Summary

The Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL) involves a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional team undertaking integrated geoscience, engineering and environmental research in cooperation with the operator, Northeast Natural Energy LLC., numerous industrial partners and the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the US Department of Energy. The objective of MSEEL is to provide a long-term collaborative field site to develop and validate new knowledge and technology that can improve recovery efficiency while minimizing environmental implications of unconventional resource development

MSEEL consists of two legacy horizontal production wells completed in 2011, two new logged and instrumented horizontal production wells completed in 2015, a cored vertical pilot bore-hole, a microseismic observation well, and surface geophysical and environmental monitoring stations (Figure 1). Production from the new horizontal wells began in December 2015 and monitoring continues. Production logging to determine production efficiency was undertaken in early 2017 and is under evaluation. MSEEL has generated a large and diverse (multiple terabyte) dataset that provides significant insight into drilling operations, Marcellus Shale geology and fracture stimulation operations.

During drilling detailed geomechanical and image logs of the lateral and geochemical analysis of the whole core and sidewall cores were obtained. As part of the core analysis, kerogen was extracted from the different zones and analyzed to understand hydrocarbon generative potential, and interaction of the organic and inorganic matrix components with the fracture stimulation fluids (Agrawal et al., 2016; Agrawal et al., 2017; Agrawal and Sharma, 2017; Sharma et al., in press). Core and log data were coupled with microseismic and slow-slip seismic monitoring, and distributed temperature sensing (DTS) and distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) fiber-optic monitoring during completion. Subsequent production logging and continued DTS monitoring show the influence and interaction in the Marcellus Shale of both the present stress regime oriented northeast-southwest and the numerous preexisting healed and calcite cemented fractures oriented approximately east-west. The analysis of the comprehensive cluster-by-cluster completion data derived from surface and subsurface from the MSEEL project has contributed to an improved understanding of the effect of stage spacing and cluster density practices that could be used to significantly improve stimulation effectiveness and optimize recovery efficiency in the Marcellus and other unconventional reservoirs.

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