Introduction, Purpose, and Scope, continued
More on purpose
A consortium of geologists and engineers from state geological surveys, academic institutions, independent companies, and consulting companies has been organized to develop a petroleum atlas of the northern mid-continent region (Northern Mid-continent Atlas Consortium). Given the close association of gas and oil resources across much of the region, an atlas that provides a well-designed information gathering, interpretation, and technology transfer program has the potential for immediate production gains. In short, the objective of the Northern Mid-continent Petroleum Atlas is to answer two basic questions that should be asked by an operator of a field at every stage of its production:
The Northern Mid-continent Petroleum Atlas will accomplish this objective because we will use the best available reservoir knowledge of local and national experts to bring new and modern concepts to analysis of plays and controls on production.
Recently completed atlases and other ongoing atlas projects are concerned only with natural gas, instead of the full spectrum of petroleum and its relationships with geology and petroleum engineering. The purpose of these atlases is to compile and catalog existing production information and geologic descriptions of gas fields. Consequently, these atlases are compilations of published interpretations derived from various vintages of scientific and technological literature that have been prepared with multiple philosophies, purposes and skill levels . None of these atlases is integrative or synthetic, producing technologically current analysis from observable, consistently collectible, competently obtained, investigator independent data. An operator of a gas or oil field would not readily turn to such an atlas for suggestions about what to do to increase production and ultimate recovery.
The Northern Mid-continent Petroleum Atlas will, of course, provide the same benefits as conventional gas atlases because it will also contain historical descriptive information.
In addition, our proposed Northern Mid-continent Petroleum Atlas is a technologically advanced and eminently applicable technology transfer tool. It is designed to ensure that operators of producing oil and gas fields will be able to use information from the atlas to increase production and ultimate recovery in the short term. It will describe the geologic, petrophysical, and fluid components of a representative field in each play. It will show, by example, the geologic and engineering methods and procedures most appropriate for analyzing that type of field, including techniques to identify new and/or unswept reservoir compartments. It will review production, completion and workover techniques that have worked best in analog fields, as well as those that work less well. In short, it will answer the two basic questions held by an operator of a field in seriously declining production, "What makes this reservoir produce," and "What could I do to economically increase production and ultimate recovery from this field?"
The Northern Mid-continent Atlas will be unique by providing digital output and data bases, latest and newest data and cutting-edge interpretations of plays, analog field studies, combined geological and engineering expertise, and proactive technology transfer (such as the Kansas Technology Transfer Model, documentation of which is currently funded by the USDOE). The digital information of the atlas will be the basis of further engineering simulation of fluid behavior and towrads development of an artificial intelligence approach to automatic field screening for most appropriate production technology.
The inclusion of new, original studies of producing fields in the Northern Mid-continent Petroleum Atlas is consonant with stated objectives of the USDOE. Both the USDOE Gas Research Program Implementation Plan (April, 1990) and the Oil Research Program Implementation Plan (April, 1990) provide specifically for acquisition of new information about existing plays and fields. The gas program targets atlas preparation and the oil plan details need for data collection and reservoir classification. The TORIS data base is incomplete with respect to recent plays and new significant fields, but plays an important role in developing national petroleum policy.
Modern stratigraphic analysis will be coupled with existing and new information to answer the question for each play, "Why does this play produce, and what specific techniques enhance production?" It is the experience of the consortium members that knowledge of exploration and development geology and geophysics coupled with drilling, completion, stimulation and later additional recovery engineering techniques can form the basis of adding reserves and production to existing reservoirs. For these reasons, additional original studies of fields deemed to typify plays will become part of the atlas, bringing the latest in high resolution correlation, predictive facies analysis, and engineering practice to the atlas presentation.
Kansas Geological Survey, Digital Petroleum Atlas
Updated June 1996
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