Case Studies

Using imagery and digital elevation models to improve operational efficiency

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Using imagery and digital elevation models to improve operational efficiency Shale development introduces a new level of operational complexity with respect to field operations for oil and gas operators. Long lead times reduce flexibility in operations, and delays in executing on the ground negatively impact the drilling schedule and cost operators real money. Using high-resolution imagery and digital elevation models (DEMs) to overcome technical challenges in shale operations and to plan well pad locations and pipeline routing increases operational efficiency and production, while reducing operating costs and environmental impact. Specific operational objectives include a reduced timeline in planning to SPUD/construction, lower design and construction costs and improved efficiency. The complexity of field operations is an industry wide issue, so Maxar's Energy team engaged with multiple clients to document where the use of up-to-date high-resolution imagery and DEMs would have a significant impact on their field operations. Together, we dug deep into operational processes and created a generalized workflow for locating a well pad and routing a new pipeline. We then worked to understand the costs involved with these activities and to identify where in the workflow imagery and DEMs would provide a benefit. Together, we calculated and verified the cost savings that could be captured. The results are striking–especially for operators who are running large-scale drilling programs. The project looked at the operations from a typical large-scale unconventional play. Verified cost savings with geospatial data SHALE DEVELOPMENT Operational cost savings ■ 1-1.5 avg. surveyor trip savings per well/pad=$1,500–$2,250 ■ 1-1.5 avg. surveyor trip savings per prelim route=$1,500–$3,000 ■ $4K–$8K per pad construction costs savings BENEFITS OF LEVERAGING IMAGERY AND DEMS IN SHALE PLAYS ■ Reduce operating costs ■ Increase efficiency ■ Verify accuracy of other data ■ Increase production ■ Mitigate risk ■ Reduce environmental footprint ■ Improve community and public relations case study Example: 300 wells planned in 2013 ■ $450K–$675K in pad site surveyor costs savings ■ $450K–$900K in facilities surveyor costs savings ■ $1.2M–$2.4M pad site construction savings ■ Return on imagery and DEM investment in less than two months of operations The hard cost savings noted above were operational in nature. However, operators acknowledge that there are other costs savings that can be recognized, such as saving employee time, eliminating idle rigs and reduction of surface damages paid among others.

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