Unlocking Unconventional Reservoirs
What is an 'unconventional' reservoir? While the term has multiple meanings, from an economic standpoint, unconventional resources are those that cannot be profitably produced with conventional development and production methods. Over the last ten years, unconventional reservoirs have gone from 'emerging' to 'center stage' in the global E&P sector. And seismic is becoming of increasing value to oil & gas companies operating in all types of unconventional plays, from North America's shale plays, to the oil sands in Canada, to the tight gas sand basins of Argentina.
Before "shale" became an industry buzz word, ION was helping operators with unconventional resource acreage get the information they need to identify optimum well locations, design hydraulic fracturing programs, and maximize production.
Over the past decade, shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States and Canada, and interest is growing in Europe, China, India, South Africa, Argentina, and Australia. Shale oil activity is also a growing segment in our industry. While historically, development of resource plays was derived from advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, operators are increasingly using seismic to understand and predict the geologic drivers behind productive wells to optimize drilling plans and better design stimulation programs.
ION is a leader in imaging and characterizing unconventional reservoirs.
- Extensive shale processing experience - Since 2003, our GX Technology group has processed 250 projects in shale plays, delivering over 22,000 square miles of seismic data across virtually all major North American shale plays.
- Pioneering data processing techniques - Driven by geology, we employ the latest techniques, including our proprietary azimuthal velocity analysis (AZIM), offset vector tiling (OVT) and converted-wave technologies, and our proven reservoir characterization services, including seismic attribute analysis and interpretation.
- Integrated seismic programs - Our GeoVentures group provides full-scope survey program management, from feasibility studies and survey design and planning, to acquisition services, data processing and interpretation. We offer both proprietary surveys and our ResSCAN or BasinSPAN multi-client programs.
Hydraulic fracturing and fracture stimulation technologies, coupled with a growth in demand for natural gas, have made tight gas plays economically viable for E&P companies in many parts of the world. The low porosity and permeability of tight gas reservoirs, however, make tight gas more difficult to extract. Because of the very low permeability of these rocks, E&P companies seek to drill wells in reservoir zones with the highest fracture intensity. The use of seismic data can help identify areas with the highest potential for naturally occurring fractures, and can help operators to identify the best locations for productive wells.
ION has proven success in tight gas reservoirs and is the market leader in multicomponent, full-wave imaging. We have completed tight gas projects in some of the key unconventional regions around the world, including Xinchang, China; Algeria; and the U.S. and Canadian Rocky Mountains.
- Advanced acquisition technologies - Imaging fractures requires a well sampled, wide azimuth 3D survey acquired with single point multicomponent receivers. ION partner INOVA's acquisition systems and digital sensors, Connex command and control software, VNAV and Source controllers, are ideal for this application.
- Leader in full-wave imaging - Our GX Technology group is a leader in full-wave processing. For more than a decade, our team has delivered improved high-resolution images of the subsurface that are allowing E&P operators to better target their wells into the sweet spots of reservoirs and improve the ROI of development drilling programs.
- Proven reservoir characterization expertise - ION's Reservoir Services team of experienced geoscientists and engineers offer a wide range of interpretation solutions, from individual services such as simultaneous inversions and fracture mapping, to fully integrated interpretations, including selection of optimized well locations.
Oil sands -- formations of heavy, viscous oil that are mixed with sand and water over vast areas -- are found in over 70 countries, but most of the world's reserves are in two regions: Canada and Venezuela. Combined, they contain an estimated 3.6 trillion barrels of oil.
In-situ production typically requires drilling horizontal wells in pairs, one to pump steam in and one to extract bitumen. Optimal placement of these horizontal well pairs requires superior image resolution, achievable with high-density, multicomponent 3D seismic surveying. Superior imaging can also reduce the number of vertical stratigraphic cored wells, wells drilled for informational purposes only, to define the resource area. In addition, multicomponent seismic data can be leveraged during production to monitor the movement of injected steam into and around the reservoir.
Key operators in oil sands have called upon ION's GX Technology (GXT) data processing and reservoir services teams to provide the information they need to increase productivity and reduce risk.
- Advanced imaging techniques - GXT offers a comprehensive suite of anisotropic imaging solutions, including our proprietary azimuthal velocity analysis (AZIM) technology. If a multicomponent survey is indicated, our full-wave team stands ready to help you extract the maximum value from your data investment.
- Reservoir Services: Our Reservoir Services team helps oil sands operators determine porosity and fluid content then applies attributes to help determine the matrix structure of the sands.
Brochures & Datasheets
- ResSCANS in North America
- Anisotropic PreSTM Imaging for Unconventional Reservoirs, Presented by Edward Jenner
- Differential Technologies for Fractured Reservoirs, Presented by Mark Wallace