--> Progress and Findings from “MSEEL 1” and the Transition to “MSEEL 2”, Creating Value from a Cooperative Project

2019 AAPG Eastern Section Meeting:
Energy from the Heartland

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Progress and Findings from “MSEEL 1” and the Transition to “MSEEL 2”, Creating Value from a Cooperative Project


Northeast Natural Energy is in partnership with West Virginia University, Ohio State University, and the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in a long-term Marcellus shale field laboratory project dubbed MSEEL (mseel.org), at a pad location near Morgantown, West Virginia. The study pad contains two newer horizontal wells, a vertical monitoring well, and two older horizontal wells (pre-MSEEL). Throughout the first phase of the project (2015-2018), various cutting-edge downhole technologies including whole and side-wall cores, fiber optics, horizontal logging, microseismic, etc. were implemented to better understand the full geomechanical and petrophysical reservoir system. The results allowed for updated operational best practices and ultimately improved recovery efficiencies from the Marcellus reservoir. Well results were improved by over 20% when compared to earlier generation wells, in large part, by using information gleaned from MSEEL 1. While the first phase of the project was deemed to be a technical success, technologies employed there are cost-prohibitive in a field development scenario. As various technologies have evolved, Phase 2 of the project pushes the envelope to use the latest high-end fiber optic data and analysis to test more economic tools and concepts, such as behind bit memory imaging, drillbit geomechanics, imploding proppant, and other concepts to design optimized completions which could be used in a field-wide development plan. Whole and sidewall core data is also being used to further characterize kerogen and its affects on porosity, permeability, and hydrocarbon storage. Also being studied are the interactions of the reservoir with different fluids being used during the well completion process. Early results from MSEEL 2 wells will be discussed, as well as the incorporation of this data into an improved Marcellus shale full reservoir model. Practical aspects of harnessing partnerships between the government, universities, and operators to “make better wells” will be highlighted to indicate how even slight improvements in well quality leads to enormous public benefits.