The drive toward lower breakevens amid less-than-favorable oil prices could put shale operators on the road to vertical unbounded wells instead of cube developments in the Permian Basin until well economics improve, experts say.

The shift could put future productivity from adjacent zones at risk. However, experts at RS Energy Group (RSEG) say a closer look at the subsurface using electrofacies—which depict characteristics of rock intervals from petrophysical log data—can help pinpoint areas where there is less risk for hydraulic communication between zones.

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