Roberto Aguilera, Editor
430 pp.; Softcover
ISBN: 978-1-61399-458-0
Society of Petroleum Engineers


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Unconventional Gas and Tight Oil Exploitation
takes an in-depth look at unconventional low-permeability resource accumulations, the required technologies for specialized development, and the assessments currently being applied. With an author team of 14 subject-matter experts with specialization in different tight oil and unconventional-gas areas, this new book is an authoritative resource for those looking to increase recoverable resources. A must read for those wanting to make a significant positive impact on global energy markets while respecting the environment.

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Roberto Aguilera, Editor, is professor of petroleum engineering and CNOOC-Nexen Chair in Tight Oil and Unconventional Gas at the University of Calgary. Aguilera was a Distinguished Author of the Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology (1993 and 1999), a recipient of the Outstanding Service award (1994) and the Distinguished Service Medal (2006) from the Petroleum Society of CIM, an SPE Distinguished Lecturer on the subject of Naturally Fractured Reservoirs for the 2000­—2001 season, and the recipient of the 2011 SPE Canada Region Distinguished Achievement Award Petroleum Engineering Faculty. He was an American Association of Petroleum Geophysicists coinstructor on fractured reservoir analysis from 1984 to 1996. In addition to several research papers, he is author of the book Naturally Fractured Reservoirs (PennWell), coauthor of The Technology of Artificial Lift Methods (PennWell), coauthor of Horizontal Wells (Gulf Publishing Company), coauthor of Determination of Oil and Gas Reserves (Petroleum Society of CIM Monograph No. 1), and coeditor of Advances in the Study of Fractured Reservoirs (The Geological Society of London). Aguilera has rendered training, lecturing, and/or consulting services in more than 50 countries around the world. He holds a BSc in petroleum engineering from the Universidad de America in Bogota, and MEng and PhD degrees in petroleum engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. 

Babak Bob Arefi
holds B.Sc. degrees in chemical and petroleum engineering and also M.Sc. degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Calgary. Since 1983, he has been in the oil and gas industry. He is one of the genuine global well construction experts in unconventional and conventional reservoirs in both offshore and onshore for extensive number of years. Since 1990, Bob has served in many well construction positions such as foreman/companyman, superintendent, engineer, specialist, advisor, consultant. He also for many years taught at the academic institutes and universities. For less than a decade he has been actively involved in the SPE-Technical Editorial Review Board. Bob is holder of several patents, industrial awards and acknowledgements by executive managements and leaders of the industry.

Phillip Chan
is currently the Chief Executive Officer of PAGE Compliance Ltd. which provides advice on securities regulations in oil and gas information disclosure.  He is a petroleum engineer for over 40 years, retiring from Talisman Energy Inc. in 2009 as Senior Manager of Petroleum Engineering for North American Operations. Phil then worked for AJM Petroleum Consultants (AJM Deloitte), as Vice President Technical Services until 2011. From August 2012 to September, 2014 he worked as the Chief Petroleum Officer and Manager of the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC).   Phil contributed to the writing of the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook (COGEH). He served on the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Oil and Gas Reserves Committee (OGRC) and was a co-author of the Application Guidelines to Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS). He served as Chairman of the Canadian Section of the SPE in 2004-2005.

Christopher R. Clarkson
is a professor and the AITF Shell/Encana Chair in Unconventional Gas and Light Oil research in the Department of Geoscience and an adjunct professor with the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary. His work focus in industry was on exploration for and development of unconventional gas (UG) and light oil (ULO) reservoirs. His research focus since coming to U of Calgary in 2009 has been on advanced reservoir characterization methods for UG-ULO, such as rate- and pressure-transient analysis, flowback analysis, and core analysis.  He is also interested in simulation of enhanced recovery processes in UG-ULO, and how these processes can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Clarkson leads an industry-sponsored consortium called “Tight Oil Consortium”, focused on these research topics for unconventional light oil reservoirs in Western Canada.  Clarkson holds a Ph.D. degree in geological engineering from the U. of British Columbia, Canada, and is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific and engineering journals.  Clarkson was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer for the 2009/2010 lecture season, and is the 2016 recipient of the Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award (Canadian Region) from the SPE.

John Etherington
is a Calgary-based consultant advising industry on resources assessment and reporting since 2000. He previously spent over 32 years with Mobil Oil including five years in their central resources audit group. John served on the SPE Oil and Gas Reserves Committee with primary responsibility for drafting the 2007 Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS). He was an SPE Distinguished lecturer and has conducted training on resources assessment using PRMS and SEC guidelines for over 1600 geoscientists and engineers from 46 countries. John represented the SPE on he technical advisory group to United Nations resources classification committee and is a member of the SPEE Reserves Definitions Committee. He holds an MSc degree in geology from the University of Alberta.

Amy Fox
holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of New Hampshire and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in Geophysics from Stanford University. At Stanford she was part of Dr. Mark Zoback’s research group specializing in geomechanics. She has been involved in geomechanical consulting for the oil and gas industry since 1998, starting her career with GeoMechanics International (GMI) in Palo Alto, California. Currently she is co-founder of Enlighten Geoscience Ltd., where she continues providing geomechanical consulting and advising to a wide range of clients.

George E. King
is a Registered Professional Engineer in Texas (2012) and Oklahoma (1977) with 46 years oilfield experience since starting with Amoco Production Research in 1971. He is Apache Corporation’s Distinguished Engineering Advisor, providing training and engineering support on field-based problems.  His technical background includes research on energized fracturing, workovers, chemicals, well integrity, horizontal well completions and unconventional formations.  Publications includes over 80 presented and published papers, book chapters and articles. His education includes Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and a masters in Petroleum Engineering from University of Tulsa (1982). He taught petroleum engineering classes as an adjunct professor for eleven years at University of Tulsa from 1988 to 1998, while working for Amoco.

Kelly Okuszko
, P.Eng. is an Exploitation Engineer with CNRL, working with northeast BC assets. She formerly worked with the BC Oil and Gas Commission as a Reservoir Engineer, during which time she contributed to this work on Environment and Regulatory chapter of the Monograph. Kelly received her B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta with distinction in 2005 and has 12 years of industry experience. She has co-authored and presented two technical papers on unconventional resources and is a member of APEGGA.

Mehran Pooladi-Darvish
is the president of MPD Reservoir Engineers Ltd. Previously he was VP Engineering at Fekete Associates Inc and professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Calgary. He has led more dozens of reservoir characterization and modelling studies, field development and optimization, EOR, in conventional and unconventional reservoirs.  Mehran has appeared as expert witness in various court proceedings in Canada and the US and at regulatory hearings of the Alberta Energy Regulator. Mehran has published more than 60 Journal papers including “Best Paper published in the 2000 and 2005 in JCPT” and the "Distinguished Author Series" in the SPE (JPT) in 2004. He was the Distinguished Lecturer of SPE on the topic of “Geological Storage of CO2” in 2012/13.  At the University of Calgary, his research focused on production of gas from gas hydrates, CO2  sequestration in geological formations, cold production of heavy oil and naturally fractured reservoirs, where we was recipient of three teaching awards. 

Ron Stefik
, Eng.L is Supervisor of Reservoir Engineering at the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, with a staff of seven.  Ron is responsible for reservoir production projects, disposal wells, well testing, hydraulic fracture reporting and provincial reserves. Ron is a member of the CSA underground hydrocarbon storage committee and is involved with carbon capture and storage.  Ron has worked in reservoir engineering for 28 years, following work in both the mining and heavy oil industry.  He is a graduate of Cambrian College, Ontario and NAIT, Alberta, and holds a Limited License with APEGBC.

S. Hamed Tabatabaie
is a product management principal with IHS Markit and has been involved in reservoir simulation studies, reserve estimation and production data analysis of conventional and unconventional reservoirs. Hamed’s primary areas of interest include mathematical modeling of reservoirs (including hydrates) and production data analysis to optimize hydrocarbon recovery. He earned his BSc and MSc degrees from the Petroleum University of Technology, Iran, and MEng and PhD degrees from the University of Calgary, all in petroleum engineering.

Neil Watson
 began his career of over 35 years at Gulf Canada Resources Limited where early assignments in the Foothills and Peace River Arch developed a strong understanding of the relationship between structure and sedimentation. He honed his skills putting together regional evaluations as lead explorationist at a series of start-ups, contributing to their growth to mid-level producer status. He has spent the last 9 years directing a diverse group of technical experts in a series of multi- and single-client consulting projects ranging from comprehensive basinal Resource Play studies to smaller scale M&A and prospect evaluations. Neil holds a B.Sc, in Geology from the University of Alberta. 



About the Contributors  



Chapter 1 – Introduction  1


Chapter 2 – Geologic Aspects  5

2.1 Introduction  5

2.2 The Geology of Unconventional Resources  5

2.3 Measurement Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis  10

2.4 Geologic Evaluation of Unconventional Plays  11

2.5 Rock Mechanics and Geomechanics  20

2.6 Summary  24

Nomenclature  24

Recommended Reading 24


Chapter 3 – Integrated Real-Time Well Construction and Performance Drilling  25

3.1 Integrated Real-Time Well Construction 25

3.2 Performance Drilling  28

Nomenclature  56


Chapter 4 – Completion for Gas and Liquid-Rich Shales  59

4.1 Introduction  59

4.2 Shale Selection  62

4.3 Basic Completion Layout  64

4.4 Selecting the Fracture Initiation Point  66

4.5 Hydraulic Fracture Intersection With Natural Fractures  67

4.6 Completion Design  68

4.7 Considerations in Fracturing Design and Modeling  77

4.8 Simultaneous and Sequential Fracturing 80

4.9 Flowback and Fracture Load Recovery  83


Chapter 5 – Environment and Regulatory  85

5.1 Introduction  85

5.2 Role of the Regulator  85

5.3 Surface Impact  85

5.4 Hydraulic Fracturing  88

5.5 Protection of Groundwater  92

5.6 Induced Seismicity  94

5.7 Data Collection and Reporting  95

5.8 Air Quality  97

5.9 Stakeholder Management 99

5.10 Permitting 100


Chapter 6 – Tight Gas and Tight Oil Development  103

6.1 Introduction 103

6.2 Geoscience 104

6.3 Petrophysics  109

6.4 Drill Cuttings  122

6.5 Well Testing  136

6.6 Production-Decline Analysis  148

6.7 Material Balance  153

6.8 Reservoir Simulation  155

6.9 Summary and Conclusions  170

Nomenclature 171


Chapter 7 – Coalbed Methane  175

7.1 Introduction  175

7.2 Unique Coal Characteristics  176

7.3 Completion Methods and Production Mechanisms 196

7.4 Formation Evaluation  200

7.5 Material Balance and Simulation  237

7.6 Decline Analysis and Recoveries From CBM Formations  255

Nomenclature  263

Acknowledgements  266


Chapter 8 – Shale Gas and Liquid-Rich Shale  267

8.1 Introduction  267

8.2 Petrophysics 270

8.3 Unique Shale Reservoir Properties  280

8.4 Drilling and Completion Methods  304

8.5 Formation Evaluation 304

8.6 Improved and Enhanced Oil Recovery  319

Nomenclature 321


Chapter 9 – Gas Hydrate Reservoirs  325

9.1 Introduction  325

9.2 Occurrence of Natural Gas Hydrates and Estimates of the Resource Size 326

9.3 The Natural Gas Hydrate Petroleum System  327

9.4 Identification of Natural Gas Hydrate Reservoirs and Estimation of the Resource 329

9.5 Production From Hydrate Reservoirs  333

9.6 Material Balance in Gas Hydrate Reservoirs  338

9.7 Well Testing of Hydrate-Capped Gas Reservoirs 342

9.8 Environmental and Economic Considerations  355

Nomenclature 357


Chapter 10 – Economics  359

10.1 Introduction 359

10.2 Production Trends and Market Conditions 359

10.3 Impact of Increase in Unconventional Gas and Tight Oil Production in North America  365

10.4 Economics of Current Unconventional Gas and Tight Oil Plays 368

10.5 Risks and Uncertainties in Reserves Estimates  372

10.6 Other Risks and Uncertainties That May Affect Economics of

Unconventional Gas and Tight Oil 374

10.7 Conclusions  375

Nomenclature  375


Appendix A – Summary of CBM Well Test and Core-Derived Permeability Studies 377

Appendix B – Derivation of Governing Equation  383

References  385

Index  423

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