Shale & Tight Rock

Where Geophysics and Engineering Collide

Source, Reservoir and Seal – Challenges and Solutions

Shale and tight rocks, also commonly referred to as unconventional reservoirs, are a class of rocks whose mineralogies, fine-grained textures, porosity, and permeability do not permit the ready flow of fluids. These rocks are therefore ideal as barriers to fluid flow in the subsurface and provide excellent trapping mechanisms for oil and gas or stored fluids such as carbon dioxide. Where organic rich, under favorable burial conditions they may form hydrocarbon source rocks. They also have considerable potential as hydrocarbon reservoirs, and as a result, special drilling, stimulation, and completion technologies and approaches are deployed to tap into the vast resource potential these rocks offer.


Shale and tight rocks come in myriad forms – high clay content, organic rich and relatively ductile, such as the oil prone and producing Wolfcamp reservoirs in the U.S. Permian basin or the quartz-carbonate and relatively brittle siltstones of the gas bearing Montney formation, Canada. Regardless of location and type, these rocks all require a detailed understanding of their petrophysical, elastic and mechanical properties in order to be effectively mapped from seismic and assessed as potential hydrocarbon reservoirs or as barriers or containers for geological disposal projects.

Shale and tight rock operations require sophisticated software evaluation tools to analyze rock properties, ensuring the implementation is optimal for drilling and completion processes. Enhancing accuracy in predicted Stimulated Rock Volume (SRV) is essential for maximizing productivity, alongside refining the interpretation of azimuthal seismic data to unveil fracture orientation and intensity. Reducing risks associated to containment, identifying the most productive zones, and safely disposing of waste-water and other by-products are all paramount to safe, compliant, and efficient operations in these plays.

Understand containment risks, characterize rock and completion quality, and optimize drilling operations

Well and Seismic Interpretation
Rapidly identify and map shale and tight rock intervals to assess suitability for containment or resource potential.
Unlock comprehensive, well-based petrophysical insights
  • Improve stimulation design through probabilistic mineralogy and organic content determination for future mechanical characterization studies
  • Identify zones of fracturing in wells and correlation to seismic and producing intervals using image log interpretation
Go beyond traditional seismic interpretation workflows
  • Calibrate well and seismic data using advanced methods for land and marine conventional and multi-component seismic datasets
  • Improve seismic interpretation accuracy through Rock Physics Modeling to connect elastic properties to shale and tight reservoir properties
Reduce drilling related risks
  • Avoid drilling hazards and identify production potential through automated fracture detection and extraction from seismic attributes
  • Reduce risk associated with anomalous pressures in deep basins through regional velocity modeling and pore pressure prediction
Reservoir Characterization
Boost the effectiveness of shale and tight rock drilling initiatives by employing sophisticated seismic methodologies rooted in the integration of well and seismic data and driving engineering and completion costs down in advance of the drilling campaigns.
Advanced predictive workflows improve engineering forecasts
  • Increase production in naturally fractured sections through detailed textural and azimuthal anisotropic velocity analysis to determine fracture density and orientation
  • Predict presence and distribution of highly productive intervals through anisotropic elastic inversion
  • Identify containment risks associated with petrophysical and structural changes within sealing units / barriers
Communicate effectively across disciplines
  • Improve drilling performance and accuracy through development of an integrated petrophysical and mechanical model delivered on the engineering grid 
Deliver actionable results, fast
  • Reduce drilling costs by leveraging seismic information to optimize development areas in fast-paced onshore drilling campaigns 
Well Target and Trajectory Planning
Enhance drilling success by leveraging advanced reservoir characterization tools that optimize drilling programs, offering maximum value while minimizing associated risks.
Identify drilling targets
  • Optimize pad placement and well bore trajectories to avoid drilling hazards and reduce bit changes
  • Manage anti-collision uncertainty in locations where you have multiple boreholes from a single pad.
  • Visualize and understand collision risks against existing and proposed well paths
Optimize well trajectories
  • Improve wellbore stability and drilling window estimates through the incorporation of anisotropic analysis of wells and seismic data
Deliver improved well economics
  • Increase the well EUR by strategic placement in zones of favorable production characteristics that reduce the costs associated with hydraulic stimulation

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We are dedicated to providing unique customer-oriented reservoir characterization solutions. Let’s talk about how we can assist you in making the most efficient and accurate decisions.