Optimizing Technology for More Efficient and Environmentally Prudent Unconventional Resource Development with HFTS-Canada

November 15, 2017
Des Plaines, IL

GTI and the University of Calgary signed a letter of intent for a Hydraulic Fracture Test Site (HFTS-Canada) in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. The goal is to develop and test technology that will enable efficient and environmentally responsible development of North American unconventional resources.

Comprehensive research data will be generated. Diagnostic information will provide insight to the fracturing network and connectivity between fractures across horizontal wellbores. The information will also deliver an understanding of appropriate well and fracture spacing to optimize production with reduced environmental impacts. Air and water samples from the test site will be used to evaluate air and water quality.

By optimizing the network of natural and induced fractures, recovery can be greatly increased from current rates that are typically below 10% for shale oil and gas. With increased recovery, there is potential to reduce the number of wells that need to be drilled, resulting in a smaller environmental footprint.

Notes Kent Perry, Executive Director of Energy Supply R&D at GTI, "Prior public and private investments in research and field tests in unconventional development have dramatically altered the U.S. energy landscape, and the initial HFTS project in the Permian Basin is providing ground truth evidence paramount to understanding fractures, validating and developing models, and providing for an assessment of how predictive analytics can improve the process.

Further input from scientific, engineering, and operating subject matter experts from industry, universities, national laboratories, and other research institutes is needed to gain a greater understanding of subsurface science in other reservoirs. The best way to facilitate this is via a joint industry partnership, and we are honored to be working with the University of Calgary. Together, we will be soliciting other partners to join in."

"The efforts will support the scientific objectives of the University of Calgary’s Global Research Initiative in sustainable low carbon unconventional resources (GRI), which aims to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of unconventional resource development," says Dr. Christopher Clarkson, a professor in Geoscience and adjunct professor in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary. "This is an exciting opportunity to develop methods and technologies to increase recovery and minimize environmental impact.

We look forward to working with GTI to build off their previous advancements and encourage other public and private sector entities to participate in facilitating a deeper understanding of the hydraulic fracturing process."

The prototype Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site (HFTS) collaboration was led by GTI with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL), Laredo Petroleum, Inc., and 13 operators and service companies. In that project, hosted at a Laredo Permian Midland basin field in West Texas, 400+ fracture stages were completed in 11 wells in the Wolfcamp formation. There, a first-of-a-kind through-fracture core sample was produced to document the physical properties of the fractures. Along with comprehensive data, it provided insight on how induced underground fractures spread and this information is being used to assess the performance of individual fracture stages.

About Gas Technology Institute (GTI)

GTI is a leading research, development and training organization that has been addressing global energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for more than 75 years.

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a global intellectual hub located in Canada’s most enterprising city. In our spirited, high-quality learning environment, students thrive in programs made rich by research, hands-on experiences and entrepreneurial thinking. Our strategy drives us to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, engaging the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.' For more information visit www.ucalgary.ca/eyeshigh

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