This case study reviews the full development cycle of Devon Energy's Parkman asset in the Powder River Basin, from exploitation to infill drilling. The focus is on successive adjustments to drilling and completion design, with the objective of net-present-value (NPV) optimization. This effort is supported primarily through timely collection and interpretation of data, which has awarded Devon with exceptional returns on investment with reasonably low risk and capital expenditure, even in a low oil price environment. Devon's success in the Parkman is largely due to the practical and adaptive nature of the underlying engineering workflows supporting key decisions as well as management's strong support for the value of information.

The methodology is based on an integrated workflow, combining core, open-hole logs, reservoir surveillance (radioactive tracers and fiber optics) along with production and flowing pressure data. Rate Transient Analysis, fracture modeling and reservoir simulation are central components of the integrated model. At every stage in the development cycle, the model is calibrated to the latest data, at which point sensitivities can be run to evaluate alternative scenarios for optimizations required for the next stage. Through successive drilling and completion improvements, Devon has successfully increased the NPV of their Parkman asset. The steps toward optimization include increasing lateral length from 4,000' to 9,500'; adjusting cluster spacing between 60' and 100' and transitioning their completion method from plug-andperf to pinpoint. Understanding the impact of oil price is critical for achieving these optimizations. The improvements were supported by reservoir simulation and ultimately confirmed with field data, which is included in this work.

This work brings to the forefront lessons that could add significant value to the business of any unconventional operator:

  • A practical methodology for quickly converting collected data into actionable knowledge; allowing continual adjustments to be made to an unconventional completion design that maximize its performance and economic benefit

  • Integration of engineering and geoscience disciplines to better understand the major influences on well performance in an unconventional play

  • Optimizing completion design to maximize the profitability of a field development plan. In the case of the Parkman, pinpoint proves to be a more optimal completion technique

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