EAGE 2014 Recap

By Mike Mueller, VP Technology Development
MicroSeismic, Inc.

During 15-20 June 2014 the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers held its 76th EAGE Conference & Exhibition 2014 in Amsterdam. The tagline was, “Experience the Energy.” This event features three days of technical presentations along with a conference exhibition floor, preceded and followed by numerous workshops, short courses and field trips. At over 8,000 participants and 350 exhibitors, this is a world-class event. MicroSeismic, Inc. participated with three Technical Program papers; two presented by Carl Neuhaus, “Where is the Proppant? DFN Modeling, Proppant Placement, and Drainage Estimation from Microseismic Data,” and, “A Comparison of Seismicity-Based Permeability Characterization Methods,” and one presented by Robert Cieplicki, “True Amplitude Stacking for Moment Magnitude Estimation of Microseismic Events.”

Microseismic topics continue to receive ample attention from the industry, as judged by the submissions to the Technical Program, resulting in 3 dedicated Technical Program sessions, a Poster session, a Workshop and a Short Course. More and more presentations from the industry and academia now address areas of microseismic hydrofrac monitoring that MicroSeismic, Inc previously pioneered and is the established industry leader in, such as the application of imaging technology to surface and near-surface acquisition geometries, how projects are initialized or calibrated so that microseismic event locating is accurate and reliable, and various applications of microseismic technology, including engineering applications.

An Executive session titled, “Can Resource Plays be Sweet Spotted?” was held on 19 June. This session was intended to question the relative merits of the statistical ‘factory mode’ approach to (shale) resource plays versus a deterministic approach to identity the so-called ‘sweet spots’. Some of the set-up questions addressed: Is sweet spotting achievable with today’s technology? What can be learned and applied about sweet spotting from play to play, and from continent to continent? Can the ‘factory mode’ approach be made more economic? The session panelists included 6 executives and thought leaders from across the industry including operators, service companies, academics and regulators.

Professor Mark Zoback, the Benjamin M. Page Professor in Earth Sciences and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University, commented that microseismic technology, in sensing the impact of the hydrofrac stimulation on the volume of reservoir surrounding the fraced wellbore, is the best technology we have to understand stimulation. Further, the key is to focus on the dominant importance of the rock fracturing mechanism known as shearing. When a stimulated rock fails with a shear mechanism this movement leads to opening or reactivating fractures that are more likely to stay open, with or without proppant. The shear mechanism or movement emits (micro)seismic wave energy that we record and image to provide a quality representation of the stimulated reservoir volume (SRV). Since each microseismic event represents a small fracture, the microseismic cloud or pointset provides a direct way to estimate the total effective fracture area. Hydrocarbon flow rates from the shale matrix into the fractures scales with the fracture area, thus understanding fracture area allows the operator to link microseismic monitoring to production.

MicroSeismic, Inc pioneered the use of microseismic pointsets to predict production, based both on the total SRV as well as on the longer-term Productive-SRV, as Carl Neuhaus presented in the EAGE Technical Program earlier in the week. Additionally, with our advanced surface FracStar, near-surface BuriedArray and Downhole Monitoring methods, MicroSeismic is able to offer the best, unbiased, complete knowledge of the SRV regardless of whether the operator is stimulating their first vertical or lateral in a play, or are seasoned ‘factory mode’ drillers and completers who efficiently move from pad to pad drilling numerous multi-laterals at each. To optimize production the ‘factory mode’ operators require direct knowledge on how well they are able to mobilize and extract the hydrocarbons locked away in the shales they are developing with independent information provided by microseismic hydrofrac monitoring.

Mike Mueller