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The role of geophysics in Oxy’s Permian Basin unconventional resource play appraisal and development workflowGreen Open Access

Authors: Steve Adiletta, Rob Holt, Laura Gimenez, Klaas Koster and Norbert Van de Coevering
Journal name: First Break
Issue: Vol 37, No 3, March 2019 pp. 45 - 52
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.31Mb )

Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s (Oxy’s) US business is focused on the Permian Basin of West Texas and Southeast New Mexico. With nearly 2.5 million net acres, Oxy produces hydrocarbons from every producible formation in the Permian Basin. To efficiently unlock value from this extensive acreage and operating position, Oxy has developed an unconventional resource play appraisal and development workflow within which geophysics plays an integral role. This is notable given that just a couple of years ago geophysical data and analysis played a very minor role in our industry’s unconventional resource play business decision-making process in this basin. Our Permian Basin appraisal and development workflow starts with a regional basin overview to identify the most likely rich source rocks and production analogs. We then develop an understanding of the geochemistry of the source rocks by means of cuttings and core analyses. Next, individual benches are appraised using pilot holes and state-of-the-art 3D pre-stack seismic data, conditioned in-house to meet the requirements for quantitative interpretation. All available data are integrated through multi-disciplinary studies to yield a thorough understanding of the petrophysical, geophysical, and geomechanical properties that impact well performance. Pre-stack depth-migrated 3D seismic attributes, including estimated pore-pressure and geomechanical flow units, are used extensively for planning the well’s landing zone and trajectory, and also during operations to steer the well through the target zone. Microseismic data are used with tracer and pressure data to confirm our hydraulic fracture models. Recently, production data have confirmed the value of our interpreted seismic attributes, confirming the guidance that interpreted seismic data need to be an integral part of new well planning in the basin.

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