The development of source rocks as commercial hydrocarbon resources has dramatically affected the production of natural gas in the United States. A similar impact is now being made with the production of oil from organic shales. Exploitation of source rocks as reservoirs has generated interest around the globe with operators in many countries now evaluating the potential for their respective shales.
While the hydrocarbons contained in these reservoirs can be vast, recovery factors are much lower than in conventional reservoirs because of the extremely low permeability associated with source rocks. Economically generating a large surface area exposed to a pressure drop via hydraulic fracturing is critical for the commercial development of these plays. To do this effectively requires some rethinking of long held beliefs concerning hydraulic fracturing. Is a planar fracture optimal? Are proppants needed to achieve the required fracture conductivity? How much conductivity do we actually need? Is it durable once the well is placed on production? Can fracturing fluid compatibility issues be overcome in argillaceous rocks?
Innovative completion technologies are being employed successfully to address many of these issues. Yet all shales are not alike. Thus, a successful technology in one organic shale basin may not be viable in others. When the key production drivers for a specific reservoir are clearly identified the most applicable completion technologies can be employed. This presentation focuses on the key stimulation issues associated with organic shale reservoirs and how to determine the most applicable completion methodology.
George Waters, Technical Manager, Unconventional Completions, Schlumberger
Mr. Waters is responsible for the geomechanical assessment and completion design of organic shale reservoirs under exploration and initial development outside of North America. He has performed appraisals of hydraulic fracture dimensions and producibility via laboratory and field measurements on multiple reservoirs in over of 20 countries on six continents.
Mr. Waters has been involved in the stimulation optimization of organic shales since 2000 and has extensive experience in shale basins throughout North America. He is located in Oklahoma City. He holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from West Virginia University, a MS in Environmental Engineering from Oklahoma State University, and a MS in Petroleum Engineering from Institut Francais du Petrole.
Mr. Waters was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 2009-10.