Retooling Hydrocarbon Show Analyses to Identify Play Potential in Unconventional Reservoirs
Philip H. Stark, Sandy Rushworth, and Alex Chakhmakhchev
IHS Energy Group, Englewood, CO
Hydrocarbon show indexes and show maps from commercial well histories identified hydrocarbon “hotspots” that have yielded important recent discoveries. Show indexes generated during 1978 highlighted rich hydrocarbon occurrences in Richland Co., MT and McKenzie, Co. ND that now are the focal points for the Bakken oil play. In a 1982 study, show indexes identified four counties in central Utah as one of the most prospective trends in the western U.S. thrust belt. The 2004 Covenant field discovery in this trend may be the most significant onshore U.S. lower-48 states oil discovery in more than 20 years.
Based on these results, it was decided to retool the hydrocarbon show analysis process to take advantage of modern data mining and GIS capabilities. New parameter driven spatial queries allow users to summarize hydrocarbon occurrences in wells for specified formations or geological ages within specified geographic, basin or play boundaries. The results can be displayed as show maps by well or as show indexes by geographic areas or grids. Hydrocarbon show selection parameters, show index definitions and recent examples are presented in this paper. In one example, search of more than 1 million wells yielded 210 wells with hydrocarbon shows in the Barnett Shale and equivalent formations that indicate potential to extend production from this important unconventional reservoir into several areas of the mid-continent region. Hydrocarbon show maps and show indexes can be used to identify possible bypassed reservoirs or play extensions in unconventional reservoirs such as shales, tight sands and coalbeds.