total E&P, prepared plays. A variety of water-storage systems
for the 2015 SPE Latin American and Caribbean Health, Safety, Environment, and and methods for transferring water have
Sustainability Conference, Bogot, Colombia, 78 July. The paper has not been been used in the Neuqun basin, primar-
peerreviewed. ily in the Vaca Muerta.

For a limited time, the complete paper is free to SPE members at


Currently, the most common storage ters have higher values of specific grav- a conditional static (settling) test, and
systems used are mobile fracture tanks ity, lower pH values, higher levels of the second was under dynamic condi-
and circular tanks. Pit usage is restricted total dissolved solids (TDS) and TSS, tions with a slurry viscometer. The set-
for environmental reasons. and significant Ca, Mg, Na, K, Fe, B, and tling test revealed that, overall, the guar/
Baconcentrations. borate system currently used in opera-
First Vertical Well tions in the Vaca Muerta lost its carrying
The completion of the first well in Vaca Action as Clay Inhibitor. During the ex- capacity after the first 2 hours. The slurry-
Muerta consisted of four hydraulic- ploration phase of the Vaca Muerta, a viscometer test indicated that low-
fracture stages, requiring of 7600 m3 of routine capillary-suction-time test was polymer fluid formulations using 100%
water. Alternatives were evaluated for performed for each well in a new field; nontraditional treated water demon-
the logistics and water management, and the intention was to understand the de- strated good proppant-transport capac-
it was decided to install a transfer system gree of water sensitivity and select the ity, despite having low viscosity values.
through pipes and a water-storage loca- best clay stabilizer and concentration.
tion close to the well to be stimulated. The following clay stabilizers have Conclusions
A water well (groundwater with low been tested and used in these fields: In general, hybrid fracturing-treatment
salinity) in the same field was used for Quaternary ammonium salt (liquid) designs dominate the fluid types used
source water. A circular tank for water Inorganic salt, KCl (solid) in Argentinas shale plays. The water-
storage was located in the vicinity. The New ultralow-molecular-weight storage systems that have been primarily
operator performed the laying of 4-in. cationic organic polymer recently used are mobile fracturing storage and
pipe from the water well to the water- applied to replace the quaternary circular tanks, which are usually at the
storage location, where two circular ammonium salts wellsite being stimulated. Most water is
tanks were installed. delivered by transport trucks. An inte-
Fracturing Fluid. Referring to the XL grated water-management plan was de-
Vertical and Horizontal Well fluid tests performed, the base fluid used veloped to support well completions in
The second vertical well in Vaca Muer- was fresh water and the system used Vaca Muerta using sources of water close
ta consisted of four hydraulic-fracture guar/borate. The pumping of large vol- to the wellsite, pipeline transfer sys-
stages, requiring 8000 m3 of water. For umes of SW or linear gel before an XL gel tems, and a storage system. For a large-
the stimulation of this well, it was de- has a cooling effect, which makes the XL scale development, an integrated water-
cided to drill a new water well close systems subject to background tempera- management plan must be implement-
to the wellsite and apply the same tures of approximately 120F and spacing ed, taking into account rivers, lakes,
water-managementstrategy. of approximately 30 to 45 minutes. water wells, and synergies with other
The first horizontal-well completion regionaloperators.
consisted of six fracture stages, consum- Blend of Water (Flowback Untreated). Nontraditional water sources ana-
ing 13 000 m3 of water. Part of the in- The first test performed used the nor- lyzed (flowback/produced) for the Vaca
frastructure built for the vertical well mal fracturing fluid (guar/borate) with a Muerta revealed substantial TDS and TSS
was used for the horizontal well. Be- mixture of waters. The results were not and significant Ca, Mg, Na, K, Fe, and B
cause of the amount of water needed, a satisfactory because of gel-hydration and concentrations. Treating such waters re-
new circular tank with greater capacity -crosslinking problems that resulted in sults in important reductions of TSS and
wasrequired. unstable fluids at surface and bottomhole Fecontent.
conditions. Moreover, increasing the pH The use of these waters in fracture
Use and Reuse of Flowback, of the system generated filaments, floc- treatments indicated that there is no
Produced, and Treated Water culants, and precipitates, although bo- need to use additional clay stabilizers.
Laboratory studies evaluated differ- rate systems usually work in high pH. A new fracturing fluid, with low poly-
ent alternatives for the use of nontradi- mer loading and low pH, was devel-
tional waters as fracturing fluids. The Treated Water (Flowback). The previ- oped that can be formulated with these
testsincluded ously obtained results led to the decision waters. This system presents the ad-
Detailed water (physical/chemical) to evaluate the fluid with 100% treated vantages of working in a range of pH
analysis flowback water. Slight changes in pH ad- in which precipitates do not gener-
Clay-swelling and -inhibition testing justment and concentration of the cross- ate reduced conductivity in the frac-
Evaluation and development of XL linker were made to the fluid. ture pack. It generates a good carrying
fluids proppant-transport capacity A reduced viscosity profile was ob- capacity, as seen by settling tests and
Damage by gel residue and total served between the fluids formulated slurry-viscometertesting.
suspended solids (TSS) with blends of water and those formu- Treatment and reuse of nontradi-
lated with 100% treated flowback water. tional water for future fracturing treat-
Physical/Chemical Analysis. Flowback ments greatly mitigate the issue of fresh-
and produced water have similar char- Proppant-Transport Capacity. Two water requirements for shale wells and
acteristics, which differentiate them types of tests were conducted to ana- reducevolumes to be injected in dispos-
from fresh water. In general, these wa- lyze transport capacity. The first was alwells. JPT



Industry Conditions Drive Reduction

in SPE Staff
SPE has reduced its global staff by 12% we focused on our ability to deliver the Moscow office, and rolls back
in response to current industry condi- essential global programs and services some of the growth that has occurred
tions. This is the first time in its 58-year consistent with our mission. All seven over the past few years, bringing
history that SPE has had to make an global offices (Calgary, Dallas, Dubai, SPEs total headcount back to 2011
economic-based layoff. CEO and Exec- Houston, Kuala Lumpur, London, and levels. A few programs will be
utive Vice President Mark Rubin said, Moscow) will remain open to provide scaled back, but core functions will
SPE remains focused on providing services to members in thoseregions. remain. SPE does not expect that
excellent service to our members. In Staff reductions affected all members will be adversely affected by
deciding how to make staff reductions, departments and all offices, except this reduction.

SPE Honors Peer Reviewers

SPE created the A Peer Apart program these individuals volunteer hundreds Frank F. Chang, Saudi Aramco
to recognize dedicated individuals of hours to the Society, making SPE Shilin Chen, Halliburton Security DBS
who have been involved in the peer journals a valuable resource for Peter J. Clifford, BP Exploration Europe
review of 100 or more papers. theindustry. Niall Fleming, Statoil
Members who commit their time to This year, nine individuals join the Wayne W. Frenier, Consultant
peer review papers make substantial elite group who has reached the mile- Guohua Gao, Shell
contributions to the industrys literature stone of reviewing 100 or more tech- Christopher J. Jablonowski, Shell
by helping to ensure that the papers nical papersbringing the total Stephen E. Laubach, Bureau of
published in SPEs technical journals membership of A Peer Apart to 143 Economic Geology
are the highest quality. Over time, dedicatedmembers. Silviu Livescu, Baker Hughes Canada

Outstanding Technical Editors Named

Every year, SPE recognizes members who Oil and Gas Facilities Bailin Wu, CSIRO Earth Sciences &
have made an exceptional effort to ensure Theodore C. Frankiewicz, Spec Resource Engineering
the technical excellence of the Societys Services
peer-reviewed journals. For their con- Wayne W. Frenier, Consultant SPE Economics & Management
tributions, the following individuals are Chidi Amudo, Chevron Australia
recipients of the 2015 Outstanding Tech- SPE Drilling & Completion William J. Bailey, Schlumberger
nical Editor Award. Glen Benge, Benge Consulting Nikita Chugunov, Schlumberger
Bob Carpenter, Chevron Amin Ettehad, The University of Texas
Journal of Canadian Petroleum John M. Cook, Schlumberger at Austin
Technology David A. Curry, Baker Hughes Helen Gilman, Wipro Technologies
Dennis Beliveau, Consultant Zhi Fang, Brunei Shell Petroleum Robert Hammond, Chevron
Bruce S. Carey, Peters & Laurent Gerbaud, Mines Paris Tech Jeff T. Hawkins, Nexen Petroleum USA
Company George Gillespie, Weatherford David G. Kersey, Saudi Aramco
Malcolm Greaves, Patrick Kenny, Murphy E&P Franklyn G. Koch, retired from Chevron
University of Bath Company Cheryl J. Lukehart, ConnexSys
Harpreet Singh, The University M. Evren Ozbayoglu, University Engineering
of Texas at Austin of Tulsa James L. Smith, Southern Methodist
Shayan Tavassoli, The University Bharath N. Rao, BTech Soft University
of Texas at Austin Frederic J. Santarelli, Geomec John Tolle, Shell
Junjing Zhang, ConocoPhillips Geoffrey T. Weighill, retired from BP Bart J. Willigers, BG Group-GTC JPT



NIGEL McKIM, SPE, has been appointed nonexecutive director velopment and production geology at the University of Man-
of the board for MX Oil. He was most recently the chief opera- chester. He remains a visiting professor there. His areas of ex-
tions officer of Nobel Upstream, responsible for building a port- pertise are clastic reservoir systems for conventional and
folio of assets in Texas, the UK, and Azerbaijan. McKim started unconventional resources, subsurface uncertainty and risk
his career as a reservoir engineer at Shell in Oman and has sev- management, and field development and production. Bowman
eral years of experience in field development planning and pro- holds a BSc in geology from the University of Leeds and a PhD
duction. He was the West Africa asset manager at Vitol Servic- in geology from the University of Sheffield.
es, director of predevelopment at Hess Services, and subsurface
manager for business development activities and the Liverpool
Bay project at BHP Billiton. McKim holds a BSc in civil engineer-
ing from the University of Bristol and an MSc in petroleum engi- Member Deaths
neering from Imperial College London.
Lee A. Adams Jr., Houston, Texas, USA
NISHANT DIGHE, SPE, departed from his S.C. (Sam) Berry, The Woodlands, Texas, USA
position as Panoro Energys president and Tommy D. Bolin, Katy, Texas, USA
chief operating officer at the end of Novem- Jack E. Brown, Midland, Texas, USA
ber. He will continue as an adviser for a tran- Birto R. Brumby, Houston, Texas, USA
sitional period. In 2007, Dighe cofounded Robert A. Cohan, Bakersfield, California, USA
Pan-Petroleum, which led to the creation of Bruno Dangler, Voorburg, The Netherlands
Panoro. He has held several senior manage- Mike C. Dillingham, Bryan, Texas, USA
ment positions, including chief executive officer (CEO) of Afri- Robert L. Dekle, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
can Energy Equity Resources and president Africa and CEO of Freelin D. (Darrell) Hamilton, Tyler, Texas, USA
Panoro. He has also worked at ExxonMobil, Marakon Associ- Louis Eliphalet Harlan, Dallas, Texas, USA
ates, and Sasol. Dighe holds masters degrees in chemical engi- J.D. Hicks, Farmington, New Mexico, USA
neering and petroleum engineering from Imperial College Lon- C.P. Hopcraft, Jenks, Oklahoma, USA
don and an MBA from the University of Warwick. Fredrick V. Jones, Pinehurst, Texas, USA
William F. Kelldorf Jr., Tyler, Texas, USA
MATT McINTOSH, SPE, has been appoint- Bruce A. Kilgore, The Woodlands, Texas, USA
ed a key account manager at Greenes Ener- Thijs R. Kleinenberg, Houston, Texas, USA
gy Group. In his new role, he will establish L.F. (Len) Maier, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
and maintain relationships with the key cli- Ira A. Marshall Jr., Huntington Beach, California, USA
ents of the company. Before this, he was the Jack Marshall, Montgomery, Texas, USA
Chevron key account manager at FMC Tech- Leland E. Moore, Washington DC, USA
nologies, responsible for developing and ex- James D. Murdoch Jr., Calgary, Alberta, Canada
ecuting account strategies, managing regional account teams, Alan Nickson, The Hague, The Netherlands
and leading sales. McIntosh holds a BA in political science from Oistein Nyberg, Los Gatos, California, USA
Texas A&M University. Frank Perkins Jr., Westlake, Louisiana, USA
Ronald J. Robinson, College Station, Texas, USA
MIKE BOWMAN, SPE, was appointed the William H. Silcox, Incline Village, Nevada, USA
chair of the petroleum engineering program John E. Stein, Denver, Colorado, USA
at Texas A&M University at Qatar. In 2011, Shigeru Taguchi, Tokyo, Japan
Bowman retired from BP as vice president of B.H. Waychoff Jr., Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
geoscience and subsurface description and Joseph Zemanek Jr., Duncanville, Texas, USA
became part-time professorial chair in de- Lida M. Ziegler, Stevenson Ranch, California, USA



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79 December Kuala LumpurSPE 69 December DohaInternational 1821 January DubaiSPE Next

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Find complete listings of upcoming SPE workshops, conferences, symposiums, and forums at

CONFERENCE REVIEW (Continued from page 51)

challenges they face will positively help Conventional technology has recov- Egyptian reservoirs are technical-
improve the national economy, he said. ered approximately 50% of the original ly good candidates for EOR techniques.
oil in place. However, ongoing research Among the techniques that can be
Improving Oil Recovery projects are set to boost this level to more deployed in reservoirs in Egypt is immis-
During the EOR/improved oil recovery than 75%, as was the case at one of the cible gas injection. Steam injection is fea-
session, panelists said that the region reservoirs operated by Total in the Abu Al sible in some of the Gulf of Suez res-
requires cutting-edge technological solu- Bukhoosh field in Abu Dhabi. ervoirs, while chemical methods are
tions to improve oil recovery factors, Panelists said that the development of feasible in most of the Western Desert
which are low compared with neighbor- EOR projects may take up to 10 years. In reservoirs, he said.
ing countries in the Middle East. Egypt, a number of oil fields are expect- Wave stimulation and microbial EOR
Most of the easy oil has already ed to undergo one or more of the EOR technology may also be introduced in
been extracted, leaving a non-negligible methods in the near future. However, the the fields.
quantity of oil in the reservoirs, Helmy implementation of any of the EOR meth- The identification of applicable EOR
Sayyouh, a professor at Cairo University, ods involves high capital expenditure. methods and determination of their suit-
said. But the important question is how These processes are difficult and high- ability to candidate oil fields in Egypt
much oil is recoverable and what tech- risk operations, Sayyouh said. must also include the assessment of tech-
niques could be applied. In spite of the research programs and nical and economic criteria.
The oil recovery factor in Egypt stands pilot projects in Egypt over the past decade, This problem presents a real chal-
at 34%, according to Shaheen El-Sayed, the industry has limited experience in large lenge as you need experts to help sort,
vice chairman of production for Middle field development. Scarcity of field experi- process, analyze, and cross-reference
East and North Africa at IPR Egypt. Alge- ences have prompted the current develop- the acquired reservoir data, coupled
rias reservoirs, which require the deploy- ment of a knowledge-based expert system with other information, to be able to
ment of EOR techniques, have a recov- that can facilitate the reservoir engineers achieve the most feasible selection of
ery factor of less than 20%, said Salah task of selecting the most appropriate EOR techniques in an efficient and profitable
Khebri, the energy minister of Algeria. method, Sayyouh said. way, Sayyouh said. JPT


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