Liquids From Shales, Phase 2Completed


$40k (USD) per Sponsor



Principal Investigator(s):

Value to Sponsors

  1. Determination of key geologic parameters that contribute to liquid production and methods for the development of quantitative geologic models with relevance to flow in liquid shale plays
  2. Development of multiphase flow pressure-variability in oil and condensate recoveries
  3. Relationships for variability in recovery, etc., with respect to all of the important parameters in a multivariate system. Development of selected response surfaces and surrogate models
  4. Study of the variability in the morphology of the hydraulic fractures in shales with changes in mechanical properties and/or mineralogy
  5. New reservoir engineering analysis tools in the form of modules or spreadsheets
  6. A workflow to simulate a combination of hydraulic and natural fractures. This work will be developed further and continued in Improved Recovery of Liquids from Shales

The production of liquids from shales has revolutionized the oil industry. The Eagle Ford oil and condensate production together averaged about 845,000 barrels/day from October to December 2013. In October 2013, the Bakken oil production in north Dakota averaged over 875,000 barrels per day. Similarly, the liquids production from the Permian basin shales is also growing at a rapid pace. This level of growth in the production of liquids from shales requires a close examination of all aspects of geologic, production, and operational controls on recovery.

Rapid permitting and drilling have led to the belief that shales are basically statistical plays, and that geologic characterization and evaluation have little bearing on economic development. However, we do know that geologic characterization at various scales is important in establishing producibility and optimum recovery.

  • Phase 2 continues our comprehensive quest to understand all of the components that contribute to optimum exploitation of shales for liquids, including geologic considerations, geomechanical modeling, reservoir engineering evaluations, and environmental aspects.

These scope of work included geologic considerations, geomechanical modeling, reservoir engineering evaluations, and environmental aspects.


The Final Report focuses first on geologic evaluations (Sections 2-5). Detailed geologic characterizations of the Niobrara are discussed to establish the role of geology on production, the results have identified the property with the strongest correlation to production. An examination of pore-level characterization and a detailed workflow of shale characterization at the pore scale fill out the geology sections.

Following geologic evaluations is the examination of various engineering operations (Sections 6–11). The material balance methodology utilized production data and fluids characterization. The method developed makes it possible to obtain pressure profiles and saturation information, and to estimate reservoir permeability prior to interference with another hydraulic fracture. The development of this method for all types of reservoir fluids, and associated data analysis technique, were significant achievements in this project. This analytical tool for matrix permeability determination is available to all sponsors.


Note: Phase 2 makes direct use of the results from Phase 1, sponsorship for Phase 1 & 2 is available for new sponsors.