Concepts of Scale: Horizontal Development of Wolfcamp Shale Oil of the Southern Midland Basin


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AAPG E-Symposium Series. Successful development of Wolfcamp shale oil relies on complex inter-relationships (ultimately interdependencies) within and between a wide variety of scientific disciplines, financial entities, and company partnerships. The issues and nuances within any sub-category alone could fill a book. But many broad considerations can be highlighted in the exploration and development of Wolfcamp shale oil by examining “Concepts of Scale”. An English teacher might describe “Concepts of Scale” as a recurring thematic element. And if the view is sufficiently twisted with respect to all of the following observations, scale always has some role in the process.

This presentations addresses the development of the Wolfcamp Shale in the Permian Basin and is split into 2 parts. The first part of this presentation focuses on the scientific disciplines; grouped as geosciences and engineering. Geoscience observations include depositional fabrics, gas show variations, and comparative number of lateral landing zones (“benches”). Engineering observations include variations in frac stage designs (trends in numbers of stages, numbers of clusters, amounts of fluid and proppant), contrasting reservoir responses to frac stimulation from micro-seismic evaluation; and counter-intuitive goals for stimulated reservoir volumes.

The second part of this presentation focuses on the business disciplines; grouped as land, development capital, and company partnerships. Land observations include the geographical and mineral ownership complexities of potential lease configurations. Development capital observations emphasize the rapidly changing aspects of quantity and timing. Company partnership observations encompass working interest sharing, data sharing, and the potential optimal strategies involved.

Hopefully this will encourage company teams to step back from their projects, evaluate strategy and available resources, and re-examine work flows and communication processes. Maybe even glimpse a forest not seen before.

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Your Instructor

David Dally, AAPG
David Dally, AAPG

David Dally grew up in Midland; though he has lived the last 32 years in Houston. He graduated from Midland High in 1976. He attended Texas A and M University, receiving a BBA Finance in 1979, an MBA Finance in 1981, and MS Geology in 1983. David is a member of AAPG, DPA (certified), EMD, WTGS, PBS-SEPM, HGS, PBPA, and is a Texas licensed geologist. David is the fourth generation in his family to work in the petroleum industry. Like his father before him, David is a prospect generating geologist. He is president and owner of Ring Exploration Inc. For the last 20 years he has partnered with Mr. T. Grant Johnson. They are best known as the two principle partners of Lone Star Production Company. Lone Star has always focused exclusively on the Permian Basin.