SEG Shale Gas Technology Forum
Serving the Society's global membership and promoting innovative technology
Alfred Liaw, SEG vice president
In 2010, the People's Republic of China set a national goal to produce 8-12% of its natural gas from shale-gas resources by 2020. To foster achievement of this goal, the Ministry of Land and Resources set the challenges of identifying 50-80 shale-gas prospects in 20-30 exploration-and-development blocks, locating 1 trillion cubic meters of recoverable shale-gas reserves, and building 15-30 billion cubic meters of production capacity. Timing is critical for geoscientists and engineers collaborating on the effort.
At the suggestion of senior executives from CNPC/PetroChina, SEG organized the Shale Gas Technology Forum in the Shangri-La Hotel, Chengdu, Sichuan, China. The Forum successfully took place from 29 March to 1 April 1 2011. The Society of Petroleum Geophysicists (SPG) of the China Petroleum Society (CPS) and the National Energy Shale Gas R&D Center co-organized the Forum with SEG. The Forum drew 318 delegates including, 66 from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and Korea and 252 from various oilfields in China.
Forty eight speakers gave presentations in the following six technical sessions:
The key items I took away from the Forum were as follows:
SEG President Klaas Koster kicked off the Forum with a keynote speech on how SEG serves its global membership and promotes innovative technology, such as by organizing the Shale Gas Technology Forum. Xu Wenrong of CNPC acknowledged that SEG has played a key role in creating a technology-exchange platform over the past 40 years. He said the Chinese government has given high priority to developing highly efficient and environmentally friendly natural-gas resources.
Cai Xiyuan, Sinopec's chief geologist, said he expects that international cooperation will provide a new path for future unconventional oil-and-gas exploration and production. Sinopec will be working with its partners to strengthen the collaboration and develop business in unconventional resources, he said. CNOOC has been investigating shale-gas technology and defining the criteria to select shale-gas acreages domestically and internationally.
Doug Hazlett of Anadarko gave an overview of the shale-gas potential in North America. He said the shale-gas future would be great because of the need for environmentally friendly fuel and the technology enablers that are in place. Claudia Hackbarth of Shell posted two key questions for a successful shale project: (1) Is there a material amount of gas? (2) Can you get it out at a cost you can afford?
Zhou Zheng-Zheng (Joe) introduced an orthorhombic PSTM technique to generate azimuthal gathers for the characterization of stress-field anisotropy and to identify natural fracture and brittleness in shale formations. Ron Harris reported the progress made on the 3D/3C seismic study over the Marcellus shale plays to characterize fracture orientations. Mark Richardson presented results of a 3D/3C seismic survey in the northern Piceance Basin in tight-gas reservoirs that shows evidence of shear-wave birefringence. Galen Treadgold presented an integrated interpretation of 3D seismic attributes over the Eagle Ford resources for sweet-spot identifications. Jon Downton reported on his use of 3D PP and PS data to carry out azimuthal inversions to characterize shale-reservoir anisotropy.
Jim McRae reported in detail on how extended-reach horizontal wells were designed and drilled over Marcellus, Haynesville, and Eagle Ford. As a drilling engineer, he would like to know (1) the occurrence of fracture zones, (2) SHmax and Shmin orientation and magnitude, and (3) how to eliminate the nonproductive time. Z.Z. Zheng encouraged the application of rotary steerable drilling to minimize BHA vibration in order to avoid equipment failure. Randy LaFollette reported on his data-mining study of 10,000 wells over the Barnett shale. He found a preferred orientation of well placement to maximize gas production. P.K. Pande described his use of field demonstrations to carry out a full-life-cycle integrated approach to improving operational efficiency in shale resources.
Mark Zoback showed a correlation between the abundance of microearthquakes with natural fracture and high-gamma-ray shales. He also reported finding more microearthquakes in later stages of fracture stimulation, which suggests a stress evolution during the fracture process. Bob Langan reported an improvement in microearthquake locations by using two downhole monitoring wells.
In addition to the technical presentation sessions, the Forum was highlighted by the PetroChina Culture Night at the Shunxing Ancient Teahouse. The evening was hosted by President Li Luguang and Party Secretary Wang Guangyun of the PetroChina Southwest Company. Complimenting the hot and spicy local Sichuan delicacies, there were performances of famous Sichuan opera face changing, traditional dancers and instruments, as well as acrobatics. All English-speaking participants surprised Chinese audiences by performing a patriotic song of Chinese oil field workers in Mandarin Chinese on the stage.
Fourteen members of the SEG student chapter from the Southwest Petroleum University served as volunteers at the Forum. The student volunteers, led by Wang Zhiguo, wearing prominent blue SEG Shale Forum jackets, provided needed logistical support during the Forum. While serving as volunteers, they also were exposed to technical presentations. Their contribution to the success of this forum was extremely valuable.