Cover: Oilfield Review Autumn 2011
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Editorial: What a Difference a Decade Makes
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Defining Drilling: Turning to the Right—An Overview of Drilling Operations
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A new hydraulic fracturing technique creates a network of open channels—instead of a continuous proppant pack— in a fracture, thereby greatly improving fracture conductivity. Case histories from Argentina and the US demonstrate that this technique generates significant production improvements.
Intelligent completions offer an alternative to costly interventions in remote or complex wells and provide efficiencies that ensure increased production rates and longer economic life for such wells. Until now, however, their cost relegated intelligent completions almost exclusively to high-end wells. A new modular-based, smaller system promises to bring the benefits of intelligent wells to the rest of the market.
During the past decade, gas production from organic-rich shales has been made profitable through the application of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. As a result of successful shale gas operations in North America, exploration companies have launched global searches for basins with similar potential for becoming resource plays. Existing data show there are abundant opportunities for exploration.
Producing natural gas from organic-rich shale deposits requires more than just horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing. Successful operators take an integrated approach, using multiple data sources, to determine the key parameters needed to understand the shale and extract the gas. Among the successes, a Fayetteville Shale operator demonstrated how developing a 3D earth model of the reservoir and continually improving processes paid big dividends. In addition, engineers analyzed production logging data from multiple plays to identify production characteristics that may impact future shale development plans.
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