Shale Fuel: Penn State Researchers Rediscover Round Reasoning

Visitor “are you fracking kidding me?” by David Middleton

Researchers unearth cost-effective methodology for locating shale gasoline
New methodology approximates accessible gasoline in untapped areas of Marcellus Shale area utilizing properly manufacturing knowledge

David Kubarek
September 03, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A brand new methodology for exploring pure gasoline within the Marcellus Shale, developed by Penn State researchers, reveals potential excessive yield areas might be discovered extra simply and with decrease prices.

Historically, pure gasoline scorching spots are decided utilizing a mix of present properly manufacturing knowledge and varied geological exams. The researchers, in work revealed within the SPE Reservoir Analysis & Engineering journal, detailed a way for approximating accessible gasoline in untapped areas utilizing properly manufacturing knowledge taken from greater than 5,600 current wells.

Researchers used solely wells with greater than two years of manufacturing logs and assigned a decline curve evaluation — the quantity of manufacturing loss over time — for every properly. They then utilized these decline curves over all the area of the Marcellus Shale. That allowed researchers to forecast the quantity of gasoline that will be generated over time if a brand new properly have been created. Researchers then validated their findings utilizing geological maps, which have been created from core samples.

“Relatively than taking a look at these geological proxies for manufacturing we’re simply taking a look at manufacturing itself,” mentioned Eugene Morgan, assistant professor of petroleum and pure gasoline engineering within the Penn State School of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “By taking a look at simply manufacturing and mapping we see that it agrees very well with these geological variables associated to manufacturing, which validates our strategy. By taking a look at manufacturing alone you’re straight concentrating on the data you’re after.”

Morgan mentioned the strategy held robust throughout validation, displaying that it was virtually as efficient at forecasting pure gasoline assets as strategies that embrace pricey geological knowledge sampling.

[…]

Penn State College

This map accompanied the article and consists of the precise caption:

“Penn State researchers element a way for approximating accessible gasoline in untapped areas utilizing properly manufacturing knowledge taken from greater than 5,600 current wells within the Marcellus Shale area. That would result in extra economical location of pure gasoline with much less disturbance on the area’s geology. IMAGE: PENN STATE”

That would result in extra economical location of pure gasoline with much less disturbance on the area’s geology.

Penn State

“Much less disturbance on the area’s geology”???

The aim of drilling and frac’ing gasoline wells is to disturb the area’s geology. That’s the way you get the gasoline to come back out of the rocks and go into pipelines Should you don’t disturb the geology, you don’t produce oil or gasoline… You may’t even drill and produce a groundwater properly with out disturbing the geology.

In equity to the Penn State researchers, the press launch was clearly written by somebody who was completely clueless.

The SPE paper is pay-walled, however clearly not written by somebody who was completely clueless.

Combining Decline-Curve Evaluation and Geostatistics To Forecast Fuel Manufacturing within the Marcellus Shale

Zhenke Xi (Pennsylvania State College) | Eugene Morgan (Pennsylvania State College)

To estimate the manufacturing potential at a brand new, potential subject website via simulation or materials steadiness, one wants to gather varied types of pricey subject knowledge and make assumptions in regards to the nature of the formation at that website. Decline-curve evaluation (DCA) wouldn’t be relevant on this state of affairs, as a result of producing wells must pre-exist within the goal subject. The target of our work was to make first-order forecasts of manufacturing charges at potential, undrilled websites utilizing solely manufacturing knowledge from current wells in all the play. That is achieved by means of the co-Kriging of decline-curve parameter values, the place the parameter values are obtained at every current properly by becoming an applicable decline mannequin to the manufacturing historical past. Co-Kriging offers the perfect linear unbiased prediction of parameter values at undrilled areas, and in addition estimates uncertainty in these predictions. Thus, we obtained manufacturing forecasts at P10, P50, and P90, and we calculated the estimated final restoration (EUR) at those self same ranges throughout the spatial area of the play.

[…]

SPE Reservoir Analysis & Engineering journal

That is all properly and good. In useful resource performs, just like the Marcellus, decline-curve evaluation (DCA), all by itself, can fairly properly forecast the estimated final restoration (EUR). The manufacturing knowledge can be utilized to forecast manufacturing… Not a brand new idea and mainly round reasoning. Moreover, the authors clearly state that that is for”first-order forecasts of manufacturing charges.” It’s a reconnaissance software. By interpolating DCA’s play-wide, you’ll be able to establish areas which can be extra potential than others, in useful resource performs. This would possibly assist high-grade areas on which to focus extra detailed geological analyses; though most geologists will need to work the schist out of all the play. You don’t discover issues that everybody else missed utilizing this form of methodology.

Nonetheless, this isn’t “a brand new methodology for exploring pure gasoline within the Marcellus Shale”… It’s not a way of exploring for something. Nor does it present that “potential excessive yield areas might be discovered extra simply and with decrease prices.” You continue to have to select a drilling location. And the one manner you are able to do that is to interpret the geological knowledge from close by wells and incorporate any geophysical knowledge which can be accessible. The drillers need to have a goal (x,y and depth).

One of many issues with science communication is that press releases are sometimes far-removed from the scientific publication after which misreported by the media.

The brand new methodology of exploration comes on the proper time. Demand for pure gasoline in the US is rising, however costs have been depressed as a result of provide from the shale patch is rising quicker than demand. Consequently, in April this 12 months, the benchmark pure gasoline contract on the Waha Hub slipped into damaging territory, at  -$9 per million British thermal items. Only a month later, the benchmark slipped into damaging territory as soon as once more, at -$four.28 per mmBtu. The typical value for the primary 5 months of the 12 months was $zero.92 per mmBtu.

On the finish of August, pure gasoline was buying and selling above US$2 per mmBtu, however analysts warned that quickly they may slip decrease than this as summer time ends and temperatures fall, undermining demand, which spiked throughout the warmth waves. Now, there’ll possible be a lull in demand earlier than it picks up throughout the winter.

Regardless of the decrease costs, U.S. pure gasoline manufacturing continued to extend in August and set a brand new day by day manufacturing file of 92.1 billion cubic ft per day on August 5, the EIA mentioned, citing knowledge from OPIS PointLogic Vitality. Between Might and August, gasoline manufacturing rose by 2.5 %, primarily pushed by the Northeast.

On this value and provide context, the brand new exploration methodology, if utilized on a bigger scale, may have implications for U.S. LNG exports as properly.

Oil Value Dot Com

“The brand new methodology of exploration high-grading comes on the proper time” for what? With pure gasoline costs routinely falling into damaging territory and averaging lower than $1/mmBtu, nothing could make drilling pure gasoline wells financial, besides NGL’s…

Confidence on this quick tempo of manufacturing development is well-founded; reported preliminary manufacturing charges and different elements counsel that the break-even gasoline value for a lot of dry Marcellus producers is just about $2.50/MMBTU, and that—because of supplemental returns on pure gasoline liquids (NGLs) and, in some instances, condensates—the break-even gasoline value for a lot of moist Marcellus/Utica producers is even decrease: about $2/MMBTU. In some instances the efficient pure gasoline breakeven value will get all the best way to zero, with lucky producers attaining breakeven returns from the sale of NGLs and condensates.

RBN Vitality

Manufacturing knowledge is often bought from distributors who specialise in aggregating manufacturing knowledge. Properly logs and different geological knowledge are additionally often bought from distributors. These kinds of information aren’t costly, notably compared to seismic surveys. And all of those prices are insignificant in comparison with the price of drilling and finishing the wells.

Even when this high-grading software works and is extensively employed, it could simply enhance the amount of pure gasoline manufacturing, placing downward stress on costs. Re-quoting the Oil Value Dot Com article…

The brand new methodology of exploration comes on the proper time. Demand for pure gasoline in the US is rising, however costs have been depressed as a result of provide from the shale patch is rising quicker than demand.

Oil Value Dot Com

A brand new software that will increase manufacturing and barely impacts prices will not be coming on the proper time, when pure gasoline is starting from -$10/mmBtu to +$2/mmBtu.

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