Reaearch Papers: Unconventional Petroleum

Basin Analog Investigations Answer Characterization Challenges of Unconventional Gas Potential in Frontier Basins

[+] Author and Article Information
Kalwant Singh1

Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843

Stephen A. Holditch, Walter B. Ayers

Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843


Present address: TOTAL E&P USA, Inc.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 130(4), 043202 (Oct 28, 2008) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3000104 History: Received January 23, 2008; Revised August 29, 2008; Published October 28, 2008

To meet future global oil and gas demands, the energy industry will need creative thinking that leads to the discovery and development of new fields. Unconventional gas resources, especially those in frontier (exploratory) basins, will play an important role in fulfilling future energy needs. To develop unconventional gas resources, we must first identify their occurrences and quantify their potential. Basin analog systems investigation (BASIN ) is a computer software that can rapidly and inexpensively evaluate the unconventional gas resource potential of frontier basins. BASIN is linked to a database that includes petroleum systems and reservoir properties data from 25 intensely studied North American “reference” basins that have both conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources. To use BASIN , limited data from a frontier or “target” basin are used to query the database of North American reference basins and rank these reference basins as potential analogs to the frontier basin. Based on analog comparisons, we can predict unconventional gas resources and make preliminary engineering decisions concerning resource development and the best drilling, completion, stimulation, and production practices to use in the frontier basin. Initial software validation shows consistent results. If a basin is selected as the target basin while the same basin is also in the reference basin list, the results show that the basin is a 100% analog to itself. Other basins in the reference basin list are less than 100% analogs. Also, BASIN performed favorably when it was tested against analog basin decisions made by of a team of industry experts. BASIN rapidly and inexpensively identifies and ranks reference basins as analogs to a frontier basin, providing insights to potential gas resources and indicating the preliminary best engineering practice for resource development. It is an effective tool that provides guidance to inexperienced professionals and new perceptions for seasoned experts.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Resource triangle concept (1)

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Figure 2

Basin analog concept

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Figure 3

Basin analog approach

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Figure 4

Parameter comparison process and weighting

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Figure 5

Flexible range parameter classes

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Figure 6

Secondary weighting concept

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Figure 7

Evaluating multiple petroleum systems

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Figure 8

Method of processing analog parameter values

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Figure 9

Example result ranking analogs to the Neuquén basin by the average points method

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Figure 10

Example result for ranking analogs to the San Juan basin using the best match petroleum system method for tight sand

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Figure 11

Software validation results with the Permian basin as target and as a reference basin

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Figure 12

BASIN assessment of the San Juan basin as target, using only conventional resource data from the San Juan basin reference database

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Figure 13

Results for the San Juan basin with modified porosity data in the target database

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Figure 14

Summary of experts’ determinations of the best San Juan basin analog



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