(589a) Unconventional OIL and Natural Gas - Science & Technology Advancement | AIChE

(589a) Unconventional OIL and Natural Gas - Science & Technology Advancement


Ciferno, J. - Presenter, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Cercone, D., National Energy Technology Laboratory
Srivastava, R., KeyLogic
Despite the significant growth in the production of Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) resources during the shale revolution, very little is known in detail about recovery efficiency in these hydraulically-fractured reservoirs. The limited information that is available suggests that recovery factors (the ratio of produced resource to total in-place resource) are typically quite low: approximately 20 percent in gas-rich shale reservoirs and less than 10 percent in liquid-rich plays. By increasing the recovery factors of hydrocarbons, the environmental impact of these activities would also be reduced.

Therefore, the primary research challenges include, but are not limited to: 1) understanding the nano-scale structure of UOG reservoirs in order to more effectively create and control stimulated rock volume; 2) improving recovery efficiency to reduce the incidence of stranded/unproduced resources and the related lost economic and energy security benefits; 3) understanding the anticipated continued growth in recoverable resource volumes with technology advance; and 4) accurately assessing the potential nature, scale, and rate (intensity) of future development in various areas of the country to guide assessment of region-specific and environmental impacts.

Hydraulic and natural fracture diagnostic technologies have not advanced beyond microseismic monitoring techniques, and there is a need to improve the characterization of the far-field fracture geometry for recovery factor calculations and improvement. Advanced diagnostic and monitoring tools, as well as subsurface models, can be capable of predicting induced seismic events and may provide insight and benefit to our understanding and modeling of the stimulated reservoir volume during hydraulic fracturing operations.

Once the geometries of natural and induced fractures are better understood, new physical and chemical treatments can be formulated for each specific well to achieve maximum recovery factors. Advanced stimulation technologies, such as energized foams or other novel fluids could work in tandem with advanced fracture diagnostic tools to improve recovery efficiency and reduce potential environmental impacts.