[First Hit]

2019 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition:

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Selecting an Appropriate Unconventional Play Previous HitAnalogNext Hit for the Bowland Shale While Acknowledging Operational Constraints in the United Kingdom


The reporting of potential resources is essential to assess the future development plan and profitability of a petroleum discovery, but if the project is under appraised and production data are absent, analysts often use analogs for preliminary estimates of technically recoverable volumes. A workflow is presented for selecting appropriate analogs for unconventional plays and using them to estimate the target play’s potential. The proposed technique is demonstrated with a case study of the as-yet undeveloped Bowland Shale, which is the most prominent of the shale plays in the United Kingdom (UK) and is at the early stage of its assessment. Studies have estimated the play’s in-place resources for possible future development, but there are few estimates of its corresponding recoverable volumes due to lack of production history. At the outset, a database is created with published minimum-average-maximum ranges of key parameters such as total organic carbon, maturity level, gas filled porosity, permeability, etc. that play a major role in resources estimation and recovery potential for all unconventional plays. A comparison of triangular distributions, key parameter by key parameter, between the target shale play and the Previous HitanalogNext Hit database, is then carried out using novel graphical and statistical methods to establish a “confidence factor” relating to the Previous HitanalogNext Hit’s viability. The most appropriate Previous HitanalogNext Hit for the Bowland Shale is chosen from an exhaustive list of North American shale gas plays. Analytical approaches are then used to transform a model of the published type well performance of the selected Previous HitanalogTop by exchanging key model parameters with those of the target shale play. The workflow goes on to statistically incorporate restrictions placed on a future development of the Bowland Shale. These will impact on drilling and production operations and stem from the geographic proximity of urban developments, infrastructure and nature, which limit the size of well pad footprint in the UK where land use is high. The paper shows how such environmental constraints can have a marked effect on the estimated recovery from the Bowland Shale.