Stochastic programming models for optimal shale well development and refracturing planning under uncertainty



In this work we present an optimization framework for shale gas well development and refracturing planning. This problem is concerned with if and when a new shale gas well should be drilled at a prospective location, and whether or not it should be refractured over its lifespan. We account for exogenous gas price uncertainty and endogenous well performance uncertainty. We propose a mixed-integer linear, two-stage stochastic programming model embedded in a moving horizon strategy to dynamically solve the planning problem. A generalized production estimate function is described that predicts the gas production over time depending on how often a well has been refractured, and when exactly it was restimulated last. From a detailed case study, we conclude that early in the life of an active shale well, refracturing makes economic sense even in low-price environments, whereas additional restimulations only appear to be justified if prices are high. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2017