New Mexico Tech and Gas Technology Institute to Collaborate on Technology Roadmap for Unconventional Gas Resource Exploration and Production
CONTACT: Kent Perry, Director
Exploration, Production & Gas Processing Center
Gas Technology Institute
Des Plaines, IL - May 7, 2002 - The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and New Mexico Tech (NMT) have entered into a collaboration for the creation of a detailed technology plan to guide the development of unconventional onshore gas resources needed to meet the projected future gas demand in the United States. The $600,000 grant with NMT specifically calls for the development of a "roadmap" for future research ventures into enhancing the industry's ability to produce natural gas from unconventional resources such as tight sands, shale, and coal beds.
Congressman Joe Skeen, Chairman of Interior Appropriations, commented that "this program will eventually lead to increased production of natural gas with in our country. This will not only help the national economy but will improve our national defense by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. I am happy to see the Gas Technology Institute partner with New Mexico Tech, one of our nations leading institutions in research and development for petroleum and natural gas"
The technology roadmap, to be developed by New Mexico Tech by the end of 2002, is intended to serve as a detailed guide for technology research programs of the future. As part of the effort, New Mexico Tech will research and compile information and feedback from gas producers - both majors and independents - throughout the United States, as well as from government agencies, National Laboratories, and industry associations. In addition to a detailed, printed plan, a workshop will be conducted in August 2002 to disseminate information developed through the roadmapping activities.
"Technology needs and their relative importance for increased gas production will locally depend on the type of unconventional gas resources in each region of the country" notes Van Romero, Vice President for Research for New Mexico Tech. "We will be conducting focus groups with experts and organizations in all gas-producing regions of the United States. The industry is confident that significant additional gas production from unconventional sources can result by adding new, marginally productive pay zones to existing wells, re-completing wells with new and more effective treatments, and infill drilling of existing fields. All these variables will be brought into play in the development of this roadmap."
Researchers will investigate the potential for a variety of technologies to impact unconventional gas production. Major technology areas to be address will include, but are not limited to:
- Three-dimensional techniques that quantify reservoir continuity and heterogeneity
- "Fuzzy logic" and neural network expert systems for integrating well and seismic data
- Well-log interpretation/petrophysical models for detection of marginal pay
- Tools and methodologies for developing integrated geologic and reservoir modes
- Hydraulic fracture treatment design, application, and diagnostic
- Methods for more efficient drilling of vertical wells
- Horizontal and multi-lateral well
"Unconventional gas resources are very dependent on new technology for production to occur at market-clearing prices," explains GTI' Kent Perry, Director, Exploration, Production, and Gas Processing Center. "Every year, the average depth of a well increases, more low-permeability (tight) formations are needed to be explored, and, overall, wells are smaller in size. All these factors combine to make new technology requirements a strategic component of the gas industry's future."
Past developments conducted through GTI and others have increased production from unconventional resources from 1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) per year in the early 1980s to today's 4 Tcf per year. However, with projections for gas demand expected to reach 30 Tcf by 2015, experts point to the need to increase unconventional gas source production to 8 Tcf over the next 10 to 15 years. Targets for the New Mexico Tech production plan are based on providing the tools and techniques required to reach the 8 Tcf goal.
GTI, based in the Chicago area, offers research and technical services, R&D program management, technology commercialization, and education and training programs in the fields of energy and the environment, with a focus on natural gas. These programs benefit the natural gas industry and its customers, or provide technology-based solutions to individual organizations.