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Q&A with 2016 SPE President Nathan Meehan

Lower Cost Unconventional Innovation
Managing Within Financial Limits
Mexicos Trying First Auction



An operator used Mangrove* engineered stimulation design in the Petrel* E&P software platform to optimize staging and perforation
cluster placement within a highly variable lateral. The engineered completion resulted in a 65% reduction in stress contrast across
perforation clusters while increasing average production by 200300% per stage. After completion, a geomodel revealed nonproductive
stages situated above the intended zone, enabling the operator to reassess well placement and evaluate strategies for effectively
stimulating all stages.
Learn more at


Mangrove stimulation design used to engineer completion,

increasing production 200300% per stage in the Niobrara.

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 V O L U M E 6 7, N U M B E R 9


Serving Every Well

Performance is an Art




Plug and



& Flow




*Mark of Schlumberger. 2015 Schlumberger. 15-ST-0058

JPT_Reverse_Gatefold_Sept15_ROW.indd 5-7

Please visit us at SPE/ATCE, Houston #1343

8/18/15 8:25 AM

Reliability and torquea valuable combination.

An operator in the Eagle Ford Shale recently drilled a record run using Dyna-Drills 7-in power section,
which is engineered with aproprietaryhardrubber elastomer. The customer drilled one of itsfastest
curve/lateralhole sections, averaging 3,078 ft/d with ROP up to 400 ft/h while maintaining 1,400-psi
differential pressure.
Since our founding in 1958, Dyna-Drill has been committed to providing robust, high-performance
technologiesthatconsistentlydeliver unprecedented value to our customers.
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Copyright 2015 Dyna-Drill. All rights reserved.

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6/15/15 10:04 AM

Volume 67 Number 9



It is possible to safeguard the economic benefits of unconventional oil

production while simultaneously improving environmental performance and
accelerating the transition to a lower-carbon energy future.



The overall composition of gas and the isotopic signatures of gas discharging
from domestic wells should be examined before concluding that oil and gas
operations are to blame.


The incoming president talks about his goals and the challenges ahead.



The use of multiple data sources in targeting the most productive rock could
evolve into the standard procedure of the future.


Cover: A scanning electron

microscopy image of a thin section

of the middle Bakken formation
from a well in North Dakota is being
used to learn about the potential
of CO2 injection in tight rock.
Microfractures are the dominant form
of porosity, represented in black, in
this part of the formation and may
aid fluid movement. Image courtesy
of the Energy & Environmental
ResearchCenter at the University
ofNorth Dakota.

Performance Indices


Regional Update


Company News




Technology Applications


Technology Update


E&P Notes


SPE News




Professional Services


Advertisers Index


SPE Events

Printed in US. Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Executives say companies need to lean on each other and find the strength
to weather the oil price downturn.



Long-term production from shale reservoirs will require a deeper understanding

of the physics of oil and gas flow in the rocks nanoscale spaces.



A research project in North Dakota takes a stepwise approach to finding

away to use CO2 flooding in unconventional shale.


Valuable lessons are learned after the opening auction stumbled out
ofthegate with only two awarded contracts.


The group representative in the emirates outlines the significant role of

enhanced oil recovery in Abu Dhabis oil future.



A summit panel discusses how new solutions from other industries will help
drive efficiencies, boost productivity, and optimize performance.


Recipients will be honored at the Societys annual meeting in Houston.



Stress management, resilience, self-awareness, and engagement are

important competencies for surviving tough times in the oil and gas industry.

An Official Publication of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Unlock value in
your data reservoirs
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gives you the power to uncover hidden data insights that will
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Invizion Evaluation

110 Reservoir Performance and Monitoring

Silviu Livescu, SPE, Chief Scientist, Baker Hughes

111 Pressure-Transient Analysis as an Element of Permanent


114 Investigating Aperture-Based Permeability and Capillary Pressure

inRock Fractures

118 Understanding Unusual Diagnostic-Fracture-Injection-Test Results

inTight Gas Fields

121 Model-Based Evaluation of Surveillance-Program Effectiveness


124 Completions
Nicholas Clem, SPE, Engineering Manager, Baker Hughes

125 A Multientry, Multistage Fracturing-Sleeve System in Bakken


128 Completion Optimization in the Williston Basin Through Integrated

Data Sets

130 Fracture Optimization in the Valdemar Field Offshore Denmark

134 Fracture-Stimulation Placement With Fiber-Optic DistributedSensingDiagnostics

136 Drilling Management and Automation

John Macpherson, SPE, Senior Technical Adviser for Drilling
Services, Baker Hughes

137 Drilling-Systems-Automation Roadmap: The Means


140 Drilling Modeling and Simulation: Current State and Future Goals
144 Limiter Redesign Process Expands To Cover Flat-Time Operations
146 Surface Torque/Tension Measurements Used To Detect

150 Oilfield Chemistry

Jonathan Wylde, SPE, Head of Global Innovation,

151 Novel Viscosity Reducer Aids Removal of Scale From Electrical

Submersible Pumps

154 Scale Inhibitor Works To Prevent Reprecipitation of Calcium Sulfate

156 Corrosion and Scale Formation in High-Temperature Sour-Gas Wells
158 Sodium Gluconate as a New Environmentally Friendly Iron-Control
Agent for Acidizing

Invizion Evaluation service

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analysis to achieve
isolation assurance.
An operator in the Gulf of Mexico was
unable to identify loss zones or verify cement
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the operator was able to integrate, analyze,
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drilling, geomechanics, cementing, and
logging datafrom an appraisal well. The
resulting information enabled the operator
to understand potential losses and achieve
total isolation between water and depleted
sand during the well construction phase.
Read the case study at
The complete SPE technical papers featured in this issue are available
free to SPE members for two months at



Drive greater drilling reliability with
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Drilling & Formation Evaluation


Well Construction

Completion & Stimulation


7/10/15 5:00 PM

2015 President
Helge Hove Haldorsen, Statoil


Anelise Quintao Lara, Petrobras

John Hoppe, Shell

2014 President
Jeff Spath, Schlumberger


2016 President
Nathan Meehan, Baker Hughes


Vice President Finance

Janeen Judah, Chevron


Anthony Ogunkoya,
TBFF Upstream Oil and Gas Consulting

Matthias Meister, Baker Hughes

Salis Aprilian, PT Pertamina
Libby Einhorn, Concho Oil & Gas


Tom Walsh, Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska



David Curry, Baker Hughes

Darcy Spady, Sanjel




Bob Garland, Tetra Technologies


Bryant Mueller, Halliburton


Michael Tunstall, Halliburton

Fareed Abdulla, Abu Dhabi Co. Onshore Oil Opn

Carlos Chalbaud, GDF Suez E&P UK


Trey Shaffer, Environmental Resources Management


J.C. Cunha, Chevron


Shauna Noonan, ConocoPhillips


Howard Duhon, Gibson Applied Technology


Olivier Houz, KAPPA Engineering

Ron Morris, Roc Oil (Bohai)/Roc Oil (China)



Dan Hill, Texas A&M

Mike Eberhard, Anadarko Petroleum


Anton Ablaev, Schlumberger

Glenda Smith, Publisher
John Donnelly, Editor
Alex Asfar, Senior Manager Publishing Services
Pam Boschee, Senior Manager Magazines
Jack Betz, Staff Writer
Chris Carpenter, Technology Editor
Abdelghani Henni, Middle East Editor
Trent Jacobs, Senior Technology Writer
Anjana Sankara Narayanan, Editorial Manager
Joel Parshall, Features Editor
Stephen Rassenfoss, Emerging Technology Senior Editor
Adam Wilson, Special Publications Editor
Craig Moritz, Assistant Director Americas Sales & Exhibits
Mary Jane Touchstone, Print Publishing Manager
Stacey Maloney, Print Publishing Specialist
Laurie Sailsbury, Composition Specialist Supervisor
Allan Jones, Graphic Designer
Ngeng Choo Segalla, Copy Editor
Dennis Scharnberg, Proofreader



Khaled Al-Buraik, Saudi Aramco
Liu Zhenwu, China National Petroleum Corporation

The Journal of Petroleum Technology magazine is a

registered trademark of SPE.
SPE PUBLICATIONS: SPE is not responsible for any
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We measure success
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Well Construction
Completion & Stimulation

Canada Publications Agreement #40612608.

2015 Weatherford. All rights reserved.



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2014 JUL



Print and Digital Versions Available


Larry W. Lake, Russell Johns,

Bill Rossen, and Gary Pope
A revision of the 1989 classic, Enhanced Oil
Recovery by Larry Lake, this new text retains
the original works emphasis on fractional
flow theory and phase behavior to explain
enhanced oil recovery (EOR) processes. With
its frequent reinforcement of two fundamental
EOR principles, lowering the mobility ratio and
increasing the capillary number, it is an excellent
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Defining Enhanced Oil Recovery
Basic Equations for Fluid Flow in Permeable Media
Petrophysics and Petrochemistry
Phase Behavior and Fluid Properties
Displacement Efficiency
Volumetric Sweep Efficiency
Solvent Methods
Polymer Methods
Surfactant Methods
Foam-Enhanced Oil Recovery
Thermal Methods
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Latin America
















Middle East
















Asia Pacific



































Figures do not include NGLs and oil from nonconventional sources.

Includes approximately one-half of Neutral Zone production.
Includes crude oil, lease condensates, natural gas plant liquids, other hydrocarbons for refinery feedstocks, refinery
gains, alcohol, and liquids produced from nonconventional sources.
Source: Baker Hughes.
The US Dept. of Energy/Energy Information Administration discontinued its reporting of US Natural Gas Wellhead
Prices, replacing them with Henry Hub Gulf Coast Natural Gas Spot Prices.
Source: US Dept. of Energy/Energy Information Admin.


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Total started production from the

Origin Energy spudded the Kalala S-1

deepwater Dalia Phase 1A development,

135 km offshore Angola. The Dalia
floating,production, storage, and
offloading vessel came on stream in
Block17 in 2009 and is now expected
to reach 200,000 B/D with the
new development. The seven infill
wells willcontribute approximately
30,000B/Dto the blocks overall
production. Total (40%) operates the
block with partners Statoil (23.33%),
EssoExploration Angola Block 17 (20%),
and BP Exploration Angola(16.67%).

well in the Northern Territorys Beetaloo

basin, 500 km southeast of Darwin,
Australia. The well is the first of three
planned onshore wells to be drilled in the
area and will target the Middle Velkerri
formation to assess hydrocarbon saturation
and reservoir quality. The well will be drilled
to a total depth of approximately 2800 m.
Origin (35%) is the operator with partners
Sasol Petroleum Australia (35%) and
Falcon Oil and Gas (30%).

China National Offshore Oil Co.
(CNOOC) has started oil production at
its Luda 10-1 comprehensive adjustment
project in the Liaodong Bay of Bohai.
The project called for the construction
of one wellhead platform. The field
has an average water depth of 30 m
and has 13wells on stream producing
3,300BOPD.Luda 10-1 is expected
to reach a peak production rate of
6,000BOPD next year. CNOOC is
the operator ofthe field and holds

Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC)

hasstarted oil production at the
Mukta-B(MB) unmanned wellhead
platform in the offshore Bombay basin.
Pipelines leading to the MB and Mukta-A
(MA) platforms were worked on as
part of the project, enabling a restart
of production from the MA platform,
which had been shut in because of
pipeline integrity issues for the past 2
years. ONGC (40%), BG India (30%),
and Reliance Industries (30%) share
operatorship of the field.

Triple Energy spudded Niaoshan-1,

the first of two wells planned for the Bird
Mountain area of Chinas Heilongjiang
province. Located 2 km from the Xian
Xian-1 well drilled in 2013, Niaoshan-1 is
targeting several major coal seams for
coring and desorption analysis. The well
will be drilled to a depth of 1300 m. Triple
Energy (80%) is the operator with stateowned partner Longmay Coal Mining


Buru Energy has started its 2015

exploration program of the Ungani trend
in Western Australia with the spudding of
the Praslin 1 well. Located 15 km west of
the companys Ungani oil field, the well will
reach a planned total depth of 2600m.
Target formations include the Ungani
dolomite and Laurel clastic reservoirs and
Devonian-aged carbonates. Buru (50%) is
the operator with partner Mitsubishi (50%).

Statoil made a minor oil and gas
discovery near the Gina Krog field in the
North Sea, 250 km west of Stavanger. The
find is estimated to contain between 1 and
2 MMscfe of recoverable oil equivalents in
the Hugin formation. Statoil (58.7%) is the
operator of the license with Total (30%),
PGNiG (8%) andDetNorske(3.3%).

Iran has accelerated its development
of the Azadegan oil field, which it shares
with Iraq, in order to catch up with its
western neighbor in production, said an
Iranian energy official. The National Iranian
Drilling Company has completed the
drilling of six wells in the field since taking
over from China National Petroleum Corp.,
which had its contract canceled last year
because of repeateddelays.

Eni discovered natural gas at the

Nooros exploration prospect in the Abu
Madi West license, 120 km northeast of
Alexandria, Egypt. The Nidoco NW2 Dir
NFW well reached a total depth of 3600m
and encountered a 60-m gas-bearing
sandstone interval of Messianian age. The
discovery will be put on production through

a tie-in to the existing Abu Madi gas

treatment plant, which is 25 km southeast
of Nooros. Eni subsidiary Ieoc Production
holds 75% working interest in the West Abu
Madi development lease with partner BP
(25%). Petrobel, which is equally owned
by Ieoc and Egyptian General Petroleum
Corp., is the operator of the concession.

Yuma Energy has completed and tested
its Talbot 23-1 well in Jefferson Davis
Parish, Louisiana. The well had an initial
gross production rate of approximately
7 MMcf/D of gas and 180 B/D of 55 API
condensate through a 13/64-in. choke. It was
perforated in a lower portion of the main
Hackberry sand and has additional uphole
Hackberry sand perforations in the main
Hackberry section, and in the Marg-Tex
sands. Yuma holds 45% interest in the block
with an unnamed operator.

Eni started production from the Perla
giant gas field located in the Gulf of
Venezuela, 50 km offshore. Consisting
of Mio-Oligocene carbonates with
excellent characteristics, the reservoir is
approximately 3000 m below sea level
and lies at a water depth of 60 m. The best
wells are estimated to produce more than
150 MMscf/D of gas each. The development
plan includes 21 producing wells and four
light offshore platforms linked by a 30-in.
pipeline to a central processing facility in
Punto Fijo on the Paraguan Peninsula.
Two treatment trains have been installed
at the facility, each capable of handling
150Mscf/D and 300 Mscf/D of natural
gas. The field is operated by Cardn IV, a
company jointly owned by Eni (50%) and
Repsol (50%).

LGO Energy discovered the presence of

hydrocarbons in the Goudron field onshore
Trinidad. Well GY-675 was drilled to a
total depth of approximately 3,660ft and
intersected an estimated 260 ft of net pay
in the C-sand intervals, according to electric
logs. The well has been cased for future
production. LGO has also begun drilling
nearby another well, which is targeting the
C-sand interval and the top of the Gros Morne
sandstone reservoir. LGO is the operator and
holds 100% interest in the field.JPT


Being late to first oil is costly. I need

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The Emerson logo is a trademark and a service mark of Emerson Electric Co. 2015 Emerson Electric Co.

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11/08/2015 09:27


and a processing plant with access to five

major gas markets.

WPX Energy will acquire privately

held RKI Exploration & Production for
USD2.35 billion, plus the assumption of
USD 400 million of debt. The majority
of RKIs leasehold is located in Loving
County, Texas, and Eddy County, New
Mexico. The acquired Permian Basin assets
come with approximately 22,000 BOEPD
of existing production, half of which is oil,
and more than 92,000 net acres in the
core of the Delaware basin, 98% of which
is held by production. The transaction
will also give WPX more than 375 miles
of scalable gas gathering and water
infrastructure. The parties expect the
transaction to close before the last quarter
of the year.

Black Hills Corporation, a vertically

integrated energy company, entered
into an agreement to acquire SourceGas
Holdings from investment funds managed
by Alinda Capital Partners and GE Energy
Financial Services for a total consideration
of USD 1.89 billion. SourceGas operates
four regulated natural gas utilities serving
customers in Arkansas, Colorado, Nebraska,
and Wyoming. It also operates a 512-mile
intrastate natural gas pipeline in Colorado.
The acquired company will be renamed
Black Hills Energy.

Teekay Offshore Partners has

completed its acquisition of the Petrojarl
Knarr floating production, storage,
and offloading (FPSO) vessel from
Teekay Corporation for approximately
USD1.26billion. The FPSO has completed
all the required operational testing and
commenced its full charter rate under a
long-term contract on the Knarr oil and gas
field in the North Sea for which BG Norge
is the operator. The purchase will be fully
financed through the assumption of an
existing USD 745 million long-term debt
and USD 550 million of equity financing.

Legacy Reserves has entered into

separate agreements with affiliates
of Anadarko Petroleum and Western
Gas Partners to purchase natural gas
properties and gathering assets in east
Texas for a combined USD 440 million.
The assets, 95% of which are operated,
have estimated proved reserves of
approximately 420 Bcfe. The acquisition
also includes 567 miles of high-pressure
pipeline and low-pressure gathering lines

the remaining shares in the company within

4 weeks to comply with the Norwegian
securities trading act.

Enterprise Products Partners has

entered into agreements to sell its
offshore Gulf of Mexico pipelines and
service business to Genesis Energy for
USD 1.5billion in cash. The assets include
interests in nine crude oil pipeline systems,
nine natural gas pipeline systems, and its
interest in six offshore hub platforms. The
transaction is expected to close in the third
quarter of the year.

Comstock Resources has entered into

a definitive agreement to sell its oil and
gas properties in and around Burleson
County, Texas, to an unnamed company
for approximately USD 115 million, subject
to adjustments. The properties being sold
are producing approximately 1,900 BOPD
and 5.5 MMcf/D of natural gas. At the end
of last year, Comstocks proved reserves
included approximately 3.7 million bbl of
oil and 3.9 Bcf of natural gas related to the
interests being sold.

FourPoint Energy has signed definitive

agreements to acquire oil and gas assets
from Chesapeake Exploration and CHK
Cleveland Tonkawa, as well as other thirdparty investors, for a combined price of
USD 840 million. The assets include an
interest in approximately 1,500 producing
wells primarily in the Cleveland, Tonkawa,
and Marmaton formations, with an average
daily net production of approximately
21,500 BOEPD over the 12 months ending
April. The assets cover nearly 250,000
net acres centered in Roger Mills and Ellis
counties in Oklahoma, and approximately
95% of the lease is held by production.

Flex LNG has agreed to purchase

liquefied natural gas (LNG) assets and
infrastructure from Geveran Trading
and Exmar, respectively, in exchange for
company shares. After the transaction
Flex LNG will change its name to Exmar
LNG and will have an enterprise value of
USD 2.3billion. The new company will
own interests in six LNG carriers, five
floating storage and regasification units,
two floating liquefaction units, and a total
of 80 years of firm time charters. Geveran
will own 30.7% of the company shares and
Exmar will own 64.6% of the shares. The
transaction is expected to close in the third
quarter of the year, at which time Exmar
is obligated to make a mandatory offer for

Petroleum Development Oman
and GlassPoint Solar have announced
planstobuild one of the worlds largest solar
power plants. Miraah will be a 1,021-MW
solar facility in south Oman, harnessing
the suns energy to produce steam. The
steam will be used in thermal enhanced oil
recovery (EOR) to extract heavy and viscous
oil at the Amal oil fieldPower for EOR is
currently being provided by burning natural
gas. The firstmodule is expected to be
finished by2017.

Vallianz Holdings was awarded a
contract worth up to USD 300 million
byan unnamed national oil company
in theMiddle East to provide two selfelevating platform vessels. The platforms
will be used to service wells in the
ArabianGulf and are equipped with
cranescapable of supporting various
offshore activities, such as wireline
operations and wellhead maintenance.
Vallianz will deploy the vessels starting
thethird quarter of the year for 5 years.

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) awarded

Petrofac an engineering, procurement, and
construction contract worth USD780million
to build a manifold group trunkline system
in the north of Kuwait. The project will
support KOCs three new gathering centers,
which will allow the company to maintain
and increase crude production over the next
5 years. The system will provide feedstock
to each of the gathering centers through
three independent pipeline networks and
is expected to be completed by the end

Heerema Offshore has awarded

Sembcorp Marine an engineering and
construction contract worth approximately
USD 1 billion to build a semisubmersible
crane vessel. Scheduled for delivery in
the fourth quarter of 2018, the vessel
will be used for the installation and
decommissioning of major offshore
facilities. It will be equipped with two
Huisman heavy-lifting offshore cranes
of10,000-tonne lifting capacity each anda
large reinforced work deckarea.JPT






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Solving challenges.

2015 Halliburton. All rights reserved.

H030-15 JPT.indd 1

6/10/15 11:32 AM


Bernt Aadny, University of Stavanger
Syed AliChairperson, Schlumberger

SPEs Annual Meeting

John Donnelly, JPT Editor

William Bailey, Schlumberger

Ian G. Ball, Intecsea (UK) Ltd
Mike Berry, Mike Berry Consulting
Maria Capello, Kuwait Oil Company
Robert B. Carpenter, Chevron ETC
Simon Chipperfield, Santos

SPEs premier conference for technical professionals will be

held at the end of this month in Houston. The SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) is not only an annual
gathering for members but has also been a platform for the
technology breakthroughs as well as discussions of the ups and
downs of the oil industry through the years.
The conference will take place during 2830 September in
Houston, the 13th time the event has taken place in that city since SPE became an independent association 58 years ago. The annual meeting actually dates back 90 years
when the Petroleum Division of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical
Engineers (AIME) was formed. The Petroleum Division would become the Petroleum
Branch by 1949 as oil demand soared and, eventually, the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME in 1957. The first SPE-AIME board meeting took place at the October
1957 Annual Meeting in Dallas, which was the official beginning of SPE.
The annual conference had a similar trajectory, growing in stature as it assumed
new names along the way. The event was initially called the Mid-Year Meeting or Fall
Meeting, then the Annual Meeting and, beginning in 1975, the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. The meeting also evolved from a primarily social event to one
of the oil and gas industrys main venues for learning about and discussing technology
developments and trends. In 1962, SPEs Board of Directors established 10 technical
committees and charged them with helping develop technical programming for the
annual conference. The committees covered Drilling and Well Completions, Education
and Professionalism, Economics and Evaluation, Formation Evaluation, Gas Technology, Geological Engineering and Groundwater Hydrology, Management and General
Interest, Production Operations and Engineering, Reservoir Engineering, and Fluid
Mechanics and Oil Recovery Processes.
As a result, the number of technical papers at the conference grew sharply. The
1960 conference in Denver, for instance, showcased 68 technical papers, but by the
1970 meeting in Houston, paper presentations had grown to 151. This years conference includes more than 350 presentations across 46 technical sessions, as well as
34 training sessions, a number of panel sessions, and a host of meetings and events
involving SPE technical committees and other groups. The technical papers presented
at ATCE represent an important contribution to the OnePetro electronic library, which
houses technical documents from SPE and other industry associations.
Through the years, the program has often framed the contemporary issues of the
day not only involving technology, but also finances and geopolitics and their effect
on the industry. Conferences in the 1960s revealed the growing technical depth and
breadth of the industry, while the early 1970s saw sessions about the wave of new environmental regulations affecting companies. And sessions in the early 1980s covered
oil price volatility and its impacts, while the 1990s often looked at industry consolidation and the growth of the service sector.
The most common sites for ATCE have been Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, New
Orleans, and Denver, with Houston holding the record for the largest single conference attendance. Next year, the conference will be held in Dubai, only the third time
the event has been held outside of the US, reflecting the associations continued international growth. JPT

Nicholas Clem, Baker Hughes

Alex Crabtree, Hess Corporation
Alexandre Emerick,
Petrobras Research Center
Niall Fleming, Statoil
Ted Frankiewicz, SPEC Services
Emmanuel Garland, Total
Stephen Goodyear, Shell
Reid Grigg, New Mexico Petroleum Recovery
Research Center
Omer M. Gurpinar, Schlumberger
A.G. Guzman-Garcia, ExxonMobil (retired)
Greg Horton, Consultant
John Hudson, Shell
Morten Iversen, BG Group
Leonard Kalfayan, Hess Corporation
Tom Kelly, FMC Technologies
Gerd Kleemeyer, Shell Global Solutions
Marc Kuck, Eni US Operating
Jesse C. Lee, Schlumberger
Silviu Livescu, Baker Hughes
Shouxiang (Mark) Ma, Saudi Aramco
John Macpherson, Baker Hughes
Casey McDonough, Chesapeake Energy
Cam Matthews, C-FER Technologies
Badrul H Mohamed Jan, University of Malaya
Lee Morgenthaler, Shell
Michael L. Payne, BP plc
Zillur Rahim, Saudi Aramco
Jon Ruszka, Baker Hughes
Martin Rylance, GWO Completions
Otto L. Santos, Petrobras
Luigi A. Saputelli, Hess Corporation
Sally A. Thomas, ConocoPhillips
Win Thornton, BP plc
Xiuli Wang, Minerva Engineering
Mike Weatherl, Well Integrity, LLC
Rodney Wetzel, Chevron ETC
Scott Wilson, Ryder Scott Company
Jonathan Wylde, Clariant Oil Services
Pat York, Weatherford International

To contact JPTs editor, email



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Americas Unconventional Energy

David Gee, Gregory Pope, and Alan Thomson, The Boston Consulting Group

David S. Gee is a
partner at The Boston
Consulting Group
(BCG). He leads the
firms North American
Energy practice area
and is a consultant.
He has more than
36 years of experience in the energy
industry and previously held senior
operating roles at AES Corp., PG&E Corp.,
and Baker Hughes. He holds a BS in
chemical engineering from the University
of Virginia and an MS in management
from the Massachusetts Institute
Gregory J. Pope is
a principal in BCGs
Energy and Strategy
and Sustainability
practice areas and
a consultant in
power, oil and gas,
renewables, and
economic development. He holds a BA in
economics from Georgetown University,
an MSc in environmental and resource
economics from University College
London, and an MSc in environmental
change and management from the
University of Oxford, where he studied
asa Marshall Scholar.
Alan G. Thomson
is a senior partner
at BCG. He leads
the firms North
American Oil and Gas
practice and is the
managing partner of
its Houston office. He
is globally recognized as a topic expert in
the energy value chain with experience
in portfolio strategy, operations, and
organization transformation. He holds
a BEng in chemical engineering from


The United States is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation energy opportunity. The

advent of hydraulic fracturing has launched a new era of energy abundancea stark
contrast to the decades of growing domestic energy scarcity that preceded it. This
abundance has contributed to a sharp reduction in oil prices during the past year.
Moreover, US natural gas prices have remained well below the global average and are
one-third the level of those of many of its largest trading partners.
Yet the general public shows little appreciation for, or even an understanding of,
the relationships between fracking and increased domestic production and lower
fuel costs.* A recent Pew Research Center study found that more Americans oppose
hydraulic fracturing than support it, and the opposition is growing. In many parts of
the country, fracturing has become a derisive term for all drilling activity.
The energy industry is losing the battle for public and political legitimacy. Eroding public support poses a threat to the ongoing progress of the industry and the US in
boosting energy output, and it threatens to curtail the economic and environmental
benefits of future energy production.
However, our recent report, Americas Unconventional Energy Opportunity by
Harvard Business School (HBS) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), shows that
a rational middle does exist (Porter et al. 2015). We found that it is possible to safeguard the economic benefits of unconventional oil production while simultaneously
improving environmental performance and accelerating the transition to a lowercarbon energy future.

Divisive Debate

Opposition to unconventional production has already worked its way into public policy in many parts of the country. In late 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York banned
hydraulic fracturing in the state after health officials in his administration decided on
the basis of limited evidence that regardless of how drilling procedures are regulated,
fracturing poses a threat to air quality, clean water, and public health. At about the
same time, the citizens of Denton, Texas, which is located just a few miles from where
hydraulic fracturing was perfected, passed a ballot initiative that would ban hydraulic fracturing within the citys limits. (The ban has since been overturned by the Texas
Legislature, which gave the state government exclusive jurisdiction over the oil and
gas industry.)
Sad to say, much of the discussion that has dominated the hydraulic fracturing
debate has been divisive and done little to alter entrenched positions or increase public understanding. Both sides are essentially talking past each other. Many hydraulic
fracturing opponents focus on fears that are either irrational or lack a basis in scientific fact. Some industry representatives, meanwhile, have adopted a dismissive attitude toward community concerns, minimizing even real threats to the environment
and public health. The industry has not helped itself by denying studies that link
*Throughout this article, the terms fracking and hydraulic fracturing refer to the entire
process of drilling andproducing unconventional resources, including water access and
disposal and sitepreparation.


Annual Technical
Conference & Exhibition

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hydraulic fracturing to increased seismic activitydespite compelling data to

the contraryor by initially opposing
the disclosure of chemicals used in the
hydraulic fracturingprocess.
The industry must recognize and
address its trust deficit with the public.
Producers cannot call for less regulation
while they accept the poor practices of
some of its members, eschew transparency, or ignore legitimate concerns of the
communities in which they operate.

Economic Benefits

Although environmental issues often

dominate the debate over unconventional production, there is little doubt that
the potential for economic benefit is tremendous. The HBS-BCG report estimates
that unconventional production contributes more than USD 430 billion annually
to the US gross domestic product. That is
roughly equal to the economy of a state
the size of Michigan or North Carolina.
Unconventionals support about 2.7 million jobs and, on average, these jobs pay
nearly twice the US median wage.
These benefits are evident not just
in the big numbers that economists follow. They also hit homequite literally. Each US household is saving about
USD 800 a year, thanks to lower natural gas prices, and that figure does not
include the savings from lower gasoline
and diesel prices. In addition, the amount
that people will save is likely to continue
to grow, reaching USD 1,070 per household by 2030.
Finally, unconventionals have
altered US foreign policy and its role in
the global energy economy. The US is
now self-sufficient in natural gas production, and oil imports have fallen by 28%
in the past decade. This newfound abundance has undermined OPECs share of
the global oil market, playing a significant role in lowering prices worldwide,
and prices are not likely to recover for
years to come. While painful for the producer community, lower prices stimulate
the overall economy.
The economic benefits are just
the beginning. Low-cost hydrocarbons


have created a ripple effect that will

flow through the downstream industry.
Cheaper natural gas feedstock, for example, has made the US competitive once
again in petrochemicals, plastics, and
inorganic chemicals, attracting about
USD 138 billion in new investments. The
lower prices have also spurred increased
competition among fuels in areas such
as transportation and power generation,
paving the way for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improvements in
water conservation and, ultimately, a
lower-carbon future.

Environmental, Climate

The potential benefits have, however,

been overshadowed by concernssome
rational, some notabout unconventionals impact on the environment and
climate, as well as widespread confusion
over the facts. To be sure, the development of unconventionals has created real
risks to the environment, public health,
and local communities. Water contamination, wastewater disposal, methane
leaks, carbon emissions, land degradation, and increased seismic activity have
all been linked, in varying degrees, to the
expansion of drilling activity in the US. At
the same time, many communities have
felt the effects of increased road traffic
and noise.
Energy producers and regulators
have made considerable progress in
addressing many of these concerns by,
for example, improving water recycling
rates, being more forthright in their disclosures about chemicals, and decreasing
the size of well pads. But they could do
much more. Our research shows that the
cost of complying with practices already
endorsed by groups such as the American Petroleum Institute and the Center
for Sustainable Shale Development would
cost only 1% to 2% of a wells lifetime
revenues. Even with todays weaker oil
and gas prices, such measures should be
seen as affordable.
However, compliance is uneven. For
example, in Pennsylvania, we found considerable variation in compliance among

producers. On average, small producers violation rates were four times those
of larger companies. Better regulator
funding and more targeted enforcement
would help improve environmental performance significantly.
In addition, new natural gas power
plants have contributed significantly to
a 15% reduction in power-sector carbon
emissions from 2005 to 2013. Although
natural gas combustion emits 50% less
carbon dioxide than coal, many climate
advocates have become skeptical of all
fossil fuels and actively oppose future
development of production and pipelines. Our research, however, shows
that, in line with the Obama administrations proposed Clean Power Plan,
natural gas can provide the most costeffective path to major carbon reductions through 2030 and can also complement the growth of renewables.

A Plan for the Future

At the moment, neither side is winning

the debate, and neither is moving closer to its goals. The industry continues
to face strident opposition to the development of unconventional production.
Industry opponents are seeing uneven
environmental performance by producers, and the reduction of carbon emissions is slower than they would like.
By synthesizing often contradictory research into a common fact base and
directly engaging the industry, environment, climate, and government stakeholders, BCG and HBS have developed
an alternative plan for enabling the US
to capitalize on its tremendous energy opportunity, while both minimizing the environmental and community
impacts from increased drilling activity
and significantly reducing greenhouse
Individually, none of the following
steps represents a radical action, but
taken together, they provide a pathway
for all stakeholder groups to benefit substantially. The plan covers a number of
steps in three broad areas.
Enhance the economic
opportunity. The US must


Illuminate the Invisible

address key challenges, for

example, in determining the
best way to continue the timely
development of pipelines,
gathering systems, and other
infrastructure for moving
production from producing
regions to users across the
country. It must also encourage
the growth of its skilled
workforce. Energy industry jobs
pay, on average, two times the
US median wage, and the US
will need more trained workers
with skills in a variety of areas
to meet demand. Finally, the
country must eliminate outdated
restrictions on oil and gas
exports. Despite its newfound
energy abundance, export policy
remains mired in the 1970s
scarcity mind-set. By lifting the
ban on exports, the US can boost
its economy, create additional
jobs, and improve relations with
friendly nations.
Minimize local environmental
impacts. Our analysis shows
no inherent tradeoff between
environmental protection and
company profitability. Companies
must develop transparent
and consistent environmental
performance data to create
a foundation for monitoring
compliance, improving public
trust, and stimulating innovation.
Governments must develop
better regulatory standards,
speed the adoption of industryleading practices, and encourage
more innovation. Both the
industry and regulators must
strengthen enforcement and
require compliance from all
Speed the transition to a
cleaner energy future. Our


analysis shows that developing

unconventional resources today
is unlikely to delay the rollout
of renewables or prevent the
US from significantly reducing
carbon emissions. To achieve
the transition to a lowercarbon future, companies
must address problems such as
uncontrolled methane leaks.
Governments must set policies
that encourage cost-effective
emission reductions that are
market-based rather than
technology specific, and they
must encourage clean energy
technologies through private
and public investments. Finally,
in order to ensure a transition
to a lower-carbon energy
system by 2050, the US needs
a robust power grid capable
of addressing the intermittent
nature of renewable power
sources. Investments in such
improvements must start now
to enable renewables to achieve
scale over the long run.
Unconventional natural gas production offers a unique opportunity for the
US to enhance its economy, increase its
competitiveness, provide more geopolitical flexibility, improve the environment, and lower carbon emissionsall
at the same time. Far from being yet
another issue that divides the energy industry from its critics, hydraulic
fracturing should be the concern that

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Porter, M., Gee, D., and Pope, G. 2015.
Americas Unconventional Energy
Opportunity. https://www.bcgperspectives.




Origins of Natural Gas Discharging

From Shallow Groundwater
Bruce K. Darling, Senior Consultant/Geochemist, Geosyntec Consultants



trometry. This gives geochemists a powerful means of differentiating between

thermogenic and biogenic gases. Specialized laboratories have the equipment
needed to conduct such analyses on samples of dissolved gas in water and samples of gas collected from production
wells. Such analyses focus on specific
carbon and hydrogen components of the
methane (C1) fraction.
More specifically, laboratories measure the abundances of an isotope of
carbon (carbon-13 or 13C) and an isotope of hydrogen (deuterium, 2H or D)
in methane, relative to their abundances
in standards determined by the Inter-

Mixed Gas



Microbial Gas
(CO2 reduction)

Thermogenic Gas


Microbial Gas
(acetate fermentation)











In my recent article in the July issue of

JPT, I explained how the composition of
natural gas establishes a basis for differentiating between thermogenic and
biogenic gases. Recall that thermogenic gases are formed from the heating of
organic matter in high-temperature subsurface environments. Gases that form
under these conditions are typically composed of hydrocarbons ranging from one
to six carbon atoms, or methane (C1) to
hexane (C6).
Biogenic gases form in lower temperature regimes, usually in the near subsurface, as a result of microbial activity
on buried organic matter. These gases,
which are dominantly methane with very
minor ethane (C2) and propane (C3), are
commonly associated with coalbeds,
swamps, and landfills.
We can differentiate between thermogenic and biogenic gases by considering the molar ratio of methane to ethane
and other hydrocarbons (C1/(C2+C3). As

noted in my previous article, it is not

uncommon for that ratio to be less than
100 among thermogenic gases and to
be greater (oftentimes, much greater)
than 1,000 among biogenic gases. The
difference in ratios is a function of the
deficiency of ethane (C2), propane (C3),
and higher-chain hydrocarbons in biogenic gases.
In addition to the molar ratios, geochemistry offers a deeper look into the
signatures of natural gases by mass spec-

D (CH4) ()

Editors note: Professionals in the oil

and gas industry often receive questions
about how industry operations affect
public health, the environment, and
the communities in which they operate.
Of particular concern today is the
impact of hydraulic fracturing on
the environment. In this column, JPT
invites energy experts to put those
questions and concerns about industry
operations into perspective. Additional
information about the oil and gas
industry, how it affects society, and
how to explain industry operations
and practices to the general public is
available on SPEs Energy4me website



13C (CH4) ()
1. 13C (CH4) indicates carbon-13 (methane), D (CH4) indicates deuterium (methane), indicates per mil.
2. The data are taken from Findings Related to the Source of Methane in a Domestic Water Well Owned
by Mr. John Parker, Community of Dixie, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, prepared for Anadarko Petroleum
Corp. (Geosyntec Consultants 2014).
3. The background image is adapted from Environmental Isotope Characteristics of Landfill Leachates
and Gases (K.C. Hackley et al. 1996).

Fig. 1Carbon-13 and deuterium isotopes in methane.









Ox icro
ida bia
tio l



















CO2 reduction

(a ero
nd ge
N nT
G yp
er e
m II
an I



national Atomic Energy Agency. For 13C,

the standard is known as Vienna Pee Dee
Belemnite (VPDB) and for D, the standard is Vienna Standard Mean Ocean
In a substance such as natural gas,
methane (C1) will be depleted in both 13C
and D, with respect to VPDB and VSMOW,
and the abundances of the two isotopes
in methane are reported as ratios in
units of parts per thousand, or per mil
(e.g., 13C VPDB and D VSMOW).
Because natural gas is depleted in 13C and
D compared with the VPDB and VSMOW
standards, the reported abundances will
be negative.
Fig. 1 is a plot of the 13C and D
values for the two samples of Wilcox
dissolved gas and the five samples of
Haynesville formation gas as discussed
in the previous article. There are three
shaded fields: One is representative of
thermogenic gas and the two other fields
are representative of gas produced by
microbial activity. The microbial gas field
to the left of the thermogenic gas field is
the domain within which the 13C and D
values of gas associated with lignite and
other low-rank coals cluster. The shaded area below the thermogenic gas field
is representative of microbial gases that
form in swamps and landfills.
All of the Haynesville gas samples
lie near the center of the thermogenic gas field and the two samples of dissolved gas from the Wilcox aquifer are
within the field associated with coalbeds.
This separation between the Haynesville
and Wilcox gas samples is unmistakable
and establishes a second and very sound
geochemical basis for differentiating
between thermogenic and biogenic gas.
Geochemists look for separations such
as this when trying to identify the conditions under which a gas originated.
We can take this a step further by
plotting 13C against C1/(C2+C3), as
shown by Fig. 2 (also known as a Bernard
plot). In this figure, the Haynesville samples lie with the thermogenic field, in the
lower right. The C1/(C2+C3) ratios are all
less than 100 and the associated 13C values range from approximately 45 to
40. The two Wilcox gas samples are




1. 13C-methane indicates carbon-13 in methane and indicates per mil.
2. C1/(C2+C3) indicates the ratio of methane (C1) to the sum of ethane (C2) and propane (C3).
3. The data are taken from Findings Related to the Source of Methane in a Domestic Water Well
Owned by Mr. John Parker, Community of Dixie, Caddo Parish, Louisiana, prepared for
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (Geosyntec Consultants 2014).
4. The background image is adapted from Carbon and Hydrogen Isotope Systematics of Bacterial
Formation and Oxidation of Methane (M.J. Whiticar 1999).

Fig. 2Molecular and stable carbon isotope characterization of natural gases

(Bernard plot).

located within an area of the Bernard plot

dominated by microbial activity. For these
samples, C1/(C2+C3) is close to 10,000
and 13C is 68 to 64. The separation between the Haynesville and Wilcox gases is so distinct on this plot, both
with respect to 13C and C1/(C2+C3), that
there can be no reasonable basis for arguing that there is any influence of thermogenic gas in shallowgroundwater.
I have looked at many analyses of
dissolved gas in shallow groundwater in
Louisiana, and I have seldom seen stable
isotope signatures or gas ratios that indicate pure thermogenic gas or mixing with
thermogenic gas.

In this brief presentation and the

previous article, we have examined some
very basic concepts that offer a penetrating insight into the origin of natural gas
discharging from shallow groundwater.
The concepts and associated plotting
methods that I have illustrated are well
established and widely used. It is especially important to consider the overall
composition of gas and the isotopic signatures of gas discharging from domestic
wells before concluding that oil and gas
operations are to blame.
I welcome questions or comments
about any of this material. Contact me at JPT

Bruce K. Darling is a senior consultant at Geosyntec Consultants.

He has worked for 33 years as a geologist in the energy and
environmental industries. As a consultant, he has represented
clients in the petroleum, mining, electric power, and radioactive
waste disposal industries. He has also directed field programs in
Kenya for nonprofit organizations involved in the development of
water resources in eastern Africa. Much of his petroleum-related
consulting work is in support of producers faced with litigation
over allegations of soil and groundwater contamination associated with leases in
Texas and Louisiana. He works from offices in Austin, Texas, and Lafayette, Louisiana.
Darling holds an MS in geology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a PhD
in hydrogeology/geochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.


Chris Carpenter, JPT Technology Editor

Dart-Activated Hydraulic
Pipe-Recovery System

The HyPR HoleSaver from Churchill

Drilling Tools is the first full-strength
hydraulic pipe-recovery system. The
tool consists of a full-strength sub
positioned in the drillstring, which is
severed by a HyPR jetting dart in just a
few hours. Traditional methods of pipe
recovery can take many days and often
use explosives or other high-energy
sources. By using dart-activated technology, the HyPR HoleSaver is a faster,
simpler, and safer way to recover stuck
pipe for many applications. Churchill
Drilling Tools, in its effort to create new
technology to reduce cost and enhance
performance, has made considerable
investments in research and development to produce HyPR darts that are
capable of delivering cutting power in
excess of 1,000 hydraulic hp, with jet
velocities of over 300 ft/sec (Fig.1). To
activate the system, either a fishing
or cementing dart is pumped down
the string. Once landed in its intended location, this dart will quickly part
the full-strength sub. This process
can also be accelerated with torque
or overpull from the surface. Depending on the dart selected, the user is left
with either a perfect fish-neck or immediate side-track cementing capability.
Up to three HyPR HoleSavers can be
positioned at multiple points throughout the string for maximum contingency options. The tool is an ideal partner for Churchills DAV MX circulating
sub, which can be used in packoff situations to recover circulation before cutting the string. Stuck-pipe situations
currently cost the drilling industry mil-

lions every year. Churchill Drilling Tools

was therefore committed to develop this
low-cost, simple, and effective solution
to the recurring issue. The HyPR HoleSaver now enables operators to effectively insure against excessive costs by
running the tool in their drillstring to
recover quickly from stuck pipe should
it occur. The compact and portable
nature of the system makes it ideal for
remote locations where stuck-pipe situations are likely to have even higher cost
implications. The low cost of running
the tool, combined with its rapid recovery time, brings significant cost reductions for operators globally.
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Hydraulic Long-Stroke
Pumping Unit

The Weatherford EnviroLift hydraulic

long-stroke pumping unit is a new lift
solution that is well-suited for multiwell
pads, environmentally sensitive areas,
and populated areas. It provides capabilities similar to those of a conventional pumping unitbut in a more compact, environmentally friendly package
that enhances safetyand eliminates
problems associated with other hydraulic technologies. The unit is suited for
deviated and horizontal wellbores and
for liquid production up to 1,200 B/D
(191 m3/d). The unit comes in three
parts that require no site preparation
and install quickly: the wellhead, cylinder assembly, and power unit. The
240-in. stroke unit is rigidly bolted and
supported on the integrated wellhead
eliminating guy wires while enabling the
unit to withstand 100-mph windsand

contained in a single cylinder with no

exposed moving parts. The design eliminates the stuffing box to avoid leaks.
With a maximum skid size of 116 ft
(3.41.8 m), the unit enables higher
well density and increased productivity
in multiwell pads and provides plenty of
work space. Additionally, with options
for camouflaging and noise reduction to
blend into the surrounding landscape,
the unit can be aestheticallypleasing.
For additional information, visit

High-Performance Elastomer

Rubberatkins high-performance perfluoro (FFKM) elastomers enable customers to realize sealing solutions not previously possible with other traditional
FFKM elastomers. This advance is made
possible by unique compounding techniques used to stretch the boundaries of
these elastomers in often hostile chemical environments and extreme temperatures. Because of the nature of perfluoro
elastomers, their mechanical properties
are low at elevated temperatures. However, the Rubberatkins Vermanite perfluoro elastomers have been engineered
for improved performance and longevity at challenging downhole conditions.
Vermanite is one of Rubberatkins many
materials specifically compounded for
extreme downhole applications (Fig. 2).
Sealing solutions for high-expansion,
ultrahigh-temperature (650F) geothermal application and extreme sour-gas
environments are just a few applications
where Vermanite has been used successfully. Products molded from Vermanite
include O-rings, T-seals, V-seals, packing elements, and expandable seals. In

Fig. 1A HyPR HoleSaver Dart from Churchill Drilling Tools. Capable of producing cutting power in excess of 1,000
hydraulic hp with jet velocities of over 300 ft/sec, the darts are able to cut through a full-strength sub in just a couple
of hours.




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Fig. 2A high-performance stack

from Rubberatkins made with
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addition to the performance and longevity aspects of Vermanite, Rubberatkins

has been able to bond these inert materials successfully to varioussubstrates.
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Reamer Tool

Superior Drilling Products Drill-nReam tool is a dual-stage eccentric

reamer that increases the wellbore

drift by 1/16 in. or in. over bit size

while rotating during horizontal and
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The two reamer stages spaced approximately 5 ft apart act in unison to
force each other into the formation while reducing ledges, doglegs,
and wellbore tortuosity. Each reamer
includes four blades with numerous polycrystalline-diamond-compact
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progressive pattern to minimize torque.
Diamond domes are also placed strategically on the reamers to eliminate
pipe damage and protect the PDC cutters while rotating in casing. The profile
relief located near the blades entices the
formation into the PDC cutting structure to maximize the amount of formation that is contacted while conditioning the wellbore.
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Annular Barrier

It is estimated that tens of thousands

of wells currently suffer from surface
annular pressure (SAP), and cement
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(WAB) was developed with the primary

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Fig. 3The Drill-n-Ream tool from Superior Drilling Products.





The Flex-Well completion approach provides tangible benefts to
operating companies by reducing reservoir uncertainty, simplifying
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application of segregating production
between different reservoirs in cementless lower completions. The WAB functions by applying pressure from within
the completion string to the engineered
sleeve through the valve system and
hydraulically conforming the sleeve to

the formation (or casing) within which

it is set. Once conformed to the encircling structure, the WAB seals off the
annulus around the liner upon which it
is mounted, preventing undesired pressure migration across the WAB along the
wellbore. The WAB gives users the abil-

Project1_Layout 1 7/30/15 11:26 AM Page 1

ity to protect themselves against SAP

by overcoming the use of cement as
the only primary well barrier. The WAB
builds upon solid-expandable knowledge Welltec has developed in the last
half-decade but augments the material
strength of expanded steel with transferred annular pressure. This technique
of repurposing pressure to create a
more robust seal is a novel approach to
an old problem.
For additional information, visit


The University of Tulsa (TU) has long been recognized as one of the worlds leaders in petroleum
engineering education and research. Through its innovative partnerships with industry and its tradition of world-class faculty, petroleum engineering is one of the flagship programs of TU.
Chairman Position
The McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering (MSPE) at TU invites applications and nominations for Chairman of the MSPE. The Chairman may possibly also hold an Endowed Chair in
Petroleum Engineering at the Full Professor level. The Chairman will report to the Dean of the
College of Engineering and Natural Sciences and will be responsible for the advancement of the
reputation of the school, as well as its leadership and management. He or she is also expected to
teach and pursue his/her own research interests. The Chairman is responsible for:
Maintaining and enhancing the undergraduate program and its accreditation
Representing the school to alumni, Industrial Advisory Board and TU administration
Promoting new and existing research programs
Fulfilling administrative responsibilities for the MSPE
The individual selected to hold the position of Chairman shall:
Have an earned Ph.D. degree in petroleum engineering, or a related discipline with university
or industry experience in petroleum engineering
Be an outstanding educator, scholar and administrator with academic credentials appropriate
for a tenured faculty in a Ph.D. granting petroleum engineering school; industrial experience
is advantageous
Have demonstrated the ability to conduct high quality, externally-funded research as evidenced
by quality refereed publications
Have a strong commitment to teaching and enhancement of the undergraduate program
Faculty Position
The McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering at TU invites applications and nominations for a
tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant Professor level. Applicants for the tenure-track faculty
position must have an earned Ph.D. in engineering, geophysics, physics or applied mathematics. The
successful applicant will have the ability to provide teaching excellence in a variety of petroleum engineering courses, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Successful applicants will have the
ability to produce high quality research suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals that have
a high impact factor, develop a funded research program, supervise M.S. and Ph.D. students and participate in internal and external service activities. The terms of appointment will correspond to candidates credentials and TU faculty appointment guidelines.
With a current full-time faculty of 14, the MSPE offers Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degrees.
Current enrollment includes approximately 475 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students.
The MSPE has a strong research tradition with an average research funding of 7 million dollars
per year. Our unique research strength is evident from 9 research consortia funded by the petroleum
industry with an excellent balance between applied and theoretical research.
TU is a private comprehensive university with approximately 4,600 students enrolled in its 5 academic colleges. The MSPE resides administratively within the College of Engineering and Natural
Sciences, which consists of 3 schools, 3 engineering departments, 3 science departments, and mathematics. More information is available at TUs website:
The Search Committee will begin reviewing applications for both positions beginning September
2015. The process will continue until suitable candidates are found. Applicants should submit a
complete vitae, along with the names and addresses of six references to Professor Ovadia Shoham,
Search Committee Chair, McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering, The University of Tulsa,
800 S Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104.

Cement-Evaluation Service

Baker Hughes introduced its Integrity eXplorer cement-evaluation service.

Existing evaluation techniques, which
have been used for more than 30 years,
are acoustic-based and may not provide the accuracy needed when faced
with current challenges. This new electromagnetic/acoustic technology allows
operators to assess the integrity of
cement bonds directly in any current
wellbore environment or cement mixture. Operators in the upstream sector
rely on the accuracy of cement-bond logs
to make critical decisions that can affect
long-term well integrity and the environ-

Fig. 4Baker Hughes

Integrity eXplorer

The University of Tulsa is an Equal Opportunity Employer F/M/Disabled/Veteran.



Fig. 5The NitroGEN downhole-fluid-recovery service from Flowco.

ment (Fig. 4). While cement compressive strength has typically been used as
a key indicator of cement quality, todays
challenging environments require a
more-detailed assessment. The Integrity
eXplorer service provides operators with
accurate and comprehensive data about
the properties of the respective cement,
thereby enabling them to make critical
decisions to help protect their assets,
reduce nonproductive time, and minimize unnecessaryremediation.

(Fig. 5). New-well activity applications

for NitroGEN include completions and
drillouts. NitroGEN is ideal for pipeline
purging and pressure testing. 24-hour

supervision and daily reporting are available withNitroGEN. JPT

For additional information, visit

For additional information, visit


Flowcos NitroGEN Services rapidly recover downhole fluids. Nitrogen is

efficient, inert, and noncorrosive, and
works seamlessly with all Flowco gas
lift valves. NitroGEN operates in three
stages. First, a low-pressure air compressor pulls atmospheric air to the membrane separator; next, the membranes
separate air into rich, inert nitrogen gas
at greater than 95% purity and oxygen
waste. Finally, high-pressure booster
compressors discharge nitrogen-gas volumes up to 600 scf/min at 5,000 psi.
Applications include well jetting and
unloading, dewatering, well testing and
cleanout, reservoir-pressure maintenance, and gas supply for gas lift systems




Sequenced Refracturing Technology

Improves Economics in Unconventional Plays
Andrew Acock, SPE, and Brian D. Clark, SPE, Schlumberger

Under current market constraints,

many operators and service companies are trying to determine how to
efficiently and cost-effectively refracture declining and/or underperforming shale wells. Companies are investigating new technologies and creatively
adapting existing techniques to improve
Historically, hundreds or thousands of laterals in unconventional plays
were stimulated with suboptimal practices or suffered damage, limiting access
to significant remaining reserves.
Typically costing a fraction of the
amount required to drill and complete
a new well, refracturing represents an
attractive opportunity for operators to
increase production, ultimate recovery,
and return on investment.

Problems With Refracturing

While refracturing vertical wells is not

new, the industry has limited experience
with refracturing horizontal wellbores
and the technique is still in its infancy.
Today, the common practice is to assume
that if a treatment design succeeded in
the original lateral, one needs to only
apply essentially the same formula in
refracturing the well. Instead of using
mechanical bridge plugs, which are no
longer a viable option, a diverting agent
is pumped between each proppant fracture stage.
Diversion materials typically consist
of degradable particles intended to plug
existing fractures in low-pressure depleted zones and divert proppant to untreated, high-pressure sections of the lateral.
Although some horizontal refracturing
jobs have achieved good results with this


approach, there are two serious potential

technical shortcomings. One is ineffective diversion across the full length of the
lateral. The other is inadequate proppant
transport inside the lateral.
Conventional diverting materials
have not proven reliable, often failing to
isolate existing fractures. Particle sizes
have not been optimized to effectively
plug near-wellbore fracture openings, or
the particles become strung out during
pumping and thereby prevent diversion
pills from achieving sufficient concentration to create impermeable barriers. As a
result, portions of the subsequent proppant treatments take the path of least
resistance by flowing into depleted areas
and failing to attain the pressure required
for fracturing any unstimulated rock.
There is another, less obvious problem with traditional refracturing of horizontal completions. As proppant-laden
fracture fluids travel toward the toe of
the lateral, fluid fractions enter multiple
hydraulic fractures along the way and
continually slow the stream.
As fluid velocity diminishes, the
proppant begins to settle out and accumulate inside the casing, creating a sand
dune that progressively fills the lateral. Few operators realize that hundreds
or thousands of feet of casing may be
clogged with sand. Inadequate proppant
transport and sand settling may explain
the observation that many refracturing
operations preferentially stimulate the
wellbore closer to the heel.

Sequenced Refracturing

To overcome these challenges, maximize

lateral coverage, and increase stimulated
reservoir volume, Schlumberger recent-

ly developed the BroadBand Sequence

refracturing system.
Supported by rigorous candidate selection and completion modeling workflows, the new refracturing
approach pumps in alternating sequence
a fracturing fluid that enhances proppant
transport and a highly effective composite diversion pill, which is pumped
between each treatment stage. Originally
proven to optimize initial fracture completions, the fracturing fluid and diversion pill technologies are being adapted
for refracturing operations. A common
element is the use of fiber.
Composite diversion pill. The use
of degradable diverting agents is common in oilfield operations such as matrix
acidizing, in which the materials temporarily plug more permeable rocks and
redirect the treatment to less permeable
zones. However, plugging much larger
hydraulic fracture openings close to the
wellbore requires quite different diversion materials.
Based on the expertise attained in
cementing technology, researchers knew
that a fluid with particles of varying sizes
would create a more efficient plug. They
developed a multimodal mix of degradable polymer particles, each differing in size by approximately an order
The largest particles are optimized
to pass through perforations and lodge
in the entrance to the fracture. Incrementally smaller particles accumulate within
the interstices of larger particles, further
reducing permeability until a temporary
plug is formed.
However, particles alone are insufficient for plugging fractures, particu-




Fig. 1The addition of fibers, inset, to the fracturing fluid, left, or the diversion
pill hinders fluid/particle separation, thus delivering proppant or degradable
diversion particles more effectively along an entire open lateral. Photo
courtesy of Schlumberger.

larly in the less expensive, lower viscosity fracturing fluids that are preferred by
many operators. Rather than remaining
evenly blended during pumping, particles of different sizes tend to disperse
within the fluid stream because variations in drag forces cause them to travel at different velocities. As a result,
excess volumes of diversion fluid enter
the fractures beyond the near-wellbore
region, consuming more time and more
material to plug the perforations.
Researchers also knew from experience with cementing that adding fibers
can dramatically reduce the rate of fluid/
particle separation. Fibers physically
interfere with the settling of particles in
suspension without changing the rheology of the carrier fluid.
After extensive experimentation,
selected synthetic degradable fibers
were blended with multimodal particles
to create a unique composite diversion
technology. Fibers ensured that diversion pills would remain highly concentrated, even under variable pump rates,

thus enhancing both the speed and efficiency of temporary plug formation at
each stage of sequenced refracturing.
In the field, these very low permeability plugs withstand wellbore temperatures from 100F to 400F, and pressure
differentials of up to 3,700 psi. After
refracturing, all particles and fibers
completely degrade in a few days without further intervention, opening newly
refractured completions toproduction.
Fiber-laden fracturing fluid. In
recent years, an increasing number of
shale operators have used fiber-laden
fracturing fluid to minimize settling and
enhance proppant transport within the
reservoir during initial hydraulic fracture treatment (Fig. 1). Because fluids
are pumped at a high rate and each stage
has only two to eight perforation clusters, little proppant appears to accumulate within the casing.
However, in a refracturing operation, the entire length of the wellbore
is open. More than 150 clusters could
potentially be open to fracturing at one


time. High rate jobs on the initial

completion now have much lower velocities to carry proppant along the lateral. Therefore, pumping multiple fracturing stages can systematically fill
the lateral with a sand plug from the
toe backward.
When companies began refracturing shale wells, no one had thought
much about laterals becoming plugged
with sand. The phenomenon was discovered while cleaning up with coiled
tubing after a series of experimental
refracturing operations, when the problem was already too late to avoid. Half
or two-thirds of the lateral were full
of sand. Even with microseismic monitoring, when operators noticed events
clustering around the heel of the lateral, they initially assumed the diversion
agent hadfailed.
Just as adding fibers to the diversion pill prevents degradable particles from stringing out, fiber-laden
fracturing fluid can enhance proppant
transport and inhibit sand accumulation within the casing during restimulation of long, open laterals. By incorporating fibers into both components,
sequenced refracturing technology
may provide the optimal solution to
these two problems inherent in conventional refracturing without resorting to more costly and time-consuming

Eagle Ford Consortium

In 2014, five Eagle Ford Shale operators

and Schlumberger formed a refracturing consortium to share information
and expertise, accelerate the learning curve, develop a rigorous workflow
for candidate selection, and optimize
treatment design and execution. Three
refracturing goals, which vary by well,
are increasing stimulated reservoir volume, improving the conductivity of
existing fractures, and re-energizing a
parent well before completing an infill
The project has focused on testing and refining best practices in applying the diversion technology developed


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Production regain versus original initial production













Production Regain vs. Original

Initial Production (%)

Two simple steps will help

us serve you better!

Incremental oil production after refracturing

Incremental Oil Production

After Refracturing (B/D)

Get more
from your


Make sure your SPE profile
is up to date.
Simply log in to your SPE
membership account and make
sure your profile is current.

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communication preferences.
Select the Communication
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update your information.
To get started, visit

Fig. 2By using the new composite diversion technology, an Eagle Ford Shale
refracturing consortium achieved production gains from 100 BOPD to more
than 450 BOPD while regaining as much as 76% of the initial production.
Graphic courtesy of Schlumberger.

as part of the sequenced refracturing

approach. For its first few wells, the
consortiums refracturing strategy was
to pump proppant volumes equal to the
original treatment stages and composite diversion pills the same size as those
used to isolate new completions.
The process began by using a
small amount of diversion material and
increasing it as needed. On subsequent
wells, the size of the diversion pills
used early in the process was gradually increased, thereby isolating depleted
zones sooner and stimulating greater
volumes of previously untreated rock.
On the assumption that conventional fracturing fluid would be sufficient, early wells were refractured without the addition of fiber. At that point,
the challenge of proppant transport
inside the casing was not understood.
Although surface-acquired microseismic events were observed in only the
30% portion of the lateral closest to the
heel, it was unclear whether inefficient
diversion was the cause, because engineers were still modifying the size of the
pills and the timing of their delivery in
the well.

On another of the consortiums

candidate wells for refracturing, the
treatment used fiber in the fracturing
fluid and the pill. Based on the analysis of microseismic activity, the well
achieved a sharp improvement of about
80% coverage. In future refracturing
operations, the consortium will further investigate the effect of fiber-laden
fracturing fluid and various mechanical
techniques aimed at improving coverage
of thelateral.
To date, the Eagle Ford consortium has achieved noteworthy results.
The primary objective is to regain more
than 60% of the initial production while
spending less than 40% of the original
cost. Thirty-day production increments
from six refractured wells ranged from
increases of 100 BOPD to more than
450BOPD, or from 31% to 76% (Fig. 2).
The cost of using the new composite diversion technology to refracture a lateral was about 70% less than
the cost of drilling and fracturing a new
well. Economic models indicate that the
internal rates of return could exceed
30%, which is the expected value of a
new well in the same area. JPT


Put a highlight on your well barrier description

Wellbarrier Illustration Tool

Key functions

Enhance the safety in the wells

Describe barrier envelopes
High quality illustration
A clear message to all stakeholders
Document qualifcation methods
Document monitoring methods
A picture says more than 1000 words

A powerful interactive drawing tool

Consistent graphics and language
Sample library available
Support NORSOK D-010 standard
Version control
Electronic verifcation
Easy to use drag & drop
E-mail:, Phone: +47 51 63 08 00


Using Schematics for Managing Well Barriers

Tore Fjgesund, SPE, Wellbarrier

Well integrity and well barriers have been

part of the exploitation for oil and gas for
nearly a century, with the introduction
of the blowout preventer (BOP) in the
1920s. The concept of creating well barrier schematics was inaugurated in Norway in 1992, long before the accidents
on the Montara platform in 2009 and the
Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 elevated
the global focus on well integrity.

A Common Understanding

Yet there are large variations in the

industrys perception of well integrity
and well barriers, despite the daily use
of these terms by drilling and well engineers. Well integrity is defined by the
Norsok Standard D-010 (Rev. 4, 2013) as

an application of technical, operational,

and organizational solutions to reduce
risk of uncontrolled release of formation
fluids and well fluids throughout the life
cycle ofawell.
The definition is so broad that engineers might prefer something that lends
itself to a more practical, hands-on
description. This is where the well barriers principle comes into play.
If you ask someone what a well
barrier is, you will get many different
answers. However, it is possible to unify

them on the concept of an envelope. The

well barrier envelope is the physical system that prevents fluids from flowing
unintentionally from the formation into
another formation or to the external
environment. The envelope is designed
to contain this pressurized effluent.

Barrier Envelope Principle

The benefit of using the envelope principle is that we can create two independent envelopes, one outside of the other.
We will have primary containment of
Production Well


Gas lift, screen liner

Well handed over to owner
Primary well barrier


Production casing
Production casing

As Built

Secondary well barrier

Top of Cement
1786 m MD


As Built

Surface production tree with Pressure tested to

production master valve
345 bar

Leakoff Test
267 bar
Top of Cement
2366 m MD

Fig. 1The principle of dual,

independent well barrier envelopes
is shown (a) in a conceptual diagram
and (b) in a detailed schematic. All
graphics courtesy of Wellbarrier.


Leakoff Test
317 bar


Inflow tested to 345 bar Frequent inflow test

to 70 bar
Inflow tested to 70 bar A-annulus pressure
Pressure tested to 345 A-annulus pressure
bar with 1.28 SG fluid
Pressure tested to 345 B-annulus pressure
bar with 1.28 SG fluid
Formation test, job
B-annulus pressure
performance or bond log
Fracture pressure
Not accessible
prognosis >345 bar

2013/1887 m

Wellhead annulus
access valves
Intermediate casing
Intermediate casing

2812/2599 m

Intermediate casing
Formation (in-situ)

Pressure tested to
345 bar
Pressure tested to
345 bar
Pressure tested to
345 bar
Pressure tested to 345
bar with 1.28 SG fluid
LOT tested to 267 bar

Periodic pressure
Periodic pressure
External observation
C-annulus pressure
C-annulus pressure
C-annulus pressure

LOT tested to 267 bar Not accessible

Healthy well, no or minor issue

TD 3167/2910 m


KBC Advert - SPE - Sept-2015 outlines.pdf 1 8/11/2015 7:09:10 AM






Pressure (bar)


Pore pressure expected
Fracture pressure expected

Depth (m)



ing with the pore and fracture pressure curves of the formation (Fig. 2).
This is of considerable help in increasing the stakeholders understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the well. Aligning critical barrier
points in the well with pore and fracture pressure curves will verify soundness or show weaknesses in the well
Furthermore, a pressure or density gradient line can be imposed on the
illustration to show how the formation
and surface pressures will affect the
hydrostatic load in the well along its vertical depth scale. This can be used to
show the reservoir, overbalanced fluid,
gas lift, dual-gradient, and managed

Benefits to All Stakeholders


Fig. 2An illustration of a two-envelope well barrier system is shown with

reference to the formation pore and fracture pressure curves.

the pressurized fluid, so that no matter

where the pressure might escape through
the primary barrier, there will always be
a secondary containment behind the primary barrier as a backup (Figs. 1a and
1b). To be consistent and to avoid ambiguity, it is best to define the secondary
barrier as the last line of defense rather
than barrier No. 2.

Visual, Language Consistency

Following the inauguration of the well

barrier schematics in the early 1990s,
industry engineers began to make their
own representations, typically in Excel,
PowerPoint, or Visio. It quickly became
apparent that this practice needed to be
standardized to prevent others from misinterpreting the originators intentions.
The use of strictly controlled component templates or purpose-built
information technology (IT) tools has
advantages that can help establish a
common understanding and perception


of barrier definitions. If this is done,

well barrier schematics can be created for all situations throughout the
life cycle of the well. A consistency in
illustration annotation and barrier element listing will further strengthen the
These fundamental principles
should be applicable to all types of wells
worldwide because all well construction
is based on the same principle: Drill a
hole, run casing, cement the well, and
install downhole and surface flow-control equipment. Not every well will be
built with two independent barriers,
but that fact increases the importance
of identifying for stakeholders the single barrier envelope that will contain the
hydrocarbons and prevent their escape
to surrounding areas.

Aligned With Pressure Curves

The latest development in well barrier

illustration is to align the barrier draw-

Once a consistent representation of the

well barrier definition is established,
it becomes much easier to communicate to all stakeholders how the well
is safeguarded. Often, well integrity
details known to the engineers who have
worked directly on well designs are less
known by other stakeholders with a role
in evaluating the planned well and making decisions in ongoing situations.
A clearly readable illustration is a
powerful tool that enables everyone to
see the same picture. It becomes easier
for people to think through a proposal
or a plan, and discussion in the planning
or operation stage can be more focused
The benefits of using well barrier
schematics are
The speed with which barrier
plans can be evaluated
The common basis of graphics
and language provided for
discussing well integrity
The common approach
enabled for evaluating a wells
mechanical integrity
Their usefulness in documenting
a variety of wells and operating
situations throughout well life
Their usefulness in providing
clear well integrity information


when responsibilities are handed over from one

stakeholder to another

Global Use of Schematics

The use of well barrier schematics is rapidly expanding among

operators worldwide, particularly in areas with strong regulation but also elsewhere without regulatory requirement. Standards such as those of Norsok, the API, and the ISO recommend
the preparation of well barrier schematics for different stages
of well activity.
As legislators are increasingly recommending the use of
barrier illustrations, a number of national, major, and supermajor operators are mandating the use of well barrier schematics as part of their internal requirements or best practices.
Operators believe that the adoption of well barrier schematics
strengthens their safety profile and can improve their engagement with stakeholders.

9-12 November 2015, ADNEC, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Knowledge Sharing, Handover

There are many parties involved in a well over its life cycle, from
the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance to its
plugging and abandonment. The well barrier schematics play
a unique role, being among the few documents that are always
present in any well work or evaluation.
A prepared well barrier schematic will provide a document
that spells out key elements in the well. It will illustrate the primary and secondary barriers for any well activity, indicate how
each barrier element has been or will need to be qualified, and
tell how it should be monitored.
Using a dedicated IT tool to prepare and store this work
will ensure that all the relevant well information of a company is
saved in a logically organized library that is available to all personnel working on a given well at any time.
Personnel should be able to retrieve well barrier schematics and information entered by people in other disciplines, and
modify and update it to reflect remedial work or new well activities. A well library is also a useful vehicle for learning how similar issues have been handled in other projects.
As the well responsibility is handed from one party to
another, the well barrier schematic offers a clear illustration of its status and how it is safeguarded and will serve as
a common core of well information throughout the wells life
cycle. This core document becomes a junction for stakeholders whenever needed and can facilitate proactive work and
An understanding of well barrier principles should be fundamental to engineering work in well operations. A good way
of summarizing the need to reflect these principles and act
accordingly is to be prepared: visualize it, qualify it, monitor it,
document it, and communicate it. JPT


ADIPEC will be extending the show floor

to include an all new Hall 15 exhibition
marquee and an outdoor heavy
machinery dedicated zone, located on
the marine front of the world class Abu
Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
(ADNEC). Offshore marine companies
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which provides water access, mooring
and quayside exhibition space, a unique
feature that is now a part of the worlds
2nd largest oil and gas event.

Tel.: +971 2 4444 909


Grant Helps University Expand

Undergraduate Curriculum
Jack Betz, JPT Staff Writer

Numerical models have been used by

the oil and gas industry for more than
a decade to simulate the mechanical
properties of rock, yet many universities only require undergraduate petroleum engineering students to take one or
two geology classes, according to a professor at Missouri University of Science
In an effort to change this culture, Missouri S&T, with help from
Chevron, became the first US university to offer mechanical earth modeling (MEM) classes at the undergraduate
level in2008.
This year, Chevron created a doctoral scholarship position to assist Missouri S&T in expanding the MEM curriculum initiative to other university
partners. So far, Pennsylvania State University and Louisiana State University
have both expressed interest.
MEM is a method of subsurface
characterization that looks not only at
geology near the wellbore, but also larger features such as tectonics and fault
trends, which affect and shape an entire
area. Mechanical models create detailed
pictures of geological features, forces,
and rock properties by using data from
a variety of sources.
The strength of MEM is that it
is an interdisciplinary approach, said
Andreas Eckert, a Missouri S&T assistant petroleum engineering professor.
You try to collect as much data as possible from different disciplines and build
a consistent model that integrates the
data to create a better picture of the
mechanical state of a place in the earth.
Petroleum engineering students
at Missouri S&T are now required to
take six geology classes, in addition to


Mechanical earth modeling integrates many geological features and forces into
a single model. Image courtesy of Chevron.

two classes devoted to MEM. By taking

one extra course, students can graduate
with a minor in geology.
The initiative began in 2007
after the university was awarded a
USD 1.5 million grant from Chevrons
Drilling and Completions Department
to expand the schools engineering programs. The money was used to revise
classes, hire staff, and update facilities
that ultimately allowed the initiative to
move forward.
Chevron learned that the university had been considering combining its

petroleum engineering, geological engineering, and geology and geophysics

departments to foster a more integrated engineering environment. This was
positive news for the company, which
is researching ways to make numerical
models more descriptive by engaging
more disciplines and using more types
of data.
After talks with Missouri S&T,
Harvey Goodman, Chevron fellow in
rock mechanics and MEM, taught the
first undergraduate class on MEM in
spring 2008. The following year,



Eckert was hired to oversee and expand

We are receiving good feedback that our students are well prepared, due to this integrative approach,
on concepts such as how environmental stress affects hydraulic fracturing,
More education on geology and
modeling helps students learn additional strategies for solving problems that
they are already encountering as petroleum engineering students, Eckert said.
Our goal at the undergraduate level is
not to make our students experts [in
MEM], he said, but rather that they be
aware that this approach exists and that
if problems arise, where [geomechanical] conditions arent understood, they
can resort back to this approach and get
a better understanding.
The university also plans to create
what it calls an MEM center of excellence, where it will cooperate with other
schools on research.
Today, MEM is commonly used
in investigating wellbore and infrastructure stability. The technique can
be used to simulate geomechanical
stresses acting on wells, casing, and
pipelines to determine the probability of hazardous situations arising in
the future.
Another example that Goodman
gave was using models to predict the
likely effects of infill drilling and reservoir depletion on an area surrounding a well.
People come together early on in a
project to build these models, and thats
a good thing, he said. They can factor
the risk going into a project, rather than
react to something bad that happens
during the execution.
As more research is conducted,
Goodman said that the industry expects
numerical models to be used for an
increasing number of purposes. Researchers are working on ways of using MEM to
more accurately model parameters such
as long-term productivity, which can help
operators determine whether a project
will be economical. JPT




Introducing the Weatherford

heated constant volume trap (CVT).
capabilities of our traditional CVT. With more
uniform mud samples, were bringing the heat
and precisionback to your formation analysis.
more at

Drilling & Formation Evaluation

Well Construction
Completion & Stimulation

2015 Weatherford. All rights reserved.


Testing Heavy Oil Production Without Steam Heating

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor
A new device that heats thick oil sands
crude with radio waves is being used
for the first time in a production well
in western Canada. Rather than pumping steam into a well to reduce the viscosity of oil as thick as peanut butter,
the new method combines an electromagnetic heating element and a solvent to mobilize the crude at a much
Suncor Energy is leading the fourcompany group doing the pilot with support from the province of Alberta, which
is backing projects developing affordable ways to reduce emissions from oil

The pilot began by heating the well

using a specially created antenna from
Harris Energy Solutions. The US defense
contractor used what it has learned to
reduce the heat emitted by military communication devices in a totally different way.
In a previous test, the device was
used to warm the oil sands around a
drilled shaft in the wall of an open-pit
mine. It was able to heat the oil sands
deposit to the required temperature. For
the pilot, a solvent will be added when
the reservoir reaches the required temperature to see if the combination will
perform as well as expected.

The surface facilities pilot project at Suncors Dover site in Alberta, Canada,
uses radio waves to heat and inject solvents into the upper well of a 2-well
pair. Thegoal is to eliminate the need for steam in producing oil sands crude.
Photo courtesy of Suncor.


The well design is similar to steamassisted gravity drainage (SAGD) well

pairs widely used in the oil sands of
western Canada. The antenna will be
installed in the upper well where a solvent will be injected to further thin the
bitumenan ultrathick form of crude
resulting in oil flowing downward into
a production well. The new process is
called enhanced solvent extraction incorporating electromagnetic heating; it is
mainly known by its acronym ESEIEH
The ESEIEH technology, if successful and commercially viable, has the
potential to improve economic and environmental performance in the oil sands
by eliminating the need for water at insitu operations, reducing greenhouse gas
emissions, and decreasing our environmental footprint, said Gary Bunio, general manager of oil sands strategic technology at Suncor.
On the surface, the new method
requires far less equipment than SAGD
wells that require boilers to heat water,
deliver it to wells, and then separate the
oil from the water, which requires further treatment. Emissions are reduced
because it is expected to use up to 75%
less energy, according to Suncor.
The heating element will warm the
reservoir to about 60C compared with
about 240C in a SAGD well, said Mark
Blue, manager of new ventures at Harris. At that temperature, the viscosity
of the oil has been reduced significantly, and the effect of the solvent has been
enhanced, which is expected to allow the
lower-energy combination to equal the
effect of steamheat.
The goal in the first phase of testing was to develop an understanding of
radio frequency (RF) heating in an oil
sands pay zone, said Mark Bohm, manager of in-situ technology development
at Suncor. Now that weve done that,
the objectives for this phase will be to
add solvent to the RF heating process


Facts about the radio frequency pilot well test

Goal: Test a lower-cost, lower-energy method to produce heavy, oil sands
Key elements: A 24-month test of heating using a radio antenna and a
solvent to mobilize the bitumen.
Partners: Devon, Nexen Energy ULC, Suncor Energy, Harris Corp., and
Albertas Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp.


Name: Enhanced solvent extraction incorporating electromagnetic heating

(ESEIEH), pronounced like easy

in an in-situ reservoir. Well be evaluating the results of this test to determine

the right path forward for commercializing the technology over the next
few years.
The 24-month production test at
Suncors Dover test site in Alberta will
monitor how the well performs, the cost,
the percentage of solvent recovered, and
how it performs compared with predictions by computer simulations developed
The heating element is a center-fed
dipole antennaan advanced version of
the rabbit ear antennas once used to pick

up broadcast televisionusing a radio

signal in the bandwidth used for AM
radio, Blue said.
Harris engineers applied what they
learned when reducing the heat emitted by communication antennas to create one that broadcast radio waves in
a way that heated the area around it.
Electric-powered heating methods have
been tried in the past, but were never as
effective or efficient as steam. The company has modified the design to create a model that is simpler, more rugged, lower cost, and faster to install,

Inaugural Challenge Generates

New Proppant Ideas
Jack Betz, JPT Staff Writer
A Canadian company has developed a
lightweight polymer that can grow to
a predetermined size when submerged

Proppant created from low alumina,

North Dakota clay. Photo courtesy of
University of North Dakota Energy &
Environmental Research Center.

Although it is capable of swelling

up to 10 times its original volume, the
polymers growth can be programmed
ahead of time to prevent blocking of production pathways if used as
a proppant, said Sumitra Rajagopalan,
founder and chief executive officer of
The material is also slightly pliable
in its enlarged state, allowing it to bear
compressive forces without becoming
brittle and crushing.
Rajagopalans company makes smart
materials, meaning that they change their
properties based on external cues such as
voltage or temperature. It sells many of
its products to the biomedicalindustry.
The company recently became interested in researching oil and gas appli-





and sleeves.





In July, GE and Statoil started accepting submissions for a second

challengeaimed at reducing or reusing water in onshore oil and gas
operations. Organizers will accept entries until 24 September and winners
will be announced in November.
For more information, visit

cations through its participation in the

first GE Statoil Open Innovation Challenge. Entrants were asked to find ways
to reduce or replace the use of sand in
hydraulic fracturing. Bioastra was one of
five winners.
Another winning contestant, University of North Dakota researcher John
Hurley, focused his efforts on creating a lightweight ceramic proppant that
can be manufactured from raw materials available in the Williston basin,
instead of relying on shipments from
other states.
Manufacturers tend to locate proppant factories close to deposits of high

alumina clay, the primary ingredient in ceramic proppant. High alumina clay is not readily available in North
Dakota, so high volumes of proppant
must be shipped for fracturing in the
Hurley is working to make low alumina clay a feasible proppant material with a process called devitrification,
which converts the troublesome glass
that forms during sintering back into a
stable crystal structure.
The method is still in its early stages, but Hurley thinks that with more
research, he can unlock the potential of
the cheaper, more common clay.

The open innovation challenge

received more than 100 entries and
attracted interest from multiple industries. Food, medical, and manufacturing
companies were some of the most common participants, said Rich Luht, program manager of drilling and production systems at GE.
Each winner received USD 25,000
and is eligible for possible future
investment and collaboration from GE
Descriptions of the winning entries,
which are posted at https://ninesights., are one way
for the general public to see innovation
in the oil and gas industry that often goes
on behind closed doors.
I think if most people understood
the scale and pace of technology innovation, they would be astonished at things
that we and the other operators and big
suppliers are actually doing, said Bruce
Tocher, shale oil and gas research manager at Statoil.JPT

Refracturing With Expandable Steel:

A Stronger Alternative to Chemical Diverters?
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer
Enventure Global Technology is working to convince operators that its solid
expandable steel liners perform better than chemical diverter agents for
refracturing operations. Its technology
is called the ESeal ReFrac Liner.
Jerry Fritsch, global lead technical advisor at Enventure, said the key
to a successful refracture depends on
the operators ability to seal off the old
perforations. Using expandable steel
instead of a diverting agent, the company believes operators will have a
much higher degree of certainty that
they are stimulating new rock during
The real dilemma with trying to
refrac with diverters right now is that
there is just no control of where the
fracturing fluids will go, he said. How-


Anchor Hangers
Gap between refrac liner and
base casing about 1/10 in.

Old Perf Clusters

New Perf Clusters


51/2-in. Base casing

41/4-in. FracSET refrac liner

Using an expandable steel liner in an existing wellbore allows operators to

isolate old perforations and then complete a refracturing operation into new
perforations. Image courtesy of Enventure Global Technology.

ever, if an expandable liner is run into

the well instead of a diverting agent, then
the operator carries out each individual
fracture treatment much like when the
well was originally completed. Once the

old perforations are isolated, you put a

plug in there, you back up, and you perf,
Fritsch added.
Since 2009, the company has
deployed its expandable liner technol-



ogy for 15 refractures in the Barnett,

Marcellus, Eagle Ford, and Anadarko
basins. John Callais, vice president of
western hemisphere at Enventure, said
diverters have become the top choice
for refracturing operations because they
are cheaper than running in thousands
of feet of expandable steel. However,
the selling point for the company is that
a new layer of steel is a far more reliable
method of isolation than using diverting agents.
It is a low-cost alternative up
front, providing that the first slug of
material works, he said. If not, you
just continue to chase it with slug after
slug after slug and it gets quite expensive at that point.
Many diverting agents use a combination of chemicals and particulate matter that are pumped down a wellbore
in doses called slugs. Using pressure
pumps, the diverters are pushed into
the open perforations to clog them up
long enough to allow other perforations,
sometimes new and sometimes existing,
to be hydraulically fractured.
Enventures process starts by running milling tools through the existing production casing in preparation
for the expandable liner. The expandable liner is then run down to the toe
of the well. Next, an expansion cone is
pumped from the bottom of the well to
the top, which expands the liner to the
maximum diameter and sets the elastomers that anchor the liner in place.
Once the liner is expanded, the old
perforations are completely sealed up
and new perforations can be made and
In general, Callais said the refracturing market is being stymied by low
oil and gas prices. He said operators
work with a budget of about USD 2million for each refracture and there
is just not a lot of appetite right now
for that type of expenditure, he said.
The payback is just too far extended
right now.
To lower the barrier to entry for
operators to use the technology, Enventure has developed a new hybrid con-







Visit us at
Society of Petroleum Engineers
ATCE Booth #3143


FracSET Refrac Liner Post-refrac Data



Well 1

Well 2




Well 3














Data from a 2010 refracturing operation in the Barnett Shale shows the
production gains in the well (1) that used an expandable steel liner was higher
than in the two offset wells (2 and 3) that used diverter technology. Image
courtesy of Enventure Global Technology.

cept that involves running an expandable liner through the heel section of
a horizontal well only. The company
has learned that most of the diverting agent and fracture treatment is lost
in the heel section of a well, probably because pressures are highest in
this section.
The hybrid refracturing solution
would be an intermediate level option
costwise because it would still use about
1,000ft of the more expensive expandable steel, but potentially would require
less diverting agent and deliver more
fracturing pressure to the toe section of
the well.
And in July, the company announced
that it was collaborating with Quantico Energy Solutions to generate sonic
and density logs in producing wells,
which may identify new target zones for

Keep your member benefits flowing...

Membership in the Society of Petroleum Engineers is a continuous
well of career-enhancing opportunities for E&P professionals.
Whether you want to enhance your knowledge, expand your network,
or develop your leadership skills, it pays to stay engaged with SPE.
Engage with all that SPE has to offer:
Publications and Journals
Conferences, Workshops, and Training Courses
Local Section Events
Volunteer Opportunities
Online Communities and Resources
Keep your SPE member benefits producing for you. To renew your membership,
come to the SPE Pavilion during the SPE Annual Technical Conference and
Exhibition or visit

If you are a Life Member or you have already renewed your membership
for 2016, thank you for your continued membership in SPE.



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2016 SPE

John Donnelly, JPT Editor

Nathan Meehan is senior executive

adviser at Baker Hughes, where he
advises executive management
on reservoir and geoscience
issues. Previously, he served as
the president of CMG Petroleum
Consulting, an independent
consultancy; vice president
of engineering at Occidental
Petroleum; and general manager
of exploration and production at
Union Pacific Resources. Meehan
earned a BSc in physics from the
Georgia Institute of Technology, an
MSc in petroleum engineering from
the University of Oklahoma, and a
PhD in petroleum engineering from
Stanford University.
What goals would you like to accomplish during your
I would like to focus during the next year on helping SPE accomplish five interrelated goals.
Making sure that SPE stays relevant and useful to our
members and the industry we serve
Encouraging more interdisciplinary and inter-industry
Focusing on the public benefit aspect of SPEs mission
Recruiting and mentoring the next generation of oil and
gas professionals
Expanding and improving the way we communicate
These accomplishments will support SPEs mission: To collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and
gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit,
and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their
technical and professional competence.


On top of the ongoing challenges we face as an industry, we

now have to contend with low prices. Yet, we still have to deliver the huge volumes of oil and gas that are needed each day by
the 7.2 billion people who inhabit our planet. And, we have to
do it more safely, more economically, more quickly, and more
sustainably. We cannot competeor in some cases, even survivedoing business as usual. We need disruptive technologies
and processes. But change is difficult to accept. This is where
SPE can play a pivotal role.
Innovation comes about by thinking differently and creatively, by connecting seemingly unrelated ideas, and putting
them together in unrelated ways to produce something novel
or original. This requires collaboration among diverse and disparate groups of people. One of my colleagues likes to describe
SPE as a network of bridges that connects people, companies,
and ideas to enable the collaboration that fuels innovation. That
network of bridges is never more important than during difficult periods such as the one we are currently experiencing. By
reaching out to other disciplines and other industries, SPE not


only helps fuel collaboration and innovation, but also fulfills its mission of staying relevant.
For example, it is more important
now than ever that we address the needs
of entire asset teams, not just engineers.
One of the greatest things that has happened to asset teams in the past 10 years
has been the fact that now geomechanics is a part of most major asset teams,
probably in the same sense that petrophysics is. Every asset team has a reservoir engineer, a geologist, a geophysicist,
and access to drillers and maybe production engineers. They may not have a fulltime petrophysicist but they engage one
at the right point. The same is the case
with geomechanics. Ten years ago, it was
a highly specialized discipline; now it is Meehan recently
really a part of how we do business.
Todays asset teams may also include software professionals, other information technology experts, and facilities managers, just to name a few. All of these specialists should belong to
SPE in addition to their own professional societies. And, SPEs
programming, education, and outreach should expand to meet
their needs as well as those of its traditional members.
The knowledge on which current and future innovation
in our industry depends resides everywhere, thanks in part to
computers and the Internet. It lives in agencies, universities,
laboratories, and different geographies, and in industries ranging from health care to aerospace. My company has been an
active participant in an endeavor called Pumps & Pipes, which
was founded in 2007 specifically to explore potential crossover
ideas and technologies among academia and Houstons medical, oil and gas, and aerospace communities. SPE has included
this endeavor in recent conferences. I look forward to more of
these collaborations, and I think our members will, too.
With regard to public benefit, I would like to see us emphasize this a little more than has been done in the past. I think
sometimes we overlook this aspect of our mission. Our industry
has an obligation to society to provide safe, affordable energy to
the world, and we do that. But we do not tell our story very well.
A couple of things come to mind: sustainability and health,
safety, and the environment (HSE). Historically, we have not
emphasized HSE across conference programming as much as
we could have. Increasingly, asset teams find HSE issues a part
of their intrinsic operations. I have taught an ethics class for
many years, and I think it is important that the industry reflects
on what our role in society should be and how we should do
I do not think the public believes oil companies. What the
public does believe is their neighbor who works in the oil and
gas business and who is informed and knowledgeable. When I
talk to concerned neighbors, or when I meet people as I trav-


toured the Saudi Aramco research center in Beijing.

el, I try to communicate what the real issues are without trying to sugarcoat them. When you are able to discuss the issues,
the challenges, how the industry is responding, as well as the
importance of supplying energy, people will listen. Sure, there
are people who are not going to listen and who have no interest
in facts, just as there are people who have no interest in hearing
the problems. That is why I want to make sure Energy4Me and
all the other SPE resources enable our members to speak intelligently about the industry.
I think the industry can do a much better job of communicating that message. The fact is oil and gas are pretty clean in
an absolute sense and when you think of all that oil and gas has
enabledfeeding, fueling, heating and cooling populations;
illumination; communications; industry; medicine; education;
longevitywe should be proud. All the good stuff in our lives
requires energy, and oil and gas is its main source.
In a sense, we have failed to make the moral case, take the
moral high ground, on this. SPE is the perfect forum. When I
give a speech to industry professionals, I almost always end it
this way: I say that what we do is important, what we do changes
peoples lives, and improves peoples lives. We have made mistakes and we continue to make mistakes, as does every industry.
Yes, we need to do a better job of delivering our products, ensuring their safety, and minimizing environmental impact. We
must minimize fugitive methane emissions, capture and store,
or eliminate some of the CO2 impacts. We must eliminate spills.
And, we must communicate our efforts and outcomes honestly
and effectively.
How has the drop in oil prices affected SPE programs
and services?
It has affected SPE revenues, and we have had to cut back on
some of our training and a few of our workshops. But the main
concern is how the drop has impacted SPE members. Our prior-



The good news is that this is a great time for innovation.
When oil prices and rig counts are high, asset teams scramble
to keep up with activity, so there is little time or inclination to
innovate. When prices are lower, it presents an opportunity to
do something different and better.

ity was to grow and expand. Now we are focusing more on identifying and responding to members needs.
We have taken steps to lower costs and eliminate dues for
members who have been without jobs for a year or two. We are
making sure our members stay up to date technically. We have
launched a global jobs page with Oilpro to help our members
find jobs. We are seeing sections and student chapters conduct
activities to help members learn how to be consultants, find
jobs in downturns, and communicate better. Many members
have never had to interview for jobs. For a long time, it has been
easy to get a job, but now it is difficult.

How will the downturn affect students and young

professionals and their view of the industry?
This is a source of anxiety. I make a point to see student chapters
whenever I travel. The students are concerned about how long
the low prices will last, and whether they will be able to get jobs.
Oil price changes are hard to predict; they could go even lower,
or USD 50 to USD 60 could be the new long-term price. In 1985,
many people thought prices would soon recover to USD 40/bbl,
but they stayed at USD 20/bbl for a long time. And we drilled
a lot of wells and developed a lot of technology at USD 20/bbl.
We are going to continue to have a shortage of technical talent. Although there are still a lot of senior people in the industry, the number of people retiring over the next 4 or 5 years will
be very high. We are going to need more engineers and maybe
engineers who focus differently.
SPE could benefit from expanding the student chapter
infrastructure. Most student SPE chapters are affiliated with
the schools or departments of petroleum engineering. I think it
is time to expand to mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering. To geology and other geosciences. To computer science. To math and environmental science. To solve the challenges we will face going forward, we need expertise, knowledge, and ideas from all of these areas.
To ease fears about job insecurity, SPE can help share
examples of what people have done in previous low-cost environments that succeeded. For example, I remember a project
for which we thought we needed USD 40/bbl oil, and then oil
went to USD 20/bbl. The team that had worked so hard to develop the technology feared being laid off or asked to abandon
the project. Instead, they were able to improve results, lower
costs, and make the technology commercial at USD 20/bbl, and
change how we did things.

Is there any way the industry can manage these price

cycles differently?
I challenge the assumption that the oil and gas industry has
booms and busts in some unusual way. If you look at commodity prices for any industryif you look at coffee prices or tin
prices or copper pricesevery commodity business has more
cyclic, more variable prices than we do. They may not have the
same domestic job impact, but they have highly erratic prices.
I think price cyclesand the resulting hiring and layoffs
will always characterize our industry.
When prices go up, activity goes up. Look at hydraulic fracturingit really exploded. We had a time when people had to
wait for months for fracturing jobs. And what was the service
companies response? It was to massively overbuild capacity.
And as soon as we did, prices dropped like crazy.

How did you get started in the oil and gas industry?
I was a physics major at Georgia Tech, in one of the few states
in the United States that has zero oil and gas production, and I
worked one summer digging a fracture pit. I did not even know
what that was at the time, but I was looking for temporary work
and they needed somebody who could operate a bulldozer. I
knew how to operate a backhoe and claimed that I could operate a bulldozer. It turns out that they are very different. But I
put that on my resume as one of my summer jobs, and a recruiter for Schlumberger noticed it. He took me on a job interview
and I spent 3 or 4 days in New Orleans onshore and offshore
working with several senior wireline engineers. When I went
back to Georgia Tech, Amoco was recruiting for geophysicists.
I told the recruiter I wanted to be a petroleum engineer and he
told me it was a good time to be one. I got a summer job with

Meehan delivering an address at the Colorado

School of Mines.



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.
Get connected. Get insights. Get optimized.

15-GE-0424_ad_Spot the Difference Ad - Journal of Petroleum Technology - 8.10_v1.indd 1

7/28/15 11:42 AM


ed out applications and said, If you are going to be a petroleum engineer, you join SPE. And we filled out the applications
right there and gave him the money. SPE was obviously a much
smaller organization then and a very North American one. At
the time, most of our members lived in the US and most of our
meetings were in the US. But that has changed dramatically
and more than half of our members now reside outside the US.

Students made a poster for Meehan during his visit

to Trisakti University in Jakarta.

Amoco as soon as I graduated, and the first thing he told me

was, Well, for a summer internship, physics is OK, but if you
want to be a petroleum engineer, you have to get a degree in
engineering. My dad, a University of Oklahoma (OU) alumnus, said that OU had a petroleum engineering program, and I
got my masters degree there. That story has a few other little
twists and turns, but that is pretty much how I got interested
in the oil business.
What are the biggest challenges to SPE in the short
The biggest short-term challenge is the pressure from reduced
meetings and travel because of low oil prices. We need to do
more Web-based events and communication, such as webinars,
and we will need to minimize the costs of training, conferences, symposiums, and workshops. The demand for training and
communication is still there, as high as or higher than ever. But
you cannot replace our conferences and meetings with the Web.
The SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition is more
international now, and will be held next year in Dubai, and that
presents some challenges. The cool part is, for people in Africa,
Asia, and Europe, that will be a pretty short flight, compared
with traveling to Houston or San Antonio. It is a long way from
Romania to San Antonio.
How has SPE changed since you were first on the SPE
Board of Directors in the late 1990s?
We are much more international. I joined SPE 40 years ago
when I was in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma
and my professor came by on the first day of class and hand-


What do you see as the main benefits of SPE

It is really all about the people in this industry as much as it is
about technology. Clearly, SPE is where oil and gas people are.
This is where we meet, engage, and interact. SPE is a lot of different things and a lot of different people. Clearly, technology dissemination is the core. But our mission is also related
to the development of engineering professionals, and that is
At one point in my career, I became a consultant, and it
was the relationships I had developed through SPE that gave me
the contacts I needed to find projects. The largest project I ever
worked on came about through someone I met at an SPE event.
SPE is all about members, improving our performance, and
improving our relationships and careers.
How could SPE most benefit members going forward?
The best way members can benefit from SPE is to volunteer with
SPE. Most SPE members benefit from the information, conferences, magazines, and journals, but those who take that extra
step and decide to get engagedwhether in a local section or
in meetings and workshops, or as an author or presenterget
tremendous additional benefit because of the interactions they
have with others.
Providing really meaningful opportunities for interaction
and volunteerism is one way that SPE can continue to do a great
job for members. Even with lower oil prices, there will continue
to be plenty of opportunities for our members to engage and be
involved and come up with creative ideas.
How can SPE most benefit the industry?
SPEs benefit to the industry is really obvious in terms of
being the source of technical excellence and expertise. With
143,000 professional and student members and staff, SPEs
font of knowledge is wide and deep. And, its reach and focus
are global.
No place else can you find an electronic library such as, which has more than 180,000 documents that
are searchable and accessible at a moments notice. Members
have the ability to access the state of the art, whether through
PetroWiki, OnePetro, or all the other sources of information
that SPE offers.
It is phenomenal how much usage PetroWiki gets. The way
people think about getting information and sharing it is changing. For example, right now, if you forget what kind of weighting
you should use for mobility in reservoir simulation upstream,


you must get a book and physically look

through it. Ultimately, you will be able to
go to PetroWiki for that. SPE resources
are where you go to find out about the
facts; it is the place to find out about the
oil and gasindustry.
What are your main interests
outside of work?
I am a beekeeper. I collect custom knives.
I shoot long-range rifles. But, most
importantly, I study Chinese. I think I
could study Chinese my whole life and
never actually be good at it. I lived in
Hong Kong for a year-and-a-half and
have traveled all over Asia with my wife
in a humanitarian role. I found the people, the culture, and the food interesting, and decided to start learning Chinese. I can now carry on enough of a
conversation with a Chinese speaker
that someone who does not speak Chinese thinks I speak it, but that is a work


Meehan, bottom, frequently meets with students during his travels,

such as this one at the Chinese University of Petroleum in Beijing.



Search for Elusive Sweet Spots

Is Changing Reservoir Evaluation
Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

The pursuit of sweet spots in unconventional oil and gas plays is driving the creation of an emerging set of data-driven
systems to measure, map, and predict
how wells will perform in unconventional reservoirs.
Over 3 days at the recent Unconventional Resources Technology Conference in San Antonio, Texas, speakers outlined techniques used to create detailed, large-scale digital maps
and models to navigate enormous formations where abrupt, unpredictable
change is the norm. The conference was
organized by SPE, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the
Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

The developing systems mesh

together different sorts of information
and experts with a dizzying array of
skill sets. One paper described how to
complete wells better using: Advanced
Petrophysical, Geological, Geophysical
and Geomechanical Characterization
for more productive fracturing.
At the conference, there were presentations about unconventional field
studies from BP, Callon Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Talisman Energy,
to name only companies that had done
work in Texas.
The plunge in oil and gas prices that
is driving layoffs and deep budget cuts

by operators and service companies is

pressuring unconventional oil producers
to seek affordable ways to increase production and eliminate wasteful spending
on unproductive drilling and fracturing.
We are in an ever-changing, lowcost environment. We are looking for
the most optimal, cost-effective methods, said Nancy Zakhour, a completion engineer at Callon Petroleum, who
worked for Schlumberger during the
project. The comment was made during a presentation (SPE 178575) about
a project done by Callon and Schlumberger using microseismic, pressure
measurements while fracturing, core
analysis, and mineral testing to con-

This map created by Pioneer Natural Resources shows the relationship between pore pressure and standalone well
performance in the Midland Basin of west Texas. It was created using data from approximately 2,000 vertical well
completions. Well locations are colored and sized based on the estimated ultimate recovery of oil. Image courtesy of
Donny Loughry, senior geologist, Pioneer Natural Resources. Used with permission.



firm and add detail to 3D seismic testing to create data-rich, digital rock
property maps.
That presentation hit on a common theme at the conference: finding ways to navigate reservoirs that are
highly heterogeneous, which means
conditions can change as abruptly and
unexpectedly as the production of the
wells drilled.
Pioneer has been combining data
and 3D seismic to provide its exploration and production (E&P) team with better views of the spaces between its wells
in unconventional formations. Seismic
surveys cover a wide area at a relatively low price, but operators want greater detail and physical evidence of rock
properties. The ultimate goal is saving
time and money using seismic integrated with other sources, said Beau Tinnin,
a geologic coordinator in the South Texas
Asset Team at Pioneer.
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For one, the work sought out spots

where the rock is brittle and easily broken when hydraulic force is applied, and
spots with high clay content to avoid,
where the rock is ductile and fracturing
may prove futile.
You need to know what you are
fracking to know if your wells will do
any good, Zakhour said. Answering that
question will require Callon to evaluate
enormous numbers of possible well landing zones within the Wolfcamp, a formation found in the Permian Basin in west
Texas, which can be 2,500 ft thick.
What Callon is talking about other
people are doing, said Robert Hull,
geoscience adviser for Pioneer Natural Resources, who cochaired the session. Speakers at the conference offered
a quick overview of methods too detailed
to explain in a 20-minute talk. Those
presentations also avoided proprietary
information, such as sweet spot locations.

While papers covered work going

back as many as 5 years, this is a developing area of expertise. There is no
generally accepted method for datadriven reservoir analysis. Companies
with similar goals use different methods, and many operators are still relying
on trial and error, often based on what
seemed to work for another company
Pioneers multiple presentations
outlined its ways to acquire comparable
microseismic surveys, predict pore pressure over a large area, derive the most
value out of the fewest mineral measurements, and combine that data with 3D
seismic surveys to create maps and models used for critical decisions, such as
how to space wells most efficiently.
The work highlights the shortcoming of approaches developed to find
and produce hydrocarbons in conventional formations where hydrocarbons

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Callon Petroleum created a rock property map using seismic data (P-Impedance) ranking rock from the most easily
fracturedbrittleto the leastductile. The microseismic data from fracturing a lateral in the Wolfcamp formation shows
the most events in the five stages with above-average brittleness, where much of the activity was contained in the more
ductile area. Graphic courtesy of Callon Petroleum.

are trapped in porous, permeable reservoirs. In a shale, the reservoir is

a microscopic network of pores connected by throats so small that they can
only be seen with high-powered microscopes. Conventional analysis methods
were developed for reservoirs that have
nothing to do with shale, said Shahab
Mohaghegh, a petroleum engineering
professor at West VirginiaUniversity.
The formulations that are currently used to model fluid flow (and therefore
production) in shale do not really represent what is happening and, therefore,
scientists and engineers cannot fully
trust the results generated by these mod-


els, he said in a paper (SPE 178504) presented at the conference.

Mohaghegh described the goal of
data-driven methods as trying to extract
maximum knowledge from measurements, which typically require the use of
advanced analysis methods such as artificial intelligence.
Engineers need alternatives to deterministic models based on measurable
cause-and-effect relationships, because
the required information is lacking. For
example, fracturing results depend on
interactions between natural fractures
and the impact of hydraulic force, none
of which can be directly observed or mea-

sured, making it nearly impossible to

determine how natural and engineered
forces contribute toproduction.
The presentations represent years
of work that looked at reservoirs in ways
that blur the definition of what engineers and geoscientists are expected to
knowand do.
In unconventional shale, a reservoirs fracture permeability (both
natural and induced) largely dictates
well performance. This suggests that
the modern geoscientists tool kit
requires innovative techniques, which
begin to bridge the gap between various geoscience and engineering disci-


plines, wrote Paolo Grossi, a geologist

at Talisman Energy USA, a part of Repsol, in a paper on methods used to measure the good and bad effects of fracturing within wells.

Unconventional Thinking

The large number of wells and fracture stages producing little or nothing of value is a strong argument for
change. While publicly traded companies do not report results on a well-bywell basis, there is anecdotal evidence
that underperforming wells are a financial drag.
A rule of thumb offered by George
King, distinguished engineering advisor
for Apache Corp., is that one-third of
the wells are not economic, one-third
are marginally economic, and one-third
carry the economics for the whole project. The observation made during a
panel session about sweet spot identification is not a new one for King, who often
speaks and teaches about shale.
When asked if this static breakdown
means there has been no progress, King
said it does show that the technology
is advancing because profitably drilling
and completing a well has gotten so much
harder at these low prices.
The phase, key to production,
was a favorite with many speakers. Some
offered enough keys to crowd a ring. With
limited time and money, operators are
working to winnow down the number of
key markers for sweet spot identification
to an essential few.
Baker Hughes created a list of key
properties associated with the most
productive unconventional wells, starting with 18 and reducing it to 6, said
Usman Ahmed, vice president and chief
reservoir engineer at Baker Hughes
A Pioneer study (SPE 178592) seeking proxies for critical rock properties
found that it could use just two elements,
molybdenum and aluminum, to identify
hydrocarbon-rich rock that is easily fractured. Molybdenum levels were a proxy
for the total organic content, which is a
proxy used to locate oil-rich rock. Aluminum oxide levels were used as a proxy


for a rocks clay content, which is used

to determine how well the rock will fracture, Tinnin said.
Those are all prerequisites for production. But when asked about what is
the most important when seeking sweet
spots, Gervasio Barzola, vice president
of subsurface and development in the
Southern Wolfcamp Asset Team at Pioneer, repeatedly pointed out that pore
pressure is the critical variable. Where
there is no energy in the reservoir, you
are not going to make a great completion, he said.
Reservoir pressure is on the Baker
Hughes list and it has long been important when evaluating prospects. But
predicting that vital number at a specific location before a well is drilled
presents a challenge in these highly
A Pioneer paper (SPE 178649),
which described how the company created a map of pressure levels for its acreage in the Midland Basin in west Texas,
observed: Many operators acquire
direct measurements of the formations
using costly and/or time-consuming
methods, but are most often left only
with a general understanding of the pressure regime in and around their respective acreage.
A description of the work done by
Pioneer to create a pore pressure database covering its large acreage position may help explain why others have
settled for less. The huge study drew
on the companys trove of historical
The companys pressure database
includes more than 8,600 instantaneous
shut-in pressure measures from nearly
2,000 vertical wells, diagnostic fracture
injection tests in specific zones, bottomhole pressure data, pressure readings from electric submersible pump
data, and the mud weights used to control the reservoir while drilling 185
The investment was large, as is Pioneers 785,000-acre holding in the Midland Basin. The pore pressure mapping effort, while labor-intensive and
technically challenging, allowed for the

Baker Hughes lists six indicators

of reservoir quality:
Total organic content: the
source of oil and gas if
Reservoir pressure:
the energy needed for
Vitrinite reflectance: a
thermal maturity measure
to determine if oil or gas
production is likely
Brittleness: brittle rock
shatters when hydraulically
fractures: successful
hydraulic fracturing builds
on natural fracture networks
Porosity: storage space
available for hydrocarbons
Source: Usman Ahmed, Baker Hughes

integration of a vast amount of geologic and engineering data, said Donny

Loughry, a geologist in Pioneers Southern Wolfcamp Asset Team. The payoff has been to dramatically increase
our understanding of how to exploit
the reservoir from appraisal through
The maps, offering localized predictions of the pressures likely at specific locations and depths, have been use to
decide on well spacing, drilling locations,
and completion plans. But, the paper
pointed out that most importantly,
though, this model helps us understand
well performance.

Detecting Tiny Details

An indication of the need for better sweet

spot identification is the studies showing
that 30% to 50% of all fracture stages
fail to produce, Ahmed said. It is widely
known that a lot of stages were a waste of
money. The hard part is knowing which
stages will not work before spending
A likely cause of failed fractures is
a lack of pathways connecting the oil



Schematic of Fracture Classes

HIF Induced Fracture

NFEF Natural Fractures bound within the Eagle Ford
NFOZ Natural Fractures Out of Zone
Hydraulic Induced Fracture within Matrix
Existing Natural Fractures

Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

Austin Chalk
Eagle Ford


*Note: Schematic is not representative of an actual

well, shown to illustrate all fracture classes

A Talisman analysis divided sections in four wells on a drilling pad into

three classes. The illustration, which is not of an actual well, showed the
characteristics associated with those groups. The best results were in Class 2,
center, where the fractures (red) stayed within the productive zone. The worst
results were in Class 3, right, where fractures left the zone. Graphic courtesy of
Talisman Energy.

in the rocks pores and the wellbore. In

rock where the matrix is nearly impermeable, reservoir access requires
natural fractures reached by using
I do not think there is anything out
there if there is not a natural fracture network, said King. The common practice
of fracturing stages at regular intervals
in a well without evaluating if those spots
will be productive is one reason that twothirds of all wells are marginal to bad
investments, he said.
Applying that advice requires making judgments on the location of features
too small to be directly detected. The
solutions offered all pointed to indirect
ways of detecting where openings are
likely, starting with gas influxes during
drilling. Small ones often occur when the
mud pumps are turned off for pipe connections. King said if the origin of the
gas shows is accurately identified, they
can point to where natural fractures are
found in the reservoir. Where there are
no gas shows, there may be no reason to
pay to fracturethat spot.


I have used it 100 times and it

works reasonably well, he said. This
requires close attention to when the
gas separator is removing gas from the
mud to predict the location in the reservoir producing the gas. When asked for
data supporting the effectiveness of the
approach, King said the method had not
been rigorously tested. It is not a highly
scientific process, but it is a really cheap
process, he said.
A Talisman study (SPE 178508)
looked at how natural fractures in a complex area within the Eagle Ford formation led to significant production variations with sections of four wells drilled
on a pad in the south Texas play, Grossi
said. The variations caused by the geologic history and stress variations created features that could explain the best
and worst production results.
Gas influxes were used as an indicator of whether those factors created natural fractures that added to, or reduced,
productivity in an area. Gas from kicks
that occurred while doing underbalanced drilling, in which the low mud

weight used allows some influxes, indicated the presence of potentially productive fractures.
The locations of influxes were seen
as an initial indicator of potential natural fracture systems in low permeability reservoirs, according to the paper.
Talisman also recorded the level of liquid content in the gas. A shift in that
measure may suggest a change in the
The salinity level of the flowback
water may also be an indicator of the
extent of natural fractures. The highest
salinity levels were thought to indicate
that fracturing fluids had entered deep
into natural fracture systems. When used
with other observations, flowback water
testing can be used as an early indicator of long-term well productivity, the
paper said.
Ultimately, the study of a well pad
within the Eagle Ford divided the area
covered by those wells into three groups.
The best performing were found
in Class 2, which had significant fractures confined to the production zone.
The worst results were in Class 3,
which Grossi described as bad news.
Hydraulic fracturing was unproductive in Class 3 sections, likely because
the natural fractures extended out of
the Eagle Ford to adjoining layersup
into the Austin Chalk and down to the
Budawhich could have dissipated the
force of hydraulic fracturing with the
production zone.

Free Data

In this brutal economic environment,

exploration teams are seeking the lowestcost data-gathering methods. For Pioneer, that has included acquiring data by
trading with the owners of nearby wells,
and extracting more information from its
current routines.
At the end of a session (SPE 178592)
on a Pioneer project to gather geochemical data from 180 wells, the presenter
thanked the field geology team, especially the mud loggers collecting cuttings off the shale shaker. The project relied on them to regularly collect
cuttings to evenly sample the wellbore,


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and test the makeup of those rocks
using a handheld X-ray fluorescence
Adding the XRF geochemical data
to 3D seismic data that was processed
to show rock propertiesPoissons
ratio and Youngs moduluscreated
a more detailed and reliable decisionmakingtool.
There are also important rock measures that are not practically attainable.
For example, it is known that fracturing in unconventional reservoirs is significantly affected by the fact that the
rock is inherently anisotropic, with physical properties such as strength that vary
depending on the direction measured.
This difference has a significant effect
on the mechanical properties of the rock
and also on measurements of horizontal
stress, particularly when one is trying to
calculate the stresses from log data, said

Norm Warpinski, a technology fellow at

Halliburtons Pinnacle unit.
These directional differences can
determine if a fracture is short or long,
simple or complex, or whether one develops at all. If we do not understand these
rock and reservoir characteristics, we
will not be able to determine how fractures and fracture networks may develop, Warpinski said.
Logging tools are unable to gather
the information needed to characterize anisotropic rocks, he said. Laboratory tests can help answer the questions,
but their use is limited by the cost and
time required for testing, and challenges
associated with gathering a representative sample. Better measures of the interplay between reservoir stress and anisotropy are needed because when developing an unconventional formation stress
conditions are huge, he said.JPT

For Further Reading

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SPE 178504 Formation vs. Completion:

Determining the Main Drivers
BehindProduction From Shale;
A Case Study Using Data-Driven
Analytics by Shahab D. Mohaghegh,
West Virginia University & Intelligent
SPE 178508 Investigating Natural
Fracture Effects on Well
Productivity: Eagle Ford, La Salle
County, Texas by Paolo Grossi,
Talisman Energy USA.
SPE 178516 Finding the Key Drivers of
Oil Production Through SAS Data
Integration and Analysis by Beau
Rollins and Matthew Herrin, Devon
SPE 178575 Integrating 3-D Seismic
and Geomechanical Properties
With Microseismic Acquisition and
Fracturing Parameters to Optimize
Completion Practices within the
Wolfcamp Shale Play of the Midland
Basin by Michael Shoemaker, Callon

Petroleum Co.; Nancy Zakhour,

Schlumberger; et al.
SPE 178591 An Integrated Approach to
Stimulated Reservoir Interpretations
of the Permian Wolfcamp Shale by
D.R. Collins and G. Monson, Pioneer
Natural Resources, et al.
SPE 178592 Multi-Source Data
Integration: Eagle Ford Shale Sweet
Spot Mapping by Beau Tinnin and
Matthew D. McChesney, South
Texas Asset Team, Pioneer Natural
Resources, et al.
SPE 178649 Using Pad ISIP, DFIT,
and ESP Data to Generate a Pore
Pressure Model for the Midland Basin
by Donny Loughry and David Epps,
Pioneer Natural Resources, et al.
SPE 178715 High Fidelity Microseismic
Data Acquisition in the Midland Basin
Wolfcamp Shale Play West Texas,
USA by Robert Hull and Robert Meek,
Pioneer Natural Resources, et al.



Shale Industry Needs to Look Within

for Solutions That Save
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

Julys drop in oil prices to below

USD 50/bbl reminded the shale industry
that the hard times may be around for
a while and that operators need to continue working on their cost reduction
plans. At the recent 2015 Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, a
major theme was how companies can
improve performance without increasing
the size of their budget.
Some companies are looking to
work closer with other companies to
share knowledge and technology that
may yield higher production. Others are
looking inward for ideas that may reduce
risk and improve the bottom line.
Barry Biggs, vice president of
onshore operations at Hess, described
the lean approach that the company has

adopted, which includes using an army

of problem solvers. Counter to their
moniker, this cadre of key employees are
not exclusively working on problems. He
said that too often, operators are focused
more on finding out what went wrong in
an operation rather than what wentright.
Well, flip that. What is the root
cause analysis of things you are doing
well? he asked. It is a mental shift that
we can use to try to drive improvement.
He credited this business structure
with helping Hess drive down costs by
50% in the Bakken Shale from 2012 to
2015. Biggs said it has also been critical in allowing the company to develop
the Utica Shale faster than the Bakken
despite the geologic differences of the
two plays.

Barry Biggs, vice president of onshore operations at Hess, said the company
is using an army of problem solvers to help navigate through the current
downturn. Photo courtesy of the Unconventional Resources Technology


Instead of dictating orders from

the top down, this leadership style asks
questions, welcomes debate, and relies
on collaboration while still holding people accountable for meeting their goals,
Biggs said.
One example of its management
strategy is written on the walls of the
companys asset collaboration rooms,
where team leaders post their business
plans and status reports for all to see.
Once a week, engineers and executives
go around the room trying to solve whatever problems that are being encountered. Biggs said this visual approach
of project management is much
more powerful than a report that gets
While operators trim their own fat,
a hefty portion of the savings they are
seeing today are a result of the pressure on service companies to lower their
prices, in many cases by about 30% or
more. However, we cant get to where
we need to be with cost reductions
alone, said Peter Richter, vice president of unconventional resources at
Schlumberger. These cost reductions,
while they are nice for the immediate
economics, they are not sustainable for
the long term.
To emerge from the downturn stronger than before it entered in, Richter
said the unconventional sector needs to
adopt an align-and-conquer strategy. By
integrating data and collaborating more
on drilling and completion operations,
both efficiency and production can be
improved, he said.
We really need to think about if
we are going to drill this well, where do
we place it? Where is the optimum place
for the fractures and stimulation, and



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then make sure we steer it in the right
place,he asked.

New Technology, Old Data

Peter Richter, vice president of unconventional resources at Schlumberger,

called for more collaboration between service companies and operators in
order to sustain cost savings. Photo courtesy of the Unconventional Resources
Technology Conference.

On the technology front, Richter listed several things in the works that may
bring greater returns for each well
drilled. Multilateral wells, new proppant
transport fluids, and automated drilling rigs are just a few of the ideas he
touched on.
He also said that Schlumberger is
collaborating with five operators in a
refracturing consortium in the Eagle
Ford Shale that is aimed at finding the
best way to increase production from
older wells.
In his presentation, Richter showed
a sample of six refractured oil wells that
saw improvements of the initial production rate between 48% and 115%.
If you get the right candidate in the

EIA Administrator: US No. 1 in Global Production

The biggest question for those working in the
unconventional industry this year is when will oil prices
begin to rise again? Adam Sieminski, administrator of
the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), shared
his thoughts on the topic in the opening session of
He framed the situation by noting that the US is officially
the largest producer of oil, gas, and condensate in the world,
all thanks to the shale revolution. The historicresurgence
in US production is a testament to theprowess of
unconventional technology and engineering, but it has also
left the shale industry a victim of its ownsuccess.
Last year, the global supply of oil grew by almost
2million B/D from the previous year. Sieminski said that
most of the added production came from the shale fields
ofthe US and Canada, with the effect of halving oil prices
from around USD 100 to around USD 50 per bbl.
In a world where global demand is only growing by a
million barrels a day if you are conservative, and a millionand-a-half if you are wildly optimistic, 2 million B/D growth
from the United States and Canada is not going to work,
For industry professionals seeking relief from low prices,
the EIA is not offering much hope. By next year, he said,
North American shale production will slow down, but it may
not send prices much higher. The EIA is estimating that the
US will produce an average of 9.4 million B/D of crude this
year and about 9 million B/D next year.


However, the EIAs estimate for the average price of

USbenchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), for
next year is USD 54/bbl. The assumed lifting of sanctions
on Iran is expected to be a major factor in sustaining
low oil prices through next year. Sieminski pointed out
that the model used to forecast prices into next year
showed that WTI could be as low as USD 30 or as high as
Regarding the uncertainty of prices, he said, It is raising
some really interesting questions about what do you do
as a company. I think the answer is manage your costs to
weather through the problem.
One factor that may alter the price of WTI in favor
of shale producers is if the federal government ended
its banon oil exports. One of the biggest roadblocks to
such apolicy reversal is the concern that if exports were
allowed,US consumers would suffer from higher gasoline
prices. Sieminski explained that the EIAs findings on
this topic, which suggest an end to the crude export
ban, wouldbe a win-win for both consumers and the
US gasoline prices are tied to the global gasoline
markets, which in turn are tied to the global oil markets, but
not WTI prices. So if you did allow crude oil exports, WTI
would go up, and gasoline prices would not only not go up,
but they might go down, he said. Because more crude oil
on the global market would lower global crude price, which
would bring gasoline prices down.


Hess is in the midst of a down spacing pilot program that involves drilling
horizontal wells only 500 ft apart and in a stacked formation to increase the
estimated ultimate recovery per section. Image courtesy of Hess.

right zone, you can have very positive

results, he said. But the candidate
selection and screening is absolutely
critical and that is where the data come
into play.
Figuring out the optimal completion design for any particular play is
something many are still working on.
Biggs said Hess has found that the longer laterals of about 10,000 ft are clearly the most profitable wells. He added
that the company is experimenting with
50-stage wells that use sliding sleeves in
Hess is also running a down spacing
pilot that involves drilling nine wells in
the Bakken Shale and eight wells in the
Three Forks, per 1-mile section. That is
making a big difference in terms of adding to the [estimated ultimate recovery]
base in North Dakota, Biggs said.
And after a decade of drilling
and with more than 70,000 operating
horizontal wells in the US, there are
many lessons to be learned for companies in the shale game. Some should
come at little to no cost. Claudia Hackbarth, manager of unconventional gas
and tight oil research and development
at Shell, said the company is among
those taking advantage of the free
data that we can collect and is hiding in
plain sight.


Examples of the free, or at least

already paid for, information that Hackbarth highlighted during her luncheon

speech includes logging data, production histories, rock and fluid analyses,
and aggregated public databases such
as FracFocus, the chemical registry that
tracks stimulation treatments across
North America.
She said all this information can
be used to narrow down test criteria
for moving forward with future development plans. I think that would definitely cut costs because it would help us
hone in much more quickly on our optimized designs, she said.
Another tactic that some companies are adopting means setting aside
competition for the sake of the greater
good. We trade a lot of data with offsetting operators. You can save a lot
of money on data if you do not have to
do it all yourself, said Gervasio Barzola, vice president of subsurface and
development of the Southern Wolfcamp Asset Team at Pioneer Natural Resources.JPT

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Unconventional Rock Defies Old Rules,

but New Rules are Far From Being Ready
Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

The label unconventional oil and gas

stubbornly hangs on because these
formations cannot be understood
using the rules of conventional petroleumengineering.
To illustrate what makes it so different, Erdal Ozkan, a professor of petroleum engineering at Colorado School of
Mines, pointed out that shale is often so
tight that you do not want to count the
zeros needed to measure the infinitesimally small permeability rate, and the
pressure needed to force oil out sounds
unattainably high.
The obvious conclusion is you
cannot produce any of this. How could
you with this permeability? What are
you doing, day dreaming? We are actually producing from these formations,
Ozkan used that observation to
introduce a session at the 2015 Unconventional Resources Technology Conference in San Antonio, Texas, on the need
to think outside the conventional res-

ervoir engineering perceptions. That is

a starting point to getting significantly
more out of unconventional formations.
The four panel members focused on
the need for a better understanding of
the physics and chemistry of nanoscale
pore spaces. Among their concerns is the
major impact that miniscule pore throats
can have on how much oil and gas is produced and what sort of hydrocarbons
come out. These passages perform like
a membrane, allowing natural gas liquids and gas dissolved in oil to get out,
while trapping heavier oil molecules and
perhaps free natural gas adhering on the
pore walls, he said.

Beyond 10%

The message was that years of research

will be needed to understand the rock
and find ways to extract the oil and gas
trapped inside. Research laboratories are
still seeking ways to simulate reservoir
conditions in ways that can be observed
using delicate laboratory equipment.

Matt Honarpour, third from left, speaks during a panel session at the
Unconventional Resources Technology Conference. The other panelists are, left
to right, Erdal Ozkan, Mohammad Piri, and Erick Michael.


Low oil prices have apparently pushed

thoughts of enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
out of the minds of oil industry decision makers. Sustaining high levels of
unconventional oil production in future
decades will require producers to push
ultimate recoveries past 10% of the oil in
these formations.
You better start working on this
pretty soon because it will take a while
to figure this out, said Paul Leonard,
manager of reservoir technology for
Pioneer Natural Resources, before asking if production could be enhanced
The answer was that EOR using
chemicals is being tested in research laboratories with some success. But what is
known has to be adapted to formations
that are poorly described by the current
vocabulary for rock properties.
A few surfactants have proved promising in tests, said Mohammad Piri, a
distinguished associate professor of
petroleum engineering at the University
Those tests, which will be detailed
in an upcoming paper, are an outgrowth
of fundamental work on whether shale is
prone to attract water or oil, which would
mean it is either water-wet or oil-wet.
The answer has been both. When a tiny
sample, which has been cleaned using air,
is exposed to brine and then oil, the salty
water adheres to certain sections of the
rock and the oil to others.
For Piri, the challenge has been to
find a chemical that allows the rock to
release the oil in the oil-wet area, without
changing the valuable water-wet properties. While he said there have been
some promising surfactants identified, it
is early work.


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The short presentation on unconventional rock wettability during the session was to show we can at least scratch
the surface of these complex systems,
Piri said.

Driving Force

Another fundamental question is what

drives oil out of the pores in unconventional rocks. The force behind the
light liquids appears to be the gas that
remains behind, making this an internal gas drive system, said Matt Honarpour, a principal reservoir engineer at
BHP Billiton.
This helps explain the force behind
those reservoirs producing a high percentage of oil and a low percentage of
gas. But that answer raises another question, What is the source of the gas that
is produced? He said it may well be gas
dissolved in the oil, known as solution
gas, which would define how these reservoirs need to be managed to get the
most oil and gas out over a wells life.
Maximizing daily output early on could
reduce the pressure to below the pressure where the gas would come out of
solutionthe bubblepointdiminishing the gas drive.
The challenge is to understand the
physics of this gas drive behind the oil
coming out of the reservoir, Honarpour
said. Filling this gap will require greater
use of accepted tools such as downhole
pressure gauges and microseismic testing, and advances in field monitoring and
data analysis.
What is known is the numbers are
not likely to resemble those in a conventional reservoir. Unconventional formations are likely to have a lower bubblepoint pressure because conditions inside
nanoscale pores limit gas/liquid separation, he said. But measures are needed to
make use of that observation.
On the plus side, it may be possible
to maintain the pressure by reinjecting produced gas. It is a promising possibility but Honarpour said there are
many unanswered questions, beginning
with the volume and pressure needed
to inject enough gas to replace the gas


Mohammad Piri, a distinguished associate professor at the University

of Wyoming, is known for investigating the fundamental properties of
unconventional rocks. Photo courtesy of the University of Wyoming.

produced with the oil. Even if injection

fails to enhance production, gas injection could be used to store the injected gas until the fuel can be sold for a
better price. For now, the best results
are a product of targeting and drilling
the highest-rated opportunities. The
rock is controlling our fate, said Eric
Michael, director of petroleum systems
at ConocoPhillips.
Geochemical testing has shown
there are a variety of chemical signatures
in gas, some of which have been used as
a marker for predicting how productive
an area might be. In 6 miles, this chemical makeup can change significantly,
It is part of an effort by ConocoPhillips to use geochemistry as a predictive
tool. The 6-month yield needs to be tied
to rock properties, Michael said.
The presentations led audience members to ask how, or even if,
the methods used to describe uncon-

ventional reservoirs will generate data

that can be plugged into the available
Testing unconventional rocks to
generate conventional rock property
measures, such as permeability, has been
a knotty problem. Piri said that digital
imaging methods are making it possible to measure movement within nearly
impermeable rocks.
But the panelists did not see radical changes ahead in reservoir modeling. For now, the best option is modifying conventional reservoir simulators to incorporate new models. More
needs to be known to create a model
fully representing how unconventional
This is a fast-developing business.
It is 10 to 15 years old at the most,
Ozkan said. While we work to understand things better, we have to use our
existing understanding and tools while
we work on better ones.JPT





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Unconventional Resources Will Require

Unconventional EOR
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

The Bakken Petroleum System, which

includes the Bakken and Three Forks
shales in North America, is estimated to
hold as much as 900 billion bbl of original oil in place. However, the technically
recoverable oil is a fraction of the total,
estimated to be 20 billion bbl to 45 billion bbl, because most of the 8,000 producing wells have a recovery factor of
about 3% to 10%.
And in fact, 10% is anomalously high, said James Sorenson, a senior
researcher at the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC). So it is clear
with the enormous size of the prize in
the ground that even small improvements in recovery could yield significant
amountsof oil.
Sorenson is leading a research project involving government agencies and

Scanning Electron Microscopy
Optical Microscopy

Production Data Analysis
Seismic Data Analysis

several upstream companies in search

of a way to squeeze more oil out of the
Bakken for years to come by using CO2
for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). He presented the progress of the project at the
recent Unconventional Resources Technology Conference.
Sorenson said the key to understanding how well CO2 will work in tight
formations is a deep understanding of
how fluids move through tiny pores and
microfractures. Microfractures account
for much of the porosity and permeability in the Middle Bakken formation and
will be important for EOR because they
are also thought to contribute to longterm production.
So far, the research team has completed a series of studies using a wide
range of technologies including scanFluid Interactions:
Swelling/Minimum Miscibility
Pressure Studies
Extraction Studies
Gas Chromatography

Matrix Properties:
Porosity/Permeability Studies
Scanning Electron Microscopy
X-Ray Diffraction
X-Ray Fluorescence
Well Logs

A bevy of laboratory tests have been used to determine how CO2 will interact
with the Bakken reservoir system that spans North Dakota and Montana. The
data gathered from these techniques are being used to develop predictive
models. Graphic courtesy of the Energy & Environmental Research Center.


ning electron microscopes and computed tomography to identify rock characteristics that would allow trapped oil to
be produced.
In experiments, the researchers
have discovered that when small shale
samples are placed into a high-pressure/
high-temperature chamber and bathed
with CO2, the oil will swell and its viscosity lowers enough so that it moves
through the rock. It demonstrates that
oil can be extracted and that CO2 can also
permeate the rocks, Sorenson said.
This is different from CO2 flooding in conventional reservoirs in which
the goal is to displace the oil and sweep
it into the production zone. Some of the
experiments were able to extract 80% to
100% of the oil from the shale samples
in a 24-hour period. However, Sorenson
said more experiments will be needed to
get a better handle on the mechanisms
involved in the process.
The information obtained from
the laboratory testing has been run
through computer models to see how
the CO2 will affect production on a larger scale. Though the models showed
that production could be improved, in
some cases doubled, they also showed
there is a clear delay in comparison with
what happens during a CO2 flood in a
Whereas in the conventional reservoir, you might see a response in a matter
of days or weeks. Generally, in these Bakken models, we are seeing responses on
the order of many weeks to months, to
many months, Sorenson said. It underscores the notion that patience is going
to be a virtue when it comes to doing any
kind of serious EOR operation in these
tight oil formations.


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7/10/15 11:02 AM


18 m

One problem the project is working on involves customizing the models to better reflect the reality of the
unconventional formations. Schlumberger, Computer Modelling Group, Baker
Hughes, and Kinder Morgan are assisting
the EERC with this aspect of the research.
Based on EOR tests carried out by
other institutions, Sorenson said the
improvements in oil production that
were predicted by the models were not
observed. I would probably say not
even close to having been observed, he
said. There are clearly some significant
gaps within the modeling and the reality
Later this year, researchers will
begin identifying field test locations,
developing a test concept, and establishing baseline characterization and monitoring systems. The field tests are also
likely to use unique injections schemes
that Sorenson said would set the project
apart from previous tests.JPT

Halite Filling Around Fracture

25 m

8.4 m
Within Fracture

21 m

300 m
Using scanning electron microscopy technology, a microfracture in a Middle
Bakken rock sample is examined. The presence of mineralization indicates that
the microfracture is naturally occurring, which is an important factor for the
development of a reservoir model for enhanced oil recovery. Image courtesy of
the Energy & Environmental Research Center.


Under the Patronage of

His Highness Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah
Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait


Society of Petroleum Engineers

2nd Kuwait Oil & Gas Show and Conference

October 2015
1114 O
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Mexico Awards First Offshore

Exploration Tenders
Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

The new era of Mexican oil exploration

has officially begun, but not quite as the
government had hoped.
Only 2 of 14 shallow-water blocks
offered in the countrys first public tender were awarded in mid-July. Blocks 2
and 7 went to a consortium led by a
Mexican-based startup, Sierra Oil. Its
partners are Talos Energy of Houston
and United Kingdom-based Premier Oil.
Just seven firms made bids in the auction
that Mexican officials predicted would be
significantly more competitive.
The auction was conducted by the
National Commission of Hydrocarbons (CNH) in Mexico City and served
as the countrys historic return to the
privatization of oil and gas exploration since the industry was nationalized
in 1938.

The Mexican government believed

at least four or five blocks would be successfully awarded and independent estimates were as high as seven. Juan Carlos Zepeda, president commissioner of
the CNH, acknowledged that the government fell short of its goal to award 30%
of the blocks.
Round One did not show the
results we expected, he said at the conclusion of the auction. Without any
doubt, an underlying factor is low oil
prices, which have resulted in lower
investment capacity from companies.
He added that the blocks on auction also
had a higher degree of geologic uncertainty compared with blocks set for subsequent auctions. The blocks not awarded may be restructured and auctioned
off in a later round.

In defending the auction results,

Zepeda said the government is taking
little financial risk to gain big rewards.
When factoring in taxes and royalties,
and assuming discoveries are made, the
government will collect at least 74% of
the profit share for Block 2 and at least
83% for Block 7.
Both contracts were awarded under
very positive terms for the state and
that is the objective of thisto seek the
highest possible income for the state,
Block 7 was the most competitive,
attracting four qualified bids and one
that fell below the revenue-sharing minimum. Bids on three other blocks were
disqualified because they fell 5% below
the governments threshold for revenue
sharing. The minimum profit share with

Amid a global oil glut, Mexicos first auction in 77 years was able to award only two offshore blocks. The government is
hoping that future auctions will be more enticing. Image courtesy of National Commission of Hydrocarbons.






Laredo Petroleum Company asked Halliburton to help improve the targeting of its acreages most
productive areas and horizons in sections of the Permian Basin. Starting with Laredos existing
comprehensive data set, Halliburton engaged its CYPHER Seismic-to-Stimulation Service
to develop a fully integrated 3D earth model that was used to identify sweet spots both
vertically and horizontally. The model helped improve lateral placement and also served
as a guide for real-time geosteering, which resulted in a 10% increase in estimated
ultimate recovery (EUR). Laredo intends to continue using the CYPHER service to
help future unconventional wells.
Whats your unconventional challenge?

Solving challenges.

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H138-14 JPT.indd 1

8/13/15 1:54 PM

the Mexican government was set at 40%
for most blocks and 25% for heavy oil
and wet gas blocks.
Sierra shares a 45% working interest
in the awarded blocks. Because of technical requirements, the company partnered with Talos, which will be the operator with a 45% working interest, and
with Premier, which own a 10%share.
Read Taylor, executive director of
upstream exploration and production at
Sierra, said the company spent a yearand-a-half working to secure the assets
and was happy with the results. These
are our first set of assets, so now we have
the foundation and the question is how
can we effectively leverage that unique
position, he said.
Taylor added that the company was
willing to be more aggressive in the auction by bidding on two additional blocks.
In the end, that push proved to be more
than the consortiums other partners
were willing to accept.
With regards to the outcome in
general, he said the auction reflected
a weird time in the industry where
many companies are making more conservative decisions than they would have
before oil prices fell.
What we heard many times from
many different players as we talked with
them about potentially partnering was
that the current environment was affecting them and what their boards were willing to do in a new country, Taylorsaid.
The company will participate in the
next two auctions, which will include five
discovered fields in shallow water and
26 discovered onshore fields. If awarded onshore assets, Sierra intends to be
the operator since the qualification standards are lower. Taylor said the company
is working toward becoming a shallowwater operator, which will involve sending its personnel offshore to work with
Talos. We have a lot to do to get there
and that is going to happen over a couple
of years, he said.
Based on the weighted average of the
Mexican governments share and work
program increase, Statoil lost out on winning Block 7 by half a percentage point.
It was the companys only bid of the auc-


Juan Carlos Zepeda, president commissioner of the National Commission of

Hydrocarbons, said that he expects future auctions will attract more investments
than did the first shallow water auction held in July. Photo courtesy of the
Secretariat ofEnergy of Mexico.

tion. Helge Hove Haldorsen, Statoils vice

president of strategy and portfolio for
North America and 2015 SPE president,
said the single bid reflects the fact that
the Mexican opportunity is in competition with the companys other opportunities around the world.
If somebody bids higher, then they
see more value in the block than we did
and good for them. But this type of discipline is necessary if you want to have
a competitive portfolio down the road,
he said.
Haldorsen praised the Mexican government on its transparency and professionalism in how it held the auction. He said that despite the lackluster
results, judgment should be withheld
until more auctions are held and as the
drilling begins. I do not think you can
define success for Mexico based only on
the opening act, he said. It takes more
rounds and activity before you can say
that this worked or did not work.
Pablo Medina, a Latin America upstream research analyst at Wood
Mackenzie, said that the figures set by

the government for its share of the production profits proved to be the key differentiator. At the end of the day, it was
very close to being a success, he said. I
think there is a lesson to be learned in
terms of where they want to be putting
their minimums.
In August, CNH did revise some of
the rules for the second auction to entice
more bidders. The changes mainly centered on lowering the financial requirements for companies and to make it easier to form a qualifying consortium. And
companies will also be allowed to make
a second bid if the first one is below the
minimum profit sharing threshold.
Several companies pulled out of the
auction at the last minute and only seven
companies and consortia submitted bids
out of an expected 25. Up until the morning of the auction, as many as 18 companies and seven consortia were slated
Chevron, ExxonMobil, BG Group,
and BHP Billiton were among the noshows at the event. Several other prequalified companies announced their with-



Take (Pretax)

Increase in
Minimum Local
Work Program

(sq miles)


Block 2


Light Oil



Block 7


Light Oil





Shallow Water (Discoveries)

5 areas

30 September

26 areas

15 December

Deepwater and Extra-Heavy Oil



Chicontepec and Unconventionals



Onshore (Discoveries)

drawals less than a week before the

auction. Among them were Noble Energy,
Ecopetrol, and Pacific Rubiales, the largest privately held oil and gas company in
South America.
A consultant, who attended the auction and asked that his name not be used
because of his ties to the Mexican government, said while the results of the auction
were disappointing, they were not surprising given the sentiments expressed
by operators in the lead-up to the auction. He said companies were unhappy
with the financial terms, including the
governments nondisclosure of the profit
sharing requirements prior to the auction. I dont blame them, he said. Not


only was there a threshold, which isnt so

bad, it was the secrecy of it.
He explained that the rationale
for not revealing the percentage of the
governments take until the bids were
unsealed was to prevent companies from
merely shooting for the minimum. CNH
was pressured to pursue a high percentage of the profits largely because of the
domestic unpopularity of the energy
reforms that have reprivatized the industry, he said.
These guys will be able to say Hey,
we didnt give it away, and in fact, we
turned away three bids, he said, referring to those bids that fell just shy of the
profit sharing terms.

Rory Johnston, an energy economist for Scotiabank, said in his report

that among the disappointing aspects
to Julys auction was its failure to attract
more international experience and capital. One silver lining is that the blocks
on offer in this auction were considered
those least exciting for industry, allowing
for changes to be made before the much
more attractive deepwater blocks are
tendered early next year, Johnston said.
Just how early next year remains in
question. Two weeks after the shallow
water auction, the government postponed
the deepwater auction without specifying a date. The government also suspended the auction for unconventional fields
which was already planned to be curtailed
in terms of areas on offer.
The deepwater blocks near the
US-Mexico maritime border are found
in the Perdido area of the Gulf of Mexico and are expected to be the most competitive because of the major discoveries
made on both sides of theborder.JPT



Hatem Nuseibeh
President and Group Representative of Total UAE
Abdelghani Henni, JPT Middle East Editor


Hatem Nuseibeh is
the president and
group representative
of Total UAE. Before
taking up his Abu
Dhabi-based role in
the UAE, he was the
managing director of
both Total E&P Yemen and Total Yemen
LNG. Nuseibeh served as managing
director of Total Upstream Nigeria from
1997 to 2000, managing director of
Total E&P Libya from 2000 to 2003, and
managing director of Total E&P Syria
from 2004 to 2009. Beginning in 1993, he
spent 2 years in the reservoir division as
the head of Europe and Commonwealth
of Independent States region at Totals
headquarters in Paris before moving to
the groups new projects division, where
he was head of the Africa region until
1997. In 1984, Nuseibeh held a senior
training position in Indonesia, before
returning to the UAE in 1987 as head of
the reservoir department at Total Abu
Al Bukhoosh, where he later became
the petroleum development manager.
He joined Total as a reservoir engineer
in 1980 after starting his career as a
petroleum engineer at ADCO in Abu Dhabi
in 1976. Nuseibeh studied at Eton College
and holds a chemical engineering degree
from the University of Salford in the UK.

In the upstream sector, we operate

the Abu Al Bukhoosh (ABK) field, making
us the only major IOC to operate in Abu
Dhabi, and we are also a partner in the
Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (ADCO) and the Abu
Dhabi Marine Operating Co.
In gas treatment, we are a partner in
Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Co. (GASCO),
while for liquefied natural gas (LNG)
exportation, we are a partner in Abu
Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Co. (ADGAS).
For gas importation, we are a partner in Dolphin Energy. In the downstream sector, we are involved in the
Fertil fertilizer project with Abu Dhabi
National Oil Co. (ADNOC). We are also
partners with Masdar in the Shams 1
solar energy project, as well as in the
Taweelah desalination project. We have
a lubricant blending plant and a trading
office in Dubai. This shows how important Abu Dhabi and the whole UAE is
The second important thing is the
recently awarded ADCO concession,
because what we have offered to ADCO
for our 10% stake is a clear indication
of our commitment to Abu Dhabi and

Describe Totals major projects in

the UAE and Abu Dhabi and their
importance to the company.
Two things show the importance of the
UAE and Abu Dhabi to Total. The first is
our footprint: We are the largest international oil company (IOC) in Abu Dhabi
involved across the whole energy value
chainfrom upstream through midstream to downstream.

What led the Abu Dhabi government

to choose Total in the ADCO
I believe our offer took account of all
of Abu Dhabis technical and commercialrequirements.
Abu Dhabi was clear when it made
the call for tenders for the ADCO concession, including its expectations from
potential bidders: what they want to do
in their fields and what recovery rate
they target.

We are fortunate to have been operating in Abu Dhabi since 1939, so we

know these reservoirs pretty well. Also,
in the last ADCO concession, which
expired last year, we held a 9.5% stake,
and did several research projects at our
research center in Pau, France, focusing on the specific characteristics of the
Abu Dhabi fields. As a consequence,
our technical offer matched ADNOCs
The second part was the commercial bid, which was a very important element as our bid had to assess the commercial value of a 40-year concession.
The challenge was to take into account
production that comes after 20 to 30
years. So we have had to calculate the
full-life value of the concession by applying our own knowledge, based on the
long-term nature of the contract together with our detailed understanding of
the reservoirs and their likely evolution
over the next 40 years. Added to that
is the fact that we have a very wise and
understanding partner in ADNOC and
an extremely efficient operating company in ADCO. In addition, everyone
recognizes the long-term stability of
the UAE. All of these factors combined
made our commercial valuation of the
ADCO concession correct. I believe that
those who place a lower value on it were
just wrong.
We cannot give the cost per barrel as
this is commercially confidential information, but there has been widespread speculation that we paid around USD2billion.
If that figure is correct, it means we have
paid USD 1 per barrel, as our chief executive officer, Patrick Pouyann, said. And I
do not know where else in the world you
can get proven reserves at that cost.


How much oil is produced from the

fields operated in the UAE?
The only field we actually operate is the
Abu Al Bukhoosh field, which produces
a relatively small volume of oil (around
9,000 BOPD), but a significant volume
of gas for the local market (more than
However, our overall production
from the Abu Dhabi fields in which we
have an interest is much higher at just
under 300,000 B/D. This represents
around 12% of Totals global production,
which shows how important Abu Dhabi is
to the company.
What is the operational status of the
Abu Al Bukhoosh field?
ABK is an interesting offshore field for
two reasons. Firstly, this field lies in the
economic water border between the UAE
and Iran. The Abu Dhabi side of the field
produces oil and gas, while the Iranian

side currently produces probably only

oil. So the geographical location of the
field is very important.
Secondly, though the field is relatively small compared with other fields
in Abu Dhabi, it has the same geological
layers as the rest of Abu Dhabis fields.
Therefore, everything that is done at the
ABK field can effectively be used as a
pilot project for other major fields in Abu
Dhabi, most notably, perhaps, in terms
of EOR.
For example, if you look at the overall recovery rate at ABK today, it is more
than 45%. In some reservoirs, it is 55%,
and there is one reservoir where we have
achieved close to 70% recovery. The
technologies that we have used to achieve
these recovery rates at ABK can also be
applied at bigger fields in Abu Dhabi.
The journey of technology application in the ABK field dates back to
the 1990s when we started tertiary gas


injection, which was followed by the

first EOR pilot project in 1992. Also, we
have been injecting gas in the field for a
long while.
At the same time, we were producing a large amount of water with the gas
produced from the ABK field. We tried
various artificial lift methods to deal with
this issue. We also did some pilot projects for chemical EOR, which showed
interesting results. We are now considering how best to exploit these techniques
going forward.
On the small reservoirs of ABK, the
financial benefits from deploying these
methodologies are not clearly tangible.
However, if the same methodologies are
successfully applied on the big fields of
Abu Dhabi, then there will be a huge
impact on the overall recovery of Abu
Dhabis hydrocarbon reserves. Which is
why, as I say, ABK is a sort of a pilot field
for all of the Abu Dhabi reservoirs.

Make Plans
to Attend!
The program committee for the
SPE/CSUR Unconventional Resources
Conference, held 2022 October 2015 at
the BMO Centre in Calgary, cordially
invites you to attend this renowned event.
Visit for
more information.




Which technologies are you bringing

to the UAE?
We are utilizing a range of different
technologies in the field we operate
whether managing produced water or
applying gas injection and chemical EOR
techniques. We are also studying various

Registration Opens
November 2015.

Fort Worth, Texas, USA
13 March 2016
Fort Worth Convention Center

to learn more and sign up to receive
conference updates and news.

What is your exploration and

production strategy for the UAE?
The UAE is important for us, and our
strategy is in line with the UAEs government strategy. We want to be a partner of
choice with local national oil companies,
maximize recovery rates in the fields
we are involved in either as operator or
asset leader, and help the UAE achieve its
future energy objectives.
As I mentioned earlier, we are
already involved across the entire energy
value chain, but with the governments
acceptance, we have ambitions to further expand our presence. We would be
happy to get involved with other Abu
Dhabi-owned energy companies such
as IPIC [International Petroleum Investment Co.] and Mubadala in addition
to ADNOC. Thats why we are in ongoing discussions about new investment
opportunities that are useful for the UAE.
For example, the soaring gas consumption in the country requires a clear
strategy to meet the challenge. With our
various projects in Abu Dhabi through
Total ABK, Dolphin Energy, GASCO, or
ADGAS we are working hard to help face
this challenge and have also set a forecast for a gas balance in the country that
reflects future needs.
The second major part of our strategy is related to research, either with
ADNOC, Masdar, or the Petroleum Institute University and Research Center in
Abu Dhabi, as we aim to achieve ambitious recovery rates.
A third element of our strategy is
the development of local capability and
talents. We are the only IOC in Abu Dhabi
that has created a dedicated training
academy, the Total ABK Academy, aimed
specifically at training people for careers
as technicians and operatives in the oil

and gas industry. We also plan to provide

training at other levels, including professional engineers.
Which technologies are being
deployed in Abu Dhabi and the ADCO
As part of our commitment under the
ADCO concession, we have to establish
a technology hub. In this hub, all the
expertise and know-how of Total will be
made available to ADCO. This means that
ADCO, which is an independent operating company, and all its employees will
have access to Totals expertise worldwide, giving them access to the same
data and knowledge as any of its affiliated
companies worldwide.
Given ADNOCs 70% recovery rate
target, it is not enough to have a development plan just for today. We need to
come up with additional EOR development plans that cover the next 40 years
or more, including gas injection, which
has already been successfully applied in
Total ABK, in addition to carbon dioxide
and chemical injection.
All of these have to be deployed with
a detailed understanding of the fields in
question, because maximizing recovery
rate requires a clear understanding of the
reservoirs characteristics. Fortunately, I
believe this to be one of Totals strongest
points, thanks to the unparalleled geosciences expertise and know-how we have.
Describe the collaboration of Total
and Masdar on the digital rock
physics (DRP) project, which aims to
produce an archive of rock images in
The DRP project is, if we can say, the
EOR of the EOR, as it enhances EOR.
That means it targets the oil that cannot be reached even after deploying normal EOR techniques. It shows that we are
not only supporting the UAE in the short
term but also in the long term. It will take
some time before we see the real benefits from this project. Eventually, however, we hope it will enable us and the
UAE to extract the last drop of oil from
theground. JPT


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Crossover Technologies Enhance Innovation

in Oil Industry
Abdelghani Henni, JPT Middle East Editor


The challenges facing the oil and gas

industry require crossover technologies
from other industries such as aerospace,
automotive, and medicine to help drive
efficiency, boost productivity, and optimize performance, a summit panel said.
At the recent Chief Technology Officers Summit held in conjunction with the
Abu Dhabi International Research and
Development Conference and Exhibition, the panelists concurred that while
off-the-shelf solutions are often used
to solve problems, bespoke in-country
research and development (R&D) solutions will become more important in
reaching production targets in the coming decades.
The theme of the event was How
Can Innovation From Other Industries
Play a Key Role in Enhancing Performance in the Energy Sector?
Alain Guenot, senior vice president
of Total Exploration and Production in
the UAE, said Total has established five
laboratories covering robotics, big data,

nanotechnology, and enhanced oil recovery to develop bespoke R&D solutions.

We also have laboratories that are established only for short periods, a maximum
of 2 years, to solve the challenges we
face, he said.

Alain Guenot, senior vice president of

Total Exploration and Production in
the UAE

William Coates, senior vice president

of technology and marketing at

Managing Big Data

A key issue facing the industry is the

management of big data, an area of
expertise more commonly associated with companies such as Google and
Microsoft. Big data has been a problem in oil and gas, especially in the seismic data, as the whole industry has been
involved in trying to manage it properly, said William Coates, senior vice
president of technology and marketing
The digitalization of operations has
created new challenges in terms of managing and analyzing the seismic data in
order to optimize resource extraction,
manage well operations, improve reservoir performance, and avoid disruptions.

Big data may affect the skill sets

required in operations and how petroleum engineering is taught in universities.
Of course, we need to continue teaching petroleum engineering, but
we need to introduce new courses to
match the ongoing developments facing the industry, said Thomas Hochstettler, president of the Petroleum Institute University and Research Center in
Abu Dhabi. The big data became a more
important part in the industry, and we
need to introduce it in courses that cover
this sector. In the long term, we need to
keep our eyes open to this and we should
work on how we incorporate this.
The technological advancements
prove that we are living in the information revolution, in which big data has
become an integral part of forecasting
and planning. Data mining became a
critical part, which is considered a crossindustry issue, said Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice president of Khalifa
University in the UAE.

Thomas Hochstettler, president of the

Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi


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Interaction with people from other

industries is critical to learning about the
ideas and technologies that may be applicable to the oil and gas industry. Innovation may mean finding solutions in unexpected places.
We have people who constantly
interact with people from other industries to look for ideas that we can use to
solve the problems we face, and then we
investigate these ideas and see whether
we can deploy them to solve our problems and challenges, Guenot said.
An example of such collaboration is
the Pumps & Pipes program, which was
started as an informal partnership by
the ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co.
(URC), the Houston Methodist DeBakey
Heart & Vascular Center (MDHVC), and
the University of Houston. In 2007, Alan
Lumsden, a cardiovascular surgeon and
the medical director of the MDHVC,
struck up a conversation with Bill Kline,
a drilling and subsurface research manager at ExxonMobil URC, during an overseas flight.
As they discussed the challenges they face in their work, many similarities became clear, for example, the
principles of fluid flow and material science are common to exploration and
production and cardiovascular medicine.
The program has grown into an inter-

Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive

vice president of Khalifa University
inthe UAE


national forum for transferable ideas

Though coincidence plays a role in
some innovations, industry players want
to establish clear mechanisms to foster
crossover technologies between different
industrial sectors. In the Middle East,
we need governments to do their work
in terms of encouraging collaboration
between industries through decrees as
the majority of big companies are owned
by government, AlHammadi said.
With information and communications technology (ICT) evolving as the
critical operational architecture in many
sectors, including oil and gas, the industry should be propelled to accelerate
the pursuit of crossover technologies as
the hardware, software, processes, and
skills deployed are essentially the same.
We need to look at the fundamental
of our industry in order to find ways to
use these resources, said Guenot. We
should always aim for the best.
Identifying the type of crossover
technology for adoption as part of the
innovation process is important. Should
innovations aimed at improving safety
and security be adopted over others given
the rising concerns about cybersecurity?
Prioritizing should depend on the
challenge we face, so for every problem,
we need to look for a particular solution, said Al Hammadi.
Hochstettler said that being selective in safety and security is important.
Safety and security are important, but
safety comes first, he said. You have
to select what you need, and then you
improve efficiency and the environment. Safety means investing, and it is
a key element for us and security is also
important for us.
The security issue facing the industry is completely different from in the
past. The main issue now is the physical
security of the assets, which is a problem
that we didnt have 10 years ago mainly in the Middle East and North Africa
region, said Coates. But when you do
things online, you should make sure that
the cybersecurity aspect is well under
control, as it is of paramount importance
in the industry, where most companies

are well aware of the challenges and taking it seriously.

Silicon Valley Model

Panelists were asked whether it is the

time for major international oil companies and national oil companies to open
innovation centers in Silicon Valley, an
area in southern California that is home
to many of the worlds high-technology
companies, in order to tap into the best
ICT engineering talent pools to build up a
21st century workforce.
Although there was a consensus that
such talent is important for the industry and that Silicon Valley is a successful model for innovation, risk taking,
and creativity, the panelists differed in
Guenot is against the idea of a Silicon Valley model for the oil and gas
industry. He said it is the time to restructure the way the industry does its R&D
and that it should be more open in terms
of people and technology. It is critical
to be able to source the right talents and
technologies as these are the key for success in solving the industry challenges,
he said.
Coates said that Schlumberger has
reopened its technology research laboratory in Palo Alto, California, which was
closed in 1988, and is looking for talented people. We reopened our tech center
in Palo Alto because we believe that there
is something interesting thats worth tapping. There is something we need to discover there: How does it work? We dont
know yet, but we are working to find out;
we hope to find something important,
he said.
Other panelists said that the industry has its own Silicon Valley. Houston
could be considered as the Silicon Valley for the oil and gas industry, given the
number of universities and companies
operating tech centers covering industryrelated challenges, Hochstettler said.
The industrys movement toward
data science obliges companies to use it in
their business models. The data became
an integral part of the industry, and thats
why companies need to move to that
environment, Hochstettlersaid.JPT



RFD-006_tNavigator_JPT_0724.indd 1

7/24/15 4:12 PM


2015 SPE International Awards: Recipients

To Be Honored at Annual Meeting in Houston
Jack Betz, JPT Staff Writer

Each year, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) confers its highest honors and awards on members
whose outstanding contributions to SPE and the petroleum industry merit special recognition. Recipients
of this year's international awards will be recognized at the Annual Reception and Banquet on Tuesday,
29 September, and Distinguished Members will be honored at the Presidents Luncheon, Wednesday,
30September during the 2015 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition inHouston.

Honorary Membership
Honorary Membership is conferred on individuals for outstanding service to SPE and/or in recognition of distinguished
scientific or engineering achievement in fields encompassed
in SPEs technical scope. Honorary Membership is the highest
honor that SPE confers on an individual and is limited to 0.1%
of SPEs total membership.
Bernt S. Aadny is a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of
Stavanger in Norway. He started working
for Phillips Petroleum in Odessa, Texas,
in 1978. In 1980, he joined Rogaland
Research (now the International Research
Institute of Stavanger) and was central in
building the Ullrigg, a drilling research rig. Later, he worked
for Saga Petroleum, where he developed the Norwegian well
design manual. He also helped develop an undergraduate
petroleum engineering program at the University of the Faroe
Islands. Aadny has published many conference and journal
articles and several books such as Modern Well Design and
Petroleum Rock Mechanics: Drilling Operations and Well
Design, and was one of the editors of Advanced Drilling and
Well Technology. He holds 10 patents. He has served as a
board member in the SPE Stavanger Section, on the JPT Editorial Committee, and on the planning committees of many SPE
conferences. Aadny has been a reviewer for SPE Journal, SPE
Drilling & Completion, and the Journal of Petroleum Science
and Engineering. He has given many SPE short courses
around the world, mainly on the topic of modern well design.
He was a recipient of the 1999 SPE Drilling Engineering
Award. Aadny holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the
University of Wyoming, an MS in control engineering from the
University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in rock mechanics
from the Norwegian Institute of Technology.


Hazim H. Abass is a professor and

research director of the Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology Consortium
at the Colorado School of Mines. Before
joining the school in 2014, he was a senior
consultant and the unconventional
resources focus area champion at the
Advanced Research Center of Saudi Aramco. Abass also worked
as a development engineer at the Halliburton Research Center
in Oklahoma, a Halliburton consultant at the PDVSA Research
Center in Venezuela, and a petroleum engineer at the Northern
Petroleum Organization in Iraq. He advanced the practical
applications of rock mechanics to solve petroleum engineeringrelated problems. He introduced new concepts and technologies related to oriented perforation, oriented fracturing, sanding tendency, fracturing horizontal wells, acid and proppant
hydraulic fracturing, water coning, gas hydrates, and coalbed
methane. He holds 11 US patents, has written more than 50
technical papers, and contributed to three industrial books.
Abass is the recipient of the 2008 SPE Middle East Regional Production Operations Award, the 2012 SPE Completion Optimizations and Technology Award, and the 2012 SPE Middle East
Regional Completion Optimizations and Technology Award. He
served SPE on multiple committees and technical events as
chairman, cochairman, member, technical editor, Distinguished
Lecturer, discussion leader, and speaker. Abass holds a BSc from
the University of Baghdad and MSc and PhD degrees from the
Colorado School of Mines, all in petroleum engineering.
Syed A. Ali is a technical adviser at
Schlumberger Technology Corp. He began
his career as a project geologist at Gulf
Research and Development Co. in 1976,
and held various positions at Chevron
starting in 1981. He joined Schlumberger
in 2007. Ali is recognized as an expert in
formation damage control, sandstone acidizing, and produc-


tion chemistry. He has authored approximately 150 technical

papers. Ali received the 2014 SPE DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal, the 2006 SPE Production and Operations Award,
the 2012 Distinguished Service Award, and Distinguished Membership in 2013. He served as a Distinguished Lecturer in 2004
2005. In 2009, he played an instrumental role in establishing
the SPE International Production and Operations Conference.
He also helped establish the SPE Deepwater Drilling and Completions Conference in 2010 and was cochair of the 2014 conference. He is chair of the JPT Editorial Committee. Ali holds BS
and MS degrees in geology from the University of Karachi in
Pakistan, an MS in geology from Ohio State University, and a
PhD in geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
J.J. Azar is a distinguished adjunct professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston and a retired professor
emeritus of petroleum engineering at the
University of Tulsa (TU). He started his
career as an assistant professor of mechanical/aerospace engineering at TU in 1965,
and in 1975, he joined the petroleum engineering department as
a full professor and director of Drilling Research Projects. Azar
built one of the most comprehensive drilling programs in the
history of the department. He is the author of four books, coauthor of Drilling Engineering and the Encyclopedia of Energy,
and has written numerous articles in technical journals. He is a
recipient of the 1998 SPE Drilling Engineering Award, 1997 SPE
Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering
Faculty, and 2004 SPE Distinguished Membership Award. He is
a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Azar holds
BS and MS degrees in aerospace engineering and a PhD in
mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma.
Thomas A. Blasingame is a professor of
petroleum engineering at Texas A&M
University and the holder of the Robert L.
Whiting Professorship. He was a graduate
assistant from 1984 to 1989, and a
research associate from 1989 to 1990.
Blasingame has consulted for more than
30 industry clients worldwide, including ExxonMobil, Repsol,
and Saudi Aramco. He has made contributions to research in
applied reservoir engineering, including integration of formation evaluation data, new material balance methods, correlations for rock and hydrocarbon fluid properties, and analytical solutions for modeling the flow of single and multiphase
fluids in porous media. Blasingame received the SPE Distinguished Membership in 2000, the Distinguished Service
Award in 2005, the Lester C. Uren Award in 2006, the
Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal in 2012, the DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal in 2013, and the Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty in 2014. He
also served as a Distinguished Lecturer in 20052006. He is


program chair for the 2015 SPE Asia Pacific Unconventional

Resources Conference and Exhibition and a member of the
SPE Reservoir Description and Dynamics Advisory Committee. Blasingame holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in petroleum
engineering from Texas A&M University.
DeAnn Craig is an industry adviser on
project valuation and strategic endeavors
and an adjunct professor of petroleum
engineering at the Colorado School of
Mines. She serves on two corporate boards
and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Craig started her career
in reservoir and drilling engineering at Phillips Petroleum and
Mobil Oil. She went on to hold management positions such as
operations manager of West Area and manager of Worldwide
Drilling & Production at Phillips and served as president of Phillips Petroleum Resources Canada. More recent positions
include senior vice president of asset assessment at CNX Gas
and a consultant at Chevron North America Exploration and
Production. In 2010, she served as president of the American
Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers.
Craig was a recipient of the SPE Young Member Outstanding
Service Award in 1987 and the Distinguished Membership in
2008. In 1998, Craig served as SPE president. She has also
served as chair of the Denver Section, the Energy Information
Committee, and the SPE Task Force on Women, and as treasurer
and president of the SPE Foundation. Craig holds an MBA from
Regis University. She earned an MSc in mineral economics and
business, and international political economy of resources, and
an interdisciplinary PhD from the Colorado School of Mines.
Emmanuel Garland is a special adviser to
the vice president of health, safety, and
environment (HSE) at Total Exploration
and Production (E&P). He provides support and advice to companies on international standards and regulations. In 1980,
Garland joined Elf Aquitaine (now Total),
where he held positions such as head of research and development projects for produced water, head of production engineering, and head of the E&P environmental division. For more than
20 years, he represented Total on the International Association
of Oil and Gas Producers environmental committee, which he
chaired from 2005 to 2013. Garland is a member of the French
delegation on the OSPAR Commission, which manages the convention for the protection of the marine environment in the
northeast Atlantic, and chaired the expert assessment panel of
its offshore industry committee for 7 years. He was an HSSE-SR
technical director on the SPE Board from 2005 to 2008 and a
Distinguished Lecturer from 2009 to 2010. He serves on the JPT
Editorial Committee. Garland holds an MSc from cole Centrale
de Paris in physics and an MSc in petroleum engineering from
cole Nationale des Ptroles et des Moteurs.



John Franklin Carll Award

The John Franklin Carll Award recognizes contributions of
technical application and professionalism in petroleum development and recovery.
Cem Sarica is the F.H. Mick Merelli/
Cimarex Energy Professor of Petroleum
Engineering at the University of Tulsa
(TU). He is also the director of three industry-supported consortia at the university,
which are focused on fluid flow, paraffin
deposition, and horizontal well artificial
lift. Before joining TU, he was an associate professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Pennsylvania State University and an assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas
engineering at Istanbul Technical University (ITU). Sarica has
submitted more than 115 peer-reviewed technical articles to
various journals and conferences and written more than 50
conference papers. His research interests are production engineering, multiphase flow in pipes, flow assurance, and horizontal wells. Sarica is the chair-elect of the Projects, Facilities, and
Construction (PFC) Subcommittee for the 2016 SPE ATCE and
was the cochair of the 2015 SPE Flow Assurance Forum. He has
previously served as a member of the SPE Production and Operations and Books Development committees, chair of SPE International PFC and Production and Operations Award committees, and was a member of the SPE Journal Editorial Board
between 1999 and 2007. He is the recipient of the 2010 SPE Production and Operations Award and was recognized as a Distinguished Member in 2012. Sarica holds BS and MS degrees in
petroleum engineering from ITU and a PhD in petroleum engineering from TU.

Anthony F. Lucas GoldMedal

Established in 1936, the Anthony F. Lucas Gold medal recognizes achievement in improving the technique and practice of
finding and producing petroleum.
Anil Kumar is the founder and president
of Omak Technologies in Plano, Texas. He
started his career in 1971 and later became
chairman and associate professor of petroleum engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He helped
create the institutes Petroleum Recovery
Research Center. Kumar then worked in senior positions at a
number of oil and gas companies, including Gulf Oil, Chevron,
Mobil E&P Technical Center, Devon Energy of Indonesia, and
PetroChina International Jakarta. As a senior vice president at


Reliance Industries, he led a 60-member subsurface team for a

deepwater field development in Indias Krishna-Godavari
Basins D6 block. Kumar pioneered the breakthrough pressure
derivative methodology for oil, gas, and injection well test
analysis and interpretation, which has become a dominant
technology platform in the past 40 years. He has published
numerous technical papers, and coauthored five books,
including Gas Well Test Analysis Under Water Drive Conditions.
He received the SPE Reservoir Engineering Award in 1997
andthe SPE Formation Evaluation Award in 2013. He became
an SPE Distinguished Member in 2001 and was a Distinguished Lecturer during 19951996. Kumar holds a BSc from
the Indian School of Mines Dhanbad, India, an MS from
Louisiana State University, and a PhD from Stanford University,
all in petroleumengineering.

Lester C. Uren Award

The Lester C. Uren Award recognizes distinguished achievement in the technology of petroleum engineering by a member who made the contribution before age 45.
Anthony R. Kovscek is a professor and
chairman of Stanford Universitys Energy
Resources Engineering Department. He
joined Stanford in 1996 as an assistant
professor. He became an associate professor and received tenure in 2003. He
received Stanfords School of Earth
Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1997. He was the
inaugural Global Climate and Energy Project Distinguished Lecturer on carbon sequestration in 2008. He has authored more
than 110 peer-reviewed articles and about 120 SPE meeting proceedings manuscripts. Kovsceks publications report on studies
of enhanced oil recovery processes for unconventional
resources including hydrocarbons such as shale and heavy oil in
tight media. He and his research group apply advanced, nondestructive imaging techniques to understand complex multiphase flows of gas, water, and oil in porous media. From 2009
to 2012, Kovscek was the executive editor of SPE Journal. He
received an SPE Regional Technical Achievement Award in 2005
and the SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum
Engineering Faculty in 2006. Kovscek holds BS and PhD degrees
in chemical engineering from the University of Washington and
University of California at Berkeley, respectively.

Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal

The Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal recognizes distinguished achievement in mining administration, including
metallurgy and petroleum.


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Amin H. Nasser is the acting president
and chief executive officer of Saudi
Aramco and a member of the Saudi Aramco board of directors. He concurrently
serves as senior vice president of
upstream, a position he has held since
2008. Nasser joined the company in 1982
and held various technical and operational assignments with
the Production Engineering, Drilling, and Reservoir Management departments. In 1997, he became the manager of the Ras
Tanura Producing Department, and later, the manager of the
Northern Area Producing Engineering Department, the Safaniya Offshore Producing Department, and the Safaniya
Onshore Producing Department. He was appointed chief petroleum engineer in 2004, and named executive director of Petroleum Engineering and Development (PE&D) in 2005. Nassers
leadership led to his appointment as vice president of PE&D in
2006, and then as acting business-line head of Exploration and
Producing (E&P) in 2007. In 2008, he became E&Ps senior vice
president. He is actively involved in professional and societal
activities focused on the advancement of education, and people
and technology development. He is a member of the Dhahran
Techno-Valley Company board of directors. A longtime SPE
member, he has served on SPEs Industry Advisory Council
since 2008. Nasser holds a BS in petroleum engineering from
King Fahd University of Petroleum andMinerals.

DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal

The DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal recognizes distinguished and outstanding service to SPE, to the professions of
engineering and/or geology, and to the petroleum industry.
Ali Ghalambor is the technical adviser at
the Oil Center Research International and
an international consultant. He has more
than 35 years of industrial and academic
experience in the petroleum industry. He
held engineering and supervisory positions at Tenneco Oil, Amerada Hess, and
Occidental Research Corp. He has served as the American
Petroleum Institute Endowed Professor, head of the petroleum
engineering department, and director of the Energy Institute
at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He served as commissioner on the Engineering Accreditation Commission of
ABET. Ghalambor has performed consulting and training services in more than 40 countries. He has authored or coauthored 14 books and manuals and more than 180 technical
papers. He is recognized for his technical contributions on fundamental and applied research on formation damage control.
He received the SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for


Petroleum Engineering Faculty in 2001, the Distinguished

Member Award in 2006, the Production and Operations Award
in 2007, Distinguished Service Award in 2008, A Peer Apart
Editorial Award in 2008, and the Regional Completion and
Optimization Award in 2009. He was director of the Central
and Southeastern North America Region on the SPE International Board of Directors and is the founding chairman of the
SPE International Symposium and Exhibition on Formation
Damage Control. Ghalambor holds BS and MS degrees in
petroleum engineering from the University of Southwestern
Louisiana and a PhD in environmental sciences and engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum

Engineering Faculty
This award recognizes superior teaching, excellence in
research, significant contributions to the petroleum engineering profession, and/or special effectiveness in advising
and guiding students.
Akhil Datta-Gupta is a regents professor
and holder of the L.F. Peterson 36
Endowed Chair in petroleum engineering
at Texas A&M University. He is known for
his contributions to fast flow simulation
methods, inverse modeling, reservoir
characterization, and optimization for
both conventional and unconventional reservoirs. In addition
to his academic activities, Datta-Gupta is also an international
consultant in the oil and gas industry. In 2008, he received the
US Department of Energy Award for Outstanding Contributions
to Basic Research in Geosciences. He served as a member of the
Polar Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences from
2001 to 2004 and on the Technology Task Force of the National
Petroleum Council in 2007. He was elected to the US National
Academy of Engineering in 2012. He received the SPE John
Franklin Carll Award in 2009 and the Lester C. Uren Award in
2003. Datta-Gupta holds a BS degree from the Indian School of
Mines and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Texas at
Austin, all in petroleumengineering.

Public Service Award

The SPE Public Service Award recognizes distinguished public
service to a country, state, community, or the public through
excellence in leadership, service, or humanitarianism, provided the service is above the requirements of employment and is
therefore not a compensated activity. Recipients of this award
automatically become Distinguished Members.


Richard D. Folger is a managing general
partner of Colbridge Partners. He began
his career in the oil and gas industry
working on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline
System and in gas plant construction at
Collier Carbon and Chemical. From 1984
to 1992, he was employed at First City
National Bank Midland, where he became senior vice president and manager of the Energy Lending Division. Folger
joined Compressor Systems as vice president of business
development in 1992 and was appointed president in 1996. In
1999, he was elected president and chief executive officer of
the parent company, Warren Equipment Co. Folger was a
recipient of the Cockrell School of Engineerings Distinguished
Engineering Graduate Award at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 2011. He was presented with the National Multiple
Sclerosis Society Hope Award in 2013. His professional and
community affiliations include roles as director of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Dallas El Paso Branch, past chairman of the
Board of Midland Memorial Hospital, director of the Permian
Basin Petroleum Association, and member of the UT Engineering Advisory Board. Folger holds a BBA in petroleum land
management and a BS in petroleum engineering from UT.

Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award

The SPE Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes contributions to SPE and the E&P industry that exhibit
such exceptional devotion of time, effort, thought, and action
as to set them apart from other contributions. This award will
be given to relatively few individuals whose contributions to
the industry stand out even above their excellence of services
to SPE.
Zhou Jiping is the former chairman of
the board of China National Petroleum
Corp. (CNPC). He is a member of the
National Committee of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference
and is serving as an executive committee
member and vice president of marketing
at the World Petroleum Council. He has more than 40 years of
experience in onshore and offshore petroleum exploration
and development. Before his retirement as chairman of CNPC
in May, Zhou held numerous management positions, such as
general manager of China National Oil & Gas Exploration and
Development Corp.s (CNODC) Vanuatu and Papua New
Guinea companies; president of the Greater Nile International Petroleum Operating Co.; vice president and president of
CNODC; assistant president, vice president, and president of
CNPC; and vice chairman and president of PetroChina. Zhou
also held the position of exploration manager in China
National Offshore Oil Corp.s Exploration and Production


Department. He was a visiting scholar at Exxon USA from

1991 to 1992 and a senior visiting scholar with the Eisenhower Fellowships program in the US in 1997. He has been a
member of the SPE Industry Advisory Council since 2007.
Zhou holds a BS in geophysics from China Petroleum University and an MS in geophysics from the Chinese Academy

Distinguished Service Award

The SPE Distinguished Service Award recognizes contributions to the Society that exhibit such exceptional devotion
of time, effort, thought, and action as to set them apart from
other contributions.
Dennis E. Dria is the president and petroleum technology adviser at Myden Energy
Consulting. He has 37 years of experience
in the industry, including 9 years with the
Standard Oil Co. (now BP) as a senior
research chemist and 21 years with Shell
as a staff research engineer. When he left
Shell in 2010, he was working on fiber-optic technology development and implementation of well and reservoir monitoring.
Dria was also an engineering adviser to the companys global
implementation team for reservoir surveillance technologies
and a global subject matter expert in production logging and
permanent sensing. He is the author or coauthor of 15 technical publications and a contributing editor of SPEs Petroleum
Engineering Handbook. He holds 26 US patents. Dria has
chaired the SPE International Continuing Education Committee and the Gulf Coast Section Continuing Education Committee. He has served as a technical committee member of the
2010 SPE Annual Technology Conference and Exhibition and
as chair of the production monitoring and control technical
subcommittee. In 20112012, he was a Distinguished Lecturer
on fiber-optic technology. Dria holds a BS in physics and mathematics from Ashland University and a PhD in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
Deonarine J. Jaggernauth is a commissioner on the Integrity Commission of
Trinidad and Tobago, a position to which
he was appointed by the countrys president in 2013. He has 34 years of experience in reservoir engineering, production
engineering, natural gas engineering,
management, and health, safety, and environment (HSE) at
Petrotrin. He mentored many young engineers both at
Petrotrin and the SPE Trinidad and Tobago Section. Jaggernauth served as chairman of the section in 1984 and as treasurer for 13 years. He has also served on the Exploration and Production HSE Committee, Books Development Committee, and




11:07 AM


SPE Seeks Nominations for the

2016 International Awards
SPE needs help in recognizing significant technical and
professional contributions to the oil and gas industry
and the petroleum engineering profession.
SPE award committees are seeking nominations
from 15 November 2015 through 15 February 2016 for
all 2016 awards. Award criteria, nomination forms, and
other information can be found at
Review the eligibility requirements and nominate a
worthy colleague today.

the Engineering Professionalism Committee, among others.

Jaggernauth has written and presented many papers on HSE
topics at SPE conferences. He received the SPE Regional Service Award in 2001 and Distinguished Membership in 2005.
Jaggernauth holds BS and MS degrees in petroleum engineering from the University of Kansas and an MS in environmental
engineering from the University of the WestIndies.
Andrei S. Popa is a technology adviser
leading the artificial intelligence and
machine learning team in the applied
reservoir management department at
Chevron in San Joaquin Valley in California. He joined Chevron as a production
engineer in 2002. He has held many
positions such as reservoir engineer, special projects lead
engineer, subsurface team lead, and i-field reservoir management program manager. Popa has published 36 papers on
artificial intelligence technology and its applications. In
2011, he coauthored the book, Artificial Intelligence & Data
Mining (AI & DM) Applications in the Exploration and Production Industry, as part of SPE's Getting Up to Speed series.
He was a Distinguished Lecturer in 2013-2014, membership
director of the Predictive Data-Driven Analytics Technical
Section, and a technical editor of SPE Reservoir Evaluation &
Engineering. His service has earned him several awards, such
as the 2013 SPE International Management and Information
Award, the 2013 Regional Service Award, the 2011 Management and Information Award, and the 2006 Regional Young
Member Outstanding Service Award. Popa holds BS and MS
degrees in petroleum and natural gas engineering from the
University of Ploiesti, and MS and PhD degrees inpetroleum
and natural gas engineering from West VirginiaUniversity.

Cedric K. Ferguson Young Technical Author

Medal and Certificate
The SPE Cedric K. Ferguson Medal recognizes professional
achievement in petroleum engineering. The medal is present-


ed for the paper written by an SPE member age 35 and under at

the time the paper was peer approved. Coauthors of the selected paper who are age 36 and over and who are SPE members
receive the Cedric K. Ferguson Certificate. The paper being
recognized is A New Comprehensive Model for Predicting
Liquid Loading in Gas Wells.
Shu Luo (medal) is a reservoir engineer
at PetroTel. He has published several
technical papers on reservoir engineering, production engineering, and liquid
loading. He won second place in the doctoral division of the SPE International
Student Paper Contest at the Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition in 2013. Luo holds a BS
degree in petroleum engineering from the China University of
Petroleum in Beijing, and MS and PhD degrees in petroleum
engineering from the University of Tulsa.
Mohan Kelkar (certificate) is the chairman and Williams Endowed Professor in
the petroleum engineering department at
the University of Tulsa. He has written
more than 60 refereed papers and made
more than 200 technical presentations.
He is also the author and coauthor of
three books that are used as textbooks by petroleum engineering programs. Kelkar was a Distinguished Lecturer in 2007
2008 on integrated reservoir modeling and a recipient of the
SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty in 2010. He served on the SPE International
Board from 2010 to 2013 and is a Distinguished Member.
Kelkar holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University
of Bombay, and an MS in petroleum engineering and a PhD in
chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.
Eduardo Pereyra (certificate) is an assistant professor of petroleum engineering
and associate director of fluid flow and
horizontal wells artificial lift projects at
the University of Tulsa. During the summers of 20052007, he worked as a
research scientist intern at Chevrons
advanced production technology/subsea technology unit, carrying out theoretical studies on conventional separators performance. In 2006, Pereyra worked on multiphase systems integration, which involved consulting on multiphase transport,
facilities design, and multiphase flow metering systems. Before
that, he worked on multiphase flow and reservoir simulation for
heavy oil at PDVSAs research and development center. His
research interests are multiphase flow systems and transport,
flow assurance, and separation technologies. He has written
several articles and conference papers in these areas. Pereyra
holds a BS in mechanical engineering and systems engineering




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from the Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela, and an MS and
a PhD in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa.
Cem Sarica (certificate) is the fourth recipient of the award.
For his full biography, see the John Franklin Carll Award.

Completions Optimization and

Technology Award
SPE technical awards recognize outstanding achievement or
contributions to the advancement of petroleum engineering in
the area of the technical discipline specified by the award.
Mehmet Parlar is a technical adviser at
Schlumberger Sand Management Services
in Houston. He has 26 years of industry
experience, with 7 years in product development and 19 in sand control, with the
company. A contributor to more than 60
technical papers and a chapter in SPEs
Frac Packing Handbook, Parlar holds 27 US patents. He was
recognized as an SPE Distinguished Author in 2000 and a Distinguished Member in 2007. He has been actively involved in
SPE conferences, applied technology workshops, and forums as
an organizing committee member, technical committee member, session chair, discussion leader, moderator, and speaker.
He was a Distinguished Lecturer in 20072008 and 20112012.
He has organized numerous training courses on sand control,
with more than 300 operating company engineers attending
worldwide in 2014. Parlar holds a BS from Istanbul Technical
University and MS and PhD degrees from the University of
Southern California, all in petroleumengineering.

Drilling Engineering Award

Neal Adams is a research professor of
petroleum engineering at the University
of Houston, where he has taught an
undergraduate drilling course. He has
worked in the drilling industry for 42
years and in 33 countries. Throughout his
career, his main interests have been drilling problems and prevention, well control, optimization, and
conducting seminars. He has written five books, coauthored
chapters in two SPE publications, and published 80 technical
papers. Adams has been involved with SPE since 1982 and has
served in several capacities, such as a Distinguished Lecturer
in 19821983, a member of the Board of Directors of the Gulf
Coast Section, and treasurer and chairman of the sections
Drilling Study Group. Adams holds an MS and a PhD in petroleum engineering from the University of Houston and Colorado School of Mines, respectively.


Formation Evaluation Award

Cosan Ayan is a reservoir engineering
adviser at Schlumberger Oilfield Services
based in Clamart, France. He is the technical director of reservoir engineering
and management at wireline headquarters, and leads the companys team worldwide. During his 25 years with Schlumberger, he held reservoir engineering positions in Dubai,
Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Aberdeen, Houston, Jakarta, and Paris.
Before that, Ayan was an associate professor of petroleum and
natural gas engineering at Middle East Technical University in
Ankara, Turkey. He works on interpretation and development
projects, focusing on wireline formation testers, transient
well tests, production logging, and reservoir monitoring and
management. He is the author or coauthor of more than 75
technical papers on transient testing, reservoir monitoring,
and reservoir engineering and holds 15 patents on interpretation, downhole tools, and acquisition techniques. Ayan is the
editor of two volumes of SPEs Getting Up to Speed series on
formation testing. He has served on several technical committees, including the SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering
(SPEREE) editorial review committee and Reservoir Description and Dynamics committee. He was a Distinguished Lecturer in 20052006 and an executive editor of the SPEREE from
2007 to 2010. Ayan holds a BS degree from Middle East Technical University, and MS and PhD degrees from Texas A&M
University, all in petroleum engineering.

Health, Safety, Security, Environment,

and Social Responsibility Award
Tom Knode is a contract consultant at
Statoil on health, safety, and environmental (HSE) issues such as safety leadership. He recently retired from Halliburton after more than 25 years with the
company. Knode began his career with
Halliburton as a laboratory petrophysicist in 1985. He held various positions in the companys global
HSE and manufacturing units. In 2013, he was appointed as
director of global HSE, responsible for supporting the health
and safety technical resources for operations. Knode has
served as a committee member for numerous international
and regional SPE forums, workshops, and conferences. He has
authored and co-authored nearly 20 papers on HSE management and leadership. In the SPE Gulf Coast Section, he served
as chair of the Safety and Environment Study Group from
2004 to 2005 and received the sections HSSE award in 2008.
From 2008 to 2011, he served as SPE technical director of
Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibil-


ity (HSSE-SR). He cochaired the 2010 SPE International Conference on HSSE-SR and four regional HSSE-SR conferences
in North America and Europe. Knode holds a BS in geology
from Texas Christian University and an MS in geology from
the University of Texas at Arlington.

Management and Information Award

Art J. Schroeder Jr. is the chief executive
officer of Energy Valley and a principal
with Safe Marine Transfer. He has more
than 25 years of experience in operations,
engineering, construction, and crisis
management. He sits on several professional, corporate, and civic boards and is
focused on assisting entrepreneurial startups and new technology development. Schroeder has been the manager of
deepwater technology and commercialization for the Research
Partnership to Secure Energy for America and was a consultant project manager for the DeepStar consortium. He has also
served in multiple roles on the board of directors of the Offshore Technology Conference. Schroeder is cofounder of the
SPE e-Commerce Study Group. He was a member of the SPE
Gulf Coast Section Board from 2002 to 2006, vice treasurer of
the section from 2004 to 2005, and its treasurer from 2005 to
2006. Schroeder holds BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering with a minor in environmental engineering from
Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA in finance with
a minor in international business from the University

Production and Operations Award

Luigi Saputelli is the president of Frontender, a petroleum engineering services
firm. He is also a senior adviser to the Abu
Dhabi National Oil Co. He has 25 years of
experience as a senior petroleum engineering consultant. He spent 3 years with
Hess, 5 with Halliburton, and 11 with
PDVSA. He has worked in several countries such as Venezuela,
Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Scotland, Thailand, Malaysia,
Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, and USA. Saputelli is an
industry recognized researcher, invited lecturer, and an SPE
liaison and committee member. He is a founding member of
the Petroleum Data-Driven Analytics Technical Section.
Saputellis main areas of interest are integrated reservoir modeling and simulation for improved oil recovery, field development, drilling and well planning projects, rig automation, production operations, and oilfield automation projects. He has
published more than 45 industry papers. Saputelli holds a BS in
electronic engineering from Universidad Simon Bolvar, an MS


in petroleum engineering from Imperial College London, and a

PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Houston.

Projects, Facilities, and Construction Award

Theodore Frankiewicz is an engineering
adviser at SPEC Services. He has more
than 30 years of experience in oilfield process systems and produced water treatment. His areas of expertise include operations, equipment design, and process
engineering. He has worked for Occidental Petroleum, Unocal, and Natco Group. As a senior consultant
at Unocal, Frankiewicz developed technology for the Gulf of
Thailand to remove mercury, arsenic, and residual oil from
produced water. His work set many of the water quality standards for discharges into Southeast Asian seas. As vice president of process solutions at Natco, he led efforts to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for designing slosh-control internals for horizontal vessels on floating production, storage, and
offloading vessels and floating platforms. He also used CFD
simulations to develop an effective design for a vertical column
flotation vessel and to generate designs for large onshore process tanks. Frankiewicz holds 15 patents and has written more
than 35 technical papers. He was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer
from 2009 to 2010 and a session chairman at six SPE conferences. He is the Los Angeles Basin Section chairman and serves
on the Projects, Facilities, and Construction Advisory Committee and the JPT Editorial Committee. Frankiewicz holds a BA in
chemistry from Oberlin College and MS and PhD degrees in
physical chemistry from the University of Chicago.

Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award

Long Nghiem is the vice president of
research and development at Computer
Modelling Group. He has been with the
company since its founding in 1977 and
has provided leadership in the development of technologies for the simulation
and optimization of complex recovery
processes. Nghiem has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University
of Calgary since 2005. He has published more than 100 SPE
journal articles and conference papers, mostly on reservoir
simulation. He has served on the program committees for eight
SPE Reservoir Simulation symposiums and five SPE forums. He
is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and
Geoscientists of Alberta. Nghiem holds a BS in chemical engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, an MS in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a PhD in
petroleum engineering from the University of Alberta.








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Young Member Outstanding Service Award

The Young Member Outstanding Service Award recognizes
contributions to and leadership in the public and community
arenas, as well as SPE, the profession, and the industry, by a
member under age 36.
Ugochi E. Akwiwu is a project officer at the
Nigerian Petroleum Development Co. She
became an SPE member in 2008 and has
served as communications chair in the
Benin City Nigeria Section and on multiple
committees for the SPE Nigeria Annual
International Conference and Exhibition
since 2010. She has also shared her career development experiences with students as a member of the SPE Ambassador Lecturer
Program. Akwiwu was an officer when her section won the SPE
Presidents Award for Section Excellence in 2014 and received the
Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award in 2015. She
earned her project management professional certification in
2013. Akwiwu holds a B.Tech. in project management technology
from the Federal University of Technology Owerri and an MSc in
engineering management from the University of Benin.
Yousif M. Al-Tahan is an assistant to the
vice president of petroleum engineering
and development at Saudi Aramco. He
started his career as a gas facilities engineer in 2002 and worked in several disciplines, such as drilling, production, and
reservoir engineering. He analyzed, optimized, and evaluated the development and implementation of
several crude oil and nonassociated gas megaprojects, including
the Haradh Increment, the Manifa field, the first Saudi Aramco
offshore nonassociated gas project in the Karan field, and the
upstream facilities at the Arabiyah and Hasbah gas fields. AlTahan served as the SPE Saudi Arabia Sections (SAS) young professional vice chairman, publication officer, and section chairman. In 2011, he won the Regional Young Member Outstanding
Service Award. He has served on several technical committees,
including the 2015 Middle East Oil Show and the SPE/SAS
Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition held in Al-Khobar,
Saudi Arabia. Al-Tahan holds a BS and an MS in petroleum engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
and the University of New South Wales, respectively.
Antonio C. Fernandez is vice president
in the energy investment banking group
at global banking firm Jefferies, where he
is engineering lead in mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. He started his
career as a production engineer at Noble
Energy in Colorados Denver-Julesburg


Basin. He has also held reservoir engineering positions on the

companys business development team as well as in its Cyprus
business unit. Fernandez serves on the SPE Gulf Coast Sections
Permian Basin Study Group committee and was a recipient of
the sections inaugural Exemplary Volunteer Award and the
SPE Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award in
2014. He is the 2015 editor-in-chief of The Way Ahead, a magazine for young exploration and production professionals. As
cochair of the PetroBowl Work Group, he has helped internationalize the quiz competition through the introduction of
regional qualifier rounds. He is also an SPE Hydrocarbon Economics and Evaluation Symposium committee member. Fernandez holds a BS in economics from Duke University and an
MEng in petroleum engineering from Texas A&MUniversity.
Luciano O. Fucello is a sales and business
development engineer at Schlumbergers
completions group, and is focused on
unconventional resources in Argentina.
He also works at the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires (ITBA) as a coordinator of the Well Completion in Unconventional Reservoirs postgraduate course, and as an associate professor of the Well Completion and Workover class at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the petroleum engineering
department. Before this tenure, Fucello worked for APCO Oil &
Gas International, Petrolera Patagonia, Schlumberger Well Services, and Tecna in various positions including reservoir engineer, production and operations lead engineer, stimulation field
engineer, and process engineer. He has held several SPE leadership positions, including Young Professionals Committee chairman of the Argentina and Patagonia sections, editor of SPEs
Contacto magazine, and a member of the Student Development
Committee and Young Professionals Coordinating Committee.
He received a 2012 Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award and was chosen in 2013 to represent SPE in the
Emerging Leaders Alliance. Fucello holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Buenos Aires.
Alejandro D. Primera is a reservoir engineering consultant and director of Primera Reservoir. He is a consultant to Nexen
on the Buzzard field in the UK North Sea.
Primera started his career as a reservoir
engineer at Schlumberger in 2004 and
later held positions such as reservoir simulation product analyst and reservoir simulation product
champion. He also worked as a senior reservoir engineer at Eni.
He is a member of the SPE London Section where he has served
as chairperson and continuing education chair. He was selected
to attend the 2011 Emerging Leaders Alliance Conference and
was a recipient of the 2012 SPE Regional Young Member Outstanding Service Award in 2012. Primera holds a BSc in petroleum engineering from the Universidad Central deVenezuela.








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Helena Wu is a senior reservoir engineer
at Santos in Adelaide, Australia. Since
starting the Santos Graduate Program in
2008, she has completed field and officebased rotations in production engineering, reservoir engineering, and business/
production planning. In 2007, she was
awarded a University Medal from the Queensland University of
Technology. Wu is chair of the SPE South Australian Section,
secretary and treasurer of the SPE Australia/New Zealand/
Papua New Guinea Council, a member of the SPE Asia Pacific
Regional Technical Advisory Committee, a member of the SPE
Gender Diversity Task Force, and a leader of the Innovation
Subcommittee of the SPE International Young Member Engagement Committee. In 2014, Wu was a recipient of the Regional
Young Member Outstanding Service Award. She was also named
the Australian Institute of Energys Young Energy Professional,
South Australia. Wu holds a BS in mechanical engineering and
an MS in engineering management from the Queensland University of Technology, an MS in petroleum engineering from
the University of Adelaide, and a graduate diploma in energy
and resources management from University College London.

Carlos Torres-Verdin, The University of Texas at Austin

George K. Wong, Shell
Yu-Shu Wu, Colorado School of Mines
Khalid A. Zainalabedin, Saudi Aramco



















Distinguished Membership
SPE Distinguished Membership recognizes SPE members
whose achievements and/or service to the society are deemed
worthy of special recognition. SPE members become Distinguished Members when they are elected by the SPE Board
of Directors, or once they become a past president of SPE or
the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers; an SPE Honorary Member; a recipient of the
Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal, John Franklin Carll Award, Lester C. Uren Award, DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal,
Public Service Award, or Distinguished Service Award.
Rosalind A. Archer, University of Auckland
Larry K. Britt, NSI Fracturing and Britt Rock Mechanics
Shari Dunn-Norman, Missouri University of Science
& Technology
Naz H. Gazi, Kuwait Oil Co.
A. Rashid Hasan, Texas A&M University
Richard C. Haut, Houston Advanced Research
Tim L. Hower, MHA Petroleum Consultants
Chun Huh, The University of Texas at Austin
George E. King, Apache
Min-Teong Lim, Enhanced Oil Recovery Consulting
Yuzhang Liu, Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration
and Development
Tony Martin, Baker Hughes
Dauda Aleokhai Musa, Flowgrids
Michael Obi Onyekonwu, University of Port Harcourt



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The Role of Soft Skills

in a Challenging Environment
Narandja Milanovich-Eagleson, SPE, GriffinWorks Consulting; Susan Howes, SPE, Chevron;
and Behrooz Fattahi, SPE, EnerTrain Institute

Lower oil prices have evoked a level of

stress in the industry not only for those
involved in a slowdown or cancellations
of projects, and potential staff reductions, but also for those who may be
buffered from the business cycle swings.
These times of scarcity of operating cash
flow and capital resources can create
substantial anxiety because of an internal conflict among employment needs, a
companys survival needs, and corporate
and professional conduct.
In such times, the human tendency is to hunker down so as not to lose
ground and to survive. When we do that,
we often lose sight of what ensures resilience for the individuals and their organizations. Humans under stress do not
always do what is intuitive or logical,
and in times of high stress, the engagement of the larger community, namely
the value chain teams within and outside of our workplace, is essential. We
need to maintain a balanced focus on
the long term while managing shortterm demands. This obviously is not
an easy task, but self-awareness of our
internal conflicts is an excellent starting point.
To maintain a focus on the long
term, our capacity to engage others and
enable their mutual needs to be met,
while maintaining the viability of the
systems in which we operate, is indispensable. Stress management, resilience, self-awareness, and engagement
are all important competencies for surviving challenging times, and these skills
are grouped under the general category
called soft skills.
Having realized the importance of
soft skills to SPE as a professional society, in 2011, a group of SPE volunteers


created the Soft Skills Committee (SSC),

proposing that SPE could be the catalyst
for the improvement of soft skills within the petroleum industry to enhance
the quality and the quantity of technical results (Fattahi et al. 2012, 2013,
The 2015 members of the SSC are
Susan Howes, 2015 SSC Chair,
SPE, Chevron Global Upstream
Behrooz Fattahi, 20112014 SSC
Chair, SPE, EnerTrain Institute
Narandja Milanovich-Eagleson,
SPE, GriffinWorks Consulting
Giovanni Paccaloni, SPE,
Paccaloni Consulting
Ford Brett, SPE, PetroSkills
Betty Shanahan, SPE, Society of
Women Engineers
Duane McVay, SPE, Texas A&M
Ruben Caligari, SPE, Instituto
Tecnologico de Buenos Aires
Lori Darlymple, SPE,
Architecture of Communication

Importance of Soft Skills

During times of prosperity, we have a

greater capacity to include others in
understanding the longer-term implications of our decisions, and to creatively identify a broader variety of options
(Goleman 1995 and LeDoux 1996). However, stakes become higher when we feel
threatened by a given environment, and
the perceived risk is high. In this situation, a strong sense of survival ensues,
and our tendency is to engage in certain
patterns of behavior to preserve our position. When threatened, we naturally tend
to minimize risk by attempting to control
the outcome.

When a threat is perceived, the first

steps include confirming our perception
and taking conscious action to reduce the
potential threat, followed by conscious
action to mitigate the impact if the threat
cannot be eliminated. Some of us have a
tendency to look at the downside of a situation, while others note that with risk
comes opportunity, so they look at both
the upside and downside scenarios.
As technical professionals, we strive
to assess and resolve uncertainties, and
mitigate the risks. Focusing on the downside may blind us to other possibly better
alternatives, cascading into actions that
limit options instead of expanding the
possibilities over the long term. Not only
does stress impact and, to a large extent,
drive the way in which we interact with
others, but it also severely diminishes
our capacity to perform. Anxiety weakens our ability to think and act clearly,
and also truncates our capacity to perceive opportunities for effective actions.
It also decreases our capacity to solve
problems. When under stress, we tend
to repeat actions that minimized risk in
the past similar situations. The reality
is however, that most situations are different, and each may demand a broader
and more innovative response. Engaging
others effectively not only creates possibilities for longer-term partnershipbased relationships but also tempers our
tendency for automatic reactions that
we retrieve from solely our memory
banks. Skills such as emotional management, effective inquiry, and advocacy are
key. Having the capacity to observe and
seek out what is not clearly obvious is
Our ability to reliably assess uncertainty can affect decision making.


Because of our almost universal overconfidence and optimism, we make poor

decisions and underperform, in general. If underperformance in soft skills
amplifies underestimation of uncertainty, then decision making and overall performance will be even worse. Being overconfident causes us to use a range of
outcomes that is too narrow, which will
impact our decision making. We tend to
anchor on the outcome we want to see
during stressful times, rather than gathering sufficient data to test our hypotheses of a range of potential outcomes
(McVay 2015).
Self-awareness can be a particularly
important soft skill, particularly during
stressful times, as it can help us determine when stress and anxiety are affecting other aspects of our performance.
Self-awareness in the moment is a critical capability for emotional management
and other relevant soft skills.
The following excerpt illustrates the
impact of soft skills:
A training and
research center that teaches
executive and management
best practices, conducted a
study of more than 20,000
employees that tracked the
success and failure of new
hires. After interviewing
5,247 managers, the studys
researchers concluded that
only 11% of employees failed
because they lacked the
technical competence to
do the job. The remaining
reasons new hires failed were
issues such as alienating
coworkers, being unable to
accept feedback, lack of ability
to manage emotions, lack of
motivation or drive, and poor
interpersonal skills.
(Lynn 2008)
We must remember, however,
that effective engagement with others
involves a unique balance of managing
emotions, productive conversations, and
systems thinking. When stakes are high,


the tendency to rationalize our actions

dominates our reasoning and the primal aspects of our emotional mind. We
may even overlook the implications of
the larger system and, more importantly, our relationships with others, as our
focus turns inward. The critical skills of
emotional management and reflection
allow for the surfacing and awareness of
deeply held and shared individual and
business priorities when stakes are high,
thus creating the moment for more conscious actions and decision.
So, it is imperative for us to be conscious of the workplace environment and
to include the views of relevant stakeholders, particularly when the stakes are
high, to be able to gain a clear understanding of the perceived and actual
risks. Such awareness allows us to weed
out information that may not be relevant
to a situation, and efficiently deal with
only information that impacts the results.
We cannot always predict the unintended
consequences of our daily actions, and
under difficult workplace environments
(such as one that our industry is facing
today), we are particularly vulnerable to
this dilemma. Paying special attention to
how we interact with our peers, managers, and subordinates, as well as the people from nontechnical disciplines, and
the customers and contractor communities can lead to better information and
sustainable relationships.
In a dynamic price environment, we
tend to spend less time developing our
employees when product prices are high,
because we are so busy trying to get all
the work done. When the product price
drops and our activity level is reduced,
we have more time for employee development, but the constraint may become
lower cash flow. Soft skills development
and application is a shared responsibility between technical professionals and
their managers, and a long-term commitment to develop soft skills is needed to
enhance and maintain high-performing
business results.
The SSC insists that technical professionals, by the virtue of their role,
carry the responsibility for the decisions

Soft Skills Committee Vision

The vision of the SSC is for SPE
to be the professional society
that provides opportunities for
members to enhance their technical
and professional competence
including soft skills to enable
them as professionals to meet the
worlds energy needs in a safe and
environmentally responsible manner.

Soft Skills Committee Charge

The charge of the SSC is
To identify gaps between the
nontechnical skills members
need and those currently
provided by SPE, and make
recommendations to fill
The Committees
recommendations should
leverage existing committee
structures and programs where
To pilot and deploy initiatives
in collaboration with sections,
student chapters, SPE
publications and program
committees for SPE events
suchas conferences, workshops
and training courses.

SPE Mission
To collect, disseminate, and exchange
technical knowledge concerning
the exploration, development and
production of oil and gas resources,
and related technologies for the
public benefit; and to provide
opportunities for professionals
to enhance their technical and
professional competence.

SPE Vision
Enable the global oil and gas
E&P industry to share technical
knowledge needed to meet the
worlds energy needs in a safe and
environmentally responsiblemanner.



and analyses they make. These decisions

have long-term and systemic implications for their team or company. Personal career aspirations of technical professionals consciously and unconsciously guide and bring focus to ideas and
tasks that promote movement toward the
individuals short- and long-term objectives. Effective interactions with others
to develop ideas and innovations, in pursuit of individual and team objectives,
serve to enhance the individual careers
and business results.
And finally, systems thinking
seeing system interdependencies
and employing viable vehicles (structures and processes of the organization) to realize desired resultsmust
become a fundamental practice to
ensure sustainable individual, team, and

Initial Efforts

Since 2011, SSC has focused its efforts in

the following areas:
Responding to the industry
young professional (YP)
members demand for
recognition of soft skills as a
fundamental tool for personal
and organizational success
Acting as a catalyst to translate
sporadic discussions of soft
skills into an effective and
continuing dialogue throughout
the industry
Leveraging existing SPE
committee structures and
programs (and not displacing
them) where possible to
promote soft skills development
Nominating speakers on
soft skills topics to the SPE
Distinguished Lecturer program
Publishing articles in the Journal
of Petroleum Technology (JPT)
and The Way Ahead (TWA) and
providing content for articles
regularly to be published in local
SPE sections newsletters
Advocating a unified vision
that aspires toward gaining soft
skills to enhance professional


competence in tandem with

technical skills, in line with the
SPE mission and vision
Developing guidelines for an
SPE section director role to
coordinate local events on
Encouraging SPE International
Boards regional directors to
act as regional advocates for
Encouraging colleges and
universities to incorporate
soft skills training into their
undergraduate engineering
Encouraging creation of
solely dedicated to discussions
ofsoft skills
Generating new and creative
ideas to bring about the
integration of soft and

Recent Work

Recent accomplishments of the SSC in

2014 and 2015 include
Developing a vision statement,
a supporting organizational
structure, and a shaping curve
for the SSCs members and
adjunct resources to reach the
vision over the next several
Enlisting the support of the SPE
regional directors for soft skills
programming in their respective
sections and student chapters,
and facilitating discussion
within the SPE International
Board about the impact of
Supporting soft skills events
in sections, student chapters,
and the larger conferences such
as the SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition
(ATCE), SPE Latin American
and Caribbean Petroleum
Engineering Conference
(LACPEC), and the Offshore
Technology Conference (OTC)

with workshops, training,

facilitators, and content
Aligning with SPE marketing
staff to promote soft skills via
the SPE website, social media,
and other promotional efforts
Recommending and receiving
approval for SPE funding to
support travel expenses for
volunteer content providers,
provide soft skills content
to members via webinars,
and cover SPE staff efforts to
promote professionalism to

Mission for 2015 and Beyond

The key focus areas for 2015 and beyond

for the SSC are
Working with SPE sections and
student chapters to designate
a leadership role to coordinate
soft skills programming
Identifying global experts
to deliver soft skills content
Identifying both opportunities
to deliver content and local
expert resources who are
familiar with traditions, culture,
and the practice of softskills
Nominating multiple candidates
for Distinguished Lecture tours
on a variety of soft skills topics
Expanding offerings to
provide content on soft skills
in workshops/posters/panels
to the Big Four conferences
that SPE is involved in (ATCE,
OTC, Offshore Europe, and
the International Petroleum
Technology Conference), the
larger regional conferences
(Middle East Oil and Gas
Showand Conference,
LACPEC,and Asia Pacific
Oil andGas Conference and
Exhibition), and the major
discipline-level conferences
(IADC/SPE Drilling Conference
and Exhibition and SPE
International Conference and













Soft Skills
Committee (SSC)

Committee chartered and met regularly.

Charge updated in 2014.

Additional members added to provide

diverse perspectives. Committee
meets regularly including an annual
face-to-face meeting.

Charge is kept evergreen.

Committee meets annually
in at least one face-to-face
meeting, and meets regularly by
conference call.

Publish articles in
Italian Section featured quarterly
section newsletters column.

Encourage sections and chapters to

include articles on soft skills in their

Soft skills are covered in all SPE

section newsletters one time or
more annually.

Publish articles
in industry

Houston Chronicle published an article

on SPE Soft Skills initiatives in 2012.

Interface with industry publications

requesting information on the SSC
to increase industry awareness

SPE is recognized for soft

skills programs in external
publications one time or more


Presentations delivered at Gulf Coast

Section, Italian Section, Delta Section,
University of Tulsa chapter, Student
Summit, andATCE

Interfacing with SPE program chairs,

section chairs, and student presidents
to provide speakers on soft skills

Presentations on soft skills

are delivered in each section/
student chapter, and each major
conference, one time or more


20122014 ATCE: Cross-generational

teams, Myers-Briggs type indicator,
negotiation, networking/mentoring,
intrinsic motivation, and facts vs.
opinions; Aberdeen Section: Diversity;
Gulf Coast Section: Negotiation,
networking/mentoring, and technical
writing; Delta Section: Negotiation,
ethics, networking, and cross-cultural

2015 ATCE soft skills workshops:

Diversity: Focusing on the Value and
Relevance in Global Business, SPE
Professionals Exemplify Integrity and
Ethics, Effective Communication:
Gaining an Edge in the Industry, and
Critical Thinking for Effective Problem

Workshops on soft skills are

delivered in each section/
student chapter, and each major
conference one time or more


2012 ATCE workshop and Aberdeen

Section workshop in 2014

Diversity workshop in Kuala Lumpur,

2015 ATCE workshop, and diversity
article in The Way Ahead (TWA)

SPE members embrace diversity

of all kinds, particularly gender,
nationality, and multicultural

chapter liaisons

Aberdeen, Delta, Gulf Coast, and

Italian sections included soft skills

Additional sections/chapters with soft

skills programming are noted in annual
reports and are interacting with SSC.

Soft skills directors conduct

programs in each section and
student chapter.

Local and global


Distinguished Lecturer (DL) abstracts

included leadership, teamwork,
organization/management, creativity/
innovation/imagination, persuasion,
integrity/ethics, systems/structure/
processes, effective communication,
strategic agility/business acumen, and
systems thinking.

Develop DL candidates with local/

regional speaking engagements.
Nominate DL candidates for soft

Opportunities and experts are

identified. A catalog of offerings
with subject matter experts to
deliver local content is available
to soft skills directors and
members. DLs include a variety
of soft skills topics each year.

Publish articles in
SPE journals

Annual SSC article published in the

Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT).
Additional articles on select soft skills
topics published in TWA.

Annual SSC article in JPT. Additional

articles in TWA and other SPE
publications as appropriate

Soft skills are covered in all

SPE journals one time or more


SSC recommended budget and received

SPEI Board approval for 20152016

Funding for 20152016 will be spent on Budget enables travel of

webinars, regional travel for speakers,
speakers on soft skills topics and
and publicity.
promotes professionalism.

External to SPE/
connect to other

American Chemical Society has courses

and Society of Women Engineers has
resources with content available for

Benchmark other professional societies SPE members will be connected

and vendors offering soft skills
to additional resources on soft
skills that are external to SPE.




Exhibition on Health, Safety,

Security, Environment, and
Social Responsibility)
Providing content to SPE
sections and student chapters
Providing advice to the SPE
training department on
development of short courses
Publishing articles in JPT,
TWA,section and student
chapter newsletters, SPE
socialmedia and industry
publications to raise awareness
about the need for soft skills
Ensuring that SPE members are
recognized both within SPE and
externally for their technical
and professional competence
including demonstration of
Developing soft skills workshops
for the ATCE by collaborating
with the Young Member
Engagement Committee and
theTalent Task Force. At the
2015 ATCE, SPE members will
have an opportunity to
o Learn to expand their
paradigm by boosting their
soft skills to include an
understanding of diversity
inall areas of global business
in the workshop on Diversity:
Focusing on the Value and
Relevance in Global Business.
o Raise their ethical awareness
and understanding of the
12 canons in SPEs Code of
Professional Conduct in
the workshop titled SPE
Professionals Exemplify
Integrity and Ethics.
o Sharpen their communication,
presentation, and negotiation
skills. Members will become
better at listening and
giving positive feedback at
the workshop on Effective
Communication: Gaining an
Edge in the Industry.

o Experience exercises that

focuson problem definition,

tacit knowledge, and
hypothesis development at
the workshop on Critical
Thinking for Effective
We have developed a shaping curve
(Table 1) for 2011 to 2017 that charts our
progress on these topics, including the
current state of soft skills programming
within SPE. It includes a 3-year plan to
reach our aspirational vision for each element in the future.


We expect the soft skills initiative to

enable future generations to sustainably
carry out the mission and function of
our industry, and to help members reach
SPEs vision to enable the global oil
and gas E&P industry to share technical
knowledge needed to meet the worlds
energy needs in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Soft skills,
the primary vehicles for the application
of technology and technical knowledge
to deliver sustainable business results,
are complex. SPE offers workshops and
training courses on a variety of soft
competency issues.
Through advocating for the recognition of soft competency as a critical
enabler for our industry professionals,
the SSC is working to expand and influence our global industry to continue to
deliver extraordinary results, and continue to meet the increasing challenges
and opportunities faced by our industry today and in the future. We work in
an industry with a dynamic and unpredictable product price, so soft skills are
important in both challenging and prosperous times.
Facing challenges well with the soft
skills of professionals will determine
our capacity to maintain our license
to operate within the social, political,
and environmental complexities on a
regional, national, and global scale. JPT

Fattahi, B., Howes, S., Milanovich, N., etal.
2012. Soft Skills Council: A New SPE
Initiative. J Pet Technol 64 (8): 5255.
Fattahi, B., Milanovich, N., Howes, S., et al.
2013. The Elements of a Soft Competency
Matrix. J Pet Technol 65 (10): 92102.
Fattahi, B., Milanovich, N., Howes, S., et al.
2014. Soft Competency Development as
a Global Challenge. J Pet Technol 66 (10):
Goleman, D. 1995. Emotional Intelligence:
Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, first
edition. New York City: Bantam.
Isaacs, W. 1999. Dialogue and the Art of
Thinking Together, first edition. New York
City: Random House.
Joni, S.A. 2004. The Third Opinion: How
Successful Leaders Use Outside Insight to
Create Superior Results, first edition. New
York City: Penguin Group.
Kofman, F. 2006. Conscious Business: Howto
Build Value Through Values, firstedition.
Louisville, Colorado: SoundsTrue.
LeDoux, J. 1996. The Emotional Brain:
TheMysterious Underpinnings of
Emotional Life, first edition. New York
City: Touchstone Books.
Lynn, A.B. 2008. The EQ Interview:
Finding Employees with High Emotional
Intelligence, first edition. New York City:
McVay, D. 2015. Management: Industry
Needs Re-Education in Uncertainty
Assessment. J Pet Technol 67 (2): 7276.
Oshry, B. 1999. Leading Systems: Lessons
From the Power Lab, first edition. San
Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler
Patterson K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R.,
etal. 2002. Crucial Conversations: Tools
for Talking When Stakes are High, first
edition. New York City: McGraw-Hill.
Senge, P. 1990. The Fifth Discipline: The Art&
Practice of The Learning Organization,
first edition. New York City: Doubleday.
Senge, P., Smith, B.J., Ross, R.B. et al. 1994,
The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies
and Tools for Building a Learning
Organization, first edition. New York City:



Do you have colleagues who are authorities in their felds and

experienced public speakers? If you do, consider nominating
one or more of them for the Society of Petroleum Engineers
Distinguished Lecturer Program.
Learn more about the program at

Nominations are accepted beginning 1 September.

The SPE Distinguished Lecturer Program is funded by the SPE Foundation, Ofshore
Europe, AIME, and companies that allow their professionals to serve as lecturers.


Silviu Livescu, SPE,

is chief scientist
in Baker Hughes
worldwide Coiled
Tubing Research
and Engineering
facility in Calgary.
He was previously affiliated with
ExxonMobil Upstream Research
Company and the Department of
Energy Resources Engineering at
Stanford University. Livescu holds
BS and MS degrees from Politehnica
University of Bucharest in Romania
and a PhD degree from the University
of Delaware in the US, all in mechanical
engineering. He has conducted
fundamental and applied research and
industrial research-and-development
projects in application areas including
multiphase flow and transport
phenomena, reservoir engineering,
andproduction engineering. Livescu
serves on the JPT Editorial Committee.
Recommended additional reading
at OnePetro:
SPE 170619 Wireless Inflow Monitoring
in a Subsea Field Development: A Case
Study From the Hyme Field, Offshore
Mid-Norway by Svein Mjaaland, Statoil,
et al.
IPTC 18115 Three-Dimensional
Visualization of Solvent Chamber
Growth in Solvent-Injection Processes:
An Experimental Approach by F. Fang,
University of Alberta, et al.
SPE 171932 Linking Diagenesis, NMR,
and Dynamic Data for Accurate Flow
Characterization of Heterogeneous
Carbonate Reservoir by Umer Farooq,
Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil
Operations, et al.

Recent months have been very challenging for the oil and gas industry. When the previous Reservoir Performance and Monitoring feature appeared in JPT in September
2014, Brent was trading at approximately USD 105/bbl. At the end of June 2015,
when this statement was written, its price was 41% lower, at just above USD 62/bbl.
In addition, the world rig counts reported by Baker Hughes in September 2014 and
June 2015 were 3,659 and 2,152, respectively, a decrease of approximately 41% (rig
count is a trailing indicator of oil price). The international and North America rigcount decreases between September 2014 and June 2015 were approximately 12 and
57%, respectively. These steep decreases, mostly the direct consequence of a global
imbalance between demand and supply, are warnings that our conventional innovation schemes need to be recalibrated.
Even if the rig count has been dropping, the rig efficiency continues to improve.
From multiwell pads to advanced drilling technologies, innovation is helping keep current production high. If current low prices persist, further innovation may improve
the alignment between short-term production and long-term recovery, while lowering overall production costs. Maximizing short-term production and optimizing longterm recovery may provide key opportunities for cost savings during the next downturn of major proportions. This could be achieved through the industrys ability to
innovatively acquire and interpret data for optimizing the reservoir performance. The
industry is continuously looking at new monitoring devices and techniques, and there
are huge opportunities for monitoring fieldwide data with the ultimate goal of understanding the reservoir better and predicting its short- and long-term production more
accurately. The current downturn may be a great opportunity for the big-data revolution from other industries to be extended to the oil and gas industry in general and to
reservoir performance in particular.
As a result of the industrys current efforts to improve reservoir performance
and reduce production costs, many great papers have been presented at recent SPE
conferences and meetings. From the more than 100 papers reviewed for this feature,
approximately half of them present case histories, field-data interpretation, and work
flows, and the other half present theoretical and laboratory results. The papers summarized in this feature and recommended as additional reading are excellent samples
of this distribution. JPT

SPE 172929 Production Forecast,

Analysis, and Simulation of Eagle
Ford Shale Oil Wells by Basel Alotaibi,
TexasA&M University, et al.



Pressure-Transient Analysis as an Element

of Permanent Reservoir Monitoring

ermanent downhole gauges

(PDGs)provide vast amounts
of pressure-transient and rate
data whichmay be interpreted
with improved pressure-transientanalysis (PTA) approaches to gain
more knowledge about reservoir
dynamics. Permanent pressure and
rate measurements allow for analysis
of time-lapse pressure transients and
comparative interpretation of flowing
and shut-in periods. The approaches
used provided the basis for an
improved methodology of interpreting
permanent pressure measurements,
where the scope of the standard
PTA application may be extended to
integrate new datasources.

A Methodology of PDG
Interpretation Focusing
on Both Flowing and
Shut-In Periods

Practical Remarks on Comparison of

Pressure Transients and Choosing a
Model. Comparison of different pressure transients is usually carried out on
the basis of plotting all the transients
and derivatives on the same log-log plot.
In practice, a difference between timelapse shut-in pressure transients does
not necessarily indicate change in well
reservoir parameters because such a
comparison is usually carried out for
rate-normalized data with a chosen reference transient. The rate before the
shut-in period of interest governs the
pressure-transient location on the loglog plot. An approximate value may be
attributed to this rate because of the av-

eraging of flow data, while permanent

rate measurements may help in reducing this uncertainty. Flowing pressure
transients are usually normalized subject to variable rates during the flowing
period. This makes comparison of these
pressure transients more reliable.
Pressure derivatives are more representative in this sense, because well
history before and during a pressure
transient is accounted for by use of the
superposition principle commonly used
for the derivative calculation. At the
same time, assuming radial flow as the
main flow regime in the superposition
calculationas well as averaging, cutting, or possible errors in rate history
before the pressure transient of interestmay have an impact on the derivative trend, especially for late elapsed
times and interpreting boundary effects. Simulation of the well history
in the linear scale with the analytical
model used for the pressure and derivative interpretations in the log-log scale
improves reliability of the analysis. The
simulated pressure response may help
in evaluating the impact of superposition effects and in revealing changes in
well/reservoir parameters. Comparison
of time-lapse pressure transients and
derivatives may be used for diagnostics of changes in well/reservoir parameters, while only simulation of the well
history, or at least a part of the history,
would provide reliable conclusions on
such changes.
Choosing a proper model to describe the well, the reservoir, and boundaries is crucial for analysis and forecasting and for drawing conclusions. The

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights
of paper SPE 170740, Pressure-Transient Analysis as an Element of Permanent
Reservoir Monitoring, by A.A. Shchipanov, R.A. Berenblyum, and L. Kollbotn,
IRIS, prepared for the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition,
Amsterdam, 2729 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

usual practice is that the chosen model

should represent basic well and reservoir features that are known before the
analysis, such as well type; reference
fluid and stimulation performed; and
well environment, including neighboring wells and faults.
Comparison of Time-Lapse Pressure
and Derivative Transients. As a first
stage of the analysis, time-lapse pressure and derivative transients may be
extracted and plotted on the same loglog plot. Separate plots for well flowing
and shut-in pressure transients are suggested because these two types of transients may follow different trends. Comparison of time-lapse transients may
serve as a first indicator of changes in
well/reservoir parameters. Use of the
superposition principle for derivative
calculations in combination with possible impact of dynamic boundary effects
(e.g., neighboring wells) may lead to deviation of the pressure and derivative
transients from each other. This means
that the comparative analysis of timelapse responses may be considered only
as a preliminary diagnostic of changes
in well/reservoirparameters.
Analysis of Time-Lapse Responses Focusing on Both Flowing and Shut-In
Periods. A second stage of the analysis
is a step-by-step interpretation of each
pressure transient or pair of transients
(flowing and closest shut-in) according
to historical data (Fig. 1). In general, a
difference between flowing and shut-in
responses may be related to many effects. Starting from the first analyzable
period of the well history or, even better, from a flowing/shut-in pair, PTA is
carried out in the log-log scale. First, the
shut-in response may be used for matching pressure and derivative with a chosen
model because this response is usually
less noisy, with clear indications of flow

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


Period 2 (log-log)

Flowing and/or
shut-in Period 1
Choosing a model and
matching measurements

Period N (log-log)

Testing the model from

previous period

Correction of the
if necessary


Current model and



Fig. 1Work flow of the time-lapse PTA.

regimes. The model is further tested to

be capable of matching the flowing response. Modifications of the model parameters, or even the model itself, may
be necessary to fit the response.
If the chosen model provides a
reasonable match of at least the flowing response, an attempt to match the
well history (in the linear scale), or its
segment, before the analyzed pressure transient may be made. Ideally,
the model should provide a reasonable
match of the whole well history. In practice, a reasonable match may often be
achieved only for the limited history
segment containing the pressure transient of interest, while changes in well/
reservoir parameters and presence of
boundary effects varying with time may
lead to deviations of the model response
from themeasurements.
Furthermore, the model is tested
for capability of reproducing the next
pressure transients chosen in the well
history, and modifications of the model
parameters and probably of the model
itself may be performed. This step-bystep interpretation would result in a set
of well/reservoir parameters changing
with time, providing the history of such
changes and the current status of these
parameters, which is of special interest
for well-performance predictions.
Application of Interpretation Results.
The analytical or simplified numerical
models applied in the interpretation
process may be further used for predic-


tion of well performance and behavior

under different scenarios. The models
may be particularly useful for simulating short forecast scenarios, sensitivity studies, and uncertainty analyses.
The time-lapse PTA also provides additional input for reservoir simulation.
Well-connectivity and reservoir properties are reported as time- or pressuredependent variables and may be used
directly in reservoir models, improving
history matching and prediction capabilities of the numericalmodels.

Field Cases

Three field cases are presented in the

complete paper to illustrate application
of the methodology. The first case is a
good example of classical PTA working
well, providing reliable estimation of
well/reservoir parameters from a singlewell shut-in or flowing response. The
second example shows the value of interpreting both flowing and shut-in responses, with the advantage of using
multiple shut-in pressure transients.
The third, and most complicated, example illustrates all sides and advantages of
the methodology applied.


Advantages of the time-lapse PTA were

confirmed with field examples, providing estimation of well/reservoir parameters evolving with time, improving reservoir description through focusing on
flowing reservoir properties, and understanding the difference between near-

well-flow and boundary effects during

flowing and shut-in periods. Application
of the described methodology improves
the PTA reliability and extends its scope
in the following ways:
Analysis of sequential
pressuretransients provides
a basis for isolating reservoir
effects from measurement
Comparison and interpretation
of both flowing and shut-in
pressure responses would give
a more-complete picture of the
well behavior with estimates
of flowing well/reservoir
Representation of well/reservoir
parameters evolving with time
is now feasible through available
PDG data and interpretation
As practical guidelines for timelapse PTA applications, the following
may be suggested:
Use of both well-flowing and
shut-in pressure transients.
Analyzing sequential flowing/
shut-in periods in well history
toconfirm repeatability (static
well and reservoir conditions)
or to reveal changes in well/
reservoir parameters.
Matching both pressuretransient responses (the loglog scale) and history or its
segments (the linear scale). JPT


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Investigating Aperture-Based Permeability

and Capillary Pressure in Rock Fractures

Experimental Setup

A Berea sandstone is cut to create a

fracture in the middle of the core. The
sample is moderately homogeneous,
with little porosity variation. The fracture surface is very rough and has large
aperture variations. The length of the
sample is 8 cm, and the radius is 5 cm.
The porosity of the sample is 0.22. The
rock sample is wrapped in a sleeve and
then placed in an aluminum core holder. Water is injected around the sleeve
to create the confining stress. Two highaccuracy pressure transducers are used
to measure pressure at the inlet and
outlet of the core, and electric heaters
maintain the temperature of the core.
Pore pressure is kept constant at atmospheric pressure, and temperature
stays constant at 50C. For permeability measurements, a dual-pump system


Pressure transducer
Manual valve
Electric valve
Check valve


Core holder

H2O reservoir

aboratory measurements of
fracture-aperture distributions
have been made by use of computedtomography (CT) scanning under
various conditions of effective stress.
The stress-dependent aperturedistribution data demonstrate that
increasing stress results in two effects:
The mean aperture will decrease and
the variance of aperture distribution
will increase. By analyzing the stressdependent mean and variance of
aperture distributions, this paper
provides a more straightforward
method for estimating stress-dependent
permeability and capillary pressure in
rock fractures.




Fig. 1Schematic of the experimental apparatus.

is used to inject water into the core. A

pressure-regulating pump is connected to the outlet of the core to maintain
2.07MPa at the downstream end of the
core throughout the experiment. The
experimental setup is shown in Fig. 1.
Permeability is measured with the
steady-state method. Fluid is injected
at three different rates while the pressure drop across the core is measured.
On the basis of core size, fluid viscosity, slope of pressure drop, and fluidinjection rate, Darcys law is used to
calculate permeability. The intact-core
permeability is measured at different
stress levels and is subtracted from the
fractured-core permeability. Permeability is calculated using a mean aperture
of 0.1 mm.
The core holder is placed in a medical X-ray CT scanner. Five repeated scans
are taken and averaged to reduce the uncertainty of the CT scanning.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights
of paper SPE 170819, Investigating Aperture-Based Stress-Dependent Permeability
and Capillary Pressure in Rock Fractures, by Da Huo, SPE, Boxiao Li, SPE, and Sally
M. Benson, SPE, Stanford University, prepared for the 2014 SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, 2729 October. The paper has not been

Method of Measuring Fracture

Aperture With CT Scanning

Fracture apertures are determined by the

missing-attenuation method on the basis
of calibration with spacers of known
thickness. The missing CT attenuation
CTMA is defined as

CTMA= i=1
(CTmatCTi ), . . . . . (1)

where CTmat represents the average CT

value of rock matrix, CTi represents
the CT values of the transect across the
trough, and Nvox represents the voxel
number of the line across the trough. The
fracture aperture is related to the missing
attenuation by

, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2)
where e is the fracture aperture and C is
the calibration coefficient. In this experiment, calibration coefficients are determined using spacers of 0.20, 0.31, 0.42,
and 0.53 mm between the two rock surfaces. After the sample has been placed
into the core holder, a slight confining
stress of 0.34 MPa is added to flatten the
spacer. For the calibration, 20 scans are
taken to further increase the accuracy of
CT scanning.

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


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Mean of

Entry pressure


Friction factor
of aperture


Capillary pressure

Entry pressure
Fig. 2Relationship of effective stress with permeability and capillary pressure
for rock fractures.

To calculate the missing attenuation

because of the presence of a fracture,
data cropping, classification, and identification of fracture features are needed. Linear regression between missing
attenuation and spacer thickness shows
that the calibration coefficients are
4,511.750.5. The regression line does
not pass through the origin, suggesting
that the missing attenuation caused by
the roughness of the fracture creates an
apparent aperture of 0.14 mm.

Experimental Data

Before the experiment, a cycle of stress

from 0.34 to 11.03 MPa is performed for
setting the aperture asperities. Different
effective-stress levels, including 0.34,
2.07, 11.03, and 22.06 MPa, are applied in
a second cycle. The aperture-distribution
maps are calculated with Eq. 2. Pockets
of large and small apertures are clearly
observed, suggesting the aperture distribution is highly heterogeneous. With
increasing stress, fracture apertures become smaller. The stress-dependent aperture changes are also heterogeneous.
Larger apertures tend to have larger
changes with stress increase.
With increasing stress, the mean aperture decreases and the standard deviation increases. Both effects are expected
to reduce permeability and alter the capillary pressure curve. The spatial correlations in the horizontal and vertical directions decrease with increasing stress.

Results and Discussion

Stress-Dependent Permeability. Another cycle of stress is conducted to measure

the permeability using water. Before applying stress, carbon dioxide flooding and
waterflooding are performed successively to ensure no air is present in the sam-


ple. The comparison between the cubic

law (calculation detailed in the complete
paper) and experimental measurements
shows that the permeability calculated
by the cubic law is 2.6 to 4.9 times larger
than measured permeability. This demonstrates that the mean aperture change
cannot fully describe the permeability
drop, which is caused by the increasing
friction factor. From the perspective of
the modified cubic law, the decreasing
mean aperture will reduce the aperture e,
and the increasing aperture variance will
enhance the friction factor. Both effects
will cause the fracture permeability to decrease. Roughness has a larger impact on
permeability at higherstress.
Stress-Dependent Capillary Pressure.
The capillary pressure curve for a singleaperture fracture is calculated with the
Young-Laplace equation:
2cos , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (3)
where Pc is the capillary pressure, is interfacial tension, is the contact angle,
and e is the fracture aperture. Here,
=72 mN/m, =0, and Pc varies with
fracture aperture. We assume each aperture has its own capillary pressure curve.
The pore-occupancy model is applied to calculate the capillary pressure
curve for the fracture. A critical aperture
is determined on the basis of the capillary pressure with Eq. 3. Apertures below
the critical aperture are fully watersaturated, while apertures above the cutting aperture are fully air-saturated. Average water saturation in the fracture is
calculated by the fracture volume filled
with water divided by the total fracture
volume. The capillary pressure curve is
obtained by relating the capillary pres-

sure and the corresponding saturation.

Because the variance of aperture distribution increases, the plateau area of the
capillary pressure curve grows steeper
with stress. The entry pressure will also
increase with increasing stress.
The capillary curves are fitted to
the Brooks-Corey function. From the
Brooks-Corey model, increasing stress
level will cause the pore-size-distribution
index to decrease and entry pressure to
increase. The pore-size-distribution
change agrees with previous simulation
results and is attributable to the increasing variance of aperture distribution. The
entry-pressure increase is caused by aperture decrease. The increasing pore-size
distribution will also reduce the entry
pressure. For these data, the impact of
change in mean aperture is larger than
that of the change in variance; thus, the
entry pressure will increase with stress.
The authors propose a twocomponent relationship for stressdependent permeability and capillary
pressure in rock fractures (Fig. 2). Changes in the mean aperture and in the variance of the aperture distribution cause
permeability decreases with increasing
stress. For stress-dependent capillary
pressure, the capillary pressure curve
plateau will grow steeper with increasing
stress and the entry pressure will depend
on relative changes of the mean and variance of aperture distribution.


1. The fracture-aperture distribution

is heterogeneous and stressdependent. Larger apertures will
have larger changes withstress.
2. Increasing stress will reduce the
fracture apertures and fracture
3. Capillary pressure in rock
fractures is stress-dependent.
The plateau area of the capillary
pressure curve grows steeper
with stress, and entry pressure
will increase. The mean aperture
will affect the entry pressure. The
variance of aperture distribution
will affect both pore-size
distribution and entry pressure.
4. Limitations of this paper include
local heterogeneity by grain
distributions and simplification of
the pore-occupancy model.JPT


Understanding Unusual Diagnostic-FractureInjection-Test Results in Tight Gas Fields

n hydraulic fracturing, the use

of diagnostic-fracture-injection
tests (DFITs) can provide valuable
information. When the measured
pressures in such tests are outside the
expected range for a given formation,
however, a number of possibilities
and questions can arise. A recently
completed project faced just such a
challenge, initially resulting in poor
hydraulic-fracturing efficiency and
a need to understand the root cause.
To this end, a thorough analysis
involving a multidisciplinary review
team from several technical areas was
undertaken, which is described in the


Block A lies adjacent to other existing

hydrocarbon-producing fields, residing
within a large recognized basin. Five vertical exploration and appraisal wells were
drilled in Block A to a depth of approximately 2400 m. Initially, these appraisal
wells were designed for conventional reservoirs. A brief description of the lithology, rock characteristics, and drilling history is provided in the complete paper.

The First DFIT Challenges:

Well 1, Stage 1

From the historical regional fracturingpressure data available, the breakdown

and fracturing pressures that would be
experienced at the wellhead were predicted to be less than 7,500 psi. During the first DFIT injection operation,
the maximum allowable surface pressure

was reached without any clear indication

of breakdown being achieved in the formation. Several attempts were made to
inject into the formation, but there was
no effective breakdown and a very low
decline rate was subsequently observed.
The high treating pressure observed
was initially considered to be potentially a result of plugging of the perforation
tunnels or of formation damage. Subsequently, an acid cleanup and an injectivity test were performed with coiled tubing
(CT); however, there was no significant
positive formation response to this intervention. The wellhead-pressurelimitation setting was increased to allow
a new maximum pressure of 9,500 psi,
and the DFIT was attempted once again.
A breakdown was finally achieved at a
wellhead pressure (WHP) of 8,500 psi,
equivalent to a bottomhole pressure
(BHP) of 12,341 psi while pumping at
1bbl/min; a maximum rate of 2 bbl/min
was achieved during this DFIT attempt.
A 35-lbm linear-gel system was subsequently injected into the formation to
determine if the surface pressures would
allow execution of the planned main
fracture treatment, but results indicated
otherwise. A decision was made to isolate
Stage 1 with a sand plug and to proceed to
Stage 2 immediately.

Hydraulic-Fracturing and
Cleanup Experiences

CT nitrogen lifting was chosen for unloading the wells. The operational details
of the fracturing treatments, including
minifracture injection, and the well performance during cleanup are described

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights
of paper SPE 172956, Understanding Unusual Diagnostic-Fracture-Injection-Test
Results in Tight Gas Fields: A Holistic Approach To Resolving the Data, by R.N.Naidu,
E.A. Guevara, A.J. Twynam, J. Rueda, W. Dawson, E. Moses, and M. Rylance,
BP, prepared for the 2015 SPE Middle East Unconventional Gas Conference and
Exhibition, Muscat, Oman, 2628 January. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

in this summary for Stage 2 and Stage 3

in Well 1. Stage 1 and Stage 2 in Well 2 are
described in the complete paper.
Well 1, Stage 2. The target interval for
the second stage was also perforated
using the 2-in. guns with 6 shots/ft
and 45 phasing. The breakdown pressure for the Stage 2 DFIT was measured
as 6,800 psi at surface with a BHP of
10,550 psi while pumping at 1 bbl/min.
The DFIT was performed successfully
with rates of up to 5 bbl/min (Fig. 1),
even though the fracturing pressures
were still high compared with the regional data.
Following the successful completion
of the DFIT, a 15% hydrochloric acid
(HCl) system was introduced into the
minifracture-pumping sequence to improve the injectivity further. The acid
system was pumped ahead of the minifracture injection at 5 bbl/min, and a reduction in pressure of 4,100 psi was seen
as a result of acid reaction in the nearwellbore region. From the minifractureinjection analysis, a closure pressure
of 5,651 psi was selected. The decrease
in treating pressure indicates the presence of a substantial acid-soluble restriction, close to the wellbore and potentially
formed during well construction.
The main fracture treatment was
then performed using 63,000 lbm of
30/50 bauxite and 227,000 lbm of 20/40
lightweight ceramic proppant, at concentrations ranging from 1 to 8 lbm of proppant added per gallon. The treatment
was placed successfully with a 35-lbmcrosslinked-gel system, and the pressure was observed to reduce continually
throughout the pumping sequence.
A total of 3,022 bbl of fluid was injected in Well 1, Stage 2 fracturing operations. During the flowback, cleanup, and
well-testing stages, a total of 1,460 bbl of
this load water was recovered after approximately 7 days. The load fluid from

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


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10,550 psi

BHP Measured (psi)

Treating Pressure (psi)
Annulus Pressure (psi)
Slurry Rate (bbl/min)




















Injection Rate (bbl/min)

Pressure (psi)




Treatment Time (minutes)

Fig. 1Well 1, Stage 2 DFIT injections.

the fracture treatment was not fully recovered because the duration of CT lifting with nitrogen to clean up the well was
longer than planned.
Well 1, Stage 3. The third target interval was perforated in six runs with the
same approach as that used in previous
stages. The WHP observed after perforating was 186 psi, as a result of gas influx. The DFIT of Stage 3 was not carried
out because of the presence of the gas in
the wellbore and formation disturbance/
transient flow after perforating. Instead,
a step-rate test (SRT) was performed
with 35-lbm/1,000 gal linear gel fluid to
determine surface pressures as a function of injection rates.
Following the SRT, a specialized
treatment was placed to arrest potential downward height growth during the
placement of the main fracture treatment. Given learnings from Stage 1, a
15% HCl stage was pumped ahead of
the planned specialized treatment and,
once again, a significant reduction in
pressure (2,500 psi at surface) was observed as the acid hit the perforations.
A stepdown sequence was additionally
performed at the end of the injection to
assess the perforation and near-wellbore
A minifracture treatment immediately followed the specialized-treatment
stage, with 200 bbl of 35-lbm/1,000 gal
crosslinked fluid being pumped, and the
pressure decline was then monitored.
Analysis of the minifracture injection


gave an estimated closure pressure of

6,337 psi. Subsequently, 120,000 lbm of
20/40 ceramic proppant and 17,000lbm
of 16/20 resin-coated ceramic proppant
were used for the main fracturing treatment. The main fracturing treatment was
placed successfully using the crosslinkedgel system as planned without issues.
A good pressure history match was
achieved. From the estimated geometry,
the fracture height created was 35 m with
a half-length of 180 m; it was inferred that
the previous specialized diversion treatment injected had achieved its design
purpose. A total of 2,364 bbl of fluid was
injected during the Well 1, Stage 3 operations. During the flowback, cleanup, and
well-testing stages, a total of 1,800bbl of
this load water (approximately 76% of
injected water) was recovered.


Exploration- and appraisal-well

design should initially assume
that hydraulic fracturing is
required, as a base case, until
sufficient data have been
gathered to demonstrate that
the well design can be sized and
adjusted to suit the completion
technology required.
The effects of selected
completion techniques and the
selection of the initial injectionfluid composition on in-situstress interpretation from the
DFIT are to be considered in such

The effect and influence of

formation damage on hydraulic
fracturing should not be
overlooked, despite the fact that
the hydraulic-fracturing process
ostensibly bypasses such nearwellbore damage.
It is hypothesized that
conventional drilling
methods may be useful in
initiating hydraulic fractures
when compared with other
The application of specialized
fracturing treatments to create
stress barriers and divert or
constrain principal fracture
treatments has been confirmed.
Conducting in-situ-stress
measurements with the wirelineformation-tester microfracturing
method can provide early
indications of the presence of an
abnormal stress state.
When combining the openhole
microfracturing method with the
cased-hole DFIT methodology,
the understanding of the stress
state, its variation, and its
influence on hydraulic fracturing
is expected to be improved
Variations in the properties of the
formation fluids within the same
well and potential reactions with
drilling and completion fluids
should not be overlooked. JPT


Model-Based Evaluation of SurveillanceProgram Effectiveness With Proxies


In this work flow, the authors perform a

set of training simulations (determined
by experimental design) and use the result to build proxies for the objective
function and each of the surveillance data
points. Proxies are then used to generate
a number of plausible realizations of the
surveillance data. Then, in turn, one of
the plausible data realizations is assumed
to be the true data to be observed, and a
history-matching run is performed to assimilate these true data using proxybased rejection sampling to establish the
corresponding posterior distribution.
The process is repeated for all plausible surveillance-data realizations, to obtain a set of plausible posterior distributions (one for each data realization).
The amount of expected uncertainty reduction is obtained by comparing the


his paper proposes a framework

based on proxies and rejection
sampling (filtering) to perform
multiple history-matching runs with
a manageable number of reservoir
simulations. The proposed work flow
enables qualitative and quantitative
analysis of a surveillance plan.
Qualitatively, heavy-hitter-alignment
analysis for the objective function and
the observed data provides actionable
measures for screening different
surveillance designs. Quantitatively,
the evaluation of expected uncertainty
reduction from different surveillance
plans allows for optimal design and
selection of surveillance plans.

Baseline Value: 4.86535108










Fig. 1Tornado chart for NPV. A=Unit 1 permeability multiplier, B=Unit 2

permeability multiplier, C=relative permeability curve endpoint, D=Unit 1
porosity multiplier, E=Unit 2 porosity multiplier.

amount of uncertainty in the prior distribution and the average amount of uncertainty in the posterior distribution. To
the best of the authors knowledge, this
is the first attempt for a priori surveillance analysis by multiple history matching under data uncertainty by use of rejection sampling and proxies.
The proposed method has several
benefits. First, the linear Gaussian assumption between surveillance data and
objective function can have a major impact on the accuracy of the quantification of the uncertainty reduction. The
method proposed in this work does not
make the linear Gaussian assumption.
Therefore, it can better capture the distributions of, and the relation between,
the surveillance data and the objective

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights
of paper SPE 173229, Model-Based A Priori Evaluation of Surveillance-Program
Effectiveness With Proxies, by Jincong He, Jiang Xie, Pallav Sarma, Xian-Huan
Wen, Wen H. Chen, and Jairam Kamath, Chevron, prepared for the 2015 SPE
Reservoir Simulation Symposium, Houston, 2325 February. The paper has not been
peer reviewed.

function. Second, it is a black-box method that does not require gradient information, and therefore the work flow can
be used with most simulators as long as
it can predict the value of the surveillance data from the surveillance program and the value of the objective function. In addition, the number of training
simulations needed is independent of
the number of plausible data realizations
and is thus independent of the number
of history-matching runs. The computational cost is also insensitive to the number of data points to be collected in the
surveillance program. Furthermore, besides the quantification of expected uncertainty reduction, the work flow also
enables qualitative screening of surveillance concepts by analyzing the ranking
and the magnitude of the sensitivities of
the objective function and the surveillance data to different parameters. The
complete paper provides a discussion of
the formulation of the problem of quantifying the uncertainty reduction for surveillance programs and details the new
work flow.

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


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In order to calculate the effectiveness of

a specific surveillance program on resolving the uncertainty of a given objective function, multiple history-matching
runs need to be performed for different
plausible realizations of surveillance data
to obtain the corresponding posterior
uncertainty distribution. Each historymatching run will in turn involve multiple
reservoir simulations, each of which can
take hours or even days for realistic field
cases. Therefore, the computational cost
of the multiple history-matching runs
can be prohibitive.
The work flow to calculate the expected uncertainty reduction using proxies is summarized in the following steps;
detailed explanations of each step are
available in the complete paper.
1. Perform experimental design
to generate design points in the
uncertainty parameter space.
2. Perform a reservoir simulation on
each of the design points.
3. With the result from the
simulations, construct the proxy
for the surveillance data and the
proxy for the objective function.
4. Construct plausible data
5. With rejection sampling, perform
history-matching runs for each
of the plausible data realizations
to construct their corresponding
posterior distributions.
6. Calculate the amount of
uncertainty in each of the
plausible posterior distributions,
and calculate the average
uncertainty reduction.
The costs of proxy construction and
proxy evaluation are usually very low and
are negligible compared with the cost of
reservoir simulation. Therefore, the majority of the computational cost for this
work flow pertains to the reservoir simulations in Step 2.

Numerical Results

Heavy-Hitter-Alignment Analysis. A
useful feature of this work flow is that it
enables qualitative heavy-hitter analysis
of the different surveillance plans. After
the proxies for the objective function and
surveillance data are generated in Step
3, a sensitivity study can be performed

with these proxies. Fig. 1 shows a tornado chart for net present value (NPV) constructed by setting all variables at their
mean values and then perturbing them
one variable at a time (OVAT) to their
minima and maxima.
For a surveillance plan to resolve the
uncertainty in the objective function, the
surveillance data must be sensitive to the
heavy hitters of the objective function.
In other words, it is desirable to have the
ranking of heavy hitters in the surveillance data aligned with that for the objective function.
The authors note that the OVAT procedure used here for sensitivity study is
best for response surfaces that are relatively linear. For highly nonlinear response surfaces, more-sophisticated
methods such as global sensitivity analysis can be applied. The authors also note
that the heavy-hitter analysis discussed
in the complete paper is supposed to be
only a qualitative measure for screening surveillance concepts. For morequantitative analysis, which is essential
for design optimization and other applications, the actual amount of uncertainty reduction for each of the surveillance
plans must be calculated. This process is
detailed in the complete paper, as is the
methodology for ensuring the quality of
the results.


The proposed method performs multiple

history-matching runs to generate plausible posterior uncertainty distributions
corresponding to different plausible realizations of surveillance data. Proxies
based on experimental design and response surface, together with rejectionsampling methods, are used to make the
multiple history matching computationally affordable. The work flow is demonstrated on a surveillance-design problem
with seven alternatives. Heavy-hitteralignment analysis is proposed as a procedure to screen surveillance concepts.
The amount of uncertainty reduction,
quantified as the difference between the
amounts of uncertainty in the previous
distribution of the objective function and
the average amount of uncertainty of all
plausible posterior distributions, is evaluated for all seven alternatives. The work
flow is shown to be useful in selecting the
optimal surveillance operation. JPT


Visit IHRDC at Booth #2736 at ATCE in Houston!


Clem, SPE, is
an engineering
manager for
of sand-control
completions equipment at Baker
Hughes. He holds a BS degree in
mechanical engineering from The
University of Texas at Austin. Clem
serves on the SPE Annual Technical
Conference and Exhibition Well
Completions Subcommittee and
ontheJPT Editorial Committee.

Recommended additional reading

at OnePetro:
SPE 170264 Electronic-Set Openhole
Packer Installation in Campos Basin,
Offshore Brazil: A Case History
by G.D. Mendes, Baker Hughes, et al.
SPE 170694 Acid-Soluble Plugs
Pressure-Tight Solution for a
Preperforated Liner by E. Livingston,
ConocoPhillips, et al.
SPE/IADC 170547 Innovative
Intelligent Multizone Gravel-Pack
Completion Revives Production in
Malaysian Brownfield by T.U. Ceccarelli,
Schlumberger, et al.

Like a fingerprint, every completion is unique and gives each well its own identity. The
hardware selection, its deployment method, and the associated stimulation technique
combine to create a one-of-kind completion, custom tailored for each application. It
is this infinite variation that constantly fuels a collective desire to bring stability to the
completion process. More so than ever before, the themes of efficiency and optimization serve as a backbone for completion design and execution. These themes remain
valid under any market condition but become all the more significant in challenging
or volatile climates.
Well completions play a critical role in the overall productivity of a reservoir,
which inherently drives the decision-making processes toward well efficiency and
production optimization. While there are many gains to be had around more-efficient
hardware and stimulation deployment, improving the overall well efficiency and optimizing the production profile through carefully designed and implemented completion strategies represent the true endgame.
The challenge lies in accessing the key ingredient that enables harmonization of
all the various components: data. Today, full-field studies comparing varying completion techniques with associated production performance are commonplace to evaluate and home in on optimum completion methods. Sensing technology, common
to drilling and evaluation, continues to be integrated into completions, providing a
front-row seat for the main event, production. The adage knowledge is power could
not be more relevant in this context. Data collection and analysis, and subsequent controls, are what ultimately will enable the most-efficient and -optimized wells.
The papers highlighted in this feature speak to these themes that have become
ever-present within the completions community. This selection of case histories and
new technology reinforces the inherent desire to achieve stability through efficiency
and optimization, even under the most challenging of market conditions.JPT

SPE 170738 Composite-Plug-Milling

Efficiency Improvement Through
Rheology ControlLessons Learned
From the Horizontal Completions in the
Devernay Shale by Darren Huynh,
Shell Canada, et al.



A Multientry, Multistage Fracturing-Sleeve

System in Bakken Shale Wells

his paper evaluates dominant

and currently applied completion
methods by comparing wells in the
Middle Bakken continuous resource
play that have used all identified
systems. The authors discuss these
completion designs and methods and
fracturing operations that are often
executed. Assessment of viability and
production efficiency of multiple-entrypoint fracturing-sleeve-system (MEFSS)
completions as compared with other
completion methods is the primary
focus of the complete paper.


The three most common completion

techniques in the Middle Bakken are
plug and perforation (P&P), singleentry-point fracturing-sleeve systems
(SEFSSs), and MEFSSs. Traditional P&P
techniques were developed initially
for vertical-well applications and then
adapted to horizontal wellbores. As a
result, composite-fracturing-plug design had to evolve for horizontal-well
deployment and pumpdown capabilities. Cementing, typically the isolation
method for P&P-completed wellbores,
is also difficult in horizontal wellbores.
Because of the need for an interventionless completion system to facilitate compartmentalized stimulation designs, development and use of SEFSS
technologies to overcome many of these
challenges came into accepted practice.
SEFSS technologies use specifically sized balls that are dropped from
surface to actuate sleeves that are pre-

installed with the completion liner

string. These actuation balls also provide progressive downstream isolation
as the treatment is pumped sequentially
from toe to heel. Fracturing-sleeve systems can be used in conjunction with
openhole annular isolation packers or
cemented in place. These systems do
not require millout to ensure that a target zone can produce, although the ball
seats are typically milled in the Bakken
system. Fracturing-sleeve technologies
also help eliminate the use of water and
chemicals because the isolation balls do
not have to be pumped to depth postflush as in a P&P technique. Because
the actuation balls can be launched and
landed on the fly, hundreds of barrels of
water are typically saved on each individual treatment.
With fracturing-sleeve technology,
many tools must be deployed to depth
as part of the completion liner string.
This increases the complexity of running the completion casing after the
wellbore has been drilled when compared with a conventional liner-running
operation. While steps can be taken to
overcome these installation challenges,
fracturing-sleeve systems are often limited in the number of fracturing stages
that can be targeted because of the use
of actuation balls and ball seats of graduated size against the completion tubular geometry. The use of graduated
balls and ball seats can also have an
effect on the rate at which fracturing
stages can be pumped, especially for
smaller-sized ball seats toward the toe
of thecompletion.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights
of paper SPE 171629, Does a Multientry, Multistage Fracturing-Sleeve System
Improve Production in Bakken Shale Wells Over Other Completion Methods?, by
Ben Wellhoefer, Andy Eis, and Geoffrey Gullickson, Halliburton, prepared for
the 2014 SPE/CSUR Unconventional Resources ConferenceCanada, Calgary,
30September2October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.


North Dakota Middle Bakken wellbores are typically drilled to a

vertical-depth kickoff point of 7,000
to 10,000 ft, depending on basin geography; then, a curve is built to approximately 90 in 600 to 1,200 ft, yielding
a horizontal-wellbore start at a range
of 7,500-ft to greater than 11,000-ft
true vertical depth. From there, a 5to 6-in. horizontal-wellbore section
is drilled up to 10,000 ft, thus creating a total well depth often greater
than 20,000 ft. A 7-in.-casing string is
run and cemented in place through the
curve section of the wellbore. A 4-in.
completion liner string is run to total
measured depth and hung off in the 7-in.
main-bore casing string. One of three
completion techniques is then used to
create access to the formation and enable the fracturing of 30 or more target
zones along the horizontal section of
A sample of four wells was then selected that were offset to each other,
as well as employing each of the common Middle Bakken completion techniques. The offset-well sample had similar characteristics and wellbore designs
so that viable comparisons could be
made. Production results from the wells
were then gathered and recorded from
public records over the course of several months. The production levels were
then normalized on the basis of reported well parameters and graphed so that
analysis could be performed. The goal
was to determine for the offset-sample
group whether one completion method increased wellbore productivity over

Completion Methods

As mentioned previously, wells in the

Bakken system primarily apply three
common completion techniques. The
techniques include the P&P process,

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


90-Day Cumulative bbl/ft of Lateral


MEFSS Well 1
MEFSS Well 2


P&P Well

Offset-Well Production Results

3 Month

6 Month

Fig. 13- and 6-month production results.


Cumulative Oil (bbl)


MEFSS Well 1
MEFSS Well 2


P&P Well




Time (months)
Fig. 2Beyond-6-month production graph from the sample wells.

SEFSSs, and MEFSSs. The first two of

these systems are detailed in the complete paper.
MEFSS. An MEFSS is also ball-actuated;
however, a single ball will open multiple fracturing sleeves in the target
fracturing stage. The fracturing sleeves
and isolation packers are installed with
the completion liner string and provide multiple entry points to the formation. Once again, an actuation ball is


in the multiple sleeves in that target

stage. Often, these exit ports can also
be customized to balance outflow. The
target zone is then stimulated, and another fracturing ball is dropped to actuate the next set of fracturing sleeves
in the MEFSS. The process is repeated
until all target zones are stimulated.
The actuation balls can then either flow
back to surface or degrade in the wellbore fluid.

dropped from the surface. The ball will

land on the ball seats inside each fracturing sleeve; however, the actuation
ball will pass through multiple sleeves,
actuating them, until it will then seat
and seal on a fixed ball seat in the last
fracturing sleeve in the target stage. Increased pressure will then open the last
target fracturing sleeve. The actuation
ball then isolates the target fracturing
sleeve from previous fracturing stages
and diverts fluid flow out the exit ports

Production results from the offset-well

sample were monitored over a period of
several months to provide the best possible data set for comparison. The graphs
in the complete paper illustrate the production from each of the sample wells
obtained from public data sources. Each
of the wells in the sample had a short lateral design drilled through the Middle
Bakken layer of the formation. The wells
in the sample used openhole packers as
the annular isolation method between
fracturing stages. Fig. 1 illustrates the
3- and 6-month production results from
the four offset wells that used the three
different completiontechniques.
Production levels from the four offset wellbores were then monitored continually and graphed against each other
to enable further analysis of the completion techniques used. While all wells
could be monitored for a period of at
least 6 months, production results for
some of the wells could be obtained
for a longer period of time. The results
depicted in Fig. 2 feature colors corresponding to the well from which the
production results were obtained.
It is important to note that the production results were normalized for several well parameters so that the best
comparison could be made and analysis could be conducted. On the basis of
the reported production levels, it appears that the P&P and SEFSS wells performed very similarly in both the near
and the long term. However, both of the
wells that used the MEFSS completion
technique had higher production levels,
both initially and long term. JPT


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Completion Optimization in the Williston

Basin Through Integrated Data Sets

ith the surge in activity in

theWilliston basin, the ability
to optimize completions has mainly
been an expensive trial-and-error
system. With the advent of slidingsleeve technology, operational
efficiency could potentially be
increased, but the effectiveness of
the completion remained unclear.
This paper presents a work flow
to analyze data sets to optimize


The operator gathered a number of data

sets from the Williston basin (the geology is discussed in the complete paper)
and integrated the results to arrive at
an optimized completion design at a
fraction of the cost. This step was conducted with Phase 1; Phase 2 was then
implemented to test the recommended design. This summary will focus on
Phase 1, with detailed coverage of Phase
2 available in the complete paper. Completion optimization was defined as improving well performance and fracture
behavior while also increasing internal
rate of return.
For Phase 1, there were four laterals with varying completion and isolation types and an S-shaped well used to
acquire specialty logs, core data, and
microseismic data. All of the completed
stages used a hybrid fluid system with
linear guar gel for the pad and 100-mesh
sand stages (10,000 lbm pumped in
single stages, 20,000 lbm in double
stages) and then transitioned to a cross-

linked guar gel for the 20/40-sand and

(ISP) stages. A mix of 35% 20/40 sand
and 65% 20/40 ISP was used on all
the stages. The two-entry-point doublecemented stage was the current completion design at the time this study
was conducted. This meant a total of
16 stages, with 31 entry points for a
9,500-ft effective lateral.
The process undertaken to optimize the completion design in Phase 1
had several steps:
1. Empirical comparison of
interpreted fracture behavior
in test wells using analysis of
microseismic data, proppanttracer data, and fracturepressure history matching
2. Determination from those
analyses of preferred design
3. Constraint of additional
design components by use of
multivariate statistical analysis
4. Filling out remaining design
components by use of forward
fracture modeling
5. Estimation of the economic
impact of the new design
The components incorporated into
the final design were isolation and entrypoint type, perforation scheme, stage
length, proppant volume, and treatment
rate. The complete paper describes in
detail the data sets that contributed
to the final optimized completion design (miscroseismic, hydraulic-fracture

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of
paper SPE 170721, Completion Optimization and Validation in the Williston Basin
Through Integrated Data Sets, by J. Barhaug, SPE, V. King, SPE, A. Schmidt, SPE,
A.Southcott, SPE, L. Steinke, SPE, and H. Harper, WPX Energy, prepared for the
2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, 2729 October.
The paper has not been peer reviewed.

model, multivariate analysis, and proppant tracer).


Isolation and Entry-Point Type. Microseismic was one of the supporting

data sets that led to the ultimate decision to select plug-and-perforate (P&P)
cemented laterals over all other isolation and entry-point types. Vertical
containment was broken out for every
stage of Phase 1 by examining the percentage of a stage that stayed within the
pay zone and the percentage that grew
out of zone. An average of vertical containment was then calculated for each
isolation-type/entry-point-type combination. This analysis showed that cemented liners were superior to their
openhole (OH) counterparts.
The results from the FPHM were
also in agreement with this component
of the microseismic data. P&P cemented
laterals are superior to OH when broken out by isolation type, completion
type, and job size for average proppant
concentration within the hydraulic fracture and the average propped-fracturelength area.
Proppant tracer further confirmed
the findings from the previous two data
sets. In cemented stages, proppant tracer was mostly confined around the entry
points, demonstrating that the cemented lateral does a good job of providing
stage containment. However, there are
indications that the swell packers were
not providing adequate stage containment. Every stage with proppant tracer
was assigned a penalty depending on the
interpreted amount of containment. It is
confirmed that cemented liners provide
superior stage containment compared
with OH swell packers.
Stage Length. Multivariate analysis was
used to determine the recommended

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


stage length or number of stages for a

well. The stage length was used in the
multivariate analysis instead of number of stages because of the close relationship to number of stages and lateral
length in the data set at hand. The stage
length has a negative monotonic trend,
meaning that more stages will increase
the response variable.
Additional operational risk is assumed with more stages and perforation
runs, as well as added cost for the extra
time needed to fracture a well. Taking into account the improved performance and additional risk and cost that
go along with additional stages, the recommended completion design has gone
from 16 stages/well to 25 stages/well, or
approximately 600 to 380 ft/stage.
A model generated by a planar-3Dgeometry fracture simulator also
showed that a decrease in stage length
was necessary. The increased number of
stages is expected to reduce the fracture
length and improve the quality of the
stimulation around the wellbore. The
stage count might seem low compared
with those of other operators, but the
laterals production strings are being cemented and limited entry is being used
to generate more than one fracture per
stage. The change in stage count is also
large enough to see a change in the performance indicator.
Proppant Volume. Multivariate analysis
was used to determine a recommended
proppant volume. This variable was the
most impactful completion variable in
the analysis. The transformed proppant
volume per foot has a positive monotonic trend. There is a decrease in slope
after approximately 435 lbm/ft, implying that the incremental proppant is not
as impactful to the response variable
after approximately 435 lbm/ft but is
still beneficial to the response variable.
The change in slope could also be an artifact in the transformation as a result of
not having every impactful variable or
combination of variables in the analysis;
or there could be less benefit to increas-


ing the proppant volume. Before data acquisition and analysis, the design for the
company was 3.3 million lbm of proppant for a long lateral, or approximately 350 lbm/ft. The recommended design
derived from the multivariate analysis
was 425 lbm/ft, or 4 million lbm of proppant for a total well. This change is expected to yield statistically improved results but may not be fully optimized
Perforation Scheme. The next step in
completion optimization was to examine the number of entry points per stage
and the number of perforation shots per
entry point. The planar-3D-geometry
fracture-simulator model and the microseismic data provided insight into
this component. On the basis of the
two types of available entry points per
stage for cemented laterals in Phase
1, the microseismic showed that three
entry points limited out-of-zone height
growth better than two entry points.
Treatment Rate. From the FPHM, a
correlation could be seen between treatment rate and height growth out of
the pay zone; a distinct trend could
be seen between less height growth
and lower-rate stages and more height
growth associated with higher-rate
stages. Treatment rate was included in
the multivariate analysis, but this variable had a low sensitivity compared with
the stage-length and proppant-volume
variables. The transformed treatmentrate trend is negatively monotonic and
shows that increased rate will have a negative effect on the response variable. The
transformed trend also shows no benefit
to decreasing the treatment rate below
35 bbl/min. The multivariate analysis
supports the fracture rate determined
from the forward fracture modeling.
Growing out of zone has the potential to
be detrimental to well performance in
three ways: by potentially increasing a
wells water/oil ratio, by decreasing the
effective half-length, and by decreasing
the in-zoneconductivity.JPT

Development (SD)
Technical Section
The SPE Health, Safety, Security,
Environment, and Social
Responsibility technical discipline
announces the formation of a
new technical section to give its
members, regardless of discipline,
an increased awareness and
opportunity to network in the area
of sustainable development.
This section seeks to:
Exchange sustainable
development technical
Support members in acquiring
sustainable development
Raise awareness of the role
sustainable development plays
in the oil and gas industry
Improve performance
through better application
of sustainable development
principles and practices
Liaise with and learn from
other industry organizations
Deepen your learning and share
your insights on this subject
during discussions at virtual
meetings, forums, and workshops.
Enjoy the convenience of online
collaboration and the benefits of
at least one face-to-face meeting
each year. Learn more and join
today at

Fracture Optimization in the Valdemar Field

Offshore Denmark

he Valdemar field contains a

target reservoir that is a Lower
Cretaceous dirty chalk containing
up to 25% insoluble fines, porosity
greater than 20%, and permeability
below 0.5 md. Stimulations on several
wells showed suboptimal production
rates, which led to the conclusion
that the Lower Cretaceous was not
economically producible. An intensive
study was therefore carried out to
evaluate all aspects of the fracture
design and implementation. This paper
focuses on the aspects of proppant
selection and adequate fractureconductivity placement, with the goal
of improving well productivity and

Completion Optimization

The Valdemar field is located in the Danish sector of the North Sea. The reservoir is characterized by a heterogeneous
sequence of argillaceous chalk with thin
beds of marl and claystone. The Lower
Cretaceous reservoir is subdivided into
14 reservoir units on the basis of nanopaleontology and sequence stratigraphy. Because of the Valdemar fields suboptimal production rates, an intensive
study was carried out in 2008. Numerous experts were invited to view data,
perform simulations, and offer recommendations. Eleven key items were
identified as areas of potential improvement and are detailed further in the
complete paper:
1. Improve the accuracy of
treatment displacements.

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2. Implement aggressive
3. Improve fracture conductivity
by use of resieved sand.
4. Introduce real-time data
acquisition and modeling.
5. Enhance interpretation of
minifracture analysis.
6. Gather pressure data for afterclosure analysis.
7. Minimize total fluids injected.
8. Assess the use of ceramic
screened sliding sleeves
9. Supervise well cleanup.
10. Institute quality-control
procedure for completion
11. Introduce ceramic proppants
for fracture-conductivity

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of
paper SPE 170981, Fracture Optimization Reduces Completion Cost While Improving
Well Productivity in the Valdemar Field Offshore Denmark, by Dario Stemberger,
SPE, Maersk Oil, and Pedro Saldungaray, SPE, and Terry Palisch, SPE, Carbo
Ceramics, prepared for the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition,
Amsterdam, 2729 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

A study by a third-party consultant

was conducted to determine the optimum fracture design. The study concluded that, for various reasons, the
fractures were conductivity-limited,
and that larger proppant was needed
to improve effective fracture conductivity. This recommendation was furthered by implementing ceramic proppant, a process discussed in detail in the

Field Implementation

In 2011, the Valdemar field was in the

final stages of development. Wells
VBA-6E and VBA-9 were the last planned
for the structure and were located along
the flanks of the reservoir; the former
well is discussed in this summary. Because of late-life drilling, reservoir pressure had depleted from approximately
5,300 psi to approximately 4,260 psi
along with thinner reservoir sections,
which were also deeper.
Well VBA-6E Drilling and Completion.
Well VBA-6E was drilled, cased, and cemented with 9-in. casing to the top of
the chalk, then drilled with an 8-in.
bit to total depth at 24,088-ft measured
depth (MD). A 7-in. liner was run to

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



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the expected maximum reach of 1-in.

coiled tubing of 18,500-ft MD and cemented off-bottom. A 5-in. limitedentry predrilled liner was then run in
the open hole to 23,892-ft MD. This section would be acidized with a controlled
acid-jetting technique following the
completion of the hydraulic-fracturing
treatments. The propped fractures were
treated using a perforation, stimulation,
and isolation (PSI) system (Fig.1). With
this system, the first zone is tubingconveyed-perforated, the guns are
pulled out of the hole (POOH), and then
the PSI system is run. Live guns are run
in the well as part of the system, with
(or typically without) a packer, and the
end of the tubing is then positioned
some 100 ft above the top perforation.
The first fracture stage is performed
and underflushed, and the excess proppant is immediately circulated out of the
wellbore. The first isolation assembly is
then placed on depth and set in place.
This assembly consists of a packer, sliding sleeves, and seal assembly. Once set,


the tool string is run to the next perforation interval, the zone is perforated,
and the string is POOH to prepare the
next isolation assembly and perforating
guns. This assembly is then run into the
well to 100 ft above the preceding perforations, and the process is repeated
until all fractures arecompleted.
Well VBA-6E Propped-Fracture Design. Well VBA-6E was completed in
June 2011 with the placement of 13
propped hydraulic fractures and one
extended-reach predrilled limited-entry
liner, which was subsequently acidized
with hydrochloric acid. The fracture designs considered the use of resieved natural 20/40-mesh sand in the first five
zones and then 16/20-mesh low-density
ceramic proppant in the remaining eight
fractures in order to compare the two
proppants performance. Of note, while
the proposed sand fractures were designed with 1,000,000 lbm of proppant
each, the ceramic-proppant treatments
were planned with only 500,000 lbm

per fracture. To ensure each fracture

was optimally designed and executed,
breakdown, minifracture, and step-up/
-down tests were performed before each
fracture and then analyzed to redesign
a tip-screenout fracture with proppant
concentrations ending at 14 to 16 lbm
of proppant added per gallon. Pump
rates were limited to 32 bbl/min because
of vessel capacity and line-velocity restrictions. Most of the stimulations
ended with a net pressure approaching
The well was then flowed for cleanup and testing. A memory productionlog test (PLT) was then performed to determine the relative contribution of each
zone and to compare the actual formation response of the two differing proppant treatments to the simulated predictions. Favorable production results
and the PLT log conclusively proved
that the smaller-mass treatments with
larger- diameter low- density ceramic proppant produced better than the
sand-treated zones. For Well VBA-6E,


the initial production rates were limited

by restricted drawdown during initial
cleanup. Once the well was fully on line,
the fracture permeability became stable
much more quickly than with the previous wells and at a significantly higher
level of 8 darcies, evidencing a four- to
eight-fold leap in fracture permeability
because of the use of low-density ceramic proppant.

sand-propped zones. The higher fracture conductivity obtained with the ceramic proppant at even one-half the
sand mass, resulted in productivity improved by some 50%. Qualitative analysis of PBUs depicts a much-improved

connection to the reservoir through

more-conductive fractures. These
completion-optimization measures allowed for the successful development
in flank wells that otherwise might have
been deemed uneconomic. JPT

Well-Flow- and
Buildup-Test Results

Upon completion of the stimulation and

installation of the final upper completion, the wells were flowed and pressure buildups (PBUs) were performed.
All wells had pressure and temperature
gauges installed near the prospectivehorizon true vertical depth. One critical aspect was to review the PBU response to determine the characteristics
of the pressure built up immediately
upon closing in the wells. Looking at
the PBU qualitatively, one can see significant differences in characteristics
between Wells VBA-6E and VBA-9 vs.
previous wells such as Well VBA-7. In
contrast, Wells VBA-6E and VBA-9 have
much lower immediate PBUs. A likely
explanation for the observed difference
in PBU behavior is a higher pressure
drop under flowing conditions that resulted from convergence of flow in the
transverse fractures at the connection
to the wellbore in combination with
the relatively lower conductivity provided by the sand propping agent used
in VBA-7.

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By recognizing the limitations of baseline conductivity measurements and

using the effective conductivity for
fracture design, hydraulic fractures in
the Valdemar field were identified as
conductivity-limited. A 15 to 20% cumulative production gain was projected by
replacing 20/40-mesh sand by half the
mass of larger 16/20-mesh low-density
ceramic proppant. The recommendations of the optimization program were
implemented in two wells. The PLT results confirmed the predictions; even
though the total proppant volume was
cut by 50%, the zonal contribution of
the ceramic stimulated zones was in all
cases better than that of the natural-





Fracture-Stimulation Placement With FiberOptic Distributed-Sensing Diagnostics

he connection of the wellbore to

hydrocarbon-resource volumes
by effective fracture stimulation is
a critical factor in unconventionalreservoir completions. This paper
provides some insights into the
effectiveness of the hydraulic-fracturestimulation (HFS) process with fiber
optics (FO), distributed acoustic
sensing (DAS), and distributed
temperature sensing (DTS). The
paper discusses multiple wells where
FO has been used to gain a better
understanding of three highly debated
topics: diversion, stage isolation,


Optimization of the connectivity/distribution process in HFS requires a balance

between capital investment to compartmentalize the wellbore and the incremental rate of economic return associated with well performance results.
Perforation-cluster efficiency from cemented plug-and-perforate (CPP) completions in unconventional horizontal
wells typically ranges between 68 and
79%. Isolation and controlled placement of stimulation volumes within stages for uncemented packer-andsleeve (UPS) systems are of concern.
There are multiple reasons for these inefficiencies. A complex interplay between reservoir-quality variability, well
placement within the stratigraphy, effective fracture geometries, lift efficiency,

and the effectiveness of HFS treatment

ultimately controls the performance
of any given well. FO and other diagnostics demonstrate the dynamic nature of the stimulation placements and
provide further insight into and quantification of stimulation-distribution
effectiveness. Diagnostics and field
trials also indicate that improved practices and new completion technologies are emerging that can improve the


There is a renewed interest in the use

of diversion techniques to improve
the efficiency of HFS. Applications
vary from refracturing to improving
perforation-cluster efficiency. Traditionally, diversion has been evaluated with
very limited diagnostic data and is heavily dependent on pressure response observed during pumping operations. In
most cases, the effectiveness of diversion has been measured ultimately by an
increase in production relative to what
are considered like wells. While this
approach is valid, inherent variability
in production results between nearby
wells caused by reservoir quality makes
the comparison very difficult. In addition, obtaining conclusive answers on
the basis of production performance can
take a relatively large number of wells
and a significant amount of time. FO,
in combination with other complementary completion diagnostics, can provide a way to shorten the time and reduce the number of wells required for

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of
paper SPE 173348, Challenging Assumptions About Fracture-Stimulation-Placement
Effectiveness With Fiber-Optic Distributed-Sensing Diagnostics: Diversion, Stage
Isolation, and Overflushing, by Gustavo A. Ugueto C., Paul T. Huckabee, and
Mathieu M. Molenaar, Shell, prepared for the 2015 SPE Hydraulic Fracturing
Technology Conference, The Woodlands, Texas, USA, 35 February. The paper has
not been peer reviewed.

evaluation of the effectiveness of diversion technologies. Furthermore, diagnostics provide information required to
fine-tune deployment procedures. The
complete paper provides examples of
FO-diagnostics results for one type of
diversion technique (biodegradable particulate diversion).

Isolation Between Stages

Isolation between stages and perforation

clusters is essential for the controlled
placement of treatment distributions
along the wellbore. There are several
documented examples in which nearwellbore diagnostics indicate the occurrence of communication between adjacent stages during both stimulation and
production. The great majority of unconventional reservoirs are being developed
through horizontal wells. Achieving isolation between stages and perforation
clusters is particularly difficult in these
wells. Two major completion types are
being used in horizontal wells: CPP and
sleeve completions (either UPS or cemented). Each of these systems requires
significant design effort to improve the
probability of successful isolation.


Overflushing, also known as overdisplacement, is the practice of pumping

clean fluids without proppant at the end
of a fracturing job. This practice is considered necessary to provide a clean
wellbore by flushing any trailing proppant from the tubing and casing before
the conveyance of the next wireline plug,
perforating gun, ball drop, or shifting
tool. Inadequate flushing of proppants
from the wellbore would otherwise risk
the sticking of these tools and the cost/
time associated with a fish recovery or
a well-cleanout workover. Additionally,
overflushing is inherent in the pumpdown process for CPP wireline operations in order to place the plug above

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


the preceding stage and perforate the

next stage. There are conceptual reasons
why overflushing could be damaging to
connectivity, particularly in horizontal
wells. Models suggest that there should
be concern. It is estimated that more
than 90% of all transverse fractures
have been overflushed. However, empirical evidence from well performance
does not always support theseconcerns.
The practice of overflushing is pervasive in unconventional completions,
and the data set that the authors investigated in the complete paper by use of
DAS and DTS indicates that some degree of overflushing may be unavoidable.
Diagnostics in vertical wells showed
that the overflushing risk is minimal.
The great majority of stages in vertical wells maintained some element of
connection between the well and the
fractures. Further evaluation of overflushing in horizontal wells is required.
It is recommended that further analysis be conducted in data sets in which
FO diagnostics and production profiling


FO technology (DAS and DTS) is now

mature and can be used to obtain a faster understanding of fracture efficiency
and determine the outcome of fracture
technologies. FO and other diagnostics
can help separate facts from inferences.
More importantly, it can provide information to constrain fracture and reservoir models. Integration of FO data with
other diagnostics, wells, and subsurface
information is essential for FO-data interpretation. Efforts to integrate the interpretation of FO diagnostics with other
data such as seismic attributes, microseismic mapping, mud logging, and production logs are improving the understanding of which parameters correlate
most directly with sustained fracture productivity. FO diagnostics indicated that
interactions between the well, the fracture, and the rock are complex, hence the
need to integrate the results with other
diagnostics and reservoirinformation.
Data indicate particulate diversion
has potential to improve perforationcluster treatment efficiency. Initial indica-

tions from the use of particulate diversion

are positive, but, given the limited number of data sets available with diagnostics,
the authors recommend conducting additional trials with FO diagnostics to further
estimate the full potential of chemical diversion and other diversion techniques.
FO diagnostics also enable the opportunity for optimal placement-design modifications in real time.
In both the UPS and the CPP examples presented in the complete paper, the
combined analysis of the DAS and DTS
provided a better understanding of the
communication path and the root cause
in the lack of isolation between stages.
Good cementing practices are essential
to reduce communication risks in CPP
completions. The limited data available
for UPS-completion systems indicate
that these completions are highly susceptible to communication. The authors
recommend conducting focused trials
with FO and other diagnostics to evaluate the communication risks of sleeve
completions, particularly for cemented
sleevesystems. JPT

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John Macpherson,
SPE, is senior
technical adviser
for drilling services
for Baker Hughes.
He has been in the
oil and gas industry
for 41 years, much of that time with
Baker Hughes in the upstream sector.
Macpherson has held various researchand-development management posts,
has published extensively, holds several
patents, and has been a committee
member of SPE conferences. He is
the current chairperson of the SPE
Drilling Systems Automation Technical
Section and a member of the Drilling
Systems Automation Roadmap
initiative. Macpherson holds a BS
degree in geology from the University
of Glasgow and is a member of the

Recommended additional reading

at OnePetro:
SPE 172151 Achieving Drilling Excellence
Through Next-Generation Work Flows
Enabled by Integrating Historical Drilling
Data and Real-Time Data by Richard
Mohan David, Abu Dhabi Company for
Onshore Oil Operations, et al.
SPE/IADC 173121 For Better or Worse:
Applications of the Transfer-Matrix
Approach for Analyzing Axial and
Torsional Vibration by Roman J. Shor,
TheUniversity of Texas at Austin, et al.
SPE 173858 Possibilities, Limitations,
and Pitfalls in Using Real-Time Well-Flow
Models During Drilling Operations by
Knut Steinar Bjrkevoll, Sintef Petroleum
Research, et al.


Drilling automation is the use of computer-assisted or -controlled devices in drilling a wellbore. It involves a considerable amount of technology, including mechanized and robotized surface equipment and semiautonomous downhole drilling tools;
entire drilling systems composed of linked downhole tools, surface control systems,
and remote monitoring; and data analytics. It includes both conventional overbalanced drilling and managed-pressure drilling. The economic drivers for automation
are increasing complexity, data overload, efficient drilling, and safety, to name a few.
Automated systems and equipment for drilling are under development by many,
including equipment providers, service companies, and operators. Interested members of these companies have formed a consortium, the SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section, which is promoting open data standards and protocols to
exchange quality data in a safe and predictable manner. The group also looks outside
the oil industry to learn from the route to automation taken by other industries.
It has become clear that, while the technology and infrastructure for drilling
automation exist, there are obstacles to commercial implementation. The primary
hurdle is transitioning all the technology to the business environment. The many silos
of our drilling industry make this technology-transfer problem quite challenging.
The tension between technology and business is not new to the oil field or to any
industry. You can have the most breathtaking technology, but, if there is no attempt
to communicate the need for it, it will simply stagnate and never see the light of day.
However, if the business side of the equation can envision the commercial benefits of a
technology, the economic pull-through can revolutionize an industry. A means of communicating that vision is to develop a technology roadmap showing the developmental
pathway the technology is following. A means of ensuring that all can take advantage
of new technology and profit from innovation is to develop open systems using agreedupon standards. A means of rewarding both developers and users is to implement
systems-automation products by use of performance-based business models.
One of the interesting developments in the last few years is an emerging understanding of the need to develop the communication infrastructure for a drilling operation. This infrastructure links all facets and players in a drilling operation: downhole,
surface, remote, and enterprise. It forms the framework supporting open standards
and enables the implementation of modern data analytics, real-time modeling, and
control systems.
The papers presented here represent a good overview of technology roadmapping of drilling automation, of modeling and simulation critical to automation,
of drilling-management processes that make use of easily automated repetitive work
flows, and of the value of quality data. The topics are innovative and thought provoking. Enjoy! JPT


Drilling-Systems-Automation Roadmap:
The Means To Accelerate Adoption

he drilling-systems-automation
roadmap (DSA-R) initiative is a
cross-industry effort launched in June
2013 to help accelerate the adoption
of advancements in drilling-systems
automation (DSA) for both onshore and
offshore wells. When completed, this
technology roadmap will provide the
drilling industry with a well-defined
guide on the expected development and
adoption of DSA technology in both the
short and the long term. The roadmap
uses a well-known template developed
by Sandia National Laboratories to
provide a mechanism to forecast how
DSA developments can progress.


Despite the well-known potential benefits of drilling automation, there is a

perception by some that automation in
other major industries has outpaced that
achieved in drilling. Issues and barriers associated with automation in complex drilling operations coupled with a
fragmented business environment have
A concerted cross-industry technologyroadmap initiative was launched in June
2013 driven by the need identified at
an industry workshop. This independent
initiative supported by an all-volunteer
committee became affiliated with three
organizations with members interested in this technology development: SPE,
the International Association of Drilling

Contractors, and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

A technology roadmap is a detailed,
structured document that articulates the
clearly defined objectives and the technology resources needed to meet specific long-term goals. It differentiates various technology elements and ties them
together though a coordinated timeline
identifying when and how business value
can be realized. The process developed
by Sandia National Laboratories was the
most appropriate example for adoption
for the DSA-roadmapping process.

DSA-R Challenges

The DSA-R process identified eight interdependent challenges that can be used
to describe anticipated advancements in
DSA. These advancements are anticipated to be both innovative and disruptive
to achieve the vision of the roadmap. The
eight challenges are
Systems architecture: defining
integration and physical
interoperability of the drilling
system, including prime
subsystems, and includes
the hierarchy of work flows,
interfaces, definitions of states,
and other aspects that enable
system functionality.
Communications: addressing links
among the downhole, surface,
remote operating centers, and
distributed experts, in addition to
standards for common protocols

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
of paper SPE 173010, Drilling-Systems-Automation Roadmap: The Means To
Accelerate Adoption, by John P. de Wardt, SPE, De Wardt and Company; John D.
Macpherson, SPE, Baker Hughes; Mario Zamora, M-I Swaco; Blaine Dow, SPE,
and Slim Hbaieb, SPE, Schlumberger; Robin A. Macmillan, SPE, National Oilwell
Varco; Moray L. Laing, SPE, SAS Institute; Amanda M. DiFiore, QinetiQ North
America; Calvin E. Inabinett Jr., SPE, Aerojet Rocketdyne; and Mark W. Anderson,
SPE, Shell International E&P, prepared for the 2015 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference and
Exhibition, London, 1719 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

and interoperability, deterministic

systems for hardware control, and
secure data transport at all levels.
Instrumentation and
measurement systems: defining
the requirements for delivering
comprehensive, reliable, quality
measurements of the downhole
and surface operations in a timely
manner for DSA.
Drilling machines and equipment:
including a wide range of
surface and downhole drilling
equipment and robotics that
are highly mechanized and
Control systems: focusing on
downhole, surface, and remote
systems directed at creating the
wellbore and delivering various
levels of automation, from
monitoring through advisory
control to autonomous systems.
Simulation systems and modeling:
covering planning; real-time,
offline, remote and post-well
modeling; and simulation tools
and systems.
Human/systems integration:
addressing the interaction of
automation systems with humans
and mode issues, including
human displays, human/machine
interfaces, role competencies,
training, and distributed and
decentralized control.
Industry standards and
certification: identifying available
and required standards and
regulations that define the
operations of automation as well as
current and future effects that can
define the ultimate future of DSA.

Systems Architecture

Systems architecture is a top-down description of how connected elements deliver value. This hierarchy, when logically

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


developed, provides the framework for

the application of automation in a manner that acknowledges the correct interconnectivity and delivers customer value
in a coherent manner.
Properly implemented, systems architecture provides the framework to develop complex well-construction projects
and pave the road toward automation.


The communications system serves as

the nerve center of drilling automation.
It deals with the protocol standards and
physical media that enable disparate solutions within drilling-automation ecosystems to interoperate and interconnect
toward a common objective. Issues arise
when the various standards implemented
on the same drilling-automation operation are incompatible, resulting in inefficiencies and even failure.
The challenge is to select the most
appropriate ecosystem of standards and
physical media and create a roadmap that
will guide and encourage all the players to
interoperate systemically for the future.

Instrumentation and
Measurement Systems

Instrumentation and measurement systems are critical components in any automated system. They provide the raw and
derived data required to feed virtually all of
the real-time processes continuously. Surface drilling machinery, mud-flow-related
components, drilling-fluid-related systems, mud logging, measurement-whiledrilling and logging-while-drilling downhole tools, and cement and mud mixing
all contain and require instrumentation
and measurement systems and associated
sensors. While the number of sensors used
during any drilling operation is already
high and is probably increasing, there is
serious doubt that most current sensors
are suited to provide the necessary input
data for DSA in the future.
The challenge of instrumentation
and measurement systems is to define
the future technology development and
application of sensors and instrumentation that support the DSA roadmap.

Drilling Machines
and Equipment

Many of the components on a modern

drilling rig are mechanized versions of


processes previously performed manually, and this provides a significant step

toward automation.
Primary functions of drilling machinery and equipment on modern rigs
include drillstring hoisting and rotation,
wellbore positioning, fluid pumping and
processing, and well control. Each already
is subject to mechanization, control, and
various degrees of automation, yet significant opportunities remain to be realized.
Increased application of automated
control to drilling machines and equipment will lead to different mechanical
and structural designs that take advantage of such aspects as reduced space
requirements (no people intervening
in mechanical processes) and higherfrequency adjustments (control systems
vs. human input).

Control Systems

Drilling-control systems are fundamental to drilling automation. Consisting of

networked devices, control systems use
electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic energy to operate and self-regulate processes
and equipment, generally with minimal
human intervention.
Systems are designed around the
human operator, where the person verifies that equipment is reacting according
to applied set points and interprets sensor readouts to decide proper actions. The
equipment controls are preprogrammed
to act repeatedly from defined inputs and
known states, such as the autodriller that
senses deadline tension and automatically adjusts weight on bit. Drilling-control
systems of the future must be able to understand the drilling process conceptually
to provide advice to the human operator.
The achievable level of automation
depends on the ability of the control system to handle properly the wide range of
expected and unforeseen scenarios encountered during drilling operations.

Simulation Systems
and Modeling

Most simulations are run in advisory

mode, in which a person can interrogate
and validate results to confirm the output
before acting on it. As drilling automation
matures, dependency on accurate simulations and the underlying models that drive
these simulations becomes more relevant
as the results are instantly consumed and

delivered as control instructions to machines. The human validation work flow

will no longer be the primary control; instead, it will move to a supervisory level.
The goal for the roadmap is to develop a standard list of issues so that any
simulation can be assessed safely and
efficiently for insertion into the overall
architecture of the automation system
without disruptive consequences.

Human/Systems Integration

The application of human/systems integration to drilling automation is a relatively new concept that promises to improve the application and acquisition of
automated technology. Human/systems
integration is a completely user-centered
process that calls out the necessity of addressing multiple domains, or areas, early
in technology development and acquisition to avoid the pitfall of waiting until the
end of the design process to incorporate
good human-centered practices.
Human-factors engineering focuses on ensuring that the human/machine
interface adheres to user-centered design practices. Good human-factorsengineering practices greatly reduce the
potential for human error. These practices also promote operational efficiency by
reducing the amount of time an operator
needs to interact with the system.

Industry Standards
and Certification

The International Society of Automation

(ISA) has stated that the application of
standards to industrial automation had
a direct effect on a range of important issues. These include return on investment
through lowering installation and startup costs, reducing the need to maintain
large inventories, enabling interchangeability of components, improving design
with less custom effort, increasing safety, and increasing security. ISA elaborated that automation standards in industry improved communication, provided
practical application of expert knowledge, and harnessed years of experience,
avoiding multiple startups from a basic
level. Selected applications of the most
appropriate standards from industrial
automation application will accelerate
the application of automation to drilling
and improve the financial returns for all
players in the business. JPT


f.NDF-10476.jpt.Harsh.Environments.Deepwater.Ad.indd 1

4/6/15 8:56 AM

Drilling Modeling and Simulation:

Current State and Future Goals

he process of drilling a
boreholeisvery complex,
involving surfaceand downhole
drillingsystems that interact
withthe drilling fluid and the
surrounding rocks. Modeling and
simulating every aspect of the
drillingprocess and drilling system
is still considered too complex
to be realized. However, many
areas of modeling and simulation
are undergoing aggressive
development, and the advancement
of this technology may dramatically
improvefuture attempts to model
and simulate the entire drilling


Drilling modeling and simulation (DMS)

involves modeling and simulating the
behavior of drilling systems or processes. DMS should provide crucial information about drilling systems or
processes without actually constructing a well.
DMS methods are designed to help
enhance drilling efficiency, productivity, and performance; manage various
risks effectively; and consequently improve personal safety.
Recently, many DMS software applications have come to be used in the
predrilling stage as well as in real time.
In an operations phase, models are returned and rerun to obtain the best predictions of drilling systems.

Drillstring-Dynamics Models

A recent review of the current progress

and future needs for drillstring dynamics suggested that new monitoring and
control solutions may be enabled by the
adoption of wired drillpipe by offering
high-speed telemetry up to 500 kbit/sec
or high-frequency data logging up to
1400 Hz. Future work that remains for
drillstring dynamics is development of
coupled vibration models, validation
of existing models with laboratory and
rig data, model-based automation solutions, and improved predictions of damage from severe vibration, whirl, and
bump events.
Recently, it has become feasible to
model the dynamic behavior of a drillstring in great detail (Fig. 1) and be fairly confident that the resulting motion is
representative if all the input parameters
for the model (e.g., interfacial relationship between drillstring, rock, and fluid)
are known precisely.
In practice, one can only know these
parameters to within certain bounds.
Within these bounds, a wide range of behaviors is possible, from benign to possibly catastrophic, depending on the design of the drillstring. Consequently, all
predictions boil down to a comprehensive parameter-sensitivity analysis.

Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL)
Drilling Simulator

Simulations typically have the problem of

being too inexact and incomprehensive,
especially those intended to make predic-

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains

highlights of paper SPE 173045, Drilling Modeling and Simulation: Current State
and Future Goals, by Junichi Sugiura, SPE, Schlumberger; Robello Samuel,
SPE, Halliburton; Joachim Oppelt, SPE, Baker Hughes; G.P. Ostermeyer, SPE,
Braunschweig Technical University; John Hedengren, SPE, Brigham Young
University; and Paul Pastusek, SPE, ExxonMobil, prepared for the 2015 SPE/IADC
Drilling Conference and Exhibition, London, 1719 March. The paper has not been
peer reviewed.

Fig. 1An example of bottomholeassembly modeling.

tions on the basis of purely virtual mathematical models. Simulations composed

of hardware models are often either truncated to a small subsection of the system
or greatly downscaled because of space,
cost, and safety restraints. In both of
these cases, the validity of the simulations is limited.
Hybrid simulations, therefore,
are frequently implemented in various
branches of industry. Such simulations
use virtual models only for the aspects
that can be well-described mathematically. For the aspects that cannot be sufficiently described mathematically, a
hardware model is used. In these cases,
scaling of the hardware models is generally avoided. The challenge in such simulations is the tradeoff between these two
domains. Results from the virtual models must be entered into the hardware
model and vice versa. This is known as
an HIL model. For this communication to
function, the models must operate in the
same time scale, and, therefore, the software must operate in real time.

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


Drilling Modeling
and Simulation for
Automation and Control

Great strides have been made to mechanize and automate the drilling equipment
at the surface. The challenge for the control systems is how to extend this automation to control and automate the process of well construction from surface
Downhole-Dynamics Mitigation and
Control. Drilling optimization by controlling surface systems, such as surface
weight on bit and rotary speed in revolutions per minute, has been an area
of extensive research. Various software
models have been developed to mitigate downhole dynamics and to improve
drilling performance. Some of the software models have been used to advise a
driller, while others have been connected to the rig control systems to automatically optimize the drilling process.

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Automated Trajectory Control. The

introduction of rotary-steerable systems (RSSs) revolutionized directional drilling. A well path can be created to follow a specific geometrical
profile by issuing steering commands
to an RSS. A trajectory-control system
was built that learned the RSS steering behavior and estimated the steering commands required to achieve welltrajectory objectives. The heart of the
automated trajectory-control system is
a parametric model and a bit-projection
model, which projected measurementwhile-drilling (MWD) attitude to
bit attitude.
The system recommended the steering commands to the directional drillers;
however, it has been suggested that the
system could issue steering commands
using an automatic downlink system. The
automated downlink system enables the
trajectory controller to switch from advise mode to control mode.
HIL Simulator for Steering Automation. The first use of an HIL simulator
for testing the RSS attitude-control algorithm emulated the sensor raw data on
the basis of the HIL-simulator set points.
Unusual drilling conditions can be created in a real-time simulation, allowing
the implemented algorithm to be tested
thoroughly in actual hardware before
field testing.
Managed-Pressure Drilling (MPD).
Automation and improved hydraulic
modeling of MPD are progressing toward full multivariate control of pressure and rate-of-penetration maximization. While MPD pressure control
typically relied on topside chokes and
pumps, there is a significant opportunity
for improvement by using multivariate
control that also adjusts conditions such
as drillstring rotational rate.

Visualization-Informed Drilling

Visualization and interpretation techniques play a key role in integrating

downhole data and processes. Advanced
technologies, such as electromagnetic
and wired telemetry systems, have allowed the collection of large volumes
of data on a real-time basis while drilling is still in progress. The next step
change in drilling programs would be

to perform a real-time optimization and

automation of the existing well designs
at the bit on the basis of energy-based

Operators Perspective

Many drilling-modeling applications are

used by operating companies. These include wellbore survey/anticollision, casing and tubing design, cementing and
standoff analysis, hydraulics and cuttings transport, swab and surge, torque
and drag, critical speed analysis/
bottomhole-assembly design, well
control/early kick detection, drilling dynamics and bit/formation interaction,
and wellborestability.
The following improvements could
be made in modelingapplications:
Models need to be verified,
validated, certified, and
Key model assumptions should
be apparent.
Model limitations should be
stated clearly.
Calculations should be
Models should have safeguards
to avoid user input errors.
Models should provide the
best technical solutions,
improved user interface,
andcomprehensive help
systemor supporting
Models need to have data-entry
compatibility so that data
can be shared easily between
Enhanced training and
education should be provided.

Enablers for a Future

Step Change in Drilling

One of the most challenging aspects of

drilling modeling and simulation for the
purpose of control and automation is the
spatiotemporal delay in two-way communication to the downhole tools. The lowbandwidth and high-latency MWD communications systems pose a significant
challenge in using models and simulators
in real time for drilling automation and
control. Wired drillpipe, and high-speed
two-way telemetry in general, is the potential game-changing technology for
the use of models andsimulators.JPT


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Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition

Houston, Texas, USA 2830 September 2015 George R. Brown Convention Center

Browse the Conference Preview at for complete details on ATCE 2015.

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and learn about the industrys latest technologies, best practices, and new product launches.

Vibrant vision
New perspectives

Limiter Redesign Process Expands

To Cover Flat-Time Operations

he Fast Drill Process has

becomeawell-known work
limiters and mitigate them through
redesign tothe economic limit of
performance. To address operations
that do not include drilling of rock,
the operator launched a similar effort
and work flowthat focus on flattime portions of well construction.
This process is yielding significant
savings globally and has been
accomplished through planning, realtime recognition and response, and
collaboration while improving safety

Evolution of the
Fast Drill Process

In 2004, the operator started a pilot

program to determine if drilling performance could be improved by analyzing
and reacting to trends in mechanical specific energy (MSE). MSE is a performance
measurement parameter that approximates the bits drilling efficiency and
is a function of weight on bit (WOB),
surface torque, bit rotation per revolution, and rate of penetration (ROP) for a
given hole size. Results of a pilot program
confirmed that significant ROP performance gains could be obtained simply
by monitoring MSE trends and adjusting the drilling parameters (WOB and
bit rotation per revolution) at the rigsite
to minimize MSE. This process was deployed in 2005 and is known as the Fast
Drill Process.

Mobilize Rig,
Rig Up,
Run in Hole,
Perform PressureIntegrity Test,
13 in.

9 in.

End Pressure-Integrity Test

Off Bottom Time (e.g., Wiper Trip)
End PressureIntegrity Test

Flat-TimeReduction Cycle

Reach TD
Pull out of Hole,
Run Casing,
Off Bottom Time (e.g., Trip for Failed
Measurement While Drilling)
Run in Hole,
Pull out of Hole, Run Casing,
Perform PressureCement, Run Completion,
Integrity Test,
Rig Down, Move Off Location, Other
Total Depth

Fig. 1Days vs. depth.

The operator refined the work flow to

improve drill rate performance. The work
flow follows a plan/do/analyze/improve
cycle to identify and overcome limiters in
the drilling operation. The key elements
of the Limiter Redesign Processare
Identify the current limiter.
Plan to extend the limiter.
Identify risks with change.
Plan to mitigate risks.
Run trial and take data.
Adjust trial on the basis of
real-time events.
Capture learnings.
Repeat the cycle to the
Internally the Limiter Redesign Process was renamed Fast Drill Borehole
Management (FDBM). The new expanded objective was to improve borehole

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
of paper SPE 170751, Maximizing Capital Efficiency by Expanding the Limiter
Redesign Process to Flat-Time Operations, by M.A. Valenta, SPE, M.W. Walker,
SPE, P.E. Pastusek, SPE, J.R. Bailey, SPE, W.C. Elks, SPE, S.B. Lewis, SPE, and
N.D.Mitchell, ExxonMobil Development Company, prepared for the 2014 SPE Annual
Technical Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, 2729 October. The paper has not
been peer reviewed.

quality and address near-misses in the

upfront drilling-design process and in
real-time drilling operations. The FDBM
initiative was the continued evolution of
the Fast Drill Process.

Flat-Time Reduction

Flat time can be described best on a daysvs.-depth curve as all drilling stewarded
time outside of the Fast Drill metric. In
Fig. 1, the flat time is represented by the
red lines where there is a plateau in progress (depth). The Fast Drill metric starts
after a successful integrity test and ends
upon reaching section total depth as depicted by the blue lines.
When analyzing the data, the objective is to reduce the overall number of
days per well. It is important to note that
flat time should not be confused with
nonproductive time (NPT); there are essential flat-time operations that must be
performed during well construction. The
goal of flat-time reduction is to minimize
the time spent during flat-time portions
of well construction.
Drill teams are empowered to simplify rig operations and implement new
tools or processes that will remove or
reduce human intervention. History has

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


Savings (USD million)




MSE and Hard

Rock Cutting


Soft Rock
Work Flow

Work Flow



Added New






No Stuck Pipe
Engage Vendors
Minimal Vibrations
Plan for Minimal Vibrations
Reduce Rig Limiters
Increased Field Trials
Focus on Flat Time
Expand FDBM Scope
Drive the Economic Limit
Plan Do Not React
Engage Others


Fig. 2Drilling cost savings from the Limiter Redesign Process.

shown that safer operations are often

faster. A thoroughly planned operation
can eliminate risk and simplify the design, resulting not only in efficiency
gains but also likely in improved safety.
When focusing on Fast Drill, the
question asked is, What limits us from
increasing footage per day? When focusing on flat time, the question is,
What limits us from decreasing the
overall days per well? Within flat-time
reduction, focus areas include critical analysis of current procedures, examining critical-path operations, rigcapability analysis, performing field
trials of new technologies, performance
stewardship, and recognition and
Because flat-time operations do not
produce footage drilled, the global metric for measuring the effect of the process
needed to change. The common metric
for all rig operations is drilling cost. The
cost savings that have been realized since
the start of the Fast Drill Process are
shown in Fig. 2.

Four Methods To Maximize

Capital Efficiency

The Limiter Redesign Process has produced significant savings globally

through four basic methods: planning,
real-time recognition and response,
collaboration with service providers,
and a focus on NPT reduction, all while
continuously improving safety perfor-


mance and reducing the environmental

footprint. Each Fast Drill or flat-timereduction initiative performed or proposed by a drill team fits within these
four methods. Often, a single initiative
may overlap into more than one method.

Fast Drill Process Extensions

In parallel with the launch of the flat-time

reduction effort, technical upgrades to the
ongoing FDBM process were under way.
Key elements of this drilling-efficiency
program included vibration modeling
and optimization of the bottomholeassembly configuration, bit redesign and
depth-of-cut control elements, use of
larger-diameter drillpipe, and field trials
of an active damping topdrive torquecontrol system. In addition, a real-time
drilling-parameter-optimization system
was developed to monitor the MSE continuously whiledrilling.
A deepwater Gulf of Mexico well
was drilled in 2009 in which a hard,
abrasive formation was encountered.
Significant rig time was taken (10 days)
to drill approximately 400 ft of this unexpected formation. Planning for subsequent wells included a dedicated limiter
redesign effort to field test new technology. After adjusting time for unrelated activities such as blowout-preventer
testing, the overall drilling rate increased from 1.7ft/hr on the first well to
13.8ft/hr on the most recent well through
this formation.

The safety, health, and

environmental aspects of the
drilling operations are improved
as critical-path operations are
simplified, made more efficient,
or removed altogether. The
emphasis is on working smarter,
not faster.
Significant efficiency gains have
been realized across all phases
of drilling operations from
the application of the Limiter
Redesign Process. This is truly
an extension of the Fast Drill
To be used effectively, the
process must have the support
of drilling management,
operations, engineering, and
service providers.
This effort requires an
organizational structure that
fosters open communication
and the global sharing of
learnings and empowers
individuals to seek to improve
the performance of their
It is an ongoing-work-flow
process. As limiters are
eliminated, subsequent
limiters are identified, and the
process continues until further
improvement is not justified
The Limiter Redesign Process
has been firmly engrained in the
operators culture for a decade
and has readily expanded
to include all aspects of rig
operations and to affect other
parts of the operators upstream

Now that approximately 80% of rig

time is flat time because of the success
of Fast Drill, significant efficiency opportunities remain to be captured. Within flat time, there is a great diversity of
tasks with corresponding limits and potential solutions. This diversity will require a multiyear effort to realize many
of the potential opportunities in flattimeoperations. JPT


Surface Torque/Tension Measurements

Used To Detect and Calculate Stick/Slip

surface-based torque and tension

sub (TTS) was used to perform
measurements while drilling several
extended-reach horizontal wells. A
filtered version of surface torque was
used to calculate a stick/slip metric,
which was compared with stick/slip
measurements from a downhole tool.
The results show that there is reasonable
correlation between surface and
downhole metrics. A comparison was
also made between hookload measured
with a deadline sensor and tension
measurement from the surface sub. The
results show a systematic discrepancy of
approximately 5% that is likely caused
by sheave friction.

Torque- and TensionMeasurement Tool

A commercially available TTS was used

to perform accurate measurements of
surface torque and tension for this study.
The TTS measures torque and tension
at 50 Hz and transmits the readings to
the surface system by a wireless link.
The surface electronic-drilling-recorder
(EDR) system is used to display the readings to the driller and to store the raw
50-Hz data for post-processing.
The TTS is shown in Fig. 1. The main
body consists of a stainless-steel core on
which several strain-gauge sensors are
mounted. Measurements of mechanical
strain in tangential and axial directions
are used to calculate the magnitude of
rotational torque and axial force being
applied to the sub. A circular housing
surrounds the middle of the core and

contains the sub electronics including

sampling circuits, radio transceivers, and
replaceable batteries. Data are transmitted with two omnidirectional antennas
that are directed downward toward the
doghouse. A remote antenna radio module is placed in the doghouse or near the
rig floor to receive the transmitted data.
The TTS is powered by two disposable
lithium batteries, which have an operational life of 40 days per battery. In this
study, the TTS was installed in the topdrive assembly directly below the mudsaver valve (Fig. 1).

Stick/Slip Detection

Background Theory. Stick/slip refers to

the large-amplitude torsional vibration
that occurs along the drillpipe during
drilling. In severe cases, the bit starts
and stops rotating in a repetitive manner. This behavior is primarily a result
of the elastic properties of the steel pipe
and frictional interactions between bit
and rock as well as between drillstring
and wellbore.
Although vibration metrics, such as
a downhole stick/slip index (DSSI), are
typically measured near the bit, the detection of downhole vibration by use of
surface measurements is attractive for
many reasons. First, it avoids the need
for specialized downhole dynamics tools,
which can be prohibitively expensive
for land-based drilling. Also, faster notification of vibration events is possible
because the communication delays associated with mud-pulse telemetry are
avoided. Finally, if downhole tools are
used but surface-based detection is re-

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
of paper SPE 170624, Stick/Slip Detection and Friction-Factor Testing Using SurfaceBased Torque and Tension Measurements, by Stephen W. Lai, SPE, Mitch Wood,
Aaron Eddy, SPE, and Trevor Holt, Pason Systems, and Matthew Bloom, SPE,
Nexen, prepared for the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition,
Amsterdam, 2729 October. The paper has not been peer reviewed.

liable, the mud-pulse bandwidth can be

reallocated for purposes other than communicating vibration indices to surface.
Measurement Methodology. Surface
measurements were captured through
the rigs EDR system and a TTS installed
below the topdrive. Sensor readings in
the EDR were stored with a 10-second
resolution, and the TTS readings, including torque, were captured at 50 Hz.
A surface stick/slip index (SSSI) is calculated from an equation that can be found
in the complete paper.
Downhole measurements were performed with the two different downhole
tools. Tool A was a drilling-dynamics tool
from a major equipment supplier, and
Tool B was the rotary-steerable-system
tool used for directional control.
Measurement Results. A comparison
between surface and downhole measurements is performed after postprocessing of the data. Specifically, the
SSSI is compared to the DSSI calculated
from Tool A and the stick ratio severity
measurement from Tool B. A qualitative
analysis reveals that, in general, there
is good agreement between surface and
downhole indices.
A quantitative comparison was performed by analyzing the distribution of
stick/slip severity values. The level of vibration was fairly low, with vibrationlevel severity values less than 0.4 for the
majority of the time. The distribution
of severity values is similar for SSSI and
both downhole indices.

Friction-Factor (FF) Testing

Background Theory. The torque-anddrag (T&D) model is one of the most

widely used physical models in the drilling industry. A T&D model is used to calculate the rotational and axial forces in
the drillstring. In the T&D calculation,
the drillstring is divided into many small

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Fig. 1The TTS. The left-hand picture shows a standalone unit. The middle diagram is an assembly drawing of the main
body. The picture on the right shows the TTS installed on a topdrive system.

elements. Each element is analyzed in sequence starting at the bottom and ending
at the top.
The purpose of an FF test is to obtain
a measured value for friction coefficient.
In a standard T&D calculation, downhole weight on bit and friction coefficient
are known and each element is analyzed

from bottom to top until the value for

hookload is obtained.
There are two types of FF tests used
to measure wellbore drag: pickup (PU)
tests and slackoff (SO) tests. For the PU
test, the blocks are moved upward at a
constant velocity and the measured hookload is captured. After the drillstring has

been lifted and a significant distance exists between the bit and the bottom of the
hole, an SO test can be performed. During
the SO test, the blocks are lowered and
the hookload is captured again. The hookloads captured during PU and SO tests are
used in the T&D calculation to obtain estimates for the frictioncoefficient.

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Hookload is a critical measurement for FF tests, but the conventional method of performing this measurement suffers from inaccuracy because of
Measurement Methodology. The operator implemented a standard practice of
performing regular FF tests during the
drilling of wells. In many cases, the driller was able to execute an FF test after
every stand of drilling.
The FF-test procedure was incorporated into the work flow for drilling
of a single stand. After the initial connection, an initialization process is performed in which the pumps are started
to begin mud circulation. The topdrive
is then set to full rotary speed, and the
traveling block is lowered during the
drilling phase. After the blocks have
reached the rig floor, a reaming operation is performed to improve the quality of the wellbore. After reaming, an FF
test is performed with the rotary speed
set tozero.
Measurement Results. PU and SO
weights are extracted from 10-second
log files. When the weights are shown as
a function of depth, it can be seen that
the deadline hookload is always smaller
than the TTS hookload during PU tests
and larger than the TTS hookload during
SO tests. This behavior is consistent with
the presence of sheave friction.
The discrepancy between the TTS
and deadline sensor is quantified by calculating the mean hookload error on a
per-well basis. A well-known T&D software program is used to calculate theoretical hookloads to compare with the PU
and SO measurements. Two sets of theoretical curves are generated: one with
sheave-friction correction (SFC) and one
without. Analysis reveals good agreement between model and measurements.
To estimate the FF error when
sheave friction is present but ignored,
the FF values are adjusted such that the
model with SFC disabled produces the
same hookloads as the model with SFC
enabled. The results imply that the level
of friction in the cased section of the wellbore may be underestimated significantly if a deadline sensor is used and sheave
friction is present at the rig but not accounted for in the T&D analysis. JPT


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Jonathan Wylde,
SPE, is the head of
global innovation at
Clariant Oil Services
based in Houston.
He holds a BS
degree in geology
and a PhD degree in physical chemistry
from the University of Bristol. Wylde
is author of more than 100 papers and
holds several patents. He serves on
the JPT Editorial Committee and on
committees for the SPE International
Conference and Exhibition on
Oilfield Scale, the SPE International
Symposium on Oilfield Chemistry, and
the SPE Annual Technical Conference
and Exhibition. Wylde is also a
technical editor for SPE Production
&Operations and SPE Journal.

Recommended additional reading

at OnePetro:
SPE 172794 A Systematic Approach
ToDissolve Iron Sulfide Scales
by Hicham El Hajj, Halliburton, et al.
IPTC 18139 Challenge and Successful
Application for Scale Removal in Oil
Field, Egypt: Field Study by E. Hamdy,
Sapesco, et al.
IPTC 17303 Horizontal-Well
Productivity RestorationSuccessful
Stimulation Application in a Large
Onshore Field by Shobhit Tiwari,
Cairn India, et al.
SPE 171766 Challenge of Acidizing
Horizontal Wells in Tight Carbonate
ReservoirsWeak-Acid and Nonacid
Alternatives by Sameer Punnapala,
Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil
Operations, et al.


The removal of mineral scale in the oil field is typically perceived as a somewhat nonscientific discipline. Simply pumping down a few drums of acid, letting it soak or circulate, and bringing the well back online is considered the norm. This could not be
further from the truth. There is as much science in dissolution of mineral scale as in
any other production chemistry discipline. Consider two examples of complexity that
exist in this subdiscipline of flow assurance: first, the complex placement challenges
that exist in downhole-tubing-scale removal and understanding the mechanical complexity involved in spotting dissolver in a vertical system so that it remains in place
to perform the job. The second example is concerned with iron-sulfide dissolution,
where many different polymorphs exist and all behave in ways very different than
hydrochloric acid at different pressures and temperatures.
The research that exists in the literature shows the science of removal chemistries and techniques very well. The use of acid, in particular hydrochloric acid, is a
very-well-established field methodology. The challenges, however, that can exist with
using acid, and their mitigation, are the subject of a renewed research focus. Two areas
in particular involve the corrosivity of mineral acid and the secondary deposition of
unwanted scales that can occur on flowback. These two examples alone show how use
of acid can create a problem, possibly larger than the one it solves.
Some of the most interesting research is in the area of nonacid dissolvers; the
intent of this chemistry is to remove the mentioned issues of corrosivity and secondary deposition. The target is to develop a dissolver system without the drawbacks of
mineral or organic acid but with the same dissolution performance. Previous research
has focused on chelating agents but has shown that only a certain performance can be
achieved. However, in recent literature, some significant steps have been made with
the discovery of synergistic chelating agents and formulations that are now approximating the performance of classic acid systems.
Researchers and readers are encouraged to read the recommended-additionalreading papers and take the time to delve into the intellectual-property landscape,
which contains a plethora of information on the development and evolution of chemistry for scale removal.JPT


Novel Viscosity Reducer Aids Removal

of Scale From Electrical Submersible Pumps

igless coiled-tubing-unit (CTU)

interventions can be effective
in returning to production wells that
have lost electrical-submersible-pump
(ESP) efficiency because of organic,
inorganic, or mixed scale deposits.
Such operations extended the average
ESP run life from 40 to 140 days and
eliminated the need for workover (WO)
rigs. A heavy-crude viscosity reducer
(HCVR) is recommended as part of
these treatments, to improve the


Recent work with crude-oil viscosity reducers has shown that both inorganic
and organic deposits can be removed by
spotting/jetting with coiled tubing without the need of a WO rig. When a treating fluid containing the viscosity reducer is mixed with highly viscous crudes,
it creates a water-external pseudoemulsion, which decreases the apparent viscosity of the crude by several orders of magnitude, removing more than
60% of the heavy crude from the surface
of the scale and accelerating the dissolution of organic deposits. This enables the
chemical treatment to dissolve the inorganic deposits, allowing the pump to be
restarted without the need to pull out the
completion. The new fluid systems have
made it possible to remove organic and
inorganic deposits systematically from
ESPs, extending the average run life from
40 to 140 days, and to eliminate the requirement for WO rigs, with an average
rig-cost saving of 6 days per well and


Heavy-Oil Emulsion/High Viscosity

Water-External Emulsion/Low Apparent Viscosity

Fig. 1Chemically induced low apparent viscosity.

an average saving of USD 1.5 million in


Problem Definition

Organic or inorganic deposits can occur

in different parts of the petroleum system, including the reservoir, well perforations, artificial-lifting equipment, and
production lines. Scales are inorganic
deposits that are formed when the saturation of the produced water is affected
by changes in temperature and pressure
conditions, creating significant reduction in oil-production rates or even plugging the entire production system. On
the other hand, viscous oils that are exposed to significant pressure drop are
the source of organic-material deposition, the most common being paraffins
and asphaltenes. These organic materials can be defined as hydrocarbons with
high molecular weights that are hard to
dissolve and that can also create sludge
when in contact with acid systems.
ESP cleaning through CTUs is a common practice to tackle this situation. However, in some cases, organic and inorganic
deposits can occur simultaneously, repre-

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
of paper SPE 173928, Removal of Organic and Inorganic Scale From Electrical
Submersible Pumps, by M. Ramones, R. Rachid, SPE, D. Flor, L. Gutierrez, and
A. Milne, SPE, Schlumberger, prepared for the 2015 SPE Artificial Lift Conference
Latin America and Caribbean, Salvador, Brazil, 2729 May. The paper has not been
peer reviewed.

senting a more challenging environment

for efficient dissolution of the deposits
obstructing the ESP system. In addition,
the cooling regime near the pump intake
promotes the deposition of organic materials from the heavy oil, which coat the
inorganic deposits and prevent successful contact between any chemical treatment and the calcium carbonate scales.
The most cost-effective solution is to be
able to perform a rigless ESP-cleanout operation. A CTU can be used for spotting/
jetting a chemical treatment that can successfully remove the organic film, allowing the acid treatment to dissolve the inorganic deposits. In this way, the ESP can
be restarted without the need of a WO rig.


The faces of the natural fractures/fissures

in the case of carbonates or the surfaces of the pore spaces in sandstones are
coated with heavy crude, which limits the
contact of the treating fluid with the formation. Likewise, in many cases, the viscosity of the crude prevents the treating
fluids from being produced back after the
treatment, encouraging the creation of
emulsions. Similar issues occur when organic and inorganic deposits obstruct the
well completion because the organic coat
promotes an ineffective contact between
the treating fluids and the scales, generating a challenging scenario for an efficient
cleanout operation. An HCVR is proposed
to deal with these challenging scenarios.

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


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It is a surfactant that, when added to highly viscous crude, creates a water-external

pseudoemulsion, reducing the apparent
viscosity of the crude by several orders of
magnitude. Unlike many viscosity reducers that are crude specific, this chemical
has been shown to work with a wide variety of heavy viscous crudes and is compatible with brines and acid-based fluids,
which is a distinct advantage because it
can be included in the acidizing fluid.
The optimum concentration of
HCVR for a given crude must be determined by laboratory testing. However,
the usual concentration of the surfactant
ranges between 0.1 and 0.5 vol%. As an
additional benefit, this chemical is easily
mixed into fluids. Viscosity-reducer additives take advantage of the fact that the
apparent viscosity of any produced fluid is
more dependent on the viscosity of the external fluid phase than that of the internal
phase (Fig. 1). For any heavy-oil-external
emulsion, the apparent viscosity is influenced by the volume and droplet size of
the internal water phase and fluid temperature but is primarily determined by the
viscosity of the oil, which can exceed several hundred thousand cp in certain cases.
By comparison, water has a low viscosity
(1 cp at 20C); therefore, water-external
emulsions have a much lower apparent
viscosity than oil-external emulsions.

Laboratory Testing of HCVR

Desorption Test. Three sandstone core

samples were used to perform the desorption test. After saturating the samples
with a 9 API crude, three different immersion systems were used to compare
the percentage of crude removed after
soaking the cores for 10- and 60-minute
periods. The first formulation tested
was 10% hydrochloric acid (HCl), and
10.94% removal was achieved after an
immersion time of 60 minutes; however, when the HCVR additive and a nonemulsifying agent were added to the system, the percentage of crude removed
increased by more than 600%, achieving
a total removal of 66.66%.
Viscosity-Reduction/Slipperiness Test.
The viscosity-reduction or slipperiness
test measures the time taken for a heavy
crude mixed with a solution containing the HCVR to flow through a smalldiameter glass funnel. All tests were con-

ducted with 14 API oil, mixed in a system

with a solution/crude ratio of 50:50. The
first formulation tested was 5 wt% ammonium chloride (NH4CL) brine with the
crude; no flow through the tunnel was
obtained. The second formulation tested
was a 5 wt% NH4Cl brine and 0.5 vol%
of the HCVR; the heavy oil took 20 seconds to pass through the funnel. The last
formulation tested was 10wt% HCl and
0.5vol% of the HCVR; the oil took 10 seconds to flow through the funnel.
Scale-Dissolution Test. The main objective of a scale-dissolution test is to determine the percentage of the scale that
can be dissolved when the solid sample
is immersed in an acid solution. A scale
sample was taken from an ESP, and two
different acid systems were tested. The
first fluid consisted of 10% HCl, and only
47% of the sample was dissolved. For the
second test, 0.2 vol % HCVR was added
to the 10% HCl system, achieving a dissolution percentage of 77%. The results
indicated that the addition of the novel
additive improves the treatment efficiency by more than 60%.

Field Application

The case study presented in this paper is

related to a well that had issues with its ESP
system. The typical treatment was started by pumping a 2% NH4Cl brine stage,
which contained the HCVR, promoting
the removal of the heavier-oil coating covering the ESP part. Then, 13bbl of a solvent stage was pumped, followed by 10bbl
of 5% HCl, which was the main treatment
for inorganic CaCO3 scales. Next, a postflush stage of 8 bbl of 2% NH4Cl brine
was pumped to finally proceed to the CTU
flush stage. After the CTU was pulled out
of the hole, the well was restarted successfully, bringing the well back to production
without the need of a WO rig.
In the initial campaign, six ESPcleanout operations with coiled tubing
were conducted; the pumps could be restarted after the treatment, and lost production was recovered. Production was
restored almost 100% in every operation. In previous attempts, without the
HCVR, it was common to have a 50 to
70% reduction in production or no production recovery after the rigless CTU
intervention, which would lead to a new




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Scale Inhibitor Works To Prevent

Reprecipitation of Calcium Sulfate

alcium sulfate (CaSO4) in the form

of gypsum and anhydrite is one of
the more prevalent evaporite minerals
typically found in the carbonate rocks
of the western Canadian sedimentary
basin (WCSB). Most calcium sulfate
scale inhibitors used for acid treatments
rely on either the retardation of CaSO4
crystal growth or the creation of soluble
complex salts with the calcium ions. A
broad-spectrum scale inhibitor has been
specially formulated for high-salinity
and acid solutions that not only prevents
the precipitation of CaSO4 but also helps
inhibit the initial dissolution of CaSO4.



Covering a vast extension of 1.4 million km2, the WCSB is between the
southwestern border of the Canadian
shield in Manitoba and the eastern flank
of the Canadian Rocky Mountain system in British Columbia. Approximately half of the WCSB is composed of
Commonly, these carbonate formations are stimulated with acid. Depending on the formation itself and the presence of formation damage, two main
acid-stimulation techniques are used:
matrix acidizing and acid fracturing. In
a matrix-acidizing treatment, the objective is to squeeze the acid into the formation below fracturing pressures to create
wormholes to increase production and to
bypass formation damage, such as that
caused by drilling. In an acid-fracturing

200 m

Fig. 1Photomicrograph of fractures filled with anhydrite.

treatment, the acid is pumped at high

rates above the fracturing pressure. As
the treatment is pumped, the acid reacts
with the fracture face, etching it. Once
the treatment is complete, a highly conductive path is left by the etching of the
fracture face by the acid.
The acid treatments are commonly completed with hydrochloric acid
(HCl) or with acetic acid (CH3COOH),
formic acid (CHOOH), or other organic
acids. Conditions throughout the WCSB
vary dramatically, and conditions such
as bottomhole temperature, metals used

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
of paper IPTC 17827, Prevention of Dissolution and Reprecipitation of Calcium Sulfate
While Acidizing, by Harvey Quintero, SPE, Darren Maley, SPE, and Farah Zafar,
SPE, Trican Well Service, prepared for the 2014 International Petroleum Technology
Conference, Kuala Lumpur, 1012 December. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Copyright 2014 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by

in tubulars or downhole tools, minerals

present in the formation, and composition of the oil play a factor in the customization of acid blends.
One such factor in the customization of the acid blend is the presence of
evaporites in the formation that is being
stimulated. In the WCSB, CaSO4 as gypsum or anhydrite is common. In carbonate formations, the CaSO4 could be
within the limestone, infilling natural
fractures and pore space, or in strata of
pure mineral (Fig. 1). Acidizing these
formations can become an issue if the
acid comes into contact with the anhydrite or gypsum before the carbonate
and some of the CaSO4 is dissolved. As
the acid spends and the pH rises, the dissolved sulfate will reprecipitate, damaging the newly formed permeability and
decreasing the effectiveness of the acid
treatment. There are several methods
for preventing the dissolution of CaSO4
in acid. One such method is increasing

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


the acid strength from 15% HCl to 28%

HCl. At 28% HCl, the solubility of CaSO4
is approximately 60% lower than it is
in 15% HCl. Another accepted method
for preventing the dissolution of CaSO4
in acidizing is by adding calcium chloride salt (CaCl2) to the acid blend. In 15%
HCl, the common loading of CaCl2 to prevent the dissolution of calcium sulfate is
50 kg/m3. The addition of Ca2+ cation will
prevent the dissolution of the CaSO4 by
the mechanism of the common-ion effect
and Le Chateliers principle; the presence
of the calcium ions will shift the equilibrium of calcium sulfate, preventing
dissolution because of the already high
presence of calcium in solution.
In addition to the CaCl2 added in the
acid solution, a scale inhibitor often is
added as well. Although preventing the
dissolution of CaSO4 should stop the reprecipitation of the mineral, the scale inhibitor is added as secondary protection.
These threshold scale inhibitors will adsorb onto the microcrystalline structure
of the nuclei, blocking growth sites during the early stages of scale formation
and thus hindering scale growth.


CaSO4 Dissolution in HCl. To determine

the dissolution of anhydrite in 15% HCl
by weight, a sample of 100 mL of acid was
added to 5 g of powdered anhydrite and
allowed to reach equilibrium. The sample
was vacuum filtered and dried to determine the amount of anhydrite that was
solubilized into the live acid. After a baseline was determined, the solids were tested with eight different scale inhibitors in
15% HCl at loadings of 1 and 3 L/m3 to determine if the presence of a scale inhibitor would help prevent the dissolution of
anhydrite. Testing was then repeated with
an acid blended with 50 kg/m3 of CaCl2
to determine if there were any beneficial
synergistic effects. The scale-inhibitor
types include phosphonates, polycarboxylates, polyacrylates, and a proprietary
polymer at various molecular weights.
Prevention of CaSO4 Precipitation.
The filtrate from the 15% HCl acid samples was collected and reacted with calcium carbonate powder to determine if
the scale inhibitor added would prevent


the dissolved SO42 from precipitating.

Once the acid was reacted to completion
with a slight excess of CaCO3, the solids
remaining were collected by filtration
and dried to analyze for the presence
of anhydrite by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD).

Double your
exchange rate.


Dissolution of CaSO4. The initial baseline tests with live 15% HCl acid and
no scale inhibitor showed an average of
1.5g of calcium sulfate was solubilized in
100 mL of 15% HCl. The testing that was
completed with 1 L/m3 of scale inhibitor added to the blends tended to confirm in most cases the historical experience that the scale inhibitors do not help
prevent the dissolution of CaSO4. In the
case of Scale Inhibitor H, which was one
of the proprietary polymers, the dissolution of the anhydrite was found to be reduced significantly compared with baseline runs. On average, the dissolution
was reduced 53%. Very similar results
were found with loadings of 1 L/m3 and
3 L/m3. Of interest is that increasing the
loading greater than 3 L/m3 had negative
effects on the prevention of dissolution
When 50 kg/m3 of calcium sulfate
was added to the acid blend, the dissolution of anhydrite was reduced by
89%. Again, the addition of most scale
inhibitors did not show any improvement on prevention of dissolution, although Scale Inhibitor H boosted performance to the point of negligible
Prevention of CaSO4 Precipitation.
XRD results of the spent filtrate showed
that Scale Inhibitors A through G did not
significantly prevent the reprecipitation
of CaSO4 as the acid reacts with the carbonate. The intensity of the sulfate peaks
was not as great when CaCl2 was present in the acid blend. This is because of
the reduced amount of sulfates present
in the acid. Scale Inhibitor H exhibited
inhibition of CaSO4 precipitation; XRD
analysis showed zero and trace CaSO4
precipitation at 1 L/m3 and 3 L/m3, respectively. In blends with CaCl2 and Scale
Inhibitor H present, no reprecipitation
of CaSO4 wasobserved. JPT

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Corrosion and Scale Formation

in High-Temperature Sour-Gas Wells

our gas is being produced from a

number of carbon-steel-completed
wells in the US, Canada, France, and
Saudi Arabia. The gas stream contains
various levels of hydrogen sulfide and
carbon dioxide (CO2) and is produced
from high-temperature reservoirs with
temperatures ranging from 160 to 410F.
The combination of hydrogen sulfide
with high temperatures introduces
challenges related to corrosion and iron
sulfide (FeS) scale formation.

FeS Scales

FeS is found naturally in different forms.

The gas-production systems studied in
this paper have large concentrations of
hydrogen sulfide, so iron is a limiting reactant in these systems. FeS formation
is favored thermodynamically. In anoxic
conditions, the solubility of the ferrous
ion is aided by the formation of aqueous
iron sulfide complexes. As FeS scales sulfidize, they become increasingly difficult
to dissolve with acid.
Source of Iron. Iron can come from
reservoir rock, drilling fluids, and corrosion during acidization and production. Many reservoir rocks contain small
amounts of iron. Contamination and
corrosion during the drilling process
also could lead to high iron content in
drilling fluids. Acidization has been considered to be a primary source of reprecipitated FeS. FeS scale has been found in
well tubulars following acid treatments
of deep sour-gas wells.

Sour Corrosion

The corrosion of iron tubulars forms one

source for iron scale. General corrosion
rates of mild steel in sour systems are
less when compared with sweet corrosion. FeS scales are less dense than iron,
so sour corrosion is associated often with
FeS deposits three to five times thicker
than the corroded iron. Corrosion monitoring is important in operating a sourgas production facility. Corrosion inhibition has been used by different producers
to prevent sour corrosion and the associated buildup of FeS scale.
Corrosion Monitoring. It is essential
to monitor corrosion and scale formation. This is often assisted by measuring various operational parameters that
can give insight into the scaling condition of a gas well. Corrosion coupons are
weighed samples of metal representative
of the metallurgy of the well or pipe that
are introduced into the process and later
removed, cleaned of all corrosion products, and weighed. Electrical-resistance
probes measure the electrical resistance
of a wire made of material similar to the
metallurgy of the well or pipe that is
placed in a well or pipe. As the wire corrodes, its electrical resistance increases,
allowing one to measure the general corrosion of the wire, which should be similar to that of the pipe or well.
Corrosion Inhibition. Batch treatments
with corrosion inhibitors were used in
Bahrain to protect wells from initial production (with 500 ppm hydrogen sulfide

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
of paper SPE 173713, Corrosion and Scale Formation in High-Temperature SourGas Wells: Chemistry and Field Practice, by Sunder Ramachandran, SPE, Aramco
Service Company, and Ghaithan Al-Muntasheri, SPE, Jairo Leal, SPE, and Qiwei
Wang, SPE, Saudi Aramco, prepared for the 2015 SPE International Symposium on
Oilfield Chemistry, The Woodlands, Texas, USA, 1315 April. The paper has not been
peer reviewed.

and 6.2% CO2) until 1985. The batches

consisted of 950 bbl of diesel with 10%
amine inhibitor. The batches were allowed to fall for 24 hours to allow the
inhibitor to reach the bottom. A gradiomanometer was used to assess the fall
of the liquid in the tubing. The tool indicated that excess inhibitor reached the
bottom approximately 4 hours after
injection started. Amine residuals indicated that the frequency for treatment
at that time was 6 to 7 months. Batch
treatments were effective in preventing
corrosion-induced tubing failures during this period.

FeS-Scale Prevention
and Removal

In sour environments, FeS scale occurs

readily and is difficult to inhibit. Often,
the inhibitor concentration is high compared with the limiting-reactant concentration. FeS dispersants have been used
to keep FeS in the produced water and
avoid its precipitation. Chemical removal with acid releases hydrogen sulfide,
and this has prompted the development
of mechanical methods for scale removal. There are several FeS-scale dissolvers
with high FeS-dissolving power, high pH,
and low corrosivity for iron.
Scale Inhibition. A few existing scale inhibitors in laboratory studies have been
found to affect FeS precipitation at a concentration of 100 ppm in experiments
with 10 ppm Fe2+ and only 50 ppm sulfide at 60C. The kinetics and inhibition
of ferrous sulfide nucleation and precipitation have been studied from 4 to 75C
at different hydrogen-ion concentrations using sodium sulfide and ferrous
chloride solutions. It was found in these
studies that pH is the most influential
factor in iron sulfide formation. Some
commercial scale inhibitors required
large concentration to show some reduction in formation rates. On the other

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


hand, a relatively small amount of sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate is able

to inhibit FeS nucleation in experiments
where FeS formation is studied by contacting equimolar solutions of iron and
sulfide solutions.
Scale Dispersants. A polymer prepared
by the polymerization of monomers such
as 3-methacrylamido-propyl tri-methyl
chloride has been used to disperse FeS
to prevent its deposition in equipment.
The product was used to prevent oiland-water-separation problems caused
by FeS deposition. The product kept the
particle size of FeS small, preventing its
deposition in the separator, and facilitated the transport of small FeS-scale particles in the produced water.
Scale Removal. Once scale forms, it is
essential to remove it so that the productivity of affected wells can be restored.
Mechanical and chemical methods have
been used to remove FeS scales.
It has been found that a fluidicoscillation-technology cleaning device
and a high-pressure jetting tool with a
downhole motor or turbine with mills are
effective in removing FeS scales. Current
mechanical procedures involve temporary reservoir isolation without formation damage. In a severely scaled well,
the differential between the pressure upstream of the choke and that downstream
of the choke is not changed even though
one has decreased the choke of the well.
Chemical dissolvers have traditionally used strong mineral acids such as
concentrated hydrochloric acid. These
dissolvers can be corrosive to well tubulars and liners without the use of ironcontrol agents. Strong mineral acids can
cause rapid generation of hydrogen sulfide. Both iron-control agents and hydrogen sulfide scavengers interfere with the
dissolving power of hydrochloric acid.
FeS-scale dissolvers with high dissolving power, high pH, and low corrosivity for mild steel have been found in

Experience Worldwide

FeS-scale formation in water-supply

wells and in sour-oil and -gas wells has
been investigated. FeS scale was obtained
from an oil well with low water cut, and


scale samples were also obtained from

water-supply wells. Some of the FeS
scales from oil wells contained hydrocarbon levels as high as 10%. The removal of FeS scales included both mechanical and chemical cleaning. Squeeze
treatments were applied in several watersupply wells that produce water from a
Scale compositions for five wells
from Saudi Arabia were examined. On
average, scale samples consisted of 43%
FeS and 37% iron (oxyhydr) oxides. The
composition of scale was measured at
different depths for one well. At most
depths, FeS is the predominant scale.
One possible explanation of the presence
of ferric ions is acid simulation. The composition of the scale is often layered, with
the flow side having higher amounts of
FeS than the tubing side. Higher amounts
of FeS on the tubing side may result from
sulfidization of the initial iron scale by
hydrogen sulfide.
Iron in the scales has a limited number of sources. A study was performed
to determine the amount of iron in reservoir rock by dissolving rock in a specified amount of acid and determining the
amount of iron by inductively coupled
atomic emission spectroscopy. Solubleiron content in drilling fluids can be as
high as 1200 mg/L or below 250 mg/L.
High iron concentrations (80 000 mg/L)
can be obtained during the flowback of
a pickling treatment. Large amounts of
iron can flow back after an acidizing job.

Stimulation jobs should be

planned with fluids that have a
high dissolving power yet cause
as little corrosion as possible.
Stimulation methods other than
the use of acid should be explored
in sour carbonate systems.
Sour corrosion occurs
continuously during well
production. The corrosion
rates may be low compared
with the larger rates seen in
sweet corrosion. The low rates,
though, can introduce iron into
the system continuously to cause
iron-scale formation.
Alternative metallurgy should be
explored for liner design.
Corrosion inhibition should be
explored and used to prevent
sour corrosion during well
A better understanding of
downhole scaling tendency can
be obtained by sampling the
downhole fluids. JPT


Analysis reveals that

considerable iron can be
releasedby dissolution of rock
with fairly small amounts of iron,
drilling-fluid loss, corrosion of
well tubing during acidizing,
The large amount of acid
introduced during acidizing
implies that significant amounts
of iron are generated from the
formation even if the reservoir
rock has as little as 1 mg/g of
Acidizing can release large
amounts of iron from the well
tubing even if the corrosion in
the tubing and liner is as low as
0.03 lbm/ft2.


Sodium Gluconate as a New Environmentally

Friendly Iron-Control Agent for Acidizing

ron precipitation is a serious problem

in acidizing treatments, causing
formation permeability damage by
restricting flow channels. Solutions
have included buffers, reducing agents,
and chelating agents. Experience has
shown that chelating agents are the
most effective; however, limitations of
current chelating agents include poor
stability at elevated temperatures,
higher cost, low solubility in acidic
medium, tendency to precipitate
calcium products, and negative health
and environmental effects. This work
introduces sodium gluconate as an
efficient and environmentally friendly


Corrosion is a major challenge in any

acidizing treatment. The scale of such a
problem depends on the acid type; acid
concentration; temperature; and the
presence of corrosion inhibitor, intensifier, or undesirable corrosion accelerator.
In cases where hydrochloric acid (HCl) is
used, the effect of the corrosion is magnified and can hinder the success of the
treatment, especially at elevated temperatures and higher acid concentrations.
Acid corrosion not only destroys storage
and mixing tanks, piping, fittings, coiled
tubing, and wellbore tubing, but the corrosion products are also carried out with
the acid flow and enter the formation.
When the acid is in a live condition, these
corrosion products are readily soluble.
However, when the acid reacts with the
formation and the pH increases, the cor-

rosion products show a high tendency to

precipitate and plug the pores.
Inhibitors are often used to mitigate
the effects of corrosion, and special additives such as corrosion intensifiers are
required to compensate for the degradation loss in the inhibitors at elevated temperatures, which results in a substantial
increase the treatment cost. In addition,
excessive corrosion inhibitors may enter
the formation, become adsorbed on the
reservoir rock, and subsequently change
the wettability. Another limitation is the
low health-and-environmental profile of
most current corrosion inhibitors.
Several attempts, therefore, have
aimed to maintain corrosion inhibitors
and intensifiers at a minimum and effectively reduce the potential of iron precipitation by use of buffers, reducing agents,
and chelating agents. Laboratory and
field experiences concluded that chelating agents are the most effective remedy
for controlling iron precipitation.
Gluconic acid and its sodium and
calcium salts (Fig. 1) exhibit attractive
physical and chemical properties and,
hence, are used in several applications
and industries. The acid and its salts
are noncorrosive, nonvolatile, nontoxic,
nonodorous, and readily biodegradable.
The US Food and Drug Administration has assigned sodium gluconate a status of generally recognized as safe, and
its use in the food industry is permitted
without limitation.
In the oil industry, a study published
in 1993 concluded that the presence of
even low levels (0.1 mg/L) of chelators
can significantly improve the use of phos-

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights
of paper SPE 172640, Sodium Gluconate as a New Environmentally Friendly IronControlling Agent for HP/HT Acidizing Treatments, by Ahmed I. Rabie, SPE, and
Hisham A. Nasr El-Din, SPE, Texas A&M University, prepared for the 2015 SPE
Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference, Manama, Bahrain, 811 March. The
paper has not been peer reviewed.

phonates, polycarboxylates, and phosphate esters as scale inhibitors.

Gluconic acid, or a derivative from it,
was reported as an efficient and new environmentally friendly corrosioninhibitor.
Sodium gluconate has a high sequestering power to chelate calcium and other
di- and trivalent metal ions, and it is a
good chelator at an alkaline pH.
In this study, sodium gluconate is investigated as an environmentally friendly
chelant for iron control in high-pressure/
high-temperature acidizing treatments.
The proposed chelant has a strong affinity for iron over a wide range of pH values,
and the salt is readily dissolved in the
acids with a solubility of 600 g/L.

Experimental Studies

Materials. Low-permeability Indiana limestone cores were used for the coreflood
experiments. Concentrated HCl solutions
were titrated using 1N sodium hydroxide
solution and phenolphthalein as an indicator. A concentration of 35.64wt%0.35
was reported, with a density of 1.18 g/cm3.
Acid solutions of HCl were prepared from
this concentrated solution, and a corrosion inhibitor was added with a concentration of 1 vol%. Ferric chloride was used
as a source of iron (III).
Procedure. Precipitation of iron (III) in
HCl solutions of 5 and 10 wt% was investigated at iron (III) loading of 5,000 and
10,000 ppm in the presence and the absence of sodium gluconate. The following
procedure was followed: A 100-mL sample of the acid solution was prepared with
a predetermined amount of ferric chloride and sodium gluconate in a 200-mL
three-neck reactor. A pH meter was inserted into the solution from one neck,
while the other two openings were used to
hold a thermometer and to take samples.
A solution of 2M Na2CO3 was prepared
to neutralize the acid. At room temperature, experiments started with the addi-

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





27- 29 October 2015


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Fig. 1The chemical structure for (a) gluconic acid, (b) sodium gluconate, and (c) calcium gluconate.
10 000

fairly close pH values reflects the effectiveness of using sodium gluconate as a

chelating agent at elevated pH.
A set of experiments was also performed using 10 wt% HCl with an iron
load of 10,000 ppm, with and without the
chelant. The results confirm the ability of
sodium gluconate to prevent iron precipitation at higher iron loads. The selected
iron/chelant ratio in this set was also a 1:1
molar ratio. Iron concentration as a function solution pH is shown in Fig. 2.

9 000

Fe Concentration (mg/L)

8 000
10,000 ppm Fe(III) and No Chelant

7 000

10,000 ppm Fe(III) and 1:1 mol/mol of Na gluconate

6 000

5,000 ppm Fe(III) and No Chelant

5 000

5,000 ppm Fe(III) and 1:1 mol/mol of Na gluconate

4 000
3 000
2 000


1 000





Fig. 2Iron concentration in the samples collected while neutralizing 5 and
10 wt% HCl loaded with 5,000 and 10,000 ppm iron (III), respectively, in the
presence and the absence of 1:1 molar ratio of sodium gluconate.

tion of the neutralizing Na2CO3 solution

in very small increments. Upon the addition of each increment, enough time was
given to reach stabilization and then a pH
reading and a 3-mL sample were taken.
All samples above the pH value of 2 were
subjected to 15 minutes of centrifugation
at 3,000 rev/min, followed by the separation of the precipitate, if found.
Equipment. A coreflood setup was used
to simulate the matrix-stimulation treatment. A pressure gauge was used to apply
a backpressure of 1,100 psi on the outlet
of the core. This pressure is enough to
keep the carbon dioxide dissolved in the
spent fluid. A pressure transducer was
connected to a computer to monitor and
record the pressure drop during the experiments every 5 seconds. A hand pump
was used to provide an overburden pressure of 1,600 psi. A new core was used in
each experiment, and the cores were imaged by a computed-tomography-scan
technique after each run. A heat jacket was placed around the core holder
and was used to heat the sample to the
desired temperature. Samples from the


effluent were collected throughout the

experiment, diluted, and subjected to Caand Fe-concentration measurements.


Two experiments were conducted with

5 wt% HCl loaded with 5,000 ppm iron
(III). In one experiment, no chelant was
added and samples were collected. The
color of the samples changed from light
green to a dark brown toward the last
sample. After the centrifugation, a precipitate was found in all samples above
pH 2. The change of the sample color
to dark brown is most likely because of
the precipitation of ferric hydroxide. In
the second experiment, sodium gluconate was added in a 1:1 molar ratio to
the iron load in the solution. All samples
above pH 2 were centrifuged for the same
period as in the previous experiment. No
precipitate was observed in any sample;
however, a reduction in the initial iron
(III) concentration was observed. This is
believed to be a result of the dilution effect when the neutralizing volumes were
added. A comparison between the samples collected from both experiments at

In this work, the use of sodium gluconate as an environmentally friendly chelating agent for sequestrating the iron in
the acidizing fluids was investigated. The
results of the coreflood analysis at different iron loads and iron/sodium gluconate molar ratios can be summarized
as follows:
Iron precipitation during
an acidizing treatment can
cause severe damage to the
formation and impair the
permeability, especially at low
acid concentrations or acidinjectionrates.
An injection of 0.75 pore volumes
of 5 wt% HCl solution with 5wt%
sodium gluconate was able to
increase the permeability by 74%
vs. 50% with no chelant added at
a load of 5,000 ppm of iron (III).
At a load of 10,000 ppm of iron
(III) and 5 wt% HCl solution,
the presence of 5 wt% sodium
gluconate increased the efficiency
of the acidizing experiment to
165% vs. 70% when no chelant
was added.
The iron/chelant molar ratio is an
important factor for the success
of the acidizing treatment. The
results in this study showed that
an iron/chelant molar ration of
1:1 was the optimum ratio for
maximizing iron recovery and
preventing iron precipitation.JPT



East Meets West Congress Going Strong

Despite Downturn
The AGH University of Science and Technology Student Chapter held its sixth
annual East Meets West International
Student Petroleum Congress and Career
Expo in Krakw, Poland, in April.
Despite the slump in oil prices,
Mikoaj Raowski, event organizer and
graduate student, estimated that the
attendance exceeded that of last years.
We hosted 130 students from all over
the world during the congress, numerous
industry representatives, and countless
local attendees, he said.
During the 3-day event at AGH, students from four continents and nearly
30 countries attended lectures, delivered
presentations, participated in competitions, and socialized among themselves.
The first day opened with Today
and Tomorrow of the Oil and Gas Industry: Chances and Challenges, a panel discussion that featured Jeff Spath, 2014 SPE
president; Matthias Meister, SPE regional director for South, Central, and East
Europe; and other members of the indus-

Students attend the annual paper contest on the second day of the East Meets
West International Student Petroleum Congress and Career Expo in Krakw,
Poland, in April.


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try and academia. It attracted more than
400 people.
Schlumberger, ORLEN Upstream,
MOL Group, Discovery Polska, and Poland
Shale Coalition were present at the career
expo, where students asked company
representatives questions about employment and internshipopportunities.
In addition to the annual student
poster session and international paper

contest, the congress introduced a PhD

research session this year. Doctoral candidates from around the world presented
their latest research findings to a crowded room.
We have proved to ourselves that
even with the budget under everyones expectations, we are able to create a worthwhile student congress with
great panels, high-level research pre-

sentations, and lively networking,

Next years congress will feature
more student competitions and the
opportunity for attendees to participate
in the professional debate, which has been
limited to panelists in the past, Raowski
said. There are also plans to coordinate
on-site job and internship interviews with
visiting companies, hesaid.

PetroTalk Brings Conference, Training, and Workshop Wisdom Online

SPE is introducing a new online series
called PetroTalk, which will make select
presentations from conferences, applied
technology workshops, and summits
available for on-demand viewing.
Designed to support competency development and knowledge trans-

fer, PetroTalk will include presentations

made by academic thought leaders and
subject matter experts addressing current and future industry challenges.
The first PetroTalk posted was a
presentation by Jennifer Cross, a sociology professor at Colorado State Uni-

versity and an invited speaker on sustainability at the 2015 SPE E&P Health,
Safety, Security, and Environmental
For more information, visit

Interview Appointments Available at Share Your Story History Studio

Members who have worked in or been
involved with the exploration and production sector for 25 years or more still
have time to sign up for an interview
at the Share Your Story History Studio
at the 2015 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Houston on
Audio interviews with industry
veterans will be recorded for the Engineering and Technology History Wiki

(, a multisociety, collaborative website that relates the history of

the engineering profession.
SPE Special Projects Manager Nancy
Musick, who worked for Shell Kuwait
E&P, Oryx Energy, and BP Alaska in various technical and engineering positions,
signed up for her interview after reading
the 50th anniversary issue of JPT, which
brought back fond memories of her time
in theindustry.

I care deeply about promoting the

industry and encouraging the next generation of engineers. It is a tremendous
responsibility that I take very seriously,
she said.
To sign up for a 30-minute audio
interview, visit
and select a date and time. There are
sample questions, an example recording, and tips on how to prepare for
The Universiti
of Malaya (UM)
Student Chapter
received its official
certificate in May.
Kuala Lumpur
Section secretary
Anwarudin Saidu,
fourth from left,
presented the
certificate to UM
deputy dean of
engineering Noor
Azizi, third from
left, during the




TEVIN VONGVANICH, SPE, has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of PTT,
Thailands national oil and gas company. He
will aid the company in finding a long-term
supply of natural gas, as domestic supplies
are likely to be depleted in the next 6 to 7
years and imports from Myanmar are expected to decline. Mostly recently, Vongvanich served as president and CEO of PTT Exploration and Production. He holds a
BEng in chemical engineering from Chulalongkorn University,
an MS in petroleum engineering from the University of Houston, and an MS in chemical engineering from Rice University.
He completed a global leadership program at Harvard

Member Deaths
Jack A. Burke, Gun Barrel City, Texas, USA
Robert L. Burley, Houston, Texas, USA
George C. Calongne, Hemphill, Texas, USA
James M. Forgotson Jr., Norman, Oklahoma, USA
Markel B. Hudgins, Missouri City, Texas, USA
C.E. Jacobs, Houston, Texas, USA
Ronald Karl Kuhlemeier, Golden, Colorado, USA
Jack R. Nelson, Houston, Texas, USA
Alberto J. Noriega, Arroyo Grande, California, USA
Don R. Patterson, Jacksonville, Texas, USA
Earl E. Rossman Jr., Houston, Texas, USA
Paul E. Schauer Jr., Houston, Texas, USA
Kenneth R. Simpkins, Cypress, Texas, USA
Roger L. Smith, The Woodlands, Texas, USA
Stephen J. Vogel, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

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SPE Training
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Energize your career with
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Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Get up-to-date industry knowledge
from the people who wrote the
book on E&P. Courses are offered at
multiple locations around the world.
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SPEs new web app for healthy, safety,
and environment professionals.


Specializing in All Phases of Reserves Evaluations,
Including Petroleum Economics,
Reservoir Engineering, Geology, and Petrophysics

Two Houston Center

Phone: (713) 651-9455
909 Fannin St., Ste. 1300
Fax: (713) 654-9914
Houston, TX 77010
Web pages:



International Petroleum Consultants

Fractured Reservoir Characterization/Modeling

Gas Storage Unconventional EOR CO2 CCS Black
Oil/Compositional/Thermal Reservoir Simulation
Provider of LYNX, MatchingPro,
PlanningPro and ForecastingPro Software
Denver, Colorado
475 17th Street, Suite 1400
Ph. (303) 292-9595



Reservoir Engineering
Reservoir Simulation
Reservoir Characterization
Oil and Gas Reserves Evaluation
Fair Market Value and Acquisition Valuation
Enhanced Oil Recovery
Economic Evaluation
Oil and Gas Production
Gas Storage Design and Screening
Regulatory Filings and Database Acquisition
Expert Petroleum Engineering Testimony

925-A Capital of Texas Highway S.
Austin, Texas 78746 U.S.A.
Telephone: (512) 327-6930
Facsimile: (512) 327-7069

800 North Marienfeld, Ste. 100
Midland, Texas 79701 U.S.A.
Telephone: (432) 687-1939
Facsimile: (432) 687-1930


Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska, LLC

Alaskas Oil and Gas Consultants

Geology, Geophysics, and Engineering
3601 C Street
Suite 1424

(907) 272-1232 voice

(907) 272-1344 fax
Anchorage, AK 99503



310 South Vine Avenue, Tyler, TX 75702

903-593-9660 903-593-5527 (FAX) 800-587-9660
James E. Smith, P.E., Registered Professional Engineer

Are you looking for a way to get more
involved with SPE and the next generation
of the industry? If so, SPEs eMentoring
program may be the right choice for you.
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Chemical Flooding Technology

35+ Years of Chemical Flood Experience
Mobility Control Polymer

Practical CEOR Courses

Laboratory EOR Design
EOR Screening and Field Development
Simulation Field Evaluation
1511 Washington Ave., Golden, CO 80401
(303) 278-0877, Fax (303) 278-2245 email:

TSA, Inc.
Consulting Petroleum and Environmental Engineers
Fluid Injection/Disposal, CO2-EOR and CO2-GS, FSI/CRI
Wells, Produced Water/Frac Fluid Management, Technical
Training, E&P Operations & Regulatory Compliance
6551 S. Revere Pkwy., Suite 215
Centennial, CO 80111
Talib Syed, P.E.

Tel: 303.969.0685

World leader in chemical EOR and tracer
test design, field implementation and
training. Laboratory, reservoir simulation
and field support available.
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11412 FM 2244, STE 200

Austin, Texas 78738

W.D. Von Gonten & Co.

Petroleum Engineering
Domestic and International
808 Travis, Suite 1200
Tel: (713) 224-6333
Houston, TX 77002
Fax: (713) 224-6330

Wallace International, LLC

Unconventional resource studies
Integrated reservoir description projects
Detailed petrophysical analyses
Office: 972-386-4581


Providing technical document development, business process support and printing/binding services
to the oil & gas industry since 2000.
DOCUMENTATION Drilling & Completion,
Rig Operations, QA/HSE, Equipment, Reports,
Instructions & Procedures
BUSINESS PROCESS Technical Contracts,
RFQs, Process Evaluation, Project & Vendor
Customizable, Quick Turnaround The Woodlands, Texas

SPE Web Events

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Page 37

GE Oil & Gas

Page 49

Scientific Drilling International

Page 141

University of Tulsa
Page 26

Page 61

GEODynamics, Inc.
Pages 30, 31

Sintex International
Page 95

University of Wyoming
Page 53

Baker Hughes, Inc.

Pages 71, 101

Global Geophysical Services, Inc.

Page 91

SPE Distinguished Lecturer

Page 109

Vallourec USA Corp.

Page 15

Page 45

Pages 13, 73, 97

Bluebeam Software, Inc.

Page 59

Page 75

Brookfield Engineering
Page 27

Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd.

Page 53

Cover 3
Page 153
CESI Chemical
Page 6
Cudd Energy Services
Page 131
Page 117
Denham Capital
Page 119
Cover 2
Page 89
Emerson Process Management
Page 11
Energy Navigator
Page 113
Page 81
Enhanced Drilling
Page 23
Page 133
Page 17
Fairmount Santrol
Page 105
Frank's International
Page 107


Page 123
Reverse Gatefold Cover
JDR Cable Systems
Page 135
KBC Advanced Technologies plc
Page 35

Subsea Services Alliance c/o

Page 99
TAM International
Page 69
Page 41
Tensar International Corp.
Page 67
Page 65
TMK Completions
Page 9
University of Oklahoma MPGE
Page 51

Page 19
Volant Products Inc.
Page 127
Pages 4, 5
Weatherford Laboratories
Page 43
Weatherford Surface Logging
Page 39
Wellbarrier AS
Page 45
Page 25

Page 157
National Oilwell Varco
Pages 57, 87, 115
NCS Multistage, LLC
Page 93
Newpark Drilling Fluids
Page 139
Packers Plus
Page 7
Paradigm Drilling Services Ltd.
Page 147
Page 63
Reactive Downhole Tools Ltd.
Page 29
Rock Flow Dynamics
Page 83




10777 Westheimer Rd.

Suite 1075
Houston, Texas 77042-3455
Main Tel: +1.713.779.9595
Fax: +1.713.779.4216

Mark Hoekstra
Sales Manager Canada
Tel: +1.403.930.5471
Fax: +1.403.930.5470

Craig W. Moritz
Assistant Director Americas
Sales & Exhibits
Tel: +1.713.457.6888
Evan Carthey (Companies A-L)
Sales Manager Advertising
Tel: +1.713.457.6828
Dana Griffin (Companies M-Z)
Advertising Sales
Tel: +1.713.457.6857


Rob Tomblin
Advertising Sales Manager
Tel: +44.20.7299.3300
Fax: +44.20.7299.3309
Clive Thomas
Advertising Sales Executive
Tel: +971.4.457.5855

SAS Institute, Inc.

Page 2
Saudi Aramco
Page 79
Page 3, Cover 4, onsert

ADDRESS CHANGE: Contact Customer Services at 1.972.952.9393 to notify of

address change or make changes online at Subscriptions are USD
0149-2136) is published monthly by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, 222
Palisades Creek Drive, Richardson, TX 75080 USA. Periodicals postage paid at
Richardson, TX, and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
JPT, P.O. Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836 USA.



2122 October StavangerSPE

2729 October Rio de Janeiro

Workshops in Conjunction with Offshore

OTC Brasil

Technology Days (OTD)

1516 September San Antonio
SPE/ICoTA Refracturing Through
Optimized Interventions

2729 October GalvestonSPE

Environmental Stewardship in Oil and Gas

46 November BakuSPE Annual

Caspian Technical Conference and

1517 September Moscow

SPE Horizontal, Multilateral and ERD Wells
Drilling and Completion

2830 October GalvestonSPE Flow

911 November BrisbaneSPE Asia

Assurance Challenges in Shale and Tight

Pacific Unconventional Resources


Conference and Exhibition

35 November BarcelonaSPE North

912 November Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi

Sea and Europe Area Stimulation

International Petroleum Exhibition and

2223 September BudapestSPE Heavy

Oil: Lifting Recovery to the Next Level
2223 September MumbaiSPE
Deepwater Development: Minimising
Uncertainty, Maximising Value
2830 September PutrajayaSPE
Advanced Completion Technologies
for Challenging Fields
2830 September PutrajayaSPE
Maximising Value in Marginal and Brown
FieldsCost Management
67 October Abu DhabiSPE Drilling
Best PracticesDelivering More Wells
in a Challenging Environment
67 October St. Johns, New Foundland
and LabradorSPE Deepwater and Harsh
Environment Development Strategies
1214 October AmsterdamSPE Gas
Well Deliquification: Maximise Recovery

Conference (ADIPEC)

1416 September CairoSPE North
Africa Technical Conference and

1823 October CancunSPE Enhanced

Oil RecoveryThe Future is Now

1416 September Abu DhabiSPE

Reservoir Characterization and Simulation

1821 January DubaiSPE Next

Conference and Exhibition

Generation of Smart Reservoir

Management: The Eminent Role of

1516 September Abu DhabiSPE

BigData Analytics

Middle East Intelligent Oil and Gas

Conference and Exhibition
2830 September HoustonSPE Annual


Technical Conference and Exhibition

Twentieth SPE Improved Oil Recovery
1114 October MishrefSPE Kuwait Oil

Conference Tulsa

and Gas Show and Conference

Deadline: 21 September

1315 October Morgantown

SPE/IAEE Hydrocarbon Economics and

SPE Eastern Regional Meeting

Evaluation Symposium Houston

ofGas Fields
1314 October EdinburghSPE Flow
AssuranceEnsuring Production Today,
Creating Solutions for Tomorrow

2022 October BaliSPE/IATMI Asia

Pacific Oil and Gas Conference and

2021 October GalvestonSPE


Downhole ToolsChallenges,
Opportunities, and Value in HP/HT

2022 October CalgarySPE


Unconventional Resources Conference

Deadline: 28 September
SPE EOR Conference at Oil and Gas West
Asia Muscat
Deadline: 5 October
IADC/SPE Asia Pacific Drilling Technology

2122 October ManamaSPE Changing

2628 October MoscowSPE Russian

Conference and Exhibition Singapore

Faces of ESP Applications

Petroleum Technology Conference

Deadline: 9 October

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

















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Mangrove stimulation design used to engineer completion,

increasing production 200300% per stage in the Niobrara.
An operator used Mangrove* engineered stimulation design in the Petrel* E&P software platform to optimize staging and perforation
cluster placement within a highly variable lateral. The engineered completion resulted in a 65% reduction in stress contrast across
perforation clusters while increasing average production by 200300% per stage. After completion, a geomodel revealed nonproductive
stages situated above the intended zone, enabling the operator to reassess well placement and evaluate strategies for effectively
stimulating all stages.
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*Mark of Schlumberger. 2015 Schlumberger. 15-ST-0058

15-ST-0058 - Ad Mangrove revised 2015 for JPT July, August, September 2015.indd 1

6/12/15 1:06 PM