A Results-Driven Approach to Unconventionals

Understanding desired objectives and environmental changes in order to maximize production and reduce costs

A frequent call to action in today’s oilfield environment is to do whatever we can to reduce costs and to improve the efficiency of the work. Understanding our own deliverables and costs allows us to identify areas for reducing costs and improving the value of the work we deliver. The unconventional market is presented with a new set of challenges in a low oil price environment. Through collaboration to understand the underlying challenges and the goals for the asset, we can maximize the value of unconventional assets with a results-driven approach.

What is the real challenge?

When we focus on the areas we know best, be it reservoir evaluation, drilling, completions and stimulation, or other areas, it’s often difficult to see the full picture. Unconventional assets have a lifecycle, from exploration, appraisal and development to production and eventually abandonment. The challenges in successfully developing these assets change over the course of the cycle and need to be individually planned for.

In a low commodity price environment, capital expenditure budgets are thin and allocated to assets with the highest return on investment, making cost optimization for operations critical to achieving a profitable asset. For new and undeveloped unconventional assets, environmental conditions often require operators to prove reserves without the expense of drilling dozens of wells to establish a learning curve. Financial constraints must also be weighed with the consideration for data acquisition to improve the efficiency of future wells and to maximize the overall asset value. Additionally, environmental conditions such as regulatory requirements, material and equipment availability, logistics and infrastructure must all be considered throughout the entire lifecycle.

What can we do?

Given these challenges, a results-driven approach for unconventional assets must identify ways to reduce cost and increase production during all stages of the asset’s life. This approach relies on first establishing the desired outcome for a given well, asset, or portfolio. The desired outcome will depend on the well or asset’s position in the lifecycle. For a new asset, owners typically invest in technology to gather critical data to prove reserves and scope future operations. Designing a data acquisition program that is tailored specifically for the goals in the early stages of development will reduce costs. For assets in development, once the profitable production rate is known, drilling and completion programs can be engineered for cost optimization to achieve this goal. One service that helps both to reduce cost and increase production is FracInsight®, which analyzes reservoir data to identify the areas of the reservoir that will respond favorably to a frac, eliminating the cost of extra stages and avoiding potential operational issues. For producing and mature assets, operators look for ways to add incremental production to maintain profitability. This includes the use of techniques like infill drilling and refracturing, which can be engineered to target sections of the field with the most production potential by using a service like Integrated Sensor Diagnostics.

Collaboration is key

The results-driven approach all begins with collaboration. When we understand the desired objectives and the environmental challenges to achieve those objectives, we can engineer solutions that maximum production and reduce cost. The CYPHER™ Seismic-to-Stimulation Service, provides a platform for operators and service companies to collaborate to identify challenges and engineer solutions that do exactly that. Through collaboration and a results-driven approach, we can identify ways to maximize the value of unconventional assets — even in a tough market.

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