Technical Paper: The Significance of Accurate Well Placement in the Shale Gas Plays

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 138438
Presentation Date: 2010
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Unconventional shale gas reservoirs are known for low porosity, low matrix permeability, the lack of an obvious seal or trap, large regional extent, and, in most areas, are believed to be highly heterogeneous in nature. As a result, it is common practice to confirm the reservoir thickness, evaluate the shale gas rock properties and to determine horizontal shale gas targets using vertical or pilot offset wells. Horizontal wells are then drilled and stimulated to maximize reservoir exposure and enhance inflow production performance.

Taking advantage of the high gamma ray activity found in most shale plays, a majority of horizontal wells are steered to stay within the defined target window using a non-azimuthal, averaged gamma ray measurement only. By relying on a single measurement, there is no fall back when the interpretation presents several possible scenarios. Additionally, a non conclusive interpretation will negatively impact the efforts of optimizing the learning curve across a field.

Resistivity measurements complement gamma ray data as they provide an extra data set for correlation. However, azimuthal images from density measurements acquired in real time can offer structural dip authentication along the well trajectory to provide a higher level of accuracy to the modeled structure. By having a validated structural model, a higher level of confidence in real-time steering decisions can be gained. An accurate structural model is also an effective tool to aid completion designs, correlate formation properties, refine target delineation and provide a foundation for evaluating production logs and microseismic observations.

The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate how structural modeling using only gamma ray in horizontal wells can lead to non-unique solutions that can be a potential cause of inconsistent reservoir interpretations and varied production, not only between hydraulic fracturing stages but also from well to well. Having sufficient measurements for formation evaluation, drilling and production results can be better understood and applied to enhance target selection, followed by accurate well placement within the selected target structure. This level of well placement accuracy will deliver consistent production results and provide a common platform for evaluating completion practices.

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