Although high gas flow rates from shales are a relatively recent phenomenon, the knowledge bases of shale-specific well completions, fracturing and shale well operations have actually been growing for more than three decades and shale gas production reaches back almost one hundred ninety years. During the last decade of gas shale development, projected recovery of shale gas-in-place has increased from about 2% to estimates of about 50%; mainly through the development and adaptation of technologies to fit shale gas developments. Adapting technologies, including multi-stage fracturing of horizontal wells, slickwater fluids with minimum viscosity and simultaneous fracturing, have evolved to increase formation-face contact of the fracture system into the range of 9.2 million m2 (100 million ft2) in a very localized area of the reservoir by opening natural fractures. These technologies have made possible development of enormous gas reserves that were completely unavailable only a few years ago. Current and next generation technologies promise even more energy availability with advances in hybrid fracs, fracture complexity, fracture flow stability and methods of re-using water used in fracturing. This work surveyed over 350 shale completion, fracturing and operations publications, linking geosciences and engineering information together to relay learnings that will identify both intriguing information on selective opening and stabilizing of micro-fracture systems within the shales and new fields of endeavor needed to achieve the next level of shale development advancement.

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