Permian Basin 2018

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PERMIAN BASIN: TECHNOLOGY 32 | October 2018 | T he Permian Basin of West Texas and Southern New Mexico remains one of the most prolific oil theaters in the U.S., pumping nearly 3.3 MMbbl/d of crude in August according to the U.S. Energy In- formation Administration. That's pretty impressive for a century-old oil field. However, it is not all roses and rainbows in the region currently. Takeaway con- straints due to pipeline bottlenecks and general lack of infrastructure have prompted some producers to ease off the accelerator and rein in drilling programs while export projects in the region play catch-up. The squeeze on natural gas movement from the area has resulted in an estimated $1 million per day of gas being burned off via flaring, but state restrictions won't allow that to last forever. With no place to flow residual gas, oil production is being curtailed. Some operators have already begun looking beyond the Permian and moving rigs out of the area to locations that are not facing the same challenges. Even as infrastructure woes weigh heavy on the minds of producers there is still a bounty to be had in the Permian, and many continue the search for the perfect balance of low cost, high yield dynam- ics to ensure the oil isn't the only thing that flows black; their bottom lines must follow suit. Tech- nological advancements have always played their part in both boosting production—via artificial lift, pressure pumping agents and perforation controls—and lower cost, through streamlining existing concepts, cheaper chemistries or logistical gains, among other things. The current hiccup has not deterred tech com- panies and tech-driven operators from experimen- tation with and implementation of the latest bit of industrial science. From automation and artificial intelligence to the latest piece of kit to help con- quer a two-mile lateral and coax oil and gas out of the tightest formations, the Permian Basin remains both a laboratory and proving ground for technol- ogies of all kinds. Contractor targets completions triad Schlumberger has set its sights on a trio of technol- ogies to assist in everything from customizing the right chemical cocktail to increase reservoir perfor- mance to additive management addressing cost, shelf life and more. The Schlumberger ShalePrime rock-fluid diagnostic service uses customer-sup- plied shale core or cuttings to create a consistent pack of material to imbibe water and water treated with a small amount of surfactant. "The rate at which the water is taken up by the test pack tells you everything you need to know, if you are measuring carefully and have a good mathematical model for the process," explained Bruce MacKay, Schlumberger OneStim chief tech- nologist. "The contact angle tells you about how the water—after we inject it into the formation—is going to be retained in very small cracks and fea- tures out in the distal portion of the fracture net- work, where the reservoir and the proppant pack are in ultimate contact." Contractors and operators alike are pushing the innovation envelope. Downhole Tech Solutions Drive Down Cost, Up Production By Blake Wright Contributing Editor

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