January 2020 Exclusive Story
Cost-Curve Holds Key For Projects
Like meticulously restored automobiles that turn more heads as classics than they did when they were fresh off the assembly line, legacy conventional plays with low to moderate permeabilities are attracting attention thanks to their potential for rejuvenation, as producers apply unconventional horizontal and well fracturing technologies to them. Although this approach will not translate profitably to all conventional reservoirs, lessons from the shale revolution are breathing fresh new life into many “vintage” plays. A trio of special reports open the January issue. The first highlights the pair of U.S. trade accords, which bode well for North American trade and hold promise for harmonizing U.S. energy supply with Chinese demand. Meanwhile, industry analysts offer their sage outlooks for 2020 activity, along with AOGR’s survey data. An in-depth look through the eyes of Chief Executive Officer M. Jay Allison about why Comstock Resources is all-in with its Haynesville drilling program follows. Then it is on to Part 1 of Unconventional Resource Science, with Crimson Resources and Resmetrics discussing intra-stage tracer data, and how it can fine-tune Wolfcamp stimulations. Finally, Production Technology reports review efficiency gains that companies are achieving thanks to new strategies, technologies and approaches. Association news includes the Official Convention Section for IOGAWV. Cover design by Amanda DeMoss. Issue photography courtesy of Comstock Resources and Weir Oil & Gas.
COVER STORY: Increasingly, operators are targeting low-performing legacy plays with drilling and completion technologies perfected in ultralow-permeability unconventional reservoirs. In many cases, these moderate-permeability formations were only marginally economic when they originally were exploited with vertical wellbores. The best examples involve some of the most productive unconventional plays in North America, including the Bakken Shale in the Williston Basin, the Spraberry in the Midland Basin and the Niobrara in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. Each of these plays produced for years with mixed success before horizontal drilling and high-intensity multistage fracturing burst on the scene. A growing body of evidence suggests that the applicability of unconventional techniques is largely independent of lithology. Development efforts in the Mississippian Lime, Austin Chalk, Limey Eagle Ford, Bone Spring Lime and Cotton Valley have demonstrated the importance of parameters besides the presence or absence of in situ source rock. With continued experimentation, unconventional processes and techniques can improve recovery and production rates dramatically in low- to moderate-permeability “borderline” legacy plays. | by Doug Walser
UNCONVENTIONAL RESOURCE SCIENCE