The first-known complete core of the Caney Shale Formation has been obtained as part of an NETL-supported project to find more efficient methods to extract petroleum from unconventional shale deposits and further U.S. energy independence.
More than 650 feet of shale was cored and obtained in Stephens County, southcentral Oklahoma, by project partner Continental Resources. The next step is to conduct rock characterization tests (rock mechanics, petrophysics and rock-fluid interactions). Sections of the core sample will be provided to relevant project partners, including researchers at Oklahoma State University, and testing laboratories to determine how the formation reacts, physically and chemically, with fracturing materials.
This plan of action was developed at the Caney Core Workshop held at Chesapeake Energy’s Reservoir Technology Center in Oklahoma City, which brought together researchers and other representatives from industry, academia and NETL who are seeking to expand their knowledge about the geomechanical properties of clay-rich ductile shale, which, unlike other shale formations, can withstand greater force before fracturing or breaking.
Also as part of this NETL-supported project, Oklahoma State University researchers and their partners have established a field laboratory to complete a comprehensive characterization of the shale. The project team will conduct experiments to validate cost-effective technologies that will lead to a comprehensive development strategy plan for the Caney Shale Formation. The project also will help determine the economic feasibility of extracting oil from similar shale formations.
Because this is an emerging play, the project is designed to contribute to the fundamental understanding of ductile shales for applications in hydraulic fracturing. The Caney Shale reservoir is rich in total organic carbon and contains a large oil resource with production supported by natural gas drive. However, development has been hampered by high clay content and reactivity of the formation with water.
Initial findings from the Caney Shale project will be used to drill and test a horizontal well. Based on the results from this study, a best practices manual will be completed for Caney Shale, which may be of significant use for the development of petroleum from similar shale resources.
The Mississippian Caney Shale core included a short interval of Pennsylvania Shale above the Caney Shale and a short interval of Sycamore Limestone below the Caney Shale. The Caney Shale Formation is located within the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, also known as SCOOP.
Additional project partners include the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh.