SuperMajors’ shale developments are assumed to differ from E&Ps’ mainly in their scale and access to capital. Access to superior technologies is rarely discussed. But new evidence is emerging. This note assesses 40 of Chevron’s shale patents from 2019, showing a vast array of data-driven technologies, to optimize every aspect of shale.
The database evaluates 950 technical papers that have been presented at shale industry conferences from 2018-2020. We have summarised each paper, categorized it by topic, by author, by basin, ‘how digital’ and ‘how economically impactful’ it is.
The aim is to provide an overview of shale R&D, including the cutting edge to improve future resource productivity. We estimate 2020 was the most productivity-enhancing set of technical papers of any year in the database.
Recent areas of innovation include completion design, fracturing fluids, EORand machine learning. We also break down the technical papers, company-by-company, to see which operators and service firms have an edge (chart below).
Cutting-edge LNG technologies can deliver 15% pre-tax IRRs, taking in $3/mcf gas and selling $10/mcf LNG: even after scaling down to nano-sized 4kTpa units. This data-file shows our workings, across six tabs.
The model tabulates our best-estimates into the costs of typical small-scale LNG projects (SMR and Nitrogen Expansion, below).
We also present and contrast a novel small-scale LNG technology, Galileo’s Cryobox, including economic sensitivities (below).
Shale is a ‘tech’ industry. And the technology is improving at a remarkable pace. But Permian technology is improving faster than anywhere else. These are our conclusions after reviewing 300 technical papers from 2018. We address whether the Permian will therefore dominate future supply growth.