The Age of Cost-Saving Technologies

By Jeff Foster
CEO & President, MicroSeismic, Inc.

Trials bring opportunities, and in 2015 there have been multiple trials for the oil and gas market.   As the year end approaches, I want to reflect on the solutions that will help our industry adapt to lower commodity pricing.  I see opportunities to advance technology for unconventional resources long into the future.

Despite headwinds from the market, our resilient team at MicroSeismic, Inc. (MSI) continued to evaluate what our customers need most – reduced cost of their horizontal completions and maximization of oil recovery – and aggressively improved solutions for the E&P companies. Here are the top five resulting technologies MSI advanced in 2015:

  1. Production Prediction: Most in the industry knows that reservoir models are not reliable for predicting production from unconventional wells. MSI has developed a solution that enables reservoir models to move from theoretical data to use actual  microseismic data to predict accurate production. We are continuing to build proofs of our methodology, and our unique workflow has been applied to several projects in the Permian, Eagle Ford, Woodford, and Marcellus with excellent results. This technology’s greatest benefits to our customers include the ability to evaluate wellbore spacing using predicted pressure depletion maps and analyze the effectiveness of treatments without waiting for production data. For more information on how this analysis works, view our Improving Production Forecasting for Shale Reservoirs webcast.
  2. Auto Moment Tensor Inversion: Auto MTI captures how the rock broke during treatment: the size and orientation of each fracture for every single event. This automated processing technique allows us to develop a more robust and accurate map of microseismic events because it accounts for the focal mechanism of every event in the entire catalog, rather than using a small group of events to represent the whole. In real time,  we can inform operators  whether they are fracturing out of zone as well as identify potential geohazards based on the specific focal mechanisms determined by the AutoMTI process. For more information on how Auto MTI works, read “Automatic MomentTensor Inversion Enables Rapid Real-TimeTreatment Optimization” published by The American Oil & Gas Reporter. 
  3. Microseismic Depletion Mapping: MSI has developed a methodology to use microseismic data observed around the depleted well during fracturing of a nearby well to estimate the size and shape of the drainage volume. Understanding the depletion zone and drainage volumes allows our customers to better design future wells to maximize the productivity from every well. One of the advantages of this approach is the ability to map the depletion zone without relying on pressure measurements in nearby wells. This is important for designing the development plan – particularly wellbore spacing and the number of wells required to optimally develop a field. For more information on how this analysis works, view our Using Depletion-Zone Microseismicty to Understand Producing Volumes webcast series.
  4. PSET® Downhole: MSI has extended the patented PSET processing workflow used in surface microseismic to downhole processing. This method eliminates analyst P&S picking bias and offers a more robust and reliable imaging solution that allows for increased event detection. The result is a more accurate event map and the opportunity to integrate this into the Completion Evaluation workflow, ultimately allowing operators to make better post-job completion decisions.   For more information on this processing technique, view our PSET Downhole webcast.
  5. Profitable Refracturing: Operators face challenges trying to refracture wells profitably. Monitoring of refracturing treatments often shows microseismic activity that is concentrated only at the heel of the well, suggesting a considerable length of the well is often left unstimulated by refracturing. Many have tried to solve this problem by pumping diverters or using mechanical isolation to move the stimulation down the lateral, but our tests have shown these techniques to be largely unsuccessful. MSI has developed a new technique that makes refracturing truly profitable. This alternative refracturing method increases the efficiency of the treatments considerably, at no additional cost compared to other common refracturing methods. For more information on our study of refracturing, view our Geomechanics of Refracturing webcast series.

In 2016, MSI will continue to aggressively advance our technology, focusing on understanding reservoir development. Customer feedback has motivated us to pursue a microseismic solution for understanding relative production per stage and pressure depletion over the entire well. When our customers ask “If we do X (change this completion parameter, change this well spacing, etc.), what will be the outcome?” - we aim to answer.

We are using microseismic insights to enhance our predictive capabilities and find the best possible solutions for lowering completion costs while standing by our core brand – seeing wells better. Our plan is to go deeper with our clients who believe in, understand, and are willing to pursue new technology.