NETL’s game-changing ‘public’ frac dataset

Cores taken in Wolfcamp test wells suggest current hydraulic fracturing design is ‘inefficient.'

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), working with the Gas Technology Institute, Laredo Petroleum, and industry partners, has collected what is claimed as the ‘world’s most comprehensive’ hydraulic-fracturing research dataset. At a Permian Basin test site, eleven 10,000 foot long horizontal wells were drilled and stimulated in the upper and middle Wolfcamp formations. Some 600 feet of core was cut through the fractured zones, providing researchers with ‘phenomenal quality’ core samples.

Current fracturing operations are said to be ‘inefficient.’ By improving frac design and execution, it should be possible to reduce the number of wells drilled along with the amount of water and energy needed. The team describes the results as ‘game-changing.’

NETL says that the data will be made publicly available, but don’t hold your breath. The NETL’s Andrew Gumbiner told Oil IT Journal, ‘Data from the project is proprietary for two years. Some project results will be made public during the two year period but there are currently no specific dates or venues for publication.’ Other partners in the test included Core Laboratories, Devon Energy, Encana, Total and Halliburton. Laredo Petroleum provided technology leadership during all operational phases of the research. More from NETL.

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