Unconventional Shale Resources

Unconventional Shale Resources

The economics of unconventional plays can be improved if horizontal wellbores and frac strategies target facies with favorable reservoir and geomechanical properties. As apparently simple as this statement is, its implementation is anything but.

Unconventional reservoirs are very heterogeneous. Facies distribution is complex, causing rock mechanical properties to vary dramatically. This facies variability needs to be well understood from a depositional and compositional standpoint, and carried through all modeling and interpretive processes in the workflow.

The goal of our unconventional resource workflow is to determine the main controls on production, determine the data types required to analyze those controls, predict their behavior away from the borehole, and design a completion strategy.

The workflow encompasses scales ranging from the microscopic to the basin level, and requires the integration of multiple disciplines across these scales.

Rock physics is the underlying framework of the workflow. It forms the link between the intrinsic properties of the rocks, such as mineralogy, pore structure, fractures & stress states, to the petrophysical, geomechanical & geophysical data used to create the earth models.

Phase One is a study of the deposition and diagenesis of the basin

Our specialists in biostratigraphy, sedimentology, petrography and core magnetics produce a geologic characterization of the play. The mechanisms for facies heterogeneity must be understood in order to scale the observations made at the micro scale, from core and cuttings, to the log scale. An understanding of why a facies is present allows us to predict where it should be present in the basin. Additionally, an understanding of the thermal maturation over time gives insight into source rock potential.

Phase Two is a study of the fluids

Our Geochemistry services play a role in unconventional plays beginning with basin level thermal maturity analysis and migration modeling in 1D, 2D, and 3D for source rock richness and organic petrography. More specific reservoir and well level analyses studies are conducted for determining the variation of reservoir fluids, produced water and bitumens, and possible compartmentalization and production allocation.

Phase Three is a study of reservoir quality

Facies heterogeneity is a given, so discrimination of lithofacies from core & cuttings is required. Within each facies, parameters such as pore size/shape/distribution, along with mineralogical composition, grain sizes and organic richness are analyzed. Geomechanical properties are quantified for each facies. These lithofacies are upscaled to electrofacies from logs and ultimately to seismic facies, utilizing the rock physics framework. The prediction of facies distribution between wells is accomplished with specialized seismic inversion, multi-attribute and geostatistical technologies. Natural fractures are also a component of the reservoir quality. Fracture density, orientation and status are carefully mapped in the reservoir zone and in surrounding layers if meaningful.

Phase Four is a study of induced fracture permeability

A number of variables affect the likelihood a rock will fracture and the characteristics of the resulting fracture network. Mechanical rock properties influencing fracturing characteristics are correlative to mineralogical composition, porosity, and shale stratigraphy, which is why an understanding of the depositional history and lithofacies present give insights into vertical and lateral variability of the fracture network. Rock mechanical properties such as dynamic Young’s Modulus and Poisson’s Ratio, which together define the brittleness of the rock, are calculated through petrophysical analysis at the well locations (1D) and regionally through post- and pre-stack seismic inversion workflows (3D).

In-situ stress, present in the earth prior to drilling, affects the propagation of induced fractures. This anisotropic affect can be measured through azimuthal AVO and azimuthal elastic inversion workflows.

All of these factors come into play when deciding the fracking strategy. Geologic, geophysical and geomechanical data are integrated into a coupled Reservoir Modeling and Geomechanical Simulation workflow to create an optimum fracturing strategy specific to the reservoir characteristics along the lateral.

CGG’s unique multi-disciplinary expertise delivers customized solutions to help clients meet their exploration, development and production challenges. We have a Passion for Geoscience and our extensive portfolio of products and services can be applied throughout the natural resource lifecycle.

Seismic reservoir characterization in resourc...

Arcangelo Sena | Gabino Castillo | Kevin Chesser | Simon Voi...

Integrating surface seismic, microseismic, ro...

Gabino Castillo | Simon Voisey | Kevin Chesser | Norbert Van...
©2014 EAGE

An integrated approach to unconventional reso...

Scott Brindle | David O'connor | Richard Windmill | Peter We...
©2015 EAGE
Multi-Client Data - Big Cat

Big Cat

Use science to optimize your reservoir in Big Cat, Wyoming. Get advanced seismic with reservoir characterization products to optimize drilling and completion
GeoConsulting - RoqScan


Automated mineralogy. Hard data when and where you need it. Perform detailed rock property analyses. Steer wells. Optimize completions.
GeoConsulting - Shale Science

Shale Science

Take a scientific approach to shales. Our team predicts the most promising zones and optimizes development, drilling and completion programs.
GeoConsulting - Geophysical Services (SRC)


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