HOUSTON–The rapid growth in production from unconventional resources has changed the dynamics of the global hydrocarbon commodities market significantly. It also has changed the nature of U.S. production and associated technologies required to maintain that production in the future.
An IHS Markit report issued in December (see story page 59) shows that the base decline rate of the more than 150,000 producing oil and gas wells in the Permian Basin has “increased dramatically” over the past decade, with newer shale wells declining much faster than older conventional wells. Noting that the base decline rate is “the speed of the treadmill,” IHS Markit estimates that base Permian Basin production declined by a staggering 40% in 2019, or 1.5 million barrels of oil a day.
That means, of course, that operators will have to drill substantially more wells simply to keep current production levels steady, let alone achieve production growth. At the same time, oil and gas companies need to be much more efficient and cost-effective in order to increase their cash flows.
Shale wells are characterized by sharp production declines, which are associated partly with interactions between parent and child wells. Over the past couple years, the industry has been testing the limits of well spacing and is quickly moving away from early development models that favored drilling more wells at a tighter spacing. Now, operators are adopting a strategy of drilling and completing fewer wells at an increased spacing to mitigate the effects of frac hits while still draining the reservoir volume.
View the article in it's entirety here