Since 1994, the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council (PTTC) has been a recognized force in the realm of technology transfer in the oil and gas industry.
Regional workshops, regional Web sites and newsletters have been used to connect producers, the service sector, consultants, researchers and others to needed data and technology information, according to Don Duttlinger, the PTTC executive director and an AAPG member.
A number of its successes include technology transfer in the realm of exploration, some of it bordering on -- or directly tied to -- exploration innovations, including:
♦ Geologic Play Book of Trenton-Black River Exploration in the Appalachian Basin.
Operators today are increasingly interested in exploring/exploiting the hydrocarbon potential of the Appalachian region. In a timely move, the Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium recently completed a two-year study of exploration in the Trenton-Black River (TBR), which culminated in the “Play Book,” according to Lance Cole, PTTC project manager.
The project, which was directed by AAPG member Doug Patchen (who serves as director of PTTC’s Appalachian Region), accomplished its goals, Cole noted:
- Developed an integrated structural-stratigraphic-diagenetic model for the origin of TBR hydrothermal dolomite reservoirs.
- Defined possible fairways within which to conduct more detailed studies leading to further development.
- Developed an integrated, multi-faceted resource assessment model of TBR reservoirs.
The study identified two separate plays: a hydrothermal dolomite play on the western side of the basin and a fractured limestone play on the eastern side.
The study also estimated a 90 percent probability of finding an additional 2.7 Tcf of gas in these two plays, and at 50 percent probability the volume increases to 6 Tcf, Cole said.
♦ In-Field Exploration with CT (coil tubing) Re-Entry Drilling.
“This is a whole technology area that’s evolving,” Cole said. “The coil tubing drilling re-entry business in the U.S. has taken off like gangbusters.
“Although not true exploration,” Cole noted, “profitably developing new reserves in existing mature fields certainly can be considered economic exploration.”
BP has been using the technology successfully for some time in Alaska, and the company conducted a pilot CT re-entry drilling program in Cleveland tight gas sands in the Anadarko Basin in late 2005-06. It entailed:
- Re-entering an existing Cleveland completion.
- Kicking off a horizontal leg.
- Drilling into an undrained portion of the reservoir.
The results, presented in August at PTTC’s Microhole Technology workshop, showed the three wells completed came in at 40 percent, 55 percent and 130 percent of baseline results from grassroots vertical wells, according to Cole.
He noted the results were sufficiently encouraging for BP to expand from the pilot to an ongoing program of re-entries in the area.
♦ In-Field Exploration -- Re-Fracing to Access New Reserves.
This technology represents yet another category of “economic exploration” furthered by frac mapping capabilities, which are being used more commonly by producers, Cole said.
In several reservoirs -- including the Barnett shale and the Wattenberg Field in Colorado -- operators have discovered when wells are re-fraced after a period of time, the fractures have a different orientation, which, in effect, accesses new reserves. This is similar to the concept of CT re-entry drilling.
♦ Core Locator.
This is a GIS system that enables explorationists to find what cores are available and where they are located. The system was developed by PTTC’s Rocky Mountain Region, and it currently includes data identifying the location of nearly 260,000 cores.
Cole referred to the system as “a geologist’s dream.”
♦ Unconventional Gas -- A Focus on Gas Shales.
PTTC’s Rocky Mountain Region was a partner in the recent Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists conference focusing on “Shale Gas, From Grassroots Exploration to Production.” The more than 1,500 attendees picked up key insights on how to duplicate the successful Barnett Shale “experience,” according to Cole.