After the discovery of a new oil or gas play, many companies typically focus on both the potential of the resource and its development. Engaging the various interest groups who may have had previous use or aspirations for this area of land is often a forgotten consideration. The interests of these groups should be evaluated, and the groups should be involved to ensure that the development can proceed seamlessly. This consideration includes the careful planning of local regulatory and logistical issues while preparing for exploration and the subsequent development program of the unconventional resource.

A major oilfield company has operations that support unconventional resource development in Canada and has experience with the critical issues in these areas. This paper reviews operational considerations from a regulatory, personnel, infrastructure, and development-requirement perspective of an integrated service provider.

Key concepts include the following:

  • Stakeholder engagement, including indigenous people, regulatory bodies, landowners, and sub-surface competitors

  • Personnel recruitment, orientation, training, and competency

  • Hours of service and work scheduling for employees

  • Facility, support, and equipment requirements

  • Supplier network, procurement and logistics, and transportation of consumable items

  • Considerations for sustainability and life cycle of the field

  • Environmental effects and mitigation plans

As each of these areas is developed, specific issues can be resolved by the use of industry-sector associations and industry working groups to clarify and communicate expectations, thus leading to the codes of practice that may be required to develop the new technologies and techniques to enter into an unconventional resource play.

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