In our industry, the environment can change at a fast pace and many organizations are continuously working to find solutions for oil and gas companies to help improve operations and increase profitability. From robust and easy to use data management systems that help companies avoid costly errors to new drilling techniques, new technology is at the forefront of change when it comes to oil and gas production. 

Recently, Texas A&M researchers have developed a method that could help operators more easily predict the amount of oil and gas that can be recovered from newly-drilled wells. The new process is not only accurate but can be done in a fraction of the time when compared to current processes.

Time Consuming Simulations Could Become a Thing of the Past

You likely already know that operators rely on complex models of the underground environment to estimate fossil fuel recovery and these simulations are notoriously complicated and require highly-skilled operators to run them. The complexity of this process impacts the cost of shale oil production and is time consuming, to say the least.

In this current process, a 3D model of the reservoir is created to predict the amount of oil & gas that can be recovered from the wells before drilling begins. These models take much into consideration when estimating production like the permeability of rocks, underground geography and seismic features, and more. 

Once the inputs above are in place, the model virtually tiles the reservoir into small cells and then simulates the flow of fluid through these individual cells based on the difference in pressure on the different faces of the cell. 

Simulations may take hours, days or even weeks depending on the number of cells there are within a grid. The more cells there are, the longer the simulation will take. The longer the simulation takes, the longer a team must wait to see if they should start drilling. 

From Complicated Simulations to Time Saving Spreadsheets 

A&M researchers said they can now accurately forecast the rate of oil and gas flow for newer wells by modeling the pattern of flow from older wells in the same field by utilizing a format that is familiar to many – a spreadsheet.

Ruud Weijermars, professor in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering stated, “We can now do the same kind of predictions as these simulations in a spreadsheet environment, which is much faster, saving time and cost for shale operators, without loss of accuracy.”

To circumvent the lengthy computations involved in simulations, Weijermars and his team focused their attention on the flow of oil & gas within a single cell in an existing well. 

First, they calculated the flow of oil & gas from the fracture site into the single cell using a series of physics-based equations. They assumed that all the flow cells within a well are identical, they were then able to scale up and obtain the flow rate for a period of several months’ time­ using a graphical decline curve analysis.

The researchers then compared the predictions made by their method against those of the simulations and found that the two matched very closely but the spreadsheet-based analysis was much quicker. The team noted that this type of analysis could be done before drilling the new wells so that oil and gas recovery from the lease region can be maximized.

Weijermars said. “We have tested our spreadsheet-based flow-cell analysis against sophisticated reservoir simulators in a series of studies, and the flow-cell model does a great job. This is good news for shale operators — our technique helps them cut costs and is also much faster.”

The researchers also said that their spreadsheets remove the need for highly skilled operators and can be used by technicians with very little additional training.

You can find the A&M researchers’ findings in the March issue of the journal energies.

The Future of Oil and Gas is Focused on Saving Time and Money

The beauty of this new forecasting technique is that it hits all of the high notes that companies in our industry need to hear: time and cost savings, accuracy, efficiency, and ease of use. Although we still see some companies who are wary of incorporating new technology into their operations, many are starting to recognize that digital systems are extremely important to their bottom line. 

Right now, it is critical that companies take a look at where processes can be improved with technology and pay attention to the accuracy and costs of their operations. Easy updates like upgrading to a data management system like PetroBase Pro allow you to do more with less and save you money by providing informative data analysis through visually interactive dashboards. Click below to find out more about PetroBase Pro’s capabilities. 

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New Forecasting Technique Could Reduce Operator Costs
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