The US land market is vast and complex, with hundreds of operators looking to overcome operational challenges as margins grow ever-tighter. SLB’s Chad Peterson, Managing Director for US Land, and Gbubemi Bafor, Division Manager of Digital & Integration for US Land, explain how Optimized E&P Solutions give independent US operators cost-effective access to powerful workflows that help successfully optimize performance.
How has the Lower 48 market changed in recent years?
Chad Peterson (CP): If you look back over time, the majors historically dominated in US land, but today they don’t. Today, private independent operators reign supreme—and there’s no other market in the world with this many players of different sizes.
Gbubemi Bafor (OB): And while the size of the organization as well as the playing field have changed, independent operators still need answers to the same questions. However, the tools that the majors used to answer those questions are rarely an option for independents due to resource requirements and cost and logistics constraints. Operators are finding themselves stuck without a solution available to get them answers efficiently.
Are operators in the Lower 48 facing any distinct challenges?
OB: Definitely. US land is unique in the sense that most basins have a large number of wells, and any analysis has to account for all your offset wells. Pulling and analyzing this data is time-consuming and inefficient without the right tools, and time is of the essence for independent operators looking to make faster, better decisions so they can outperform the majors.
CP: Operators are also focusing on returns, and they’re putting particular emphasis on the economics of a project. Being able to reduce cost is a big driver as operators look for new ways to do more with less.
What are SLB’s Optimized E&P Solutions?
OB: These solutions came about thanks to the capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning. We took some of the most popular workflows from our software offerings and applied artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the repetitive touchpoints. We then bundled them together into distinct services, available by monthly subscription. We have 25 different services within the Optimized E&P Solutions, ranging from well log prediction to completion strategy advising to shale well flowback services.
CP: These more streamlined offerings enable operators to select a service that allows them to complete a specific task, without the cost and resources associated with more traditional software. When customers purchase a solution, they get access to a portal that walks them through the exact data that’s needed to, say, find the permeability of a field. After uploading the data, a SLB petrotechnical expert reviews and analyzes it, then sends a report with recommendations within hours or up to a few days.
Can any operator in the US utilize one or more of these services?
CP: Yes, these were designed for US-centric workflows. It’s not based on textbook petrophysics, it’s based on workflows that are tried, tested, and true for US land. This was a huge undertaking, but we see this as part of our fit-for-basin approach.
OB: Right, we have to be cognizant of the unique challenges of each individual US basin. For example. Frac here is different from frac in sub-Saharan Africa, so the frac analysis completed as part of our Completion Strategy Advisory service focuses only on use cases in the US.
In your opinion, what would a US Land operator value most from Optimized E&P Solutions?
CP: They can get answers quickly, without steep upfront costs, complicated workflows, or long timelines. Incorporating technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as part of these services means they are more cost-effective. These technologies help automate workflows, so we can analyze data at a much faster rate. Workflows that took 3-4 weeks can now happen in minutes!
OB: In addition, these services are fit-for-basin, and all of our support staff are US-based petrotechnical experts with US experience, so they understand the geology and petrophysics.
Do you have to be a petrotechnical expert to use these services?
CP: We know independent operators have much leaner teams than the majors do, so at the end of the day, you don’t need to be a scientist or a G&G expert to use these services. All you need is to have an idea of what kind of answer you’re looking for, and the portal will guide you through the rest, step-by-step.
OB: It is also a great resource for consultants, because they can lean on our team’s expertise and technology to get answers fast for their customers without having to pay a high cost for it.
How does one begin using SLB’s Optimized E&P Solutions?
OB: It’s easy. You just need to register to subscribe on Commerce.slb.com/EPSolutions, have the required data, and an internet connection to access the portal. That’s it!