Five oil and gas companies are participating in a joint industry project (JIP) to gain better insight into the Utica/Point Pleasant shale play.
The joint industry project launched in early April by Ingrain Inc., a digital rock physics company, to improve fundamental understanding of the Utica/Point Pleasant shale play. The project is expected to last one year or more, depending on the number of new operators participating in the JIP and timing of new operators joining, said Joel D. Walls, director of unconventional technology at Houston-based Ingrain in an interview with Rigzone. Three of the sponsors include Tracker Resource Development LLC, Range Resources, and EQT Corp.; the other two companies are experienced and sophisticated shale play operators, Walls said. Ingrain is in discussions with several other companies about membership in the JIP.
The idea to establish a JIP focused on the Utica play was first suggested by a large independent operator who also is one of the five initial JIP partners. The purpose of the Utica JIP is to identify the most productive formations or zones, improving fundamental understanding of what rock properties are most important for good wells, and exploring the variability within the Utica/Point Pleasant play. The partners hope to better understand the relationships between facies, depositional sequences and reservoir quality compared with other U.S. shale plays.
The Utica is not so much more challenging versus other U.S. shale plays, just different in some key respects from the more well-developed plays in other states, Walls noted. So far, most samples have come from the mixed gas/condensate window so they do not yet have enough data, but that too is a key objective of the project, Walls added. “We believe this project and its objectives and methods are unique to the industry,” said Walls.
While new technology will certainly be developed through the JIP, it is too early to know how any technology resulting from the JIP will be commercialized.”Ingrain’s technology brings understanding of the fundamental pore-scale storage and fluid flow mechanisms in shale,” Walls noted. “This understanding is the foundation for improving well productivity and longevity.”Walls said he believes that Utica production could grow significantly, and become a major factor in the nation’s energy landscape.