ConocoPhillips Driving Data Analytics, Refracs In The Eagle Ford Shale
Robust data analytics, thoughtful completions evolution and other lessons learned after a decade operating in the Eagle Ford shale of South Texas has supermajor ConocoPhillips confident it has unlocked over one billion additional barrels of oil equivalent across its position since 2012.
The company entered the Eagle Ford in 2009 and currently holds around 200,000 net acres spanning from the up-dip black oil window and the downdip to the edge of the wet gas window. At the end of 2018, the operator had more than 1,200 wells and 2,000 miles of pipelines across the area.
Data gathering and analysis across its holdings has paid benefits, according to Erec Isaacson, vice president of ConocoPhillips’ Gulf Coast Business unit.
“With all of that information what we’ve been able to do from 2014-2018 is decrease or spud to total depth time by 33%, normalized to 10,000 feet,” he told attendees at Hart Energy’s DUG Eagle Ford Conference & Exhibition in San Antonio on Sept. 25. “That puts us at the front of the pack in terms of drilling efficiency as compared to our peer group. We don’t stop there with our use of data analytics. We also use it in our completions. We take all of our completion parameters and compare those to how they perform from the production of the well. We end up modifying and continuously optimizing our completions.”
DUG Eagle Ford: Austin Chalk Is Back And Delivering Results
Once described as the “most perverse, contrary, incorrigible oilfield known to man,” the Austin Chalk of east-central Texas has perplexed, enticed and bewitched many into developing it. Faulty to a fault, the locating and producing of the formation’s ample resources have kept wildcatters busy since 1960, with the drilling of the discovery well in what would eventually become known as the Giddings Field. Stretching across multiple counties, the Giddings Field did not see large-scale development until the late 1970s.
“The field started out with vertical drilling, but the big increase in production came when horizontal drilling kicked in in the ’90s,” Phil Martin, CEO of New Century Exploration, told attendees at the recent DUG Eagle Ford Conference & Exhibition in San Antonio. “And it’s produced 300 MMbbl cumulative in its time, which at $50/bbl, that’s $15 trillion it’s generated. That’s an awful lot of money, and it’s mainly been technology-derived.”
Treadstone Energy Partners is adding barrels to that cumulative figure with its work in the area. Within the Giddings Field, tucked away near the convergence point of three counties—Burelson, Milam and Robertson—lies the Hearne Field. It is there that the company found what it considered the “perfect opportunity.”
“Our strategy is to research diligently for something that we believe everybody else is overlooking or misunderstands,” said Frank McCorkle, founder and president of Treadstone Energy Partners, in his presentation to DUG Eagle Ford attendees. “In 2016, we finally found an opportunity that met all of our acquisition criteria, and we were able to purchase the Hearne Field from Anadarko in the third quarter of 2016.”
Adjustments To Legacy Practices Secures Business In Eagle Ford
How are operators securing their business in the Eagle Ford in light of declining rig counts? New efficiencies in well interference technique, big data analytics, and the advancement of completions are keeping operators pretty steady in the shale play.
During a roundtable discussion on legacy practices versus new well performance at DUG Eagle Ford Conference & Exhibition on Sept. 25, panelists from both the operator side and service provider side agreed the secret is in a company’s approach to their assets.
Amit Sharma, integrated sensor diagnostics manager at Halliburton Co., said there isn’t just one answer to well intervention. But, there are two ways of developing an asset, he noted. One is trial and error, and the other is a structured approach.
“We have to be reservoir specific,” he said. “The way that we are approaching it is we’re trying to achieve a more uniformed flow distribution across the clusters, so that we don’t get those one-off lone fracs.”
Most operators, he said, follow the trial-and-error method. But, he explained, attention to techniques like cluster and stage spacing achieves uniformed distribution. Ultimately, having a good strategy will combat frac hits.
“It all needs to come together when you’re planning an asset,” he said.
The cause of well interference has been highly debated as experts say the data suggests a permeability issue, while others argue well spacing is to blame. Dealing with this hot topic in his own organization, Boomtown Oil LLC reservoir lead Sean Fitzgerald said going into its third private equity project, the company specifically targeted greenfield assets to avoid frac hits.