Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Natural Gas: The Astounding Production Decline Rates of Shale Wells

I've mentioned we heard from landowners that their monthly royalty checks dropped 75% between month 1 and month 12 after completion. This is good news for gas bulls and good news for the well service companies who will be called in to re-frack the wells 4-5 times over their producing lives.
Not such good news for folks who want to see gas back under $2.00.

From the Oil&Gas Reporter (May, 2011) via Schlumberger:
Study Assesses Shale Decline Rates
Experts examined shale gas decline curves in the Barnett, Fayetteville, Woodford, and Haynesville plays to predict future production for this increasingly significant fraction of the North American gas market. The data available tends to be difficult to resolve because each operator calculates enhanced ultimate recovery by different business rules. The authors have provided a common denominator with break-even economics using a P50 probability case. In addition to examining decline curves to identify trends in general, the article also reveals correlations between production improvements and the use of new technology or tools.
5 page PDF

One quick note: The interplay between production rates and expected ultimate recovery (EUR) is a science unto itself. Combined with the fact that so many of the wells used for analysis are less than three years old that the lines on the charts (the hyperbolic curves) are only a rough estimate.