Innovation and Production Efficiency Key to Unconventional Resiliency
Unconventional oil and gas experts gathered at the Unconventionals Resources Technology Conference (URTeC) in San Antonio, Texas in early August to exchange new technologies and best practices in the exploration and production of unconventional oil and gas. It was also an opportunity to take stock of the current industry downturn and the future outlook for unconventional reservoirs, particularly within the United States.
Set against a global backdrop of reduced oil prices, participants from operating companies examined how the U.S. stacks up against other countries in terms of production, innovative field development and advances in technology.
Saudi Aramco has been a sponsor, exhibitor and technical session participant since the conference debuted in 2013. Organized by American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), the conference attracted 2,400 professionals, with nearly 600 technical presentations divided into 13 themes—from geomechanics to production performance and well completion and stimulation practices.
Aramco participation adds an international dimension to the conference and this year six technical presentations illustrated the company’s continued advancement of its unconventionals program and the strength of research and development activities related to shale and tight gas.
A well-attended session at the conference featured Saudi Aramco’s Mohammed Al Duhailan, Geophysicist, Jafurah Emerging Unconventional Asset Team, providing an understanding of petroleum system chemistry from Jurassic source rocks to produce hydrocarbons. The paper “Differential Maturation, Generation and Expulsion of Petroleum: Causes and Effects on Jurassic Unconventional Resources in Saudi Arabia”
examined source rock behavior and mapping of various factors to ultimately identify sweet spots for shale gas potential within the Arabian Basin.
A second paper from Al Duhailan, “Integrated Analysis of Abnormal Pressures in Source Rock,”
attracted the same following of attendees interested in Aramco’s research in modeling petroleum generation pressures that build up in source rock. Pressure models have implications for overall exploration and production strategy, he noted.
A trio of papers from petroleum engineers at the Aramco Research Center—Houston dealt with a variety of topics. Onur Balan presented “Optimization of Well and Stage Spacing for Tight/Shale Gas Reservoirs”
during a standing room only e-poster session. Jilin Zhang related mineralogy and rock texture to shale rock strength during his discussion, and Jinhong Chen examined pore fluid behavior in a session dedicated to flow behavior from nanopores to reservoir scale.
Terry Hagiwara, Aramco Services Company (ASC) Upstream, contributed to the technical program by illustrating the relationship between permeability and formation factors during his talk “Predicting Permeability Anisotropy from Resistivity Anisotropy.”
During URTeC, ASC’s Staffing Services met with professionals in geology, geophysics, petrophysics, reservoir engineering and geomechanics interested in learning more about the company’s unconventionals progress and program.