Hydraulic Fracturing Techbook 2018

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48 | August 2018 | HYDRAULIC FRACTURING: TECHNOLOGY P ressure pumpers continue to work to move the needle when it comes to the rate of successful hydraulic fracturing jobs worldwide. A blitz of activity across the U.S. conventional and shale plays over the past several years has put the nation in the catbird seat when it comes to hydrocarbon production. Plans to bring in natural gas imports quickly shifted into plans to export the commodity, while oil production from tight formations has con- tinued to impress. It is expected help the nation's crude oil production per day balloon to as much as 12 MMbbl/d by 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's "Annual Energy Outlook 2018." Tight oil is expected to account for about 65% of the overall growth in domestic oil pro- duction between 2017 and 2050. The numbers are robust, but could move even higher as new technologies and strands of automa- tion are introduced into the hydraulic fracturing mix, and maintenance and logistics around frack jobs improve. There is a transition happening in U.S. unconventionals. As operators begin to move from leasehold-style drilling and completion efforts to more of a "factory" or manufacturing mentality, they are bound to latch on to proven methods of fracking that both provide the most bang for their buck as well as offer the optimal solution for the project at hand. "The fracking industry has to continue to focus on ultimate well productivity," said Scott Gale, strategic business manager—Production Enhancement, Hal- liburton. "What are we doing to make better wells? Our clients have been in a mode of experimentation over the last several years and, as everyone has sort of staked their claims, we're now moving toward well optimization and a focus on productivity. It becomes a critical success factor for us. While it has always been important, I think it will continue to be a driving part of the discussion for what technologies receive investment and which ones don't." That is not to say that operators' appetites for new technologies are expected to wane, but it stands to reason that they may become more selective. Those that make the transition to fueling optimal produc- tion and squeezing out costs where possible will likely receive the lion's share of attention from producers. Automation and other tech For several years, Schlumberger has been a champion of automation across the oil patch from drilling to well stimulation. Conventional stimulation equip- ment automates only a few mixing and pumping functions, which falls short of many of the demands of modern hydraulic fracturing operations, includ- ing the high volumes of fluid and proppant, more involved mixing requirements and continuous, high-intensity pumping operations. "Our Automated Stimulation Delivery Platform allows us to achieve higher operational efficiency in stages per unit of time by improving backside equip- ment reliability," said Bruce MacKay, OneStim chief technologist, Schlumberger. "It also allows us to move sand efficiently on location with minimal safety risk Players move to deliver efficiencies for next phase of unconventional hydrocarbon development. Technology Shift on Deck as Operators Reinforce Optimization By Blake Wright Contributing Editor

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