CATEGORIZED | News

Shale workshop finds that continued development necessitates transparency with public

Posted on 09 March 2012

By Katherine Scott, editorial coordinator

Growth in North American shale-gas drilling has sparked a change in technologies and interest in hydraulic fracturing, adding to a strong need for more public outreach and education, Andy Shelton, new technology research coordinator for National Oilwell Varco, said during a presentation at the 2012 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference in San Diego, Calif., on 8 March. That was among several findings from the IADC Shale Drilling Technology and Challenges Workshop held on 25 January 2011.

ShaleShelton1

Representing the IADC Advanced Rig Technology, Andy Shelton presented results of a 2011 IADC shale drilling workshop during a presentation this week at the 2012 IADC/SPE Drilling Conference. Being more community-minded was one important conclusion that workshop participants reached.

Sponsored by the IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee’s Future Technology Subcommittee (FTS), the workshop brought together technology and industry experts to discuss issues related to North American shale drilling.

First, operators and contractors shared their views. From the operator perspective, technology is expected to overcome many of the challenges of shale-gas development, Mr Shelton said, enabling lower development costs and minimizing operational footprints. And although interest in the international unconventionals market has grown, operators still believe that the bulk of shale-gas development will continue to be in North America due to the logistical and regulatory infrastructures in place.

“(North America has) roads that are built for large-scale equipment mobilization. The research and development for shale-gas development was originated here; we have the expertise. We also have the political grease to get things done. A lot of that is not in place internationally, yet,” Mr Shelton said.

For land drilling contractors, the emergence of shale drilling has produced significant changes in the market. One is the rapid migration of the land rig fleet from traditional Kelly rigs to advanced-technology AC rigs, which is in turn driving increases in ROP, reductions in flat time and improvements in safety. Additionally, the market has been able to move from gas to liquids plays while natural gas prices are weak.

Social aspects of urban drilling and its effect on the industry played an equally important part in the IADC shale workshop. Although the public likes and appreciates the economic and service-related benefits of E&P development, they distrust the industry and dislike many of the problems associated with development, Mr Shelton said. It was therefore concluded that the industry should look deeper at how it’s perceived by the general public.

The technology section of the workshop focused on avenues of progression for the future of shale drilling, particularly in regards to well manufacturing, urban rigs and hydraulic fracturing. Solutions that were suggested included lean production to drive down costs and using more water-based solutions in hydraulic fracturing. Doing more to reduce disturbance to the local community while increasing industry transparency were also key recommendations.

One example of this being done is a rig that operates inconspicuously in the highly populated area of Beverly Hills. Although this rig is not doing shale drilling, it illustrates what the industry can achieve in such urban areas. “In effect, anyone can walk down the street next to this rig and not see, smell, hear or even feel its presence,” Mr Shelton said. The rig also has a sign in front of it with contact numbers for questions or complaints. “It’s absolutely critical to inform the public of what’s happening,” he added.

“Remaining community-minded is very important,” Mr Shelton concluded. “Addressing the rational and the irrational concerns of the public is something to be considered, as well as continuing development not only to address economics but also environmental, safety and social perceptions of the general public. It’s important for the operators and drilling contractors to be transparent with communication by funding and promoting informational and education programs in the communities.”

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 22 October 2014

    Shell discovers gas in pre-salt reservoir offshore Gabon

    Shell announced a frontier exploration discovery offshore Gabon, West Africa. The well Leopard-1 encountered a substantial gas column with around 200 m net gas pay…

  • 22 October 2014

    Statoil proves new oil resources near Grane field in North Sea

    Well 25/8-18 S, drilled by the rig Transocean Leader, proved an oil column of 25 m in the Heimdal Formation. The estimated volume of the discovery…

  • 21 October 2014

    IADC Cybersecurity Task Group to provide industry guidance to assess risks

    The oil and gas industry is not immune to cybersecurity threats, from computer viruses and malware to targeted attacks. The IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee…

  • 21 October 2014

    Check-6 launches RIGOR digital checklist and compliance system

    Check-6 has launched RIGOR, a checklist-based mobile app to help simplify complex procedures and mitigate human error on the rig. Taking lessons from the aviation industry…

  • 21 October 2014

    Video: Next IADC Land Contract update to start in 2016

    The latest version of the IADC Land Contract was released in November 2013. Various incidents, including Macondo, delayed the release. “It’s an industry contract…

  • Read more news