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Methodology for assessing quantities of water and proppant injection, and water production associated with development of continuous petroleum accumulations

July 13, 2015

The quantities of water and hydraulic fracturing proppant required for producing petroleum (oil, gas, and natural gas liquids) from continuous accumulations, and the quantities of water extracted during petroleum production, can be quantitatively assessed using a probabilistic approach. The water and proppant assessment methodology builds on the U.S. Geological Survey methodology for quantitative assessment of undiscovered technically recoverable petroleum resources in continuous accumulations. The U.S. Geological Survey assessment methodology for continuous petroleum accumulations includes fundamental concepts such as geologically defined assessment units, and probabilistic input values including well-drainage area, sweet- and non-sweet-spot areas, and success ratio within the untested area of each assessment unit. In addition to petroleum-related information, required inputs for the water and proppant assessment methodology include probabilistic estimates of per-well water usage for drilling, cementing, and hydraulic-fracture stimulation; the ratio of proppant to water for hydraulic fracturing; the percentage of hydraulic fracturing water that returns to the surface as flowback; and the ratio of produced water to petroleum over the productive life of each well. Water and proppant assessments combine information from recent or current petroleum assessments with water- and proppant-related input values for the assessment unit being studied, using Monte Carlo simulation, to yield probabilistic estimates of the volume of water for drilling, cementing, and hydraulic fracture stimulation; the quantity of proppant for hydraulic fracture stimulation; and the volumes of water produced as flowback shortly after well completion, and produced over the life of the well.