Tight oil and flowable shale oil plays are the newest frontier for the industry, but what technology innovations and adaptations will be needed to actually deliver the production promise and still meet increasingly strict environmental performance expectations?
In the past 30 years, stimulation technology progression via application and modification of primarily existing technologies propelled shale gas and tight gas recovery from a few percent to over 30 to 40% of original gas in place, releasing an unprecedented amount of natural gas into the market. Can the tight oil plays be expected to deliver the same type of performance? Are the required technologies currently available, or are a new set of innovations and adaptations required?
Oil movement from microdarcy rocks requires a shift in the physics of flow. The conventional model of mobile oil flow through large pores with only minor resistance and reactions to the rock matrix has proven unworkable in many tight oil environments; hence, a “new” physical flow model with controls such as capillary blocking pressure, relative permeability, interfacial tension, viscosity reduction and surface modification must be developed. This presentation examines the early stages of what has worked and what shows promise, from a perspective of basic laboratory and early field work.
George E. King is a forty-year veteran of oil and gas research and operations and is Apache Corporation’s Distinguished Engineering Advisor. He is a registered professional engineer and is currently involved in multiple areas of new technologies in the areas of surface modification chemistry, shale fracturing, artificial lift and completions. George holds BS degrees in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Petroleum Engineering. He is a 37-year member of SPE, and also has membership in AAPG and NACE. He has authored over 65 papers and has received the 2004 SPE Production Operations Award and the 2012 Engineer of the year award from the Houston region of the Society of Professional Engineers. He has been a SPE Distinguished Lecturer, on the SPE Distinguished Lecturer Committee from 2003-09 and is a SPE Continuing Education Teacher in shale technology.