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Recipe for success: Where wouId you driII for unconventionaI oiI?

Evaluating the best global oil shale resource plays based on their geological, operational, legislative and environmental conditions
Sasha W. Gumprecht
Msc Petroleum Geoscience Postgraduate Student
Royal Holloway University of London
UnconventionaI hydrocarbon resources are characterised by:
The low permeability of hosting reservoir rocks
Laterally extensive accumulations
A requirement for capital-, energy- and technology- intensive
extraction methods
Why are unconventionaI oiI pIays becoming so important?
Unconventional plays will be increasingly relied upon when
conventional plays become more expensive due to depletion
Keys to evaIuating a successfuI pIay:
1. Geology:
High TOC levels
Large, economically recoverable volumes
Source maturity
2. Operational economics:
Low operation & drilling costs
High productivity & effciency in operations
nfrastructure
Advanced drilling & extraction technology
3. Legislation:
Supportive regulatory framework
Fair contracts
Transparent governmental policy
Government cooperation
4. Environment:
Supportive environmental policies
Questions to consider:
What is the best way to make money when drilling an
unconventional play?
Can the handicaps of each play be reduced with time?
s the prospect better for a large or small company?
Are all the handicaps weighted equally?
Which countries have good enough contracts to promote
resource plays?
Are the factors holding one company back from drilling the
same for every company?
Of the four assessed categories, which do you think is most
important?
Are there any other considerations that need to be taken
account for?
EvaIuation key:


High Risk
Medium Risk

Low Risk
Map key:
TechnicaIIy RecoverabIe ShaIe OiI Resources* Majority Age
1. Russia 75 Cretaceous
2. USA 48 Cretaceous
3. China 32
4. Argentina 27 Cretaceous
5. Libya 26 Cretaceous
6. Australia 18
7. Venezuela 13 Cretaceous
8. Mexico 13 Cretaceous
9. Pakistan 9 Cretaceous
10. Canada 9 Cretaceous-Carboniferous
11. Others 65
TOTAL 335
*Billion barrels
EA/AR World Shale Gas and Shale Oil Resource Assessment 2013
OPEC
s government and legislation a problem of all OPEC nations?
EUROPEAN
ENVIRONMENTAL
ISSUES
GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE
Period Time Map SymboI
Cretaceous 65 MY K
Jurassic 145 MY J
Triassic 205 MY T
Permian 250 MY P
Carboniferous 290 MY C
Devonian 350 MY D
Silurian 415 MY S
Ordovician 445 MY O
Cambrian 490 MY CA
Marine
Lacustrine
Cooper
Basin
P
Canning
Basin
Georgina
Basin
CA
O
Junggar Basin
Tarim Basin
Sichuan
Basin
O
P/T
CA/S/P
Bazhenov Formation
K
Dneiper-
Donets
Basin
C
BaItic
Basin
S/O/CA
Paris
Basin
J
Sirte
Basin
Ghadames-
Berkine
Basin
K
D/S
SE AnatoIian
Basin
S/D
Karoo
Basin
P
Lower
Indus
Basin
K
Cambay
Basin
K
Neuguen
Basin
K
Parana
Basin
D
Maracaibo
Basin
K
Burgos-
Sabinas
Basin
K
EagIe
Ford
Formation
K
Bakken
ShaIe
WiIIiston Basin
NWAIberta
C
C
D
CANADA:


Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
FRANCE:
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
ALGERIA:
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
MEXICO:
VENEZUELA:
ARGENTINA: SOUTH AFRICA:
POLAND:
RUSSIA:
LIBYA:
CHINA:
AUSTRALIA:
GoaIs:
Consolidate large amounts of data into a simple, useful aid
Look for trends in data
Find problems & successes with unconventional oil in each
country
Look at long term vs. short term hurdles in unconventional
plays
Suggest ideas for further thought and research
Trends:
Largest plays are marine, Cretaceous/Jurassic age rocks
- Anoxic, shallow-marine settings
All onshore reservoirs
Future research:
Explore other marine, Cretaceous source rocks onshore and
offshore
Look at offshore drilling locations where conventional
infrastructure could support future unconventional drilling
- North Sea Kimmerige Clay (Jurassic)
- Arctic - Barents Basin (Jurassic to Cretaceous)
Look into repurposing offshore platforms for future
unconventional drilling
- nfrastructure is in place
- nvestment into offshore rigs has already been made
Locate 'played out' conventional areas to look for
unconventional plays
- Conventional to unconventional switch
- Could save money in the operational economics
Locate areas where formation seal/trap is not present
unconventional could be used to exploit source rock
References:
EA/AR World Shale Gas and Shale Oil Resource Assessment 2013
British Marine Life Study Survey
Deloitte Oil and Gas Check 2013
Online company publications
ConcIusions:
Original focus was on legislation as the most important handicap in
unconventional drilling now operational economics (technology
and infrastructure) have become the most important factor when
looking at the success of a play
Eg. Australia, China
Technology advancements will be needed to bring unconventional
from onshore to offshore, in an economical way
Take what we have learned onshore and develop offshore
Figure from British Marine Life Study Society
Cretaceous
WorId Map
Same play -
same success
Same play - different success
Legislation to blame?
Geology
Operational
Economics
Legislation
Environment
USA:
Lacustrine reservoirs not as
good of a source rock for oil?
Cooper gas-prone
T
Strong oil shale deposits
despite lacustrine reservoir