Technology allowed oil and gas companies to tap vast North American shale reserves once thought to be inaccessible, transforming the industry in the process. Now the focus is on bringing down the cost of exploration and production in unconventional plays, boosting productivity and operating efficiently in a price-constrained environment. August's Spotlight on Unconventional Oil & Gas investigates how the industry is using technology to address the challenges.

Steering toward a common goal

Geosteering requires sophisticated technologies, mounds of data — and co-operation. Yet the teams tasked with drilling unconventional wells are often judged on conflicting performance metrics. However, mutual understanding can help geosteering teams overcome drilling challenges to deliver successful horizontal wells.

Ideas cascade for water management

Operators have always factored water handling into the cost of drilling and production operations. But the proliferation of hydraulic fracturing in North American shale plays has moved water handling from line item expense to central concern.

Cracking the code in tight shale

Oil moves through shale rocks, even though the physical structure of such rocks suggests it should not. That is only one of the confusing aspects of how best to exploit the shale oil plays, according to a rock mechanics expert.