Apart from the obvious, a healthy source rock or two, what do Mature Provinces (conventional ones like the North Sea, US onshore basins, many in SE Asia) have in common with current unconventional, shale oil/gas, ‘hot spots’?
Data, tonnes of it!
When I ask colleagues who are working today in a US onshore shale play how many wells they have to work with, the normal answer is ‘thousands’, mostly with logs, cuttings, petroleum samples etc. Much of this dating from the basin’s earlier conventional period….and in all sorts of different formats, media…
Similarly, if I look at what IHS Markit say about their Rushmore Shale Performance Review, I see it has data on drilling, completion and fraccing for ‘over 13,000 wells’.
And have a look at what the UK’s OGA says about the amount of data it holds for the UKCS.
My perception is that not many petro-technical folk yet know how to get real value out of such large data volumes and are often reduced to driving somewhat preconceived models through sub-sets of the available data.
Hence to my ‘missing skill’:
- The ability to take data from any source and get it into a form that can be worked on, bearing in mind the specific objective.
- To go beyond our conventional approach – which has been to put data on a map, generate a cross-plot, fit bi-variate least squares and so on – and apply modern Analytical techniques.
- To pull out a solution which impacts a real business problem: for example, can an operator use Rushmore’s Drilling Performance Review which has details of ‘over 60,000’ wells to design ‘the optimum well’ for their location and target?
Some call the exponents of this skill Data Scientists. They are, I think, in short supply.