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Memoir 121: Integrated Geology of Unconventionals: The Case of the Vaca Muerta Play, Argentina

Containing 20 chapters, Memoir 121 presents a large, high-quality data set and discloses the results of advanced research completed in the past decade. These achievements derive from the “coopetition” work methodology applied by a multidisciplinary, international group of geologists from different companies and institutions that came together to update the knowledge of the geology of the Vaca Muerta Formation. Coopetition (neologism–oxymoron coined from the words “collaboration” and “competition”) is a new form of scientific and technical communication that consists of open and free co-operation among players within an environment of sensitive technological and commercial competition. It requires passion for science, teamwork attitude, advanced learning spirit, trust in your fellow geologists, balance, integrity, and work ethic.

The Vaca Muerta play is the first unconventional self-sourced play (also known as shale play) outside of North America to have been thoroughly studied, tested with the latest technologies, and put in production with satisfactory commercial results. In the Vaca Muerta play, it has taken O&G industry around 10 years and 1000 wells, since the initial hydraulically fracturing in 2010, to get to the point where the wells are economically competitive with North America. It has taken 5 to 7 years to major O&G companies to become confident enough in the economics to sanction large developments. Nevertheless, with time, willingness to invest and good geology, the “Unconventional Revolution” will not remain a North American story, and the first areas to reach commercially successful development of unconventional resources will probably be the petroleum-rich provinces with substantial existing infrastructure—the Super Basins.

This Memoir presents a chapter on each main geological discipline involved in unconventional plays, and provides five case studies describing the workflow to obtain production. The ultimate goal of this Memoir is to contribute to the comprehension of unconventional plays by sharing the rich outcomes of our “socio-scientific” experiment of coopetition.

Thanks to the generosity of the Bureau of Economic Geology, Chapter 14 of this Memoir, Natural Fractures: From Core and Outcrop Observations to Subsurface Models by E. Ukar, R. G. Löpez, D. Hryb, J. F. W. Gale, R. Manceda, A. Fall, I. Brisson, E. Hernandez-Bilbao, R. J. Weger, D. A. Marchal, A. Zanella, and P. R. Cobbold, is an Open Access paper, and is available here:

Chapter 14 Download

Completion and Production,Engineering,Hydraulic Fracturing,Shale Gas

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