Recently Released Projects – Now Available to All CA Members

The two-year period of sponsor-only confidentiality is complete and these project reports can now be downloaded by all EGI CA Members and project Sponsors via the EGIconnect – EGI’s Online Global Database.

I01005

South America Shale Gas & Shale Oil, Phase 1

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Objectives

Encouraged by the success in the development of shale resource plays in North America over the preceding decade, the Energy & Geoscience Institute (EGI) conducted a fifteen month evaluation of the shale gas and shale liquid potential of selected basins in South America.

The research objective was to deliver the technical information required to assess the aforementioned potential and make comparisons of analog North American basins.

Scope of Work

Eleven basins spanning five countries and containing twenty-seven shales were selected for evaluation. The assessment focused on the geological aspects of shale potential, although other parameter data were collected if available. The core evaluation elements include an analog comparison of what we found in South America compared to what we knew about North America, a comprehensive geological and geophysical review and a multivariate analysis to help identify areas of interest within a basin. The geological review had a bias towards geochemical and petrologic data. Political, fiscal, environmental, contractual or surface aspects were not a part of the research.

Data sources for the project included EGI archival data, public domain data and data derived in conjunction with agreements signed with local oil and gas organizations and universities. Eight agreements were signed that helped provide sample, seismic and well data. Availability of data from basin to basin varied considerably as a consequence of differences in exploration maturity, timing of agreement signing, government policy on data access and EGI database content. As a result, there was variability in study completeness between basins. The Neuquén Basin of Argentina had the most complete dataset, while the São Francisco Basin of Brazil had the least.

Deliverables

  • Complete ArcGIS project in versions 9.3 and 10.0
  • GIS catalog in Excel format that provides hyperlinked screenshots of the majority of GIS layers and hyperlinked exhibits
  • Hyperlinked written report in both hardcopy and digital (PDF) formats
  • Complete bibliography
  • Analog table in Excel format containing key South American shale parameters and their analogous North American counterpart.
  • Excel delivery of all tables
  • PowerPoint presentations from final project meeting
  • Landmark and Petrel data files related to the project
  • Geochemical database and charts (Excel)
  • Petrologic database (Excel)
I00973

Liquids from Shales, Phase 1

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Objectives

Phase 1 research sought to gain a mechanistic understanding of production of liquids from shales, focusing initially on the Bakken (recognizing that the middle Bakken, is not a true shale), Eagle Ford, and Niobrara as targets. The geological and engineering considerations in optimizing fluids (liquids and gas) recoveries from shales are complex and our comprehensive study of fluids production from shales included all or most of these components.

Scope of Work

The Phase 1 research program was multi-pronged and examined the following elements:

  • Bakken, Eagle Ford, Niobrara, Woodford
  • Production, oil and gas, condensate to gas ratios, gas oil ratios
  • Geology, generic models, mineralogy, petrophysics
  • Fluids composition, PVT properties, material balances
  • Mechanistic studies
  • Linear flow, pressure-flow relationships
  • Complex fractures
  • Multiphysics, Knudsen diffusion

Deliverables

The completed project delivered a report detailing data, geologic settings, and physical hypotheses on liquids production from shales; identification of important properties (with gaps in measurements, if any); and next steps needed to optimize completion, production (rates), and recovery from these formations.  In particular, the following questions are investigated in the report.

  • How similar or different are the production characteristics of different plays based on their fluid and geologic characteristics?
  • What are the decline profiles?
  • What is the effect of well spacing?
  • What is the role of fractures?
  • Do we need additional physics in current simulators? If so, what are the main considerations?

The full project summary contains the Table of Contents, List of Figures and Tables and an overview of the scope and findings of the research.

I00986_2

Paleoecological Database System Resource, Phase 2

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Objectives

This project builds on the previous development of the Paleoecological Database System (PeDS) by extending it to the Internet and the global community of biostratigraphers. PeDS is a SQL database designed for paleoecological data and has an Access-based-user interface for query and content maintenance. Using Wikipedia as inspiration, this new work extends PeDS via the Internet to the global network-of-interest. The objective is to create a possible nucleus for aggregating paleoecological information and a global resource.

This report is in three parts:

  • Part I discusses the need and design of the Internet-based Paleoecological System (iPeDS)
  • Part 2 future development possibilities
  • Part 3 is the PeDS user information that is updated to include iPeDS

Scope of Work

The Paleoecological Database System (PeDS) is comprised of two primary components: the database, which is the container for the paleoecological information, and the user-interface application that allows users to access the paleoecological information without resorting to SQL commands or direct inspection of table records. One major advantage of separating the system front end (user-interface) and the system back end (database) is to allow maximum scalability from a single user system to a departmental multi-user system with minimum effort.

Deliverables

  • A research Sponsor advisory board
  • Paleoecological database to provided Sponsors for their proprietary use
  • Deployment of paleoecological database as a service (client-server model) that is accessible to Sponsors over the internet
  • A functioning prototype of web-browser-based interface to enable research Sponsors to access the paleoecological database
  • Oversight and management plan for the infrastructure, software, and database content
  • A plan for extending access to the paleoecological database to the academic community
I01003

GOM – Deep Water Depositional Systems – Phase 1

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Objectives

The analysis of both nannoplankton and foraminifera distribution patterns continues to be a successful tool in constructing models that aid the analysis of deep water systems. Project objectives include extending the understanding of the distribution patterns of foraminifera and nannoplankton and their relationships with depositional environments in deep water Gulf of Mexico; these show great potential for developing models that will aid the sub-salt hydrocarbon exploration.

Scope of Work

An in-depth description of the relationship between depositional units and their associated microfossils (foraminifera and nannoplankton) identifies the distribution patterns and expands our understanding within the Brazos-Trinity Basin and the Ursa Basin. We determined the existence of relationships between microfossil distribution patterns, depositional systems and transportation processes.

Deliverables

Calibration of Miocene foraminifera data from the GOM into existing bathymetric model(s)

An analysis of the relationships between Miocene benthic foraminifera distribution in the deep water GOM and components of the depositional system, with a foraminifera based depositional model

Enhanced applications for semi- and fully-automated bathymetric determinations and paleoenvironmental analysis, specifically GOMBAT Software for Automated Paleobathymetric Analysis

Written report explaining methods and results of the paleobathymetry and paleodepositional model(s)

The GOMBAT software application

I00980-154x200

China Shales – Phase 1

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Objectives

The main objective for this study was to conduct research to initiate a better understanding and increase the knowledge base for shale gas and shale oil systems in China.

The investigation of regional source rock distribution, paleogeography, tectonic evolution and shale property characterization in China reveals a vast potential for China shale plays spanning from Precambrian to Quaternary in three depositional settings: marine, lacustrine and transitional (coastal swamp).

More than 600 sedimentary basins including over 200 potential hydrocarbon-rich basins or sub-basins have been identified in China. Significant oil production from lacustrine basins is a well- known fact in China’s petroleum systems. Conservatively, more than 10 basins, spanning in age from Sinian-Cambrian to Tertiary, have tremendous untapped shale gas and shale oil potential. Shales with reservoir potential are widely distributed across marine, transitional and lacustrine depositional environments. Comparing shale resource basins in China with U.S. shale resource basins, the primary recognized difference is that the potential shale resource basins in China are widely distributed across various tectonic and sedimentary settings throughout the Chinese territory whereas U.S. shale basins are mainly distributed in the Appalachian thrust belt in the east and in the Rocky Mountain thrust belt in the west and are defined as having been deposited in marine environments.

I00983

Shale Gas Production Analysis – Phase 1

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A reliable, effective, and accurate production simulator for the higher-pressure shales has yet to be developed and the often-conflicting predictions of current simulators have yet to be reconciled. Main production drivers have yet to be identified, differences between the various shale plays have yet to be delineated, and a production analysis and projection tool is better than decline curve analysis and more accurate and faster than numerical simulators is still awaiting development. It is widely recognized that gas is stored as free gas in the matrix pore space and as an adsorbate in organic material in the pores, the relative magnitudes varying with pressure, porosity, and TOC. Little, if any, gas is stored in the natural fractures. A fundamental requirement of a shale gas production model is that it addresses a sequence of processes from desorption, transport through a very tight matrix, and transport (perhaps two-phase) through fractures to the wellbore. We are addressing these issues by first assessing the geological and petro-physical differences between US shale plays and Cola Bed Methane (CBM) plays as far as they impact gas productions.

Scope of Work

In this project we have developed a method of modeling and analyzing production data from shale gas wells and plays that combines the ease and simplicity of use of conventional decline curve analysis while at the same time honoring and identifying the essential physics of the process. Features of this new technique include:

1)     The development of a rigorous, semi-analytic, physics-based model of gas production from tight shales that recognizes the distinguishing features of these reservoirs and allows us to identify the major production drivers.
2)     The new model allows us to analyze production data from many wells as quickly as conventional decline-curve analysis, but has the advantage of being rooted in the physics of the process. Consequently, it provides a predictive and interpretive capability that is lacking in empirical models or, for that matter, large scale reservoir simulators.
3)     A new method of presenting and analyzing production data that allows us to propose and evaluate an alternative metric for shale gas productivity—the Production Coefficient.
4)     Identification of the primary determinants of shale gas productivity and the demonstration that only a specific combination of these parameters (that together constitute the Production Coefficient) can be obtained from history matching.
5)     The model has allowed us to clarify:

  • The role of natural fractures in the production process
  • The reservoir volume drained by the well in a reasonable time frame.
  • The importance of fracture conductivity
  • The role of completions, stimulation and production parameters in determining well productivity.
  • The group of reservoir and geologic parameters that are the primary determinants of productivity and therefore should be used (as a group) to identify “sweet spots” within plays.
  • The role and importance of gas desorption in the production process.

6)     Rational treatment of real gas effects including an innovative model for material balance in transient flow.
7)     Mathematical treatment of the impact of variable bottom hole pressure, which allows us to better interpret early-time data and leads to an earlier estimate of well productivity and likely EUR. This solution has provided new insights into the advantages claimed by “restricted choke” operations.
8)     The current version of the model has been used to analyze publicly-available data from the Barnett (and, to a limited extent, other shale plays). This analysis has allowed us to:

  • Provide a better metric of well productivity (than IP or EUR)
  • Provide rational estimates of decline rate(s).
  • Predict future production for a limited time period.
  • Estimate productive fracture surface area.
  • Compare production and decline rates across plays and zones within plays.

Deliverables

A new technique for analyzing shale gas production that includes:

  1. The development of a rigorous, semi-analytic, physics-based model of gas production from tight shales that recognizes the distinguishing features of these reservoirs and allows us to identify the major production drivers.
  2. The new model allows us to analyze production data from many wells as quickly as conventional decline-curve analysis, but has the advantage of being grounded in the essential physics of the process. Consequently, it provides a predictive and interpretive capability that is lacking in empirical models or, for that matter, large scale reservoir simulators.
  3. A new method of presenting and analyzing production data that allows us to propose and evaluate an alternative metric for shale gas productivity—the Production Coefficient.
  4. Identification of the primary determinants of shale gas productivity and the demonstration that only a specific combination of these parameters (that together constitute the Production Coefficient) can be obtained from history matching.

A prototype software utility has been developed for analyzing shale gas production data and is available to sponsors of the project.

Results

Many techniques for evaluation and simulation of shale gas production are compromised by an inadequate and/or incomplete description of the essential physical processes and/or numerical process accuracy. Consequently industry publications contain many, often contradictory, assertions about the role played in the production process by a host of factors that include reservoir parameters and completion, stimulation and production techniques.

In this project we have developed a method of modeling and analyzing production data from shale gas wells and plays that combines the ease and simplicity of use of conventional decline curve analysis while at the same time honoring and identifying the essential physics of the process.

Phase 2

Phase 2 is also completed, but still within two years of confidentiality. For more information on Phase 2, please click here.

I 00981_cover_released copy

East Africa Margin & Southwest Indian Ocean Basins

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The East African margin and SW Indian Ocean represents a rift-drift part of Gondwana. Compared to the West African margin, this part of Gondwana is relatively less studied and explored in terms of its hydrocarbon prospectivity; moreover, this region has undergone a more complex tectonic evolution with multiple rift-drift events since the Permian, which offers attractive opportunities for hydrocarbon exploration, but also poses a formidable challenge to construct the history of basin formation, fill and deformation.

Given the significance of the region for further exploration and the need for a regional synthesis and presentation of data on an ArcGIS platform, this research work was conducted as an industry consortium during 2011–2012.

This study involved systematic data mining, quality check, coherent synthesis and interpretation of data relevant to regional geology, stratigraphy (litho-, bio-, chrono- and stratigraphy), basin structure, and paleofacies evolution together with relevant information on petroleum systems and plays of the various basins and sub-basins.

Scope of Work

Research covers the East African Margin from Somalia through Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to Mozambique (both onshore and offshore), Madagascar onshore and offshore, and Seychelles platform. The East African margin and SW Indian Ocean basins evolved from the rift-drift tectonics of Gondwana. The study region has been divided into 24 Mesozoic-Cenozoic sedimentary basins. The intervening oceanic basins (Somali, Mozambique Channel, and Mascarene) were also covered incorporating data from DSDP-ODP drilling and seismic data.

Deliverables

The final report provides a rapid assessment tool on tectonostratigraphy, paleofacies evolution, and petroleum plays of the East African Margin, Madagascar and Seychelles. Systematic data mining, quality check, coherent synthesis and interpretation of data relevant to regional geology, stratigraphy (litho-, bio-, chrono- and stratigraphy), basin structure, and paleofacies evolution together with relevant information on petroleum systems and plays of the various basins and sub-basins are integrated to produce the primary deliverables.

  • Regional maps including surface geology, bathymetry, structures, gravity, on ArcGIS
  • Integrated chrono-litho-tectonostratigraphic charts (with information on relevant petroleum plays)
  • Biostratigraphic charts for distribution of microfossils from wells and outcrops available in the literature
  • Structural transects onshore to deepwater for various basins (as data permitted)
  • Regional paleogeographic maps from the Permian through the Pleistocene with a focus on intervals of major tectonic events and deposition of source or reservoir rocks
  • Geochronology of igneous activities. Given the multiple igneous events related to continental rifting, plume activity and ocean-floor spreading and the implications of these events on rift basin formation and thermal history of the basins, we synthesized the geochronology data of the igneous activities in the study region and reviewed the data in terms of the tectonic and basin evolution
  • Spreadsheets for well data as available in the literature and used for the project
  • Collected the available data on source and reservoir rocks
  • Bibliographic database for various basins

ArcGIS 9.2 serves as the platform for the project deliverables. An overview of the scope and findings of the research can be seen on the project summary.

Results

Paleofacies maps for 19 stratigraphic horizons covering the Late Carboniferous-Pliocene, and recognition of 6 megasequences through tectonostratigraphic correlation of the basins shed light on potential hydrocarbon plays in the region, some already well explored, while others bypassed or little investigated.

Four major tectonostratigraphic events in the study region are examined and described in the full Report. A detailed overview is is available in the Project Summary PDF.

The Project Report provides a rapid assessment tool on tectonostratigraphy, paleofacies evolution, and petroleum plays of the East African Margin, Madagascar and Seychelles.

I00979

Ghana Margin Basin – West Africa

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EGI conducted a pilot study to establish an absolute-age integration of the chronostratigraphy and depositional history of the offshore Ghana (Tano-Cape Three Points) and Cote d’ Ivoire region. Such integration provides a more clear understanding of the syn-rift and post-rift history, as well as detailed paleoenvironmental models for the basin. As sponsor of this project, established companies will benefit within their current blocks by having more detailed stratigraphy and paleoenvironmental data to confirm or refine their existing models based upon seismic and well log data. In addition, they, along with companies considering entry to the area for the first time, will have a basic stratigraphic framework with predictive value to aid New Ventures evaluation.

Deliverables

  • Annotated graphic correlation charts for each study well showing biostratigraphic datums calibrated against the proprietary West Africa Composite Standard Database
  • Charts include paleoenvironmental interpretations and a chronostratigraphic representation of the well illustrating absolute age range of depositional packages and hiatuses noted
  • Wheeler diagram (chronostratigraphic cross-section) illustrates the regional chronostratigraphy and distribution of biofacies
  • Paleoenvironmental reconstructions for key time slices/horizons (4)
  • A final report with text and enclosures provided both in hardcopy and digital format

 

Results

The body of this research project, based on five wells in offshore Tano–Cape Three Points Basin and Côte d’ Ivoire, graphically integrates results from new sample analyses on multiple biostratigraphic disciplines (foraminifera, nannofossils, palynology) against the EGI West Africa Composite Standard to build a framework of absolute-age calibration of lithostratigraphic units and depositional facies. The value of EGI’s proprietary chronostratigraphic and graphic correlation technology refines and increases confidence in both the framework and interpretation of these wells.

I00986

Paleoecological Database System, Phase 1

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The body of knowledge regarding the (paleo-)ecology of the microfossil groups has grown considerably over the past few decades, and has produced valuable insights into climate history, estimates of surface-water productivity, distribution of biofacies, sediment sources and transport pathways, and field-scale correlation, among other things. Paleoecology has become of particular importance at the reservoir-scale for infill and directional drilling. The quality of a paleoecological interpretation is heavily dependent on the time that the biostratigrapher has available to search for relevant information and missed opportunities occur when information is not reasonably accessible, usable and/or transferable. A digital capture of paleoecological information in a formal structure (i.e., relational database) provides a solution so that needed information can be efficiently accessed, and easily maintained and transferred between applications.

The Alliance for Computational Stratigraphy (TACS) developed a unified, digital data store (SQL relational database) for paleoecological information for the dominant microfossil disciplines, so that industrial biostratigraphers can easily and quickly retrieve paleoecological information about the microfossil assemblages they encounter, rather than searching among multitudes of publications and spreadsheets. This database has been developed for foraminifera and has been extended to palynology. The database system covers microfossil ecological attributes, such as life strategy (e.g., feeding strategy and mobility), spatial distribution (e.g., latitude and depth range or water column position) and physical/chemical factors (e.g., oxygen, salinity, substrate and depositional setting), among others.

Deliverables

  • Unified, digital data store (SQL relational database) for paleoecological information for the dominant microfossil disciplines, so that industrial biostratigraphers can easily and quickly retrieve paleoecological information about the microfossil assemblages they encounter, rather than searching among multitudes of publications and spreadsheets.
I00984_cover

Central Atlantic Margins

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The study area incorporates all American and African Atlantic Margin basins from the southern Grand Banks of Newfoundland (eastern-most extension of the Scotian Basin) to the zone that can be constructed from the northern Demerara Plateau to the southern Guinea Plateau. Onshore continental sections on the Central Atlantic margin have been evaluated to the extent of understanding their contributions to the offshore basins.

The critical work of collecting samples from core respositories in Bremen, Halifax and Newark resulted in a total of 1,100 samples for potential source rock characterization, fluid inclusions and apatite fission track studies.

Parameters of the full study include:

  • lithologies,
  • uplift and subsidence histories,
  • climate,
  • erosional processes,
  • drainage systems, and 
  • dispersal systems through time.

Deliverables

  • Results and the final data set are delivered in ArcGIS
I00974_cover

Improved Technologies for Shale Gas Systems

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This project was originally conceived to have four tasks that would clarify the storage mechanisms of gas in shale and outline improved methods for determining gas-in-place from field and laboratory methods.

The tasks defined were:

  • Task 1: Summarize current best practices for field recovery of samples.
  • Task 2: Perform isotherm measurements on end member minerals and kerogen-rich material, at controlled temperatures and water saturations.
  • Task 3: Carry out controlled isotherm measurements.
  • Task 4: Web page

Recognizing that this project is a more logic organizational framework than arbitrarily describing tasks, the report is organized so as to describe indirect methods. Logging inferences are considered “indirectly’ (i.e., peripherally) to the extent that relevant literature is summarized in an Appendix. Geologic insights from others are also summarized in an Appendix. Again, this is a recap of geologic insights put forth by others. However, the newly-minted, indirect method for predictive Gas-In-Place model is described. Next are considerations for direct determination of properties that include precautions for recovering and preserving core, validation of the methodologies for lost gas determination, consideration of diffusion prediction, and suggested procedural improvements.

I00995_cover

Vietnam to Sumatra Basins

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The Southeast Asian region spanning from the Red River Fault in northernmost Vietnam to the Sumatra Fault in Indonesia covers six countries, a tectonically complex basin evolution during Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras, proven as well as frontier basins, and onshore as well as offshore exploration opportunities. This diversity has resulted in an uneven distribution of geologic knowledge and exploration activities.

The specific questions that this project addressed are as follows:

  • How have changes in structural development through time influenced basin evolution in the VTS region?
  • What is the significance of Mesozoic (Paleo-Tethyan) collisional/sutures in the region both in terms of their interactions (coupling or decoupling) with Cenozoic tectonics and in terms of “Old” (Pre-Cenozoic) oil and gas?
  • How can we utilize data-rich areas to populate and constrain data-poor areas in the region?
  • What are the potential but little-investigated plays in the region?

This project does not attempt to create a database of petroleum fields or to assess specific prospects; it rather treats the study region as an integrated product of various tectonic and sedimentary histories, and looks at exploration opportunities at play scale.

Deliverables

  • Results and the final data set are delivered in ArcGIS
I00996_cover

South China Sea, Phase 1

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Many Vietnamese margin, Cenozoic basins of the East Sea have proven major hydrocarbon reserves. Most of these basins are extensional, directly related to the opening and development of the East Sea. We have completed a regional study to establish an absolute-age integration of the chronostratigraphy and depositional history of selected basins.

Scope-of-Work

  • Established crucial contact with appropriate Chinese and Vietnamese companies, universities and/or institutes
  • Set up research alliances
  • Conducted training for Chinese and Vietnamese staff as well as allied organization personnel in the fundamentals of proprietary chronostratigraphic research

Deliverables

  • Results and the final data set for Phase 1 are delivered in ArcGIS
I00975_cover

Petroleum Systems of the Black Sea Region

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Scope-of-Work

The Black Sea is surrounded by Ukraine and Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania to the north, east, south, and west respectively. This study utilizes a series of 49 reflection seismic proles, gravity and magnetic data, structural and stratigraphic data and a synthesis of known literature to formulate and interpret the crustal architecture and principal tectonic and sedimentologic events that affected the basin throughout the evolution. The main tectonic mechanism that initiated the back-arc extension was the subduction of the Paleo-Tethys and subsequent Neo-Tethys ocean under the Anatolian Platform and volcanic arc during the Albian-Aptian times.

Seismic interpretation, literature research and field work have been combined in this study to allow for a concise interpretation of the sedimentary systems in the Black Sea from the Late Triassic to the Present day. Adaptations of the in situ taxa in these active sedimentary sites allows a production scale deconstruction of the depositional system. (e.g., separation of channel, levee, sheet-flow, bypass sub-facies).

Deliverables

  • Digital Report
  • Results and the final data set are delivered in a robust ArcGIS Product