Structural Division Talk

Quantifying Natural Fractures systems (How do I get the Engineers to understand?) 

Speaker: Paul A MacKay – Shale Petroleum Ltd

January 09, 2020
Location: Schlumberger Canada, Province Conference Rooms 2nd floor Palliser One Building, 200, 125 9th Avenue SE 

12:00pm: Talk Starts


*CSPG members can register for free and track their CPD hours!

With the advent of resource plays the role of natural fractures systems are becoming more obvious in the migration of fluids. Fractures are an integral part of the petroleum system.  Nature uses the natural fractures system to drive fluids through the Crust.  The problem is in quantifying the natural fracture system. The early literature would use the qualifying words such as highly fracture to low fracture intensity but that does not help when trying exploit a fractured reservoir or to predict the connection within the reservoir. 
Seismic data had the similar problem in the early days of its use in the oil industry. They had to relate the logs data to the seismic data. They got around the problem by converting the log data into a comb function (a series of on/off values) and then convolved it with a zero-phase wavelet that has the same frequencies as the seismic data, in this way they could calibrate their seismic data.  

Measuring the fractures along a scan line results in a comb function. Then by running a smoothing operator over the comb function a wave function is constructed which can be analyzed for the dominant spatial frequencies. In this way the strain from the fractures can be compared well to well and fracture energy (fracture strain).

This approach gives a numeric value to fracture strain and allows the user to compare fracture energy well to well. Another benefitted of the approach gives a dominate frequency of the fracture network, which should help to the completion of horizontal wells.  

This presentation is a “How to” calculate fracture intensity and why it is important. Bring your pet engineer. 


Paul MacKay is President of Shale Petroleum Ltd. (2011-present) and has over 25 years’ experience in the petroleum industry – began his career with Amoco in 1980 working both domestic and international plays. Joined Morrison Petroleum in 1993 where he was responsible for their Foothills division. From 1996 to 1998 he worked as Exploration Manager at Northstar Energy (Devon Energy) where he was responsible for both their Foothills exploration program as well as a successful effort in onshore England.

In 1998, Dr. MacKay began an international consulting firm where he had clients with exploration efforts across North America, Europe and the Middle East. Dr. MacKay was a key consultant to Rally Energy as well as an early consultant to Zodiac Exploration, Sunshine Oil Sands and Western Zagros.

In 2010, Dr. MacKay became President of Shale Exploration Ltd., a successful oil resource play company and sold to TORC Oil & Gas Ltd. In 2011.

He is an adjunct professor, teaching industry courses in Structural Geology, Resource Plays, and Fracture Development and publishes widely on the Petroleum Geology of thrust belts and Natural Fracture system. He holds a BSc (Honours, Geol.Sci) from Queen’s University and a PhD from the University of Calgary.