Innovation in Technology Series

Incorporating "At the Bit" Data: Interview with Zach Boyer

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Being able to obtain "at the bit" information while drilling continues to result in dramatic improvements in drilling and profitability, as geologists are able to geosteer more accurately and stay in the zone, and they're able to target sweet spots. Welcome to an interview with Zach Boyer, who discusses the way his company is optimizing information gained at the bit.

What is your name and your relationship to the oil industry / geology?

My name is Zach Boyer and I have worked in the industry since graduating from Texas A&M. I work in the finance / supply chain side of the business, but understanding that the entire industry is driven by the rock we drill I have always made it a point to further my knowledge of geology.

What is your background in new technologies?

While working with a major operator, I was involved with projects identifying new drilling technologies intended to increase efficiencies and safety. I also co-founded a company focused on developing new products that address industrial and public water management issues, oil and gas being one of our markets.

What do you think the outlook is for innovation and new technologies in today's oil industry?

We, as an industry, will continue to push the envelope in terms of innovation; it is as the core of what we do. There are still many challenges to address, so I would say the outlook is positive for the development of new technologies. The question comes down to industry adoption. There is always a balance between risk and economics, so I am interested to see how much innovation is adopted by the industry considering risk tolerance and oil price forecast.

What have you been working on lately? What are your goals? What does your new technology do?

Now I am with a venture that has developed technologies that utilize "at the bit" data, as well as evaluation methods, to place at least 90% of horizontal stages in an identified maximum production zone resulting in improved well economics. Our goal is to validate that our technologies result in consistent production above current benchmarks for 4-5 wells. Then, we plan to exploit our technologies across a full-scale development.

What are the potential applications and benefits of your new approach/ technology?

We can apply our technologies across many unconventional plays such as the Bakken, Midland Basin, Eagle Ford, etc. The biggest benefit from our technologies is our targeted production increase of 55%. Furthermore, our technologies and processes, in combination with machine learning, enable the team to consistently improve stage placement, design, and production forecast as we drill more wells in an area. We are also looking at applying new variables to earth models to increase the understanding of our earth models enabling improved evaluations, planning, and execution.

What do the conditions need to be for your technology to have maximum positive impact? Under what conditions might it not work?

We are targeting shale formations which is where are technologies will have the biggest impact. The more data we can gather from surrounding wells the more we can improve our models and analysis maximizing our impact.

What are future trends that will benefit what you are working on?

Obviously increased oil prices will benefit us, but because we can increase production while keeping capex requirements in line with basin benchmarks, our wells will be economical in low oil prices. With a focus on continuous improvement and optimizing well economics, we are positioning the team and our partners to be meet the demands of a low-price environment and take advantage of value opportunities.

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