Industry Looks to Well Planning for Improving Well Production in Unconventional Shale Development

9/28/2014
Penn State
Well Production and Development Improvement

The industry has done great things with drilling efficiency for unconventional shale plays. This can be seen at the rig count has gone down as the number of wells has increased. Companies are now focusing more on improved and efficient production through well planning.

Industry concerns are  looking at how to increase production over the life-time of the well, and they are doing this by using well planning and the various data collected on all wells.  Rather than punching wells, using the exact same ‘mold’ for each one, companies are looking at all information they have available, such as microseismic,  logging measurements, hydrocarbon content,  number of lateral stages, and the zone for the laterals.  Well planning is a cumulative learning process in which all information from previous wells is used to improve the plan for the next well.  For example, microseismic information collected during each hydraulic fracturing stage allows industry to what ones were more effective. 

Taking all data such as geology, geophysics, and engineering data and putting into a usable format is a tall order.  Companies are incorporating this information for well planning into a process called subsurface visualization, which provides a 3-D representation of the area to be drilled.  Items such as faults or other hazards could be steered clear of, while  other structural formations such as dips in the targeted formation can easily be viewed and followed for optimum planning.

Collaboration and good communication between the service companies and operators are vital in all aspects of drilling, completion and production processes, and is equally important in well planning. Information from each entity is needed to help provide the best solution for more efficient and effective production.