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The Shaunavon Formation

History & Positioning

The Shaunavon Formation is a stratigraphical unit deposited during the mid-Jurassic Era in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Taking the name from the town of Shaunavon in SW Saskatchewan, it was deposited during the Bathonian age and is approximately 168 million years in age. The 1st well was drilled in 1954 just SW of the town of Shaunavon, the origin of the formations name.

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The Shaunavon is positioned below the Vanguard Group (more specifically the Rierdon Formation) and above the Gravelbourg Formations. Reaching a maximum thickness of approximately 48m the Shaunavon stretches into the Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota as well as, blending into the shaley facies of the Melita Formation of Manitoba.

Composition

The Shaunavon Formation is composed of two members, an Upper and a Lower member. The Upper Shaunavon consists of a blend of calcareous sandstone, oolitic and argillaceous limestone, shell coquina and interbeds of gray and green shale.

The lower member consists of an oolitic bed overtop a buff microcrystalline limestone. Dolomitization, a process in which dolomite is formed when calcium ions in calcite are replaced by magnesium ions, has been found to occur in both the Upper and Lower Shaunavon members.

Log Characteristics

The complicated and heterogeneous succession of interbedded limestone, multi-colored shale and sandstone of the Shaunavon formations is clearly seen in logs. The Lower Shaunavon limestone displays the most prominent of identification characteristics.

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Production Interest

Crescent Point had dominated the Shaunavon oil play in southwestern Saskatchewan, controlling as much as 90 per cent of the acreage in the play. But now has good competition after Surge Energy Inc. entered the play after buying assets from Cenovus Energy Inc. Initial interest was directed toward the Lower Shaunavon member, however emphasis had shifted by many companies to target the Upper member based on the favorable production recognized.  As well, the opportunity for multi-zone production from both members has also been an incentive for companies targeting the formation.

Going Forward

Using horizontal drilling and multistage-fracturing completion techniques the Upper and Lower Shaunavon reservoirs can be exploited in a much more efficient way. Reservoir investigation using horizontal well evaluations has been shown to improve frac stage effectiveness by targeting specific intervals of the lateral section that are most ideal for frac stimulation. Other sections of the wellbore that are not as ideal (frac energy is not absorbed well) can be avoided, thus reducing the occurrence of wasted/inefficient frac stages.

With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, horizontal open hole logs can be obtained safely, while significantly reducing rig time typically associated with conventional logging operations.

The Niobrara - A Closer Look

The Niobrara was deposited during a period of large variations in sea level, in the in the middle of North America during late Cretaceous Age (145.5 – 65.5 million years ago). With a descending Western Interior Seaway crust, a major marine transgression occurred and created conditions ideal for carbonate deposition.

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Resistivity Analysis

Much of the Niobrara exploration activity has been guided by resistivity mapping. In general, higher resistivity correlates with higher maturity and better production. It has been identified that resistivity is typically low in thermally immature regions of the Niobrara. Resistivity gradually increases with increased maturity, as the production progressively moves from the oil window into the wet-gas window. However, when referring to increasing maturity of wet-gas to dry-gas window, this trend reverses. Recent studies have indicated that the best explanation for this process of decreasing resistivity with higher thermal maturity is likely due to changes in wettability combined with development of petroleum-discharge fractures.

The process is as follows:

  • Low maturity Niobrara is water-wet and therefore has low resistivity.

  • In the oil-generation window, organic compounds and water are competing to coat grain surfaces and eventually the rock changes from water-wet to oil-wet, causing a substantial increase in resistivity.

  • Further on, hydrcarbons (solid and liquid) go through a process known as “Thermal Cracking” and are converted to gas. Essentially, as these organic compounds (resins and asphaltenes) are consumed the oil-wetting behavior is reversed, thus releasing grain surfaces to be rewetted by connate water. The conductive water phase presence is re-established, resulting in resistivity decreases.

The figure below shows a regional map of maximum resistivities in the Niobrara. Resistivities are low (<10 ohm-m) in the shallow eastern part of the basin and increase westward into the deeper part of the basin. The trend of increasing resistivity with increasing maturity is reversed in the area of Wattenberg field where the Niobrara maturity is highest. This area is indicated on by the 20,000 GOR contour.

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Completions

The Niobrara has had completions operations performed since the early 1980’s. By 2009, the introduction of horizontal drilling and multi-stage frac intervals had identified a viable individual target area in the Niobrara chalks. Certain companies have utilized completion designs that were driven from their earlier experiences in Bakken field operations.     

D-J Basin - Active horizontal drilling continues to present day, with about 50 rigs running in early 2014.

The Niobrara - A Primer

History & Deposition

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The Niobrara Formation originated in the middle of North America during late Cretaceous Age (145.5 – 65.5 million years ago). Deposited in what’s known as the “Western Interior Seaway”, the Niobrara Formation is also known as the Niobrara Shale. The Niobrara was deposited during a period of large fluctuations in sea level. With a descending Western Interior Seaway crust, a major marine transgression occurred and created conditions ideal for carbonate deposition.

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Activity in the Area

Available land positions are being snapped up by several companies, all trying to get a piece of the action. Improvements in the engineering and geological understanding of the Niobrara will likely result in segregation of specific regional areas for companies to focus on exploitation.

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Geology

The Niobrara formation consists of a widespread deposit of interbedded marine chalk, limestone and organic rich shale. Primary lithology in the eastern part of the seaway is chalk and limestone.  The interbedded chalk is characterized as brittle and often naturally fractured. Due to this brittle nature, even small structural features can add significant fractured enhancement to permeability.

The Niobrara is a self-sourced hydrocarbon system and estimates of total organic carbon content in the range from 1% to 7%. Oil experiences only local migration, and the play boundary is outlined by a region of thermal maturity.  Oil production has come mostly from vertical wells in the deeper (depths of 6,000 to 9,000+ feet), more mature portions of the Denver-Julesburg (DJ), North Park and Powder River basins. Average porosity is typically less than 10% with permeability less than 0.01millidarcy.

   

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The chart depicts the economics of a Wattenberg horizontal well (Wattenberg is a field commonly associated with Niobrara exploration). This illustrates that the more invested in these wells has yielded higher rates of return on invested capital. Primary reasoning behind these higher yields is due to more more-effective completion design, extended lateral sections of wells, and enhanced drilling methods translating into improved rigtime efficiency. The play is mainly being exploited using horizontal drilling, with reported lateral lengths of 3,500 to 5,500 feet, and multistage fracture stimulations with well costs of $3 to $6 million.

Going Forward

Advancements in drilling and completion techniques have led to renewed interest in the Niobrara oil play in the Rockies. Although the reservoir has been productive for more than a century, numerous companies have established large acreage positions in the prospective trend. Using horizontal drilling and multistage-fracturing completion techniques, these companies are all hoping to take advantage of this relatively low-permeability oil reservoir. Although few well results have been made available, due to the early stages of the play development, those that have been released have been encouraging.

Further investigation into improvements of multi-stage fracture completions by way of horizontal well evaluations and better frac placement, is sure to continue the excellent returns being produced from the Niobrara. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, horizontal open hole logs can be obtained safely, while significantly reducing rig time typically associated with conventional logging operations.

Open Hole Logging & Engineering Completion Stimulation

For many of the active plays in both Canada and the United States the idea of “blind geometric fracturing” is vastly being dominated with the link between Open Hole data and Engineered Completion Stimulation. The advanced completion stimulation design entails optimizing fracture stages as well as corrects positioning of perforation clusters to provide the maximum production well-well.

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Whitepapers such as the SPE 166242, which provides a detailed look into completion optimization of the Eagle Ford using Horizontal Log Data, shows:

  • Proven results indicating the need for theses advancements

  • Operating costs have been decreased to efficiently drill these wells, but some adjustments are necessary to the current completions techniques

  • Average production from the shale formation has remained flat over the past 5 years, even with the variation of completions techniques

  • Less than 64% of perforation clusters are contributing to the total well production

  • Approx. 30% of perforation clusters do not appear to contribute in unconventional plays across North America using multistage completions

Results of SPE 166242:

  • The addition of low risk, low cost Petrophysical Analysis by grouping similarly stressed rock for treatment

  • Perforation Efficiency increased from 64% to 82%. 18% more perforation clusters contributing to well production

Datalog Logging While Tripping provides Open Hole Data in order to perform an Engineering Completions Stimulation as shown in SPE 166242.

Charlie Lake: Not the next Montney, but…

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In previous topics we have covered the Montney formation in two parts: Introduction & A Closer Look. A younger formation, above the Montney, known as Charlie Lake has been slowly showing up on the radar of many companies currently active in the Montney.

Recent discoveries of the Worsley Member cap rock in Alberta, providing containment for the reservoir, has allowed an opening for more economic horizontal drilling in these locations. The formation has mixed oil percentages ranging anywhere from 20% up to 80% depending on the region.

Current activity in Charlie Lake, with an average well drilling and completion cost of $3.6 million per well:

  • Tourmaline Oil Corp.

    • 3 Rigs at Peace River (reserves estimated at 24.75 million BOE)

    • Controls 75% of currently mapped Charlie Lake reserves

    • 35 wells drilled in 2013 – 45 planned for 2014

  • Birchcliff Energy Ltd.

    • Reserves estimated at 15.1 million BOE

  • Artek Exploration

    • 2 wells drilled to date into Charlie Lake

The sandstone/siltstone reservoir rock is bound firmly by anhydrite, a dense evaporite material. The dense anhydrite requires new technologies such as horizontal drilling and fracture techniques to provide strong production/recovery results from Charlie Lake.

Being that the Charlie Lake formation is a lesser developed formation, extra well information to compare On-Site Geology cuttings is vital to the growing knowledge for current Operators. Horizontal well logging, such as Cordax's Logging While Tripping system, provides open hole logging data throughout the entire horizontal leg, helping Operators book reserves and select correct stimulation methods to optimize well to well production.

Powder River Basin – Still Going Strong

The PRB has always been a hotbed for energy resources, mostly known for its abundant coal resources which supplies about forty percent of US coal.  Associated with the coal is coal bed methane which has also been exploited making the basin one of the largest CH4 producers in the state.  Oil activity is nothing new to the area either.

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The basin is one of the richest petroleum provinces in the Rocky Mountains:

  • In about 700 fields since the discovery of the giant Salt Creek field in 1908 of which 225 are greater than 1 MMBOE in size:

    • More than 2.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil

    • And, over 2.3 TCF gas have been discovered

    • Exploration began in the late 1800's, with the first discovery in the Lower Cretaceous Newcastle Sandstone on the east flank of the basin

The basin has been through many booms, and is experiencing one today thanks to advancements in technology.  Technologies such as:

  • Better drillbits

  • Horizontal drilling technology

  • Increased seismic clarity

  • Fracking

Coupled together, these technologies have unlocked tight oil within the upper cretaceous rocks such as the Frontier Ss, Sussex Ss, Shannon Ss, Niobrara Fm and the MesaVerde Fm.   Production has historically been split between structural and stratigraphic traps but the resurgence in the area has been focused on the later.  The stratigraphically complex exploration targets, with multiple stacked reservoirs, reflect changes in the eustatic sea level and high variability in sediment supply.  Deltaic shoreline variations, transgressions, regressions and tectonism created plays that demand attention to changes across the field, from well to well and within the lateral length of a single well.

Reservoir evaluation through logs are important to understand and account for these changes.  Acquiring logs in horizontal wellbores has been costly and time consuming in the past but with new technology such as Cordax's LWT (logging while tripping) collecting data is safe and efficient.

The basin is one of the richest petroleum provinces in the Rocky Mountains:

  • In about 700 fields since the discovery of the giant Salt Creek field in 1908 of which 225 are greater than 1 MMBOE in size:

    • More than 2.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil

    • And, over 2.3 TCF gas have been discovered

    • Exploration began in the late 1800's, with the first discovery in the Lower Cretaceous Newcastle Sandstone on the east flank of the basin

The basin has been through many booms, and is experiencing one today thanks to advancements in technology.  Technologies such as:

  • Better drillbits

  • Horizontal drilling technology

  • Increased seismic clarity

  • Fracking

Coupled together, these technologies have unlocked tight oil within the upper cretaceous rocks such as the Frontier Ss, Sussex Ss, Shannon Ss, Niobrara Fm and the MesaVerde Fm.   Production has historically been split between structural and stratigraphic traps but the resurgence in the area has been focused on the later.  The stratigraphically complex exploration targets, with multiple stacked reservoirs, reflect changes in the eustatic sea level and high variability in sediment supply.  Deltaic shoreline variations, transgressions, regressions and tectonism created plays that demand attention to changes across the field, from well to well and within the lateral length of a single well.

Reservoir evaluation through logs are important to understand and account for these changes.  Acquiring logs in horizontal wellbores has been costly and time consuming in the past but with new technology such as Cordax's LWT (logging while tripping) collecting data is safe and efficient.

Depth Measurements – Measured & True Vertical

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As the drilling of deviated and horizontal well bores continues to rise, now well over 70% vs. vertical wells, operators are constantly dealing with Directional Surveys, new techniques for viewing well profiles, and some of the differences when looking at Measured Depth (MD) vs. True Vertical Depth (TVD).

As covered in a previous post, certain aspects remain the same when looking at MD vs. TVD, while others change drastically:

  • Logging Measurements remains

    • Depth measurements, no matter what well deviation, is key measurement and is typically displayed in both MD and TVD

    • If the depth of any data readings, cuttings, etc. are off it puts the entire well in jeopardy going forward

    • Operators Success changes

    • Success is now measured by Meters Drilled vs. Rig Count due to the extended reach HZ and $$’s spent on completions of these lengthy HZs rather than # of wells drilled

When comparing Measured Depth (MD) & True Vertical Depth (TVD) of a well, many different scenarios arise:
1. Increasing MD – Constant TVD:

  • Formation Temperatures remain stationary

    • Temperatures are relative to the temperature gradient

  • Formation Pressures can change

    • Requiring different completion strategies through different portions of the HZ well

  • Geological factors of a well can change slightly or even track outside the Zone of Interest (ZOI) completely

    • Making technologies such as directional drilling very important in the HZ

2. Increasing MD – Increasing/Decreasing TVD:

  • TVD adjustments while HZ drilling

    • Thin bed formations may require adjustments to stay in the ZOI

  • Toe Up/Down well design

    • Create a single liquid accumulation point at the Toe or Heel of a well

    • Determine thickness of the formation by touching into the adjacent bed at the end of the lateral

With these thin formations, and to gain some extra well information, to compare On-Site Geology cuttings, Cordax's Logging While Tripping system can go anywhere the drill bit can. Aspects such as tough-hole conditions and dogleg severity have no impact on data quality or well safety.

The Three Forks – The Next Bakken Potential?

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Named after the city of Three Forks, Montana, the Three Forks Group is a stratigraphic unit in the Williston Basin. Below the surface the Three Forks is referred to as the Three Forks Formation, and lies below the Bakken Formation and above the Birdbear Formation. Straddling 5 states/provinces, The Three Forks Group covers parts of Montana, North/South Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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What is the Three Forks?

The Three Forks Formation dates back to the Devonian Era (419-358 million years ago), and is composed of dolomite, mudstone and bituminous shale. Ranging in thickness from 35m-80m (110ft-260ft), the Three Forks Formation has 4 different layers. Below is a cross-section illustrating the deposition and structure of the Bakken and Three Forks groups.

The uppermost Three Forks layer (Three Forks 1) is producing, while Three Forks 2, 3, and 4 are still largely exploratory. Average log porosity for Three Forks 1 has been calculated at 7.9% and shows low permeability.

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Activity

Bakken and Three Forks well spuds hit a new high last year, with 747 well starts in the Williston Basin in the 3rd quarter of 2013. This accounted for more than 8% of the 9,175 wells that were spud in the U.S. The number of wells started per quarter was up nearly 50% over the previous 18 months, while the rig count had fallen by just over 10%. How can this be? Experience and pad drilling continue to drive development times down. By utilizing multi-well pad drilling, more wells are drilling using the same number of rigs. While at the same time, as more wells are drilled, engineers get more and more efficient with their drilling practices.

Not every well in the Williston Basin targets the Bakken and Three Forks, but estimates suggest that the plays account for more than 95% of the activity in the Williston Basin.

Oil & Gas Production

Oil production for the Three Forks is often included in production statistics with the overlying Bakken Formation. While masking the actual productivity of the Three Forks itself, the two formations together show massive recovery potential. On April 30, 2013 the United States Geological Survey (USGS) combined potential production estimates of The Three Forks and Bakken. The USGS estimates that using current technology, 7.4 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 530 million barrels of natural gas liquids can be recovered from the Bakken and Three Forks formations!!

Going Forward

Companies have been combining horizontal drilling with multi-stage fracture stimulation and longer laterals to yield better productivity from each well. Over the past few years the number of frac stages has dramatically increased. Only a few years ago the number of frac stages were much lower (single digits), but now they are commonly above thirty, and many above forty. This increases initial production rates but also increases the cost of drilling. If frac stages could be strategically positioned to target the absolute finest points within the lateral section, this could yield the best well performance. Configuring frac stages in a way that 1 or more could be eliminated would substantially drive completion costs down. The retrieval of formation evaluation data provides Completions Engineers with the information required to customize their completion program. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

The Montney – A Closer Look

Operator Activity

The Montney Shale is presently being developed and produced by numerous operators. Improvements of technology available, most notably in horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracture stimulation have made substantial advancements in the exploitation of this play. Recently, Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd. provided an operational update of their current Phase VI Glacier Development program. Results showed that a new Upper Montney well was recently completed with a 14 stage high rate slick water frac utilizing an open hole packer system. The new Upper Montney well was production tested for 71 hours. The final gas flow rate normalized to the gas gathering system is 21.2 mmcf/d, with an average pressure of 3,000 kpa.         

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Nearly 80% of NuVista’s 2013 capital budget was allocated to the Wapiti Montney play. Birchcliff Energy Ltd. had a 2013 budget including 25 Montney/Doig horizontal natural gas wells and one Montney/Doig vertical exploration well. Of Birchcliff’s 25 horizontal wells, 24 wells are targeting the Middle/Lower Montney Play and one well is targeting the Basal Doig/Upper Montney Play.

This is a snapshot of today's active rigs in the region where the Montney is typically the target formation. 

In-Depth Look

The Montney Shale possesses many attractive characteristics for exploitation, such as:

  • Highly pressurized formation with significant natural gas reserves

  • High NGL content

  • Very high estimated recoveries

  • Sweet gas

  • Intermediate drilling depths

  • Rock that is fracture capable

  • Relatively flat declines when compared with other shale plays

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Although the Montney is commonly referred to as a “Gas Shale”, it actually contains very little “true shale”. The reservoir sediment is of fine sand to silt in size, containing variably thick carbonate beds. The illustration below shows microphotos of 4 distinct facies in the Montney moving from west to east across west central Alberta. Porosity, grain size, saturation, and permeability vary considerably.

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The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

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To the right is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

Although the Montney is commonly referred to as a “Gas Shale”, it actually contains very little “true shale”. The reservoir sediment is of fine sand to silt in size, containing variably thick carbonate beds. The illustration below shows microphotos of 4 distinct facies in the Montney moving from west to east across west central Alberta. Porosity, grain size, saturation, and permeability vary considerably.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

Although the Montney is commonly referred to as a “Gas Shale”, it actually contains very little “true shale”. The reservoir sediment is of fine sand to silt in size, containing variably thick carbonate beds. The illustration below shows microphotos of 4 distinct facies in the Montney moving from west to east across west central Alberta. Porosity, grain size, saturation, and permeability vary considerably.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.

Nearly 80% of NuVista’s 2013 capital budget was allocated to the Wapiti Montney play. Birchcliff Energy Ltd. had a 2013 budget including 25 Montney/Doig horizontal natural gas wells and one Montney/Doig vertical exploration well. Of Birchcliff’s 25 horizontal wells, 24 wells are targeting the Middle/Lower Montney Play and one well is targeting the Basal Doig/Upper Montney Play.

This is a snapshot of today's active rigs in the region where the Montney is typically the target formation. 

In-Depth Look

The Montney Shale possesses many attractive characteristics for exploitation, such as:

  • Highly pressurized formation with significant natural gas reserves

  • High NGL content

  • Very high estimated recoveries

  • Sweet gas

  • Intermediate drilling depths

  • Rock that is fracture capable

  • Relatively flat declines when compared with other shale plays

Although the Montney is commonly referred to as a “Gas Shale”, it actually contains very little “true shale”. The reservoir sediment is of fine sand to silt in size, containing variably thick carbonate beds. The illustration below shows microphotos of 4 distinct facies in the Montney moving from west to east across west central Alberta. Porosity, grain size, saturation, and permeability vary considerably.

The Structure of the Montney Formation

The Montney is a NW-SE trending, lens-shaped formation that straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta. The map below illustrates the major rock types throughout the Montney Formation. Along the eastern edge, the Montney Formation includes shallow-water marine interbedded sandstone and siltstone. At the northeastern edge, in the Ring-Border area of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta, the Montney Formation comprises a series of shoreface sandstones and restricted lagoonal siltstones and shales. The shallow-water eastern facies thickens to the west into a deeper water sequence of siltstones and shales belonging to middle shelf, outer shelf and shelf-slope environments.

Below is a cross section of the Montney Formation throughout NW Alberta and NE British Columbia. 

New Opportunities

The growth of the Montney Shale Gas has yielded new gas opportunities in north-western Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, modifying the dynamics of the infrastructure systems that are gathering, processing, and transferring products in these areas. Conventional natural gas production in most areas of Western Canada has steadily declined over the past decade. Growth from new Tight Gas and Shale Gas opportunities is contributing to the halt of this overall decline. The re-evaluation of how existing and future infrastructure is developed, managed, and operated, may be necessary going forward.

Reservoir Evaluation

Application of horizontal well drilling and the related multi-stage fracture stimulation has allowed significantly more opportunity for exploitation of shale gas reservoirs. With lengthy lateral sections, petrophysical evaluation of the horizontal section becomes increasingly more significant. The retrieval of open hole logging data gives Completions Engineers the information required for the optimum placement of fracture intervals. Absence of this data and use of generic interval spacing (every ~100m as an example), could result in underperforming or futile fracture intervals, ultimately wasting tens of thousands of dollars. With Cordax's Logging While Tripping (LWT) system, open hole logs can be obtained safely and more cost effectively in any horizontal well.