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Measure twice, cut once: How Integrated Energy Services maximizes asset value
Image: Joshua Doubek via Wikimedia Commons

Measure twice, cut once: How Integrated Energy Services maximizes asset value

In the current economic climate, minimizing risk in the upstream oil and gas industry has become more important than ever, particularly in the refracturing process.

Integrated Energy Services helps businesses reduce their refrac risk substantially. The Austin-based company provides advisory services to oil and gas producers working in conventional and unconventional reservoirs.

Refracturing is one way to increase profit and boost the production of a well.

By refracturing a well, companies can substantially lower their cost per barrel, said Bob Barba of Integrated Energy Services. The drilling cost is eliminated and the risk is also reduced because the wellbore and wireline logs already exist.

“You can see exactly what’s there,” Barba said. “When you drill a new well in the field, you don’t know what it’s going to look like. The geology could change.  There are mechanical and reservoir issues that can introduce risk, though, but that can be managed with good engineering.”

Since many existing wells were not efficiently fractured, significant volumes of hydrocarbons remain stranded underground.

Integrated Energy Services can help a company recover stranded oil.

Barba and his refrac optimization team draw from experience of analyzing over 5,000 producing zones where best practices were established. They pinpoint problems they seek to remedy and then design the proper refracture treatment. In his recent keynote address at the Calgary SPE Refrac Conference in January 2016 Barba presented the group with a comparison of the ideal refrac team with the typical team:

Recommended “Best Practices” Refrac Optimization Team

  • Petrophysicist
  • Geologist
  • Reservoir Engineer
  • Completion Engineer
  • Frac Service Company Engineer

Typical Refrac Optimization Team:  “Re-production” engineer and service company engineer

Measure twice, cut once

Barba operates on the philosophy of “measure twice, cut once.” It’s important to prepare for the job before executing the refrac.

“You increase the probability of success substantially by doing your homework,” Barba said. “You’re basically bringing in all the tools that are out there to minimize the risk in the refrac candidate selection and execution process.”

Barba and his team identify refrac candidates and create performance predictions. A cash flow analysis can determine if the well can economically be re-lined and fracked conventionally or if a lower cost diverter program will be appropriate.

“You want to make sure that you’re picking out the best candidate, you want to make sure that you have the best chance of success. You want make sure you can actually execute the job,” Barba said. “Those three factors are pretty big in peoples’ minds.”

Barba likes an analogy made famous by America’s 16th president.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Prep work leading up to execution typically lasts a couple days, Barba said.

According to Barba, older wells often make the best refrac candidates because shales were not fractured efficiently with the initial treatment. Early on, best practices had not yet been developed.

Integrated Energy Services focuses on all different disciplines within the field. They continue to learn and update their practices.

Barba helped pioneer the process of using wire line log data to maximize asset value. His team at Integrated Energy Services can identify productive zones within a well and tell a client what the optimum frac stimulation program should be to obtain the lowest cost per barrel.

“It’s never a static process. There’s always change,” Barba said. “You’re always making improvements.”

One of the reason’s Barba’s team is so successful is that they learn what was done incorrectly the first time and specify which damage mechanisms they are trying to repair.

With the price of oil sliding, people tend to be more concerned about loss than they are about potential gain. The biggest benefit Integrated Energy Services provides is significantly reducing the odds of having a bad completion.

To oil producers looking to reduce their cost per barrel, that’s a considerable benefit.

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