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A Robust Forecast of Gas Production from Gas Shale Plays in the U.S.

Start Date: August 30, 2017 - 04:15 PM
End Date: August 30, 2017 - 05:15 PM

​By Tadeusz W. Patzek
Director, Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Research Center
Physical Sciences and Engineering Division, KAUST, Saudi Arabia​
Venue: Lecture Hall 1 (2322), Engineering and Science Hall (Building 9)

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​Abstract: The U.S. is now an exporter of natural gas, but for how long? My objective is to show how the summation of over 60,000 uncorrelated or weakly correlated random variables with arbitrary distributions leads to the emergence of a few Gaussians that describe with high delity, by play, the entire history of production in the U.S. gas mudrock plays. I considered the Utica, Woodford, Fayetteville, Barnett, Haynesville, Eagle Ford and Marcellus plays, and the Permian Basin. The history of production is described by a single Gaussian per play, while in those plays with more complex development (Barnett, Fayetteville and Haynesville) or consisting of several parts (Woodford), two or three Gaussians are sufficient for the almost perfect matches. The same Gaussian(s) then continues to predict the future production of the current set of wells, which is my base case. My prediction of the robust growth of future gas production is based in good part on the results of the Bureau of Economic Geology Sloan study, in which I participated. Here, I represent this future production growth by 1-6 consecutive Gaussians per play. The Eagle Ford and Permian plays produce mostly liquids but also signi cant volumes of gas. The past and current developments in the major U.S. shale plays analyzed here provide 4.5 years of domestic gas consumption (145 Tscf), and the future production programs may add another 7 years (another 215 Tscf) or more if drilling in the Permian is even more vigorous than I predict. The current development will require 95,000 wells at a cost of $1.2 trillion or more. I assume that well attrition is balanced by well production increases. To my knowledge, no one has yet performed a similarly large and robust statistical analysis of gas production in almost all shale plays in the U.S. The Gaussians are such a strong emergent property of gas production from tens of thousands of wells that the ts of past production are picture-perfect with 3, 6, or 9 parameters per play. The theoretical footing and robustness of these Gaussians ensure that the future production from current wells is predicted in an optimal way in the least squares sense.


Education Profile
​​​​Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemical Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, 1981-1983
Fulbright Fellow, Chemical Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, 1978
Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Silesian Technical University, 1979
M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Silesian Technical University, 1974

Research Interests
Professor Tad Patzek's research involves mathematical (analytic and numerical) modeling of earth systems with emphasis on multiphase fluid flow physics and rock mechanics. He also works on smart, process-based control of very large waterfloods in unconventional, low-permeability formations, and on the productivity and mechanics of hydrocarbon bearing shales.

Patzek has co-designed and evaluated 7 field pilots of various oil recovery processes from waterflood, to steam and steam foam injection. More recently, Patzek got involved in human-machine interactions and safety culture in the offshore environment.

In a broader context, Patzek works on the thermodynamics and ecology of human survival and energy supply schemes for humanity. He has participated in the global debate on energy supply schemes by giving hundreds of press interviews and appearing on the BBC, PBS, CBS, CNBC, ABC, NPR, etc., and giving invited lectures around the world.