Unconventional O&G Shale Production – Leveraging Best Practices Globally

Michael Machuca

Michael Machuca

Emerson’s Michael Machuca, a member of the upstream Oil & Gas team in the Flow Solutions Group shares his expertise in an Emerson Exchange Stuttgart presentation, Unconventional O&G Shale Production – Leveraging Best Practices Globally.

His abstract:

Shale O&G production has revolutionized North America and is expanding globally. The complexity of unconventional shale assets present significant challenges throughout all stages of field development—well planning and construction, facilities deployment, and operations. Shale operators must contend with the rapid development and deployment of well pad facilities, accelerated production decline, and an evolving regulatory environments. This paper will share proven best practices implemented by operators to leverage technology to achieve and sustain economically-viable production.

Michael opened by defining shale. Shale is fine-grained sedimentary rock that can contain petroleum and natural gas. It has low permeability that inhibits oil and gas migration to the well–known as tight oil and gas. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) are required to make well economically feasible.

In the more complex horizontal drilling process, laterals extend from 1 – 2 miles (1.6 -3.2 km) in length. In the United States, horizontal becoming more common place, with 67% located onshore. Producing from shale formations has its challenges including accelerated production decline, mass construction of wells, increasing operational costs, more costly exploration,
regulatory compliance, and managing water resources used in the fracking process.

Operator Automation Strategy

Operator Automation Strategy

Michael described an operator automation strategy. Surveillance includes instrumentation & real-time data.
Analyze includes real-time information & data validation.
Optimize considers real-time intervention & integrated workflows. Transform includes innovative business solutions & processes.

He highlighted specific surveillance applications including Wellhead integrity monitoring, casing, tubing pressure, temperature
Chemical injection monitoring sand/corrosion monitoring, separator/HT production data gathering, tank volumes, fiscal measurement/lease automatic custody transfer (LACT), and data gathering.

Optimizing these processes can help avoid deferred production, lower maintenance costs, and reduce excessive flaring.

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