Summary

A core‐based fracture prediction method is used to illustrate a value‐of‐information (VOI) decision‐analysis protocol to inform completion decisions in tight gas sandstones. The ratio of late host‐rock cement to available pore volume (PV), or degradation index, uses petrographic observations of cement distributions in core (including sidewall cores) to predict whether nearby but unsampled fractures (widths > 0.5 to 1 mm) are sealed (nonconductive) or open (conductive). Measurements from four sandstone plays suggest that the index correctly predicts open vs. sealed fractures with an accuracy in excess of 80%. The value added is calculated using Bayesian inference in which the accuracy of the index serves as the likelihood of the prior distribution of open fractures to assess the posterior probability that data represent a useful predictor of producibility. VOI of the prediction method is more than three times the cost to acquire the data. VOI is most sensitive to play‐specific geologic and cost parameters including cost to drill, expected revenue from a successful well, cost of completion, cost of acquiring data for the index, and fracture probability distributions. The approach provides a way to value acquiring fracture data and points to a need for zone‐specific production data in tight gas sandstones.

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