Perhaps the most striking thing upstream companies revealed in their recent round of second quarter calls was the astounding production increases from US unconventional plays brought about by an array of tweaks to well drilling and completion techniques.
One tactic they’re using to eke more hydrocarbons from the ground is optimized well spacing — configuring wells as close as possible to best drain the reservoir without interference. Other techniques are placing hydraulic fracture sections or “stages” closer together and using more proppant to hold fractures open so oil and gas can flow more easily from the reservoir.
It’s taken a few years for operators to figure it all out, but about four years after they began widespread exploitation of unconventional oil plays, which are the current focus of most large companies, they are largely approaching full development mode. In the meantime, they have seen staggering production growth, especially on the crude oil side.