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Despite challenges, lure of Latin America too strong to ignore

Despite the abundance of potential resources in Latin America, the region has not been immune to the global market downturn. EIA data shows that onshore and offshore rig counts combined have fallen from 398 a year ago to 314 in June. In Brazil specifically, the offshore rig count has fallen from 84 in July 2013 to 52 in July 2015. Argentina has been more stable than some of its neighbors – its rig count has only decreased by two, from 107 to 105, according to EIA data.

In 2014, an investigation by the Brazilian federal police, dubbed Operation Car Wash, raised suspicions that several politically appointed Petrobras executives had been accepting bribes in exchange for offering construction and engineering companies inflated contracts. Portions of these ill-gotten gains were allegedly paid to politicians and their political campaigns.

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A seismic shift in the subsurface

Technology developed by MicroSeismic Inc uses microseismic data to determine what proportion of the total stimulated reservoir (or rock) volume (SRV) has been propped and will likely be productive. It shows operators where the proppant went during fracturing. This microseismic-based discrete fracture network analysis shows SRV in red and productive SRV in blue/purple. The red areas are those that were fractured but have no proppant. The blue and purple sections are areas where fractures have been created and have proppant.

In the 15 or so years since the unconventional oil and gas boom began, the industry has learned that unlocking the secrets of the subsurface is the key to tapping additional resources. Operators now know that the complexity, heterogeneity and unpredictability of unconventional plays and tight oil and gas formations require a deeper characterization of the geology and an understanding of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on the rock. Today, models can provide a 3D view of the formation and simulate hydraulic fractures, with the capability of making real-time adjustments. They have become essential in designing completion strategies that enhance production. A pivotal piece of that process involves listening to the rock and detecting subsurface stress – microseismic monitoring.

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High-cost subsea sector faces test of economics


Risk, cost and safety and environmental concerns impact every aspect of oil and gas recovery, but these challenges are especially daunting in the subsea sector. Here, as operators drive into increasingly deeper reservoirs and high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) fields, a single failure can be catastrophic.

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