Much has been said lately about the dramatic increase in production in the Bakken over the past six years. And, while a hundred-fold increase is nothing to scoff at, it is nowhere near the kinds of gains realized in the Maverick Basin/Eagle Ford Area in the last 3 years.
At the beginning of 2009, the area had 23,000 actively producing wells. By the beginning of 2012, that number increased to 25,300 ‒ a 10% jump and most are producing from the Eagle Ford.
On a percentage basis, the well growth in the Maverick/Eagle Ford Area is in line with other basins, such as the Arkoma, Denver-Julesburg (DJ) and Piceance. But, what does set this area apart is the dramatic increase in overall productivity per well ‒ a 600% increase from 2009! The per-well productivity jumped from an average of 2.6 bopd/well to 18.6 bopd/well. No other play comes close to this level of improvement. As noted above, the next highest increase occurred in the Williston Basin (Bakken), followed by the Powder River (47%), DJ (28%) and Anadarko (21%).
But, how were operators in the Maverick/Eagle Ford Area able to increase production by 600%?
In our research on the DI Analytics team, we have found down-spacing, drilling, completion and stimulation techniques play a significant role in productivity gains. However, the rock quality across the Maverick Basin/Eagle Ford seems to have the largest overall impact. Through our statistical modeling, we have found rock impacts productivity by 80-90%.
But, as strong as that correlation seems to be, from a statistical and analytic standpoint, it’s clear no one operational component drives productivity in a given area. Since every play contains its own idiosyncrasy of traps, porosity, permeability and depth, the combination of techniques and their impact will vary across plays.
This leaves many questions on the table.
- As our industry continues to experiment and understand the impact of variables that brought a 600% increase in the last 3 years, what changes and improvements will the next 3 years bring?
- Will operational techniques begin to change our understanding?
- Once identified and understood in the Eagle Ford, how will we transfer these best practices to areas with different quality rock?
As complex as these plays continue to prove, we look forward to uncovering the best practices that drive dramatic changes in the industry. By looking at the information from a “big data” perspective, we can begin to identify the primary geological drivers, which will give us a much better understanding of the operational ones.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think are the most significant factors that impact well productivity? Please, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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