Permian database uncovers undocumented wellbores

By North American Shale magazine staff | March 31, 2017

To map-out the world’s hottest shale play, TGS, a global provider of geoscientific data products, had to put forth a monumental effort. A team of data entry experts, geologists and software developers relocated and redigitized well logs, processed directional surveys, digitized mud, lithology and stratigraphy data, picked formation tops, developed three basin temperature models, created GIS polygons of fields, pools and formations, and, aggregated production volumes for different geologic layers in each field. “Tens of millions of dollars of investment later, we have the most complete, top-to-bottom, basin-wide view of the Permian available,” the company said.

TGS, which historically has processed and sold spatially and rotationally directional surveys to individual clients, said that it has found that thousands of wellbores within well file documentation and directional survey reports do not match up with well logs and other wellbore related data. “As the industry moved more and more rapidly toward horizontal drilling and directional drilling, more and more data came through our operational facilities showing similar anomalies,” TGS said. “In fact, we found a significant number of the wellbores in the shale plays to be wellbores not previously identified elsewhere.”

The newly identified data has helped operators working to put in horizontal boreholes in mature fields with a legacy of vertical wells like the Permian. “The health, safety and environment risks alone were enough to make companies take pause and think about what might be down there they may not be aware of.”

With files on more than 430,00 wells, including thousands of previously unidentified wellbores, the TGS team believes it now has a subsurface geological framework for a wide variety of users, including E&Ps, A&D teams, engineers, financial companies and service companies.

The process utilized to sift through the data and create the database has also helped TGS prove a repeatable approach to creating a similar offering in other places. “Through the Permian project, we have established a complete model and workflow of how to approach the next area of interest,” they said. To date, the team is almost done with an Anadarko Basin database.  A product for the Eagle Ford and Bakken is also in the works.