Dynamic Modeling of a Shale Gas Field Development

Research output: ResearchMaster's Thesis


The enormous drilling intensity in a shale gas area originates from a well spacing of up to 3 wells/km2. Drilling is followed by hydraulic stimulation using 1000s of cubic meters of water requires numerous truck round trips on top of the usual well drilling activities. Logistics and operations management often are a key driver for the success of a project. Shale gas exploitation strategies for a field development have significantly changed since the beginnings. However the surface footprint, which essentially includes pads, roads, and the construction of surface facilities, water consumption, especially in arid areas, increases traffic near highly populated areas, etc. still pose many questions. Thus a model was developed that captures all the pertinent operations to highlight possible problems already in advance of a project and solve them with proper strategies. To demonstrate the applicability for real cases, the model was fed with data of an already existing license area. In this work, for shale gas areas, e.g. Europe, the most important parameters such as well profiles, water sources and reuse/recycling technology, etc. are discussed. To minimize the environmental impact, or assess a project from a technical or an economical point of view, various strategies can be developed for given boundary conditions. It was found that development programs locally impact nearby surface water withdrawals by up to 4.5% of the total flow. Drilling schedules define the field production profile, which has to be syndicated with the available pipeline capacities in the area. Also, key economic yard sticks as the “maximum out of pocket money” may be as low as 100M€ or even increase 10 fold, or the NPV, which is also heavily influenced by the drilling schedules, especially in the beginning of the development. Levies – royalties or taxes – or tax incentives obviously can be a game changer for the economics. Thus, for Europe optimization and modelling prior to project start, primarily to assess the environmental impact, and beneficial regulations are keys for a possible development. Further improvements of the model will include the implementation of technological solutions and more detailed planning. Also, the modelling approach will be changed in some parts in order to more realistically model the properties of a development.


Original languageEnglish
Award date22 Mar 2013
StatePublished - 2013