As oil prices drop and shale operators around the U.S. sweat, one statistic sticks out from the 2014 DUG Eagle Ford conference—the open admission on stage by one of the largest energy services companies that “60% of all fracture stages are ineffective.” The presenter continued by asserting that a “step change” in completions and productivity is needed to sustain the unconventional energy revolution.
Known-knowns, known-unknowns and unknown-unknowns—Donald Rumsfeld’s notable turn of phrase is an apt characterization of where we are with unconventional oil development today. Shale operators in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Bakken and other plays have transformed the U.S. into an energy superpower by profitably extracting oil and gas from tight rocks that weren’t commercially viable even a few years ago. With that backdrop, unconventional oil development today is punctuated by significant performance variations among operators with contiguous acreage positions and meager EUR rates. Unless performance keeps improving, any fluctuation in commodity prices can send shockwaves through the oil patches around the country, as we have seen happen with natural gas. How do we gain ground on the vexing “unknowns” to tilt the inherent risks involved in shale oil development in our favor?
How would the major technological transformations unfolding in other industries affect oil & gas?
Unless you have been living under a rock – no pun intended – you have experienced the buzz in today’s business media about the Internet of Things and Big Data Analytics. Some of you may have even wondered how would these macro trends impact finding and extracting more oil faster, cheaper and safer. This article explores how a technology that sits in the middle of these two trends is poised to transform oil and gas operations, with a focus on unconventional oil development.
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For any pioneer, the future holds great promise and great mystery. Solving mysteries often requires overcoming challenges before the rewards can be fully realized. But what if a pioneer was given a time machine that allowed him to glimpse into the future before returning to the present? That pioneer would likely use that knowledge to prevent the hurdles in his way and to discover even greater resources he might otherwise have missed, allowing him to potentially reap greater rewards.
Amy LoganScience Fiction Now A Fact In The E&P World