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When:  Mar 27, 2019 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM (CT)
Where:   Brookhaven College Geotechnology Institute (BCGI), 3939 Valley View Lane, Building H, Farmers Branch, TX, 75244-4997, US
Community:   Dallas Section

When & Where

Brookhaven College Geotechnology Institute (BCGI)
3939 Valley View Lane, Building H
Farmers Branch, TX 75244-4997

Mar 27, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM (CT)


Speaker:   John Pantano, Ph.D. & Stephen G. Franks, Ph.D.


Topic:        Preferential Water Producing Zones in Tight Oil Systems: Insights for Exploitation, or, Making Produced Water Valuable


Date:          Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 at 11:30 AM


Location:  Brookhaven College Geological Institute, (Map)


 Cost:  $20 if SPE member paying electronically in advance, all others $25


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Observations from drilling, cores, logs, seismic and plugs analyzed together in a new systematic workflow aimed at fingerprinting waters from different stratigraphic intervals and identifying the spatial distribution of zones contributing substantial volumes of the produced water. One study showed that “produced water samples were taken from two lateral wells (1 Middle Bakken (MB) and 1 Three Forks (TF); high-impact stimulation) proximal to the baseline RSA data. Time-lapsed water chemistry from both lateral wells indicates that from initial flowback through 7 months of production >80% of the produced water is sourced from muddy intervals of the TF with minimal water contribution from other formations.” Wright et. al 2019 AAPG ACE and URTEC.

Knowing the specific source(s) of produced water helps determine which landing zones and stimulation methods are best/worst practices. Avoiding water producing intervals and increasing hydrocarbon production may lead to differences in fracture and stimulation design. Scale mitigation procedures can be optimized, and costs can be reduced. Knowing how operations of surrounding wells influences water production and cumulative hydrocarbon production can be critical for well placement.

The pre-drill pore water chemistry of the different facies in a tight oil system is derived from core (Residual Salts Analysis (RSA)). Strontium isotopes along with major dissolved ions provide a way to trace the produced water chemistry back to specific facies. The signatures of different facies are found in tight oil systems since there are many isolated compartments of different mineralogy, which leads to unique water chemistry finger prints. The talk illustrates why there are preferential storage and flow units of water and oil in resource plays. A comprehensive understanding of the origins of fluids from different subsurface storage units improves well stimulation and production programs, and ultimately, well economics.


John Pantano has a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Michigan and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina developing petroleum system numerical models. John started his career leading the basin modeling group for Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) in 1988. The dynamic evolution of oil and gas in source rock for exploration prospect evaluation was provided by the group. To field calibrate capillary and relative permeability of oil in tight formations, John numerically modeled, characterized and remediated hydrocarbon-impacted tight soil systems. This transitioned John to technically advise operations of dozens of ground and surface water sites where water chemistry was manipulated to meet company and regulatory objectives. John holds two patents for enhanced oil recovery and developed a reservoir quality and volumetric simulator with Steve Franks for Saudi Aramco which allowed for better spatial variability mapping of permeability due to diagenesis. John was the Director of the Chevron Center of Research Excellence at Texas A&M, where students from engineering, geology, geochemistry and geophysics were and are advancing techniques for basin modeling. John focuses on combining engineering data with water chemistry observations and measurements to help improve well economics.

Dr. Franks received his B.S. Degree in Geology from Millsaps College, M.S. from the University of Mississippi, and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. He began his professional career with Atlantic Richfield’s (ARCO) Geological Research Group in Dallas in 1974.  Pre-drill reservoir quality prediction, at the pore-level and reservoir scale (sandstone/shale petrology and diagenesis) was a central theme of his research interests. He held increasing levels of technical and management positions both in ARCO’s operating companies (ARCO Oil and Gas and ARCO Alaska) and in R&D. After retiring from ARCO in 1999 Dr. Franks established the consulting company, RockFluid Systems, Inc., He was a senior advisor for Saudi Aramco from 2001-2009. In 2010 he re-started RockFluid Systems, Inc. Currently much of his consulting work is aimed at using water chemistry to understand the dynamics of unconventional reservoirs. He also teaches “Practical Applications of Formation Water Chemistry” to industry clients.


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Pragnya Maruwada