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Alliance tackles shale resource challenges

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Oilfield Technology,

It is now a year since CGG and Baker Hughes announced that they would enter into a collaborative relationship that could redefine shale reservoir exploitation. Since then CGG has acquired Fugro’s Geoscience division and developed a stronger geoscience focus. This article reviews the progress of the alliance from the perspective of Sophie Zurquiyah, EVP of CGG’s Geology, Geophysics & Reservoir Division and Tim Adams, Vice President of Business Development for Baker Hughes.

“The landscape of CGG has changed significantly in the last year. We have seen the influx of a huge amount of geoscience expertise from Fugro Geoscience, which has bolstered our product and service offering and made a significant contribution to our shale alliance with Baker Hughes. At the same time we have seen a growing acceptance in the industry that more geoscience can improve success in the development of shale resources,” says Zurquiyah.

Industry estimates indicate that approximately 70% of unconventional wells in the U.S. do not reach their production targets and 60% of all fracture stages are ineffective. With typical well costs in the range of US$ 6 - 8 million, this is a significant risk.

The alliance is focusing attention on key stages in the E&P workflow where geoscience can make a real difference. The concept is to use a broad range of geoscience data to continuously improve reservoir knowledge throughout the life of the field. This approach will allow shale operators to make better informed decisions to:

  • Increase production and ultimate reserve recovery.
  • Reduce exploration and development risk.
  • Increase operational efficiency.
  • Improve financial performance of the asset.

Figure 1. Integrated interpretation of calibrated seismic attributes highlights areas with the highest production potential. (Image courtesy of CGG).

So what does the alliance have to offer, and what has been achieved in the first 12 months?

“In terms of demonstrating the benefits of the alliance and an integrated approach for shale, we have been working on two pilot projects, which are providing us with encouraging results. They are allowing us to demonstrate the petrophysical and geomechanical calibration of seismic attributes using borehole information (cores, cuttings and logs) to build more accurate predictive models. They have also given us the opportunity to explore the role of microseismic data in validating and calibrating reservoir models,” says Adams.

There are several objectives for the alliance across the E&P workflow. At the exploration and new ventures stage, CGG’s rich multi-disciplinary multi-client data library of geological reports, gravity and magnetic data, high-quality 3D seismic data and basin prospectivity studies can provide a competitive edge by helping to identify the most prospective acreage.

When it comes to drilling patterns, well placement and the hunt for so-called sweet spots, a thorough understanding of the factors controlling reservoir quality and production potential are required. Near-wellbore mineralogy, lithology, rock strength, and natural fracture data derived from LWD, coring, and wireline logging services from Baker Hughes and quantitative rock mineralogy from CGG provide the ground truths for a reservoir model. The integrated interpretation of this information and the seismic data allows the development of meaningful predictive models to guide well placement and trajectory. To ensure maximum reservoir contact for lateral sections the alliance employs the Baker Hughes RNS™ Reservoir Navigation Services, which can be complemented by CGG’s onsite geological services.

With studies showing that only 40% of fracture stages effectively contribute to production, geoscience also has a role to play in enabling the best well performance. With Baker Hughes’ MFrac™ fracture simulation and modelling software and StarTrak™ LWD technology, coupled with CGG’s RoqSCAN™ wellsite mineralogical analysis from Robertson, fracture stage placement and parameters can be optimised. By closing the loop with microseismic monitoring and production logging interpretation it is possible to validate and update the reservoir model, and is part of the process of continuously improving reservoir knowledge to maximise production.




Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

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