A successful fracture stimulation in tight and unconventional wells requires a solid understanding of geomechanics and rock mechanics of the reservoir. At the same time, one has to understand how materials will behave during completion. These are phases in the life cycle of a well where geologists can provide valuable input. Welcome to an interview with Larry K. Britt, who will be teaching a short course, Horizontal Well Stimulations in Tight & Unconventional Formations at AAPG’s Fall Education Conference, October 14-18, in Houston.
1. What is your involvement in the oil industry?
I have an engineering consulting company and a rock mechanics laboratory that I own and operate.
How did you get started?
I started with Amoco Production Company after I graduated with a Geological Engineering degree from
the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology). I got interested with my seventh grade mineral collection which has grown a bit!
What do you do now?
I design, optimize, and execute fracture stimulations throughout the world. I conduct laboratory studies of unconventional resources to optimize well completion and stimulations.
2. You’re very respected for your work in well stimulations. What should geologists know about completions?
Successful completion and fracture stimulation(s) of vertical and especially horizontal wells is very dependent on understanding the geomechanics and rock mechanics of the resource. Successful completions and stimulations require a multi-disciplinary approach. So take your completion and stimulation engineer to lunch and tell him what he needs to know about the geology.
3. What do geologists need to know today about stimulations?
See Above (2)
4. What makes you excited about the industry right now?
How we as an industry are transforming our energy and national security policy. Going forward we are increasing our oil and natural gas production to the point of energy independence. We may not see it now but it is on the horizon.
5. What area do you think most geologists tend to overlook in their training and professional development?
I think completion engineering and well stimulation are often overlooked as is geology for the completion and stimulation engineer. Interesting, given the importance of geomechanics on horizontal well completion and stimulation success.
6. Where do you see technology having another breakthrough in the next 5 or 6 years?
We need improvements in completion tools for recompletion and stimulation of horizontal wells. We need cleaner more environmentally friendly fluids and materials.
We need better completion and stimulation diagnostic capabilities in horizontal wells. The industry has shown a capacity to take today’s needs and transform them into tomorrow’s technologies.
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