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Conasauga Shale Research Consortium (CSRC)
Project Number
DE-FE0031783
Last Reviewed Dated
Goal

The overall objective of the project is to establish a field laboratory and utilize a horizontal well of opportunity to conduct a scientific study designed to advance the understanding of the petrophysical and geomechanical properties of the Rogersville Shale. These properties will improve well completion design, ultimately leading to commercial production and the acceleration of play development. 

Performer

University of Kentucky (UK), Lexington, KY 40506
West Virginia University (WVU), Morgantown, WV 26506
West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, Morgantown, WV 26508
Hay Exploration, Ashland, KY 41101
Schlumberger, Houston, TX 77042

Background
Locations of Rogersville Shale unconventional oil and gas (wells in eastern KY and southern WV). The CSRC horizontal research well will be drilled from the pilot hole of the Bruin Exploration 1 Young well, highlighted in red.
Locations of Rogersville Shale unconventional oil and gas (wells in eastern KY and southern WV). The CSRC horizontal research well will be drilled from the pilot hole of the Bruin Exploration 1 Young well, highlighted in red.

In 2013, the Bruin Exploration #1 Young well in Lawrence County, Kentucky, was the first well to target the Cambrian Conasauga Group shales as an unconventional oil and gas reservoir. Speculation on the success of this well quickly spread through the industry, resulting in a 2014 and 2015 regional oil and gas leasing boom across eastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia. Since 2013, five additional Conasauga shale wells have been drilled. Although most of these wells encountered oil and/or gas, the volumes produced during testing were lower than expected. Although the play appears to be a technical success, the economics of the play remain to be proven.

Impact

The Conasauga Shale Research Consortium (CSRC) intends to accelerate the development of the
Rogersville Shale and other Conasauga shales as unconventional oil and gas (UOG) plays by gathering
the additional data necessary, and testing different well completion designs in both theoretical models and
in a real-world application at an extended horizontal well drilled in Lawrence County, KY. Analyses will include evaluating the source rock’s (Rogersville Shale) thermal maturity, organic content, lithologic content, provenance of the clays within the unit, major- and trace-elemental analysis, scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis of pore types, traditional and noble gas geochemistry of oil and/or gas that is produced, molecular and isotopic chemistry of natural gases, programed pyrolysis to determine further petroleum potential of the source rock, lithologic and geomechanical analyses for developing effective completion strategies, long-term subsurface production rate monitoring (temperature and acoustic) through fiber-optic sensors, and detailed subsurface mapping of the Conasauga Group utilizing well data, reflection seismic profiles, and remote sensing (potential fields) data. The data generated and compiled in this project will then be integrated into a Rogersville Shale Development Strategy Plan that will enable oil and gas industry to accelerate the development of this emerging resource. 

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • Data associated with more than 750 wells from two shale reservoirs (Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale) have been received to incorporate into WVU’s Shale Analytics model. The data includes an average of 50 variables (field measurements) for each well. The field measurements included in the data sets belong to following categories: well characteristics, formation characteristics, completion design parameters, hydraulic fracture implementation, operational conditions, and production.
  • WVGES has continued to refine well-tops interpretations and has constructed cross sections. Well tops were submitted to KGS for integration into the master project database. Along with well tops, stratigraphic information and observations from this work were sent to KGS and merged with their dataset. Preliminary Cambrian structure and thickness maps haves been constructed for West Virginia from existing data and updated well correlations.
  • KGS received the well data donation from Chesapeake Energy – Appalachia from their #15-S-84 Northup well in Lawrence County, KY. This dataset includes well logs, laboratory test results, core photos, thin-section photomicrographs, daily driller’s reports, wellbore schematics, and results from shut-in pressure tests.
  • KGS received a shipment of donated EQT well samples from the Horizontal Technology #572360 Caudill well in Johnson County, KY. This included well cuttings, slabbed whole core and rotary side-wall cores from the recent Rogersville Shale well.
  • The project was conditionally awarded October 1, 2019 and the award definitized November 13th.
Current Status

KGS is currently performing a detailed analysis of the drilling and testing results for preexisting well drilled to test the UOG potential of the Rogersville Shale. The analysis will address both successful and unsuccessful techniques that were used in order to build a Best Practices list for the Development Strategy Plan. Shale Analytics is being used to design completion practices for the Rogersville Shale. In this new modeling paradigm, field measurements are substituted for the physics of production and geology as the foundation for the model. This characteristic makes it a superior alternative for modeling shale assets, where the physics of hydrocarbon production are not well understood. 

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution

$5,876,897

Performer Contribution

$1,524,073

Contact Information

NETL – Robert Vagnetti (robert.vagnetti@netl.doe.gov or 304-285-1334)
UK – John B. Hickman (john.hickman@uky.edu or 859-323-0541)

Additional Information