Thursday, 1 October 2015, 6 p.m., Edinburgh
Shale Boom Beginnings: The Story of Mitchell Energy
Dan Steward, Republic Energy, ex. Sr. Executive Mitchell Energy
Royal Scots Club, 29 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE
Sponsorship is provided by Scottish Oil Club (Students).
This event occurred on: Thursday, 01 October 2015, 6 p.m.
George Mitchell and his company began the quest to understand, evaluate and establish productivity from the tight organic rich Barnett Shale in 1981. This was not a science project, but was deemed necessary for company survival due to declining shallow production in the company’s large North Texas leasehold. The result of his 20 year effort was to totally change the exploration model for shales and the way resource plays are evaluated, proven and developed. The resultant success in expanding shale gas knowledge and technology has spilled over into many other shales worldwide as well as resulting in new ways to look at and drill for tight oil formations.
Geologist, received a B.S. in Geology from the University of Houston in 1972. With 32 years of petroleum experience and 22 years working the North Texas area, Steward joined Republic Energy Inc. in 2002. Prior to joining Republic, Steward was Vice President of Geology at Mitchell Energy (later acquired by Devon Energy) where he worked on the Barnett Shale development since its inception in 1981. In 2005, he was asked by George Mitchell to write a history of Mitchell's exploration and development efforts that ultimately led to proving the Barnett's potential and gaining for it the title of the most active gas play in the United States. Recently, Steward was honored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists as the 2007 recipient of their Outstanding Explorer Award for his work in the Barnett Shale.
Dan is an industry leader who was instrumental in establishing shale gas as a commercially-viable energy source in the US and subsequently worldwide. He helped to identify several innovative and pioneering ideas which paved the way for a global shale gas era and is known for his strong business ethos and drive to establish integrated work cultures within his teams. This has inspired productivity, ownership and professional belief amongst team members and ultimately enhanced their ability to prove the Barnett Shale. Ideas included: • Inducing large fractures in vertical wells to initiate commercial gas flows rather than being dependent on open natural fractures. • Identified the criteria and importance of natural upper and lower frac barriers for optimising frac efficiency in shales. • Identified alternative frac procedures to increase efficiency in areas with poor frac barriers, such as the use of low cost slick water fluids, stress shadows to provide barriers as well as horizontal drilling to minimise breaking out of zone. • Developed a better understanding of gas-in-place and per-well recoveries and, in the case of Barnett shale, identified improved well-spacing patterns to optimise recovery efficiencies.
Dan has long been regarded as a reference source within the industry as a result of these pioneering techniques combined with his strong executive leadership style. He is often relied upon by management to convert concepts into practical solutions and to galvanise teams to deliver, thereby providing companies with both a cohesive and progressive working environment and a competitive edge.