As the number of wells drilled in the Utica Shale play continues to grow, maximizing well performance by optimizing wellbore orientation, landing point and proper completion strategy are vital to the success of this play. This paper will focus on wellbore orientation. Most of the wellbores drilled in the Ordovician Point Pleasant member of the Lower Utica Formation, the target landing zone in the play, have used an orientation similar to the shallower Devonian Marcellus wells (Figure 1). In the Marcellus, this orientation is used to improve the effectiveness of the fracturing process by exploiting the in-situ rock stress. Orienting the wellbore properly with respect to the principal horizontal stress direction helps to keep the fractures induced by the hydraulic fracturing process from closing. In the Devonian Marcellus play, deviating from the preferred wellbore orientation negatively impacts well production. Wellbore image data, sonic anisotropy, and microseismic are tools used to determine the direction of the principal stress and in turn, the orientation of the horizontal wellbore.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.