Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources: Exploitation and Development, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources

Exploitation and Development, 1st Edition

Edited by Usman Ahmed, D. Nathan Meehan

CRC Press

860 pages | 752 Color Illus.

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Hardback: 9781498759403
pub: 2016-06-14
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As the shale revolution continues in North America, unconventional resource markets are emerging on every continent. In the next eight to ten years, more than 100,000 wells and one- to two-million hydraulic fracturing stages could be executed, resulting in close to one trillion dollars in industry spending. This growth has prompted professionals experienced in conventional oil and gas exploitation and development to acquire practical knowledge of the unconventional realm.

Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources: Exploitation and Development provides a comprehensive understanding of the latest advances in the exploitation and development of unconventional resources. With an emphasis on shale, this book:

  • Addresses all aspects of the exploitation and development process, from data mining and accounting to drilling, completion, stimulation, production, and environmental issues
  • Offers in-depth coverage of sub-surface measurements (geological, geophysical, petrophysical, geochemical, and geomechanical) and their interpretation
  • Discusses the use of microseismic, fiber optic, and tracer reservoir monitoring technologies and JewelSuite™ reservoir modeling software
  • Presents the viewpoints of internationally respected experts and researchers from leading exploration and production (E&P) companies and academic institutions
  • Explores future trends in reservoir technologies for unconventional resources development

Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources: Exploitation and Development aids geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, geomechanic specialists, and drilling, completion, stimulation, production, and reservoir engineers in the environmentally safe exploitation and development of unconventional resources like shale.


"This cornerstone-edited volume sets a benchmark for understanding the complexity of unconventional oil and gas resources. The breath of the topics covered and level within each topic have set a high bar for any future book in this space. If you are in this business, you need to have this book. If you are considering this business, you could stumble without this book. It should be required reading at any university with programs in petroleum science. For those that don’t know the two editors, Usman Ahmed and Dr. Nathan Meehan, we are getting a volume that is scrutinized by two top-class industry scientists with vast technology insight who know the topics covered. In my judgment, if you could only have one book on this topic, this is it."

—Dr. Raymond Levey, Director, Energy and Geoscience Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA

"The authors should be commended for carefully and painstakingly assembling this comprehensive collection of background data, methods, and workflows current to the industry with insight into potential areas of ongoing research and investigations (e.g., emerging resource areas, formation evaluation, data analytics, etc.). For the practitioner, this text serves as a valuable reference tool and guide. For the researcher, this text provides insight into current methods and workflows, and aids further investigations into emerging areas of unconventional resources. Finally, this text is an invaluable resource to accompany advanced undergraduate and postgraduate unconventional resources coursework and lectures. Heretofore, a comprehensive unconventional resources text such as this has been unavailable."

—Dr. Raymond Johnson, Jr., Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland, and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Adelaide, Australia

Table of Contents

Foreword; Steve Holditch

The Shale Revolution

Industry Image



Introduction; Usman Ahmed and I. Yucel Akkutlu

Setting the Stage

Mission and Scope

Defining Unconventional Resources

Chapter Summary

The Way Forward


Characteristics of Unconventional Oil and Gas Resources; Usman Ahmed and D. Nathan Meehan


Introduction to Unconventional Resources

Workflow to Address Unconventional Resource Development

The Unconventional Resource Triangle

Characteristics of Shale Oil and Gas

Specific Considerations for Tight Oil and Gas

Specific Considerations for Coalbed Methane


The Unconventional Basins and Plays—North America, the Rest of the World, and Emerging Basins; Robert Kennedy, Lucy Xin Luo, andVello Kuuskra


US Shale Gas, Oil Plays, and Basins

Canada Shale Oil and Shale Gas Basins

Major Shale Oil and Shale Gas Basins in Rest of the World


Unconventional Resources Workflow—Exploitation and Development; William Knechtand Shanna Sambol-Koseoglu



Workflows in Unconventional Resource Development

Challenges and Background

The Common Solution

The Ideal Solution

Identify and Evaluate Resource Potential

Build and Modify Reservoir Models

Refine Resource Evaluation and Generate a Field Development Plan

Determine the Optimal Horizontal Well Placement

Achieve Drilling Precision and Efficiency

Characterize the Lateral for Fracture Stage Placement

Determine the Optimal Horizontal Hydraulic Fracture Stage Placement

Design a Fracture Program and Treatment

Microseismic Fracture Monitoring Services

Optimize Production Flow

Refracture to Improve Ultimate Recovery

Holistic Approach to Water Management




Seismic Reservoir Characterization Applications for Unconventional Resources; Rob Mayer, Gabino Castillo, Kevin Chesser, Guy Oliver, Chi Vinh Ly, Simon Voisey, Norbert Van de Coevering, and Antoine Bouziat


Overview of Surface Seismic Utilization in Unconventional Plays

Seismic Survey Design and Acquisition Considerations

Seismic Processing

Seismic Attribute Interpretation

Validation Techniques

Case Study




Case Study

Pilot Projects in Unconventional Resources Development; Michael A. Addis, Hans-Christian Freitag, and Alfredo Mendez


Pilot Projects

Pilot Project Design and Review to Capture Improvements

Concluding Remarks and Future Trends


Formation Evaluation and Reservoir Characterization of Source Rock Reservoirs; Matt W. Bratovich and Frank Walles

Overview of Formation Evaluation Objectives for Reservoir Characterization of Source Rock Reservoirs

Technologies Utilized for Formation Evaluation and Reservoir Characterization of Source Rock Reservoirs

Organic Carbon Quantification

Lithology and Mineralogy Determination

Porosity Determination

Permeability Determination

Fluid Saturation Determination

Geological and Geomechanical Characterization

Utilization of Formation Evaluation Results to Optimize Lateral Well Placement and Lateral Characterization for Stimulation Program Design


Role of Geomechanical Engineering in Unconventional Resources Developments; Michael A. Addis, Sanjeev Bordoloi, Javier A. Franquet, Patrick J. Hooyman, Robert S. Hurt, Julie E. Kowan, Abbas Khaksar, Neal B. Nagel, and See H. Ong


Rock Characterization

In-Situ Stress and Pore Pressure Characterization

Wellbore Stability

Geomechanical Engineering Considerations in Shale Stimulation

Geomechanics Considerations in CBM Developments

Conclusion and Future Trends


Laboratory Tests and Considerations to Complement the Overall Reservoir Understanding; Brian J. Davis, Russell Maharidge, and Joel Walls


Reservoir Samples for Lab Analysis

Unconventional Rock Types

Core Preservation

Laboratory Analyses

Digital Rocks Methods for Mudstones: An Example from the Wolfcamp Formation

Final Words



Reservoir Engineering Aspects of Unconventional Oil and Gas; D. Nathan Meehan and Usman Ahmed

The Conventional Approach

The Unconventional Dilemma

Well Variability Issues

Impact of Fracture Characteristics

Drainage Volume

Other Reservoir Issues


The Art of Data Mining and Its Impact on Unconventional Reservoir Development; Randy F. LaFollette, Lucy Xin Luo, and Ming Zhong

The Importance of Data Mining in Unconventional Reservoirs

Evolution of Data Mining

Data Availability

Data Quality Control

Analysis Methods

Case Studies

Concluding Remarks


Unconventional Reserves and Resources Accounting and Booking; Rawdon Seager


What Do We Mean by Reserves Booking?

Definitions for Reserves and Resources

What Do We Mean by Unconventional Resources?

Approach to Assessing Reserves and Resources in Unconventional Reservoirs

Closing Remarks


Production Evaluation and Forecasting; George Vassilellis, Craig Cipolla, James C. Erdle, and Usman Ahmed


Production Forecasting

Conventional Techniques for Characterizing Fracture Geometry

Numerical Reservoir Modeling

Stimulated Reservoir Volume, Microseismic Data, and Production Evaluation and Forecasting

Completion Optimization and RTA in Unconventional Reservoirs

Production Forecast Approximation

Numerical Models


Drilling Systems for Unconventionals; Rajdeep Gupta, Deepak K. Khatri, Ashish K. Goel, and Gregory L. Devenish

The Early Days

Drilling Unconventional Wells

Drilling Systems

The Changing Needs of Unconventional Drilling

Concluding Remarks


Multistage Completion Systems for Unconventionals; William (Aaron) Burton

Basics of Unconventional Wellbore Completions

Plug-and-Perforate Completion Systems

Ball-Activated Completion Systems

Coiled Tubing Activated Completion Systems

Benefits and Considerations of Each Completion System

Operational Comparison of Each Completion System

Services Correlation

Concluding Remarks



Stimulation of Unconventional Reservoirs; Tony Martin, Sergey Kotov, Scott G. Nelson, and David Cramer

Authors’ Note

Introduction to Unconventional Fracturing

Fracturing Fluids and Proppants

Fracture Design Considerations

Geomechanics and Fracture Modeling

Perforation Strategy

Calibration and Diagnostic Tests

Unconventional Fracturing Operations





Flow Assurance; Stephen Szymczak


Inorganic Scale



Bacteria and Bacterially Related Corrosion

Program Design and Operations

Summary and Conclusion



Artificial Lift Technologies; Alex Vilcinskas


Unconventional Oil Plays and General Issues

Summary of Application Issues


Well Depth

Production Decline (Depletion)

Oil Producing Unconventional Plays in the US: Electric Submersible

Gas Handling Theory



Monitoring Technologies—Microseismic, Fiber Optic, and Tracers; Pierre-François Roux, Edmund Leung, Cooper C. Gill, and Usman Ahmed

Introduction to Monitoring Technologies

Background: About Microseismic

Fiber Optic Monitoring

Permanent Downhole Inflow Tracer Monitoring Technology



Rejuvenating Unconventional Resources; Robert Kennedy, Iman Oraki Kohshour, and Usman Ahmed


The Potential Refracturing Market for North American and United States Shale Wells

Initial Fracturing Wellbore Completion Types

Reasons to Refracture

Why Initial Fracture Treatments Are Either Unsuccessful or Fail Over Time

Why Refracturing Is Successful

Refracturing Procedures

Refracturing Candidate Selection

The Economics of Refracturing

Refracture Case Histories

Recommendations for Refracturing

Concluding Remarks about Refractures

ESOR−Enhanced Shale Oil Recovery

Case Study

EOR Concluding Remarks


Environmental Issues in Unconventional Oil and Gas Resource Development; D. Nathan Meehan


Social License to Operate

Environmental Issues in Unconventional Activities

Outlook on Federal and State Developments



Case Studies, Accessing JewelSuite™ Software and Data; Marie P. Meyet, Iman Oraki Kohshour, Sachin Ghorpade, Seun Oyinloye, Randall Cade, and Usman Ahmed


Software Access

Eagle Ford



New Considerations and Future Trends in Reservoir Technologies for Unconventional Resources Development; I. Yucel Akkutlu


Kinetics of Hydrocarbon Maturation, Fracture Initiation, and Propagation

Stress-Sensitive Microfractured Shale Matrix Permeability

Resource Shales as Naturally Occurring Nanoporous Materials

From Reservoir Uncertainties to Reservoir Anomalies

Permeability of Organic-Rich Nanoporous Shale with Microfractures

Improved Oil Recovery


Epilogue; Usman Ahmed, D. Nathan Meehan, and I. Yucel Akkutlu

Nature of Matrix-Fracture Duality

From Reservoir Uncertainties to Reservoir Anomalies

Reservoir Engineering Discipline in Crisis

A Shift in Paradigms on Its Way

Terms and Definitions

About the Editors

Usman Ahmed is CTO of unconventional oil and gas resources technology and executive technical advisor to WellDog, and more recently, vice president and chief reservoir engineer at Baker Hughes. He previously worked for Schlumberger, TerraTek, and his own reservoir and production engineering consulting firm, Energy Resources International. He has two patents and more than three decades of petroleum engineering experience. He is a Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) distinguished member, a recognized technical and professional industry leader, and the author and coauthor of more than 100 industry papers and textbooks. He was an SPE distinguished speaker in 2004-2005 and 2013-2014, and has been invited to numerous events as a keynote speaker and panelist. He holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University.

D. Nathan Meehan serves as senior executive advisor to Baker Hughes. He was previously president of CMG Petroleum Consulting, vice president of engineering for Occidental Oil and Gas, and general manager of exploration and production services for Union Pacific Resources. He was recently elected the 2016 president of the Society of Petroleum (SPE) Engineers. He is an SPE distinguished member with more than 38 years of experience in reservoir engineering, reserve estimation, hydraulic fracturing, and horizontal wells. He holds a B.Sc. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, M.Sc. in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University. Widely published and highly decorated, Dr. Meehan is a licensed professional engineer in four states.

About the Series

Emerging Trends and Technologies in Petroleum Engineering

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Chemical & Biochemical
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Fossil Fuels