SPE Mid-Continent Luncheon Meeting
Friday, February 17, 2017 — 11:20 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Speaker: Ian Walton | Distinguished Lecturer
Topic: "The Role of Natural Fractures in Shale Gas Production: What Does Production Data Tell Us?"
Natural fractures are very common in shale gas plays. It is often presumed that because the formations are so tight, gas can be produced economically only when extensive networks of natural fractures exist. The creation of large fracture surface area in contact with the reservoir is considered essential to commercial success. This is facilitated by multistage hydraulic fracturing of long horizontal wells using large volumes of low- viscosity (low-cost) fracturing fluid. However, the efficiency of this process in terms of water usage is now coming under close scrutiny. The success of these operations is beyond doubt, but what can be inferred about the accuracy of this conceptual picture in light of many years’ accumulated production data? What does production data tell us about the role of natural fractures? This presentation addresses these issues by using a semianalytic shale gas production model to analyze and interpret production data from many shale gas wells across several different plays.
Ian Walton is a senior research scientist at the Energy & Geoscience Institute of the University of Utah and an adjunct professor in the department of chemical engineering. He holds a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Manchester. Walton has more than 25 years of petroleum industry experience, most recently as a scientific advisor for Schlumberger, and more than 15 years of university teaching experience.