NA Shale: Well performances are becoming significant better

June 1, 2016

Publisher: GEOExPro, June Edition

United Sates and Canada have been driving the global shale production. Out of the 15.6 million boe/d produced from shale last year, 99% of the production came from these countries. Shale production from this region has proven to be very resistant despite low commodity prices.

One reason shale is surviving in the current price environment is because companies have shifted their exploration focus. When prices were high, shale producer actively explored for the next big play mainly through drilling exploration wells on new acreages. As oil price started to drop, the producers returned to their core areas. The shift in focus then centered on improving the completion technique and increasing the recovery per well.

 

The impact of this activity is illustrated below. The chart shows the average estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) for oil per well for selected US shale plays split on the quarters the wells started up.

The chart shows considerable improvements in the production volumes per well, especially in 2015. On average the resource per well increased 45% from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2015. For Bakken, the play with the highest oil EUR, the number increased from 400 to above 600 thousand boe. Niobrara’s EUR more than double during the same period from 150 to above 350 thousand boe.

There are several reasons for the increased well performances, companies are targeting the best drilling locations, drilling wells with longer laterals and optimizing the well flow. Better micro seismic has also enable the drillers to perform more efficient well placement, while improved completion technique, such as slick water, has improved the fracking process.

To improve well performances has been a key challenge for the shale producers over the last years, a challenge they have delivered on. This knowledge will be a vital when exploration of new acreage start up again, helping more basins to be commercial.

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Espen Erlingsen, VP Analysis
Phone: +47 24 00 42 00
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espen.erlingsen@rystadenergy.com

Julia Weiss, VP Marketing
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julia.weiss@rystadenergy.com

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