The unconventional Liquid Rich Shale (LRS) or light tight oil (LTO) plays are attractive but operationally challenging. The Permian-aged Bone Spring formation in the Delaware Basin is one of the earliest liquid-rich shale plays, today with hundreds of horizontal producers with greater than ten years of production history. The learnings of an integrated cross discipline approach for optimized field development can be very useful and applied to other plays.

An integrated cross discipline approach has been developed to achieve deep technical understanding and optimum field development. In this cross discipline work flow, static data, such as geological structure, turbidite sand depositional thickness and extent, and petrophysical evaluation of each individual sand unit, such as SoPhiH (and other properties) are combined with engineering and dynamic data, such as completion information, production analysis, PVT, water cut, and DCA to optimize the Bone Spring development for improving the profitability and maximizing the value of Permian Asset.

The Permian 3rd Bone Spring and Wolfcamp sand unit is a complex turbidite tight sand system which spans southeast New Mexico into West Texas. It consists of mixed lithology with sand/silt units separated by shale zones. Initial testing of horizontal wells in the 3rd Bone Spring sand unit began in late 2006 with 400+ wells drilled to date. The high initial reservoir pressure gradient, relatively high permeability in the sand compared to shale, and volatile/black oil in the reservoir provide the high potential for the 3rd Bone Spring Sand development.

The multistacked hybrid reservoirs and the heterogeneous nature of subsurface properties also pose challenges in the development of these reservoirs. There are multiple sand units identified within the core area of Shell leasehold. The core development area has been subdivided based on geology (structure and faulting), fluid properties, and production performance.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.