co-chairman of the Unconventional Gas technical session at the AAPG
Annual Meeting and a lead geologist for Mitchell Energy when Mitchell
pioneered the Barnett Shale gas play in the late 1990s, said the
most important ingredient geologists bring to continuous-type gas
accumulations is their innate ability to think outside the box.
it a priority to learn all I could about the engineering aspects
of the project — geologists have to have a working knowledge of
those elements to be effective," Bowker said. "But mostly I did
what all good geologists do, asking 'what if' and pushing the status
quo. I tried to bring the explorationists' way of thinking to an
to Bowker, the most difficult task in developing a shale play is
usually not discovering it.
difficulty is determining an economic technique to develop the play,"
he said. "The geologist's role is critical to this effort, not so
much because of what he knows, but because of the way he thinks."
should familiarize themselves with drilling techniques, completion
methods, reservoir engineering, etc., as these relate to the special
challenges of a shale reservoir, he suggested.
with some working knowledge of these subjects, the geologist can
then encourage engineering teammates to develop and attempt exploitation
techniques that they may have otherwise overlooked," he said. "The
goal is to get everyone on the team thinking out of the box during
the exploitation phase of the project.
be overwhelming for geologists when engineers are running an entire
project," Bowker added. "When I came into the Barnett Shale it looked
like the geologist's role was just going to be signing off on requests
for AFEs. I just jumped in and wasn't afraid to start throwing around
a brave new world out there. It will be up to geologists to define
their role in these continuous-type gas plays."