Biota presents well spacing case studies on 200+ wells from the Permian Basin in World Oil March 2018 magazine

Subsurface DNA diagnostics aid well spacing decisions in the Permian

Lessons are learned from more than 10,000 produced fluids and cuttings samples from more than 200 wells.
Liz Percak-Dennett, Biota Technology

The oil and gas industry’s newest diagnostic tool, subsurface DNA diagnostics, has recently hit an important milestone: 10,000 subsurface samples from the Permian basin. To date, Biota Technology has sequenced more than 10,000 produced fluids and cuttings samples from more than 200 wells, resulting in 388 million subsurface DNA markers. Data science and machine learning tools have been coupled with this unprecedented dataset to translate the millions of DNA markers into actionable insights for Permian operators.

The integration of these findings has helped to resolve the complex picture of the subsurface by revealing significant out-of-formation contribution from stacked laterals, and well-to-well communication during completions.

Well spacing decisions are paramount for maximizing EUR and net present value in the highly stacked Permian. However, operators face several key challenges in their quest to optimize field design. Efficient lateral spacing is confounded by lateral heterogeneities and stratigraphic changes within the basin. Vertical spacing requires time-lapse drainage height monitoring to ensure adequate calibration. In addition, translating science-well findings into generalizable knowledge requires a great deal of data, both within a wide geographic range, as well as a temporal basis through the lifecycle of a field.

The scalability of DNA sequencing has enabled time-lapse drainage height findings and rapid upscaling from individual wells and pads to field-wide characterization. These advancements are helping operators place increasingly closer laterals and stacked targets into subsurface sections, and monitor drainage volumes through their fields’ lives.

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Liz Percak-Dennett is Technology Director at Biota Technology. She works to deploy DNA sequencing to maximize reservoir economics through a broad skill set in geology, microbiology, geochemistry, and oilfield operations. Prior to Biota, she worked as a geologist for Hess Corporation with teams in the Bakken and offshore Guyana. She holds a BS in geology from the University of Alaska Anchorage and an MS and Ph.D. in geoscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she researched geomicrobiology in subsurface environments as part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.