The goal of the Field Laboratory for Emerging Stacked Unconventional Plays (ESUP) is to investigate and characterize the resource potential for multi-play production of emerging unconventional reservoirs in Central Appalachia.
Virginia Tech (VT)
EnerVest Operating, LLC
Pashin Geoscience, LLC
Gerald R. Hill, PhD, Inc.
The Central Appalachian region is host to an abundance of hydrocarbon resources that include coalbed methane, shale, and other unconventional reservoirs. Many of these plays are vertically stacked such that a single well or group of wells in close proximity can produce simultaneously from multiple reservoirs. Many of these reservoirs produce fewer than 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day and can thus be classified as ESUPs. The project is designed to improve characterization of the multiple emerging unconventional pay zones that exist in the established Nora Gas Field through the drilling and coring of a vertical stratigraphic test well up to 15,000 feet deep. Additionally, the ESUP Field Laboratory Team will explore and quantify the benefit of novel non-aqueous well completion strategies in this region. An assessment will be made of the multi-play resource potential, and a recommended strategy will be advanced for prudent development that considers regional environmental and socioeconomic impacts.
The benefits associated with prudently developing these ESUPs include reduced surface footprint, infrastructure requirements, and development costs. While advances in technology continue to increase the nation’s portfolio of economically recoverable hydrocarbons, uncertainty and technical challenges deter the level of investment required to develop Central Appalachia’s ESUPs. While it is imperative to meet the need for economic development, the region also contains “some of the world’s best remaining examples of diverse, intact, and connected temperate forests and freshwater streams” that reach tens of millions of people every day (Nature Conservancy, 2014). Although resource development and environmental conservation are often conflicting priorities, the results of this research effort will combine best practices, state of the art technology, and effective outreach to address the concerns of all stakeholders.
The project presented its final closeout presentation to DOE on December 17, 2021. A final scientific/technical report is due to DOE by March 31, 2022.