Pad Designer:  Your Shale Productivity Calculator
Data Science & Analytics

Pad Designer: Your Shale Productivity Calculator

Rosemary Jackson  •  

Shale: The days of ‘sweet-spotting’ or ‘high-grading’, drilling in the most productive locations in the shale reservoir, are over. The past exploitation of shale has created a critical need to accurately forecast future productivity levels within the limiting factors of bounded development and scarce investment capital. Applying the geomechanical model of to shale infill development is crucial for ongoing gains.

Productivity: The opportunity for increased productivity in unconventionals lies in subsurface optimization in the bounded rock. According to JPEPT, “the major obstacle related to horizontal wells is rapid well productivity decline due to fracture closure, orientation and absence of knowledge of the reservoir’s fracture geometry.” Employing past practices to build future pad designs overlooks the new geomechanics with new options for optimizing the reservoir. Anchoring productivity to the subsurface insights found in takes you beyond legacy technical limits.

Calculator: We avoid the complex when we need more time than we have to approach a problem, when we have to unsnarl the concepts to get to a solution or when we have gaps in our understanding to bring in all the variables. Calculators encourage the critical, support the difficult, and become a partner in finding a solution to tedious and long operations. Calculators allow rapid investigation, which is an important part of knowledge creation that we set aside for lack of time.

In this Bounded Era of shale exploration, Pad Designer in the platform is the absolute answer to the exploration required to investigate differing well spacing scenarios. The Pad Designer is a Shale Productivity Calculator. This calculator is built with sensitivity knobs that an operator can use to build tradeoff models to maximize inventory. Those knobs call on the whole technical team to experiment together with optimization options:

  • Drainage Estimation
  • Spacing
  • Sequencing
  • Landing Target
  • Completion Design
  • Multiple ROI Models
  • Economic Sensitivity
  • Interference

Dr. Troy Ruths, CEO of explains the concept, “The Shale Productivity Calculator is focused on the O&G unconventional business problem: maximizing inventory. It uses decision variables that are based on the geomechanics of the shale, addressing the different basin specific barriers to oil recovery, and bringing in the economic and business constraints specifically important to each client company.

First the calculator brings in the models created by each of the teams.You take the geo model as an input. You take the frac fingerprints as an input, the productivity model and the economics model so that geo, completions, reservoir and finance all have their models passed in and the calculator synthesizes those models in a way that you can drag the points around and it will recompute your drainage, production and economics. You can generate type curves from it. And use those type curves as a base line for your analysis.

The system is going from source data all the way to these models and the calculator and out to drainage, type curves, and productivity prediction with economics. does all of that and it’s a modular system. These models which go into the calculator are ones that teams are already making. If you’re making it, can consume it, or we can derive it from source data.

Then you start playing with the knobs. This is where the fun begins. You can make adjustments creating new scenarios quickly.

“Say someone is giving you a pad design but that pad design may not fit the lease boundaries you have. You may have half a section to fill. Your lease boundaries may be weird. And every lease has some parent wells on it now. You have to adapt this pad design to each local optimization.

“The constraints now become—do we alter this a little bit now that oil price is higher? How do we change it for different lease holds? How do we change it for different parent wells? The executives came back and said we have a different capital program where we’re trying to achieve a different ROI. What do we need to go back and change or do we just adapt it?

“Those are the challenges and these are your knobs. Knob 1:You can change your sequencing. So what if they come back and say, oh you can’t deploy $15 million at a time, you can only deploy $5 million. What wells should we drill first?

Knob 2: Which wells should we co-develop?

Knob 3: What targets should we go after? Should we change the targets we go after to achieve certain ROIs? Should we drill the worst rock first or the best rock?

Knob 4: You can also change the performance of these wells with spacing. You can fit more wells in if you make them tighter, but you’re going to degrade the performance.

Knob 5: The Frac Fingerprint is our proprietary technology that can be trained on a variety of inputs, but basically takes the input of the completion engineer and passes it to the reservoir engineer and the reservoir engineer can tune the multivariate modeling.”

The knobs that you have to play with and tactically apply to an acreage are the same things you need to go through to develop the pad design. You don’t have to create type curves for each iteration, for every time you change productivity patterns. The Pad Designer, your Shale Productivity Calculator lets you determine quickly if one design is better than another.

“You can understand what you’re draining, look at your economics over the next year, and generate times series and cash flow using the production predictions. You’re using the inputs that your company is already consuming. You’re just missing this AI tool that synthesizes all of these talking models that people are walking down the halls. The insight we have at is, we can automate that entire pipeline. We bring the team decision into one computable Shale Productivity Calculator. Differing solutions are offered for more intelligence-based decisions to be made.

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