AAPG Middle East Region, Shale Gas Evolution Symposium

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The Shale Learning Curve: Trendless Trends that Guide our Decisions – A Geologic Perspective


The US has several shale plays that have been producing for more than a decade and the US has drilled and stimulated roughly 150,000 shale wells since 2008 per the IHS database. Given the shear volume of data, what can be learned from the US and how can that be translated to international shale development? Numerous papers exist on productivity trends, proppant usage, fluid volumes, and well length trends for a handful of plays. Some of that will be shown here but the primary objective of this discussion is to focus on the geologic component in trend analysis. Bubble plots consistently show significant scatter which appears to yield no discernable trend. Despite this lack of clear evidence, wells have continued to get longer, and proppant volumes have continued to get larger. General EUR trends are very positive when looking at yearly vintages which implies the trendless trends are working. More/bigger is better it seems in US shales. This paper will highlight an improved approach to scatter plot analysis and the need to include geologic components in your trends for both stimulation area and EUR. The resulting benefit is increased trend quality and improved quantitative prediction of future stimulation treatments.