With signs of the shale boom slowing, the need to make informed decisions on asset development becomes increasingly critical in a competitive landscape. Yet the data for informed decision making is often spotty, particularly with regards to one of the industry’s greatest hurdles: maximizing stimulated reservoir volume with minimal investment. For many, the problems that underpin this hurdle are clear: improper well spacing, frac hits/stress shadowing, unsuitable connectivity between benches, and interwell interference/communication all well-established contributors to poor productivity and a non-ideal stimulated reservoir volume (SRV), a definitive strategy for the "best" way to develop different plays has not proven as obvious.
One area that has seen sustained interest is the SCOOP/STACK play of the Anadarko basin. Since 2012, this geological region has proven one of the lowest-cost, highest margin plays in the U.S. With multiple stacked reservoirs, the effective stratigraphic trap of the area creates a continuous petroleum system with multiple development opportunities. In this study, non-radioactive liquid chemical tracers were pumped alongside stimulation treatments for dozens of wells placed in the Woodford, Meramec, and Osage layers. These tracers served to uniquely "tag" downhole oil and water phases, allowing the operator to quantitatively track the production of oil and water as well as their point of origin. On an individual level, these liquid tracers served as an effective production log, measuring changes in behavior over time. On a field level, however, the application of liquid tracers made it possible to evaluate bench-to-bench communication and the effect different completion designs had on interwell communication/interference. Multiple variables were considered, including the effect of geological features, frac order, well spacing, and parent pump-in protection to achieve an optimal completion strategy. This work shares many of the high-level lessons learned, providing a beneficial ROI by rapid fine-tuning of well spacing based on ongoing tracer communication over time.