Black Hills Exploration and Production helped substantiate the USGS estimate by completing a number of 8,000- to 10,000-foot horizontal wells in the Niobrara Formation in the Piceance Basin in Colorado. The Niobrara Formation in the Piceance Basin is a 1,200 foot thick gas-producing pay-zone of complex rock properties. The exploration program had three major items to address: the optimal zone in which to land the horizontal wells; the proper orientation of the horizontal wellbore in that zone; and how to complete the horizontal wells effectively. Black Hills believes maximum production in the Niobrara will be achieved by optimizing hydraulic fracturing operations to create the largest quality reservoir contact.
For several years prior to 2014 the DJ Basin was a service company paradise, where the completion method was directed by service companies at the height of the industry cycle. Designs were characterized by ball-sleeve completions (fast, to maximize our competitors pump efficiency), sand (cheap, so our competitors can compete) and a complex gel system (so our competitors can up-charge chemicals). Extraction and Liberty decided the basin was ready for some changes.
Many things change during an industry downturn, but one goal always remains: a need to reduce cost per produced barrel of oil equivalent, or in short: lowering $/BOE. As Yogi Berra so thoughtfully pointed out, lowering $/BOE can be achieved in two ways: by reducing cost while maintaining production, or by boosting production while controlling cost. This paper describes a scoping methodology to lower $/BOE in various areas of the DJ Basin.
Anyone can conduct multi-variate analysis (MVA) and come up with correlations between possible cause and effect. But the results can often be complete madness. It takes frac experts like Liberty to follow a proper analysis method to determine if trends are valid and make physical sense. We are real-data guys and gals, and love to learn from the message contained in completion and production data. This paper presents a comparison of statistical and machine-learning methods to evaluate relationships between completion and petrophysical parameters and production.
As the shale development progresses, the industry seeks to apply more sustainable practices which includes the recycling of produced water. It is on a slippery slope when evaluating produced water for consideration for effective friction reduction – some Friction Reducers (FRs) cannot handle high salinity in produced water. Liberty evaluated several products that can work with the high-TDS produced water from the Bakken Formation.
Completion engineers and geologists always argue about where credit is due for better producing wells: better rock or better fracs? We have developed a comparison approach that allows for a more apples-to apples well production comparison by combining all geological variations in one simple parameter – long term water cut.
The signature Liberty 2Cs Design creates fracs with Complexity with sufficient Conductivity to result in some of the best Bakken producers. Liberty’s method of breaking up shale is a brute-force “slash-hammer approach” with high rate, large volume slickwater jobs. A “toy hammer approach” with tiny gel volumes pumped at low rate through ballsleeve completions simply does not create the intensity in surface area that shale wells need.
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