The main goal for an operator developing an unconventional reservoir project is to maximize NPV per acre by optimizing its completion strategy. This can be achieved by applying a comprehensive approach that accounts for key well treatment controlling parameters, their impact on the future production performance, and economic uncertainty. In this work, we developed and applied a workflow to explore the impact of various completion parameters and determine the completion strategy with the maximum economic gain.
The workflow integrates petrophysical well log and core data, along with PVT lab experiments with normalized permeabilities calculated from microseismic attributes to initialize the reservoir model. The reservoir model is then calibrated using actual field data to generate a history matched model. Since this model is developed based on microseismic data and represents a realistic network of fractures created during stimulation, it can be further used to analyze the impact of main completion parameters, well spacing and configuration, on the production performance of the wells.
The workflow is applied to three wells drilled in a gas reservoir in the Marcellus Shale. Because abundant field data were available, we can be certain that the calibrated reservoir model accurately matches the reservoir behavior. Detailed analysis of the reservoir model shows the presence of undepleted zones which indicates the current well spacing is too wide. However, the frac hits recorded through microseismic monitoring and pressure interference with nearby wells suggests a tighter well spacing will result in energy loss and over-stimulation. Therefore, an economic analysis is used to evaluate the various well spacing and configuration scenarios and their implications in terms of cost-benefits.
Various well spacing scenarios are created for the original and the proposed chevron pattern well configurations. For each scenario, the EUR, NPV per well, and NPV per acre are calculated to represent maximum gas production, the overall profitability of the pad, and the economic success of the project, respectively. Three gas price scenarios are used for calculation of the NPV's to analyze the impact of the market condition on the economics of the project. The analysis demonstrates that tighter well spacing, independent of gas price, leads to the improved NPV per acre, reduction of EUR, and an increase in well communication as shown by the newly developed well communication index. The models reveal that a monotonic relation between well spacing and NPV per acre does not exist due to the complex nature of the created fracture network and competition between two opposite factors: frac hits that arises at tighter well spacing and unstimulated zones that diminish.
We showed that obtaining optimized well spacing and configuration could only be achieved through applying a comprehensive workflow that not only accounts for the impact of various well design and configuration parameters on production but also their economic implications defined in terms of NPV per acre. It is important to note that the integration of microseismic data was essential for the success of the workflow since it provides a realistic picture of the pathways connecting the adjacent wells which facilitate well communication.