The COVID-19 pandemic forced Canadian oil and gas operators to cut crude oil production by almost 1 MMb/d in the first half of 2020 due to low oil prices driven by reduced demand. This study explores the forecast and EUR performance of unconventional horizontal oil wells producing from the Duvernay Formation in central Alberta that were shut-in versus those that continued to produce uninterrupted throughout the reduced production period. How were forecasted production and EURs impacted? Did the manner in which the wells were completed play a role? This paper investigates these questions and more in a regional case study of 95 unconventional Duvernay oil wells using public data and a fully automated, physio-statistical, predictive analytical production forecasting tool.

The bases of the performance comparison were the results of a 10-year forecast and EUR outlook for the wells evaluated in January, 2020 before the production slow down, and then re-evaluated in January, 2021, 12 months later, after the wells that were shut-in were back on production.

In general, wells that continued producing uninterrupted throughout the study period exhibited significantly improved forecast and EUR performance over wells that were shut-in. Analyzing the performance of the largest field (Cygnet with 32 wells), with respect to lateral length, the results pointed to shorter wells that were shut-in exhibiting the poorest performance, where the wells' EUR performance degraded by 7% on average. The proppant intensity study for the same wells told a similar story, with shut-in wells with smaller fracs exhibiting negligible EUR improvement (0.4%) compared to the other categories of wells, with respect to frac size and shut-in status. A proximity study investigated two pads, one with only shut-in wells and the other with only non-shut-in wells, with the results pointing to competitive drainage between individual wells despite the overall performance of a given pad being neutral.

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