Bressay Oil Api

Bressay Oil Api-58
A second difficulty is that shale gas resources do not respond to the same methodologies for conversion to reserves as conventional fields where it is acceptable to carry out reasonable appraisal to define the static reservoir and estimate OIIP, undertake a moderate amount of testing/flow assurance and then apply an often conservative recovery factor based on analogue fields.In the case of shale gas reservoirs, recoverable gas has to be estimated from the performance of existing producing wells, often over a relatively short production history, resulting in a wide range of possible ultimate production volumes and therefore asset reserves.

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As in 20, the top three for 2011 were Fracturing/Stimulation, Horizontal Drilling and 3D/4D Seismic, accumulating between them more than 70% of the responses.

What is more, the same technologies have dominated this survey for all 12 years for which data has been published, invariably accumulating more than 60% of the responses between them.

However, recent discoveries in the pre-salt offshore Brazil and the North Falklands Basin are all sourced from lacustrine source rocks which are known to invariably yield a high wax content.

Whilst Petrobras, the operator of the pre-salt discoveries, has plans to deal with this issue in what are reportedly huge discoveries, the Falklands discovery is much smaller and in a relatively hostile environment.

The operator has mentioned that the crude oil is ‘waxy’ but has yet to publish any analytical data.

‘Heavy’ oil is the result of a poor seal, allowing the light components to evaporate or be consumed by bacteria, leaving a poorly-flowing viscous residue.

It is not surprising, therefore, that having learned how to apply the key technologies, these US ‘resource play’ companies are switching their attention to shale oil, in most cases in basins which have a long history of conventional oil exploration and are now in decline.

The economics of shale oil are generally better than those for shale gas because of the linkage to global oil prices.

Much has been made of the shale gas revolution in the USA, with production from such reservoirs rising from under 1 Bcfpd in 2003, when fracturing/stimulation, horizontal drilling and 3D/4D seismic were first used, to nearly 20 bcfpd by mid-2011.

However, despite this success, much shale gas production is not commercial at current gas prices.


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