Skip to comments.Second Life for an Old Oil Field
Posted on 11/20/2013 3:33:57 PM PST by thackney
One of Texas' oldest oil fields, in decline for decades, has become one of the hottest places in the country to drill for crude, as energy companies create clusters of wells with layers of horizontal branches.
The Permian Basin86,000 square miles centered on Midland, Texashas been pumping oil since the 1920s, though production peaked at about 2 million barrels a day in the early 1970s. For decades, geologists have known that oil could be found in different layers of rock piled up like a stack of geologic pancakes.
But now drillers are starting to tap those layers simultaneously from a single siteand are committing billions of dollars to do so.
Occidental Petroleum Inc. the largest producer in the Permian, said it plans to spend $500 million there in 2014 and has created...identify more drilling locations.
And Apache Corp...
Because of the Permian's many thick layersWolfcamp, Cline and Spraberry are the names of just a fewa group of wells on one site can potentially tap into several different oil reservoirs, each wellbore going down just far enough to reach its targeted layer and then turning sideways.
About 70% of the wells drilled in the Permian this year are vertical, but as companies better understand the geology they will increasingly start to drill horizontally, allowing each well to tap more oil, said Robert Christensen, an energy analyst with Cannacord Genuity.
Drilling in the Permian isn't easy, however. In many areas the surface layers of rock are much harder than in some other oil fields, so it can take longer and cost more to drill. A sharp fall in oil prices could make operations there uneconomic.
And some of the layers are low quality compared with the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford shale in Texas...
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
First link in above search should pull up the full article.
Thanks, good article - and thanks also for that trick to get to the whole article. Wonder how that works...?
Thanks for your oil exploration threads, thackney.
Always interesting for we neophytes.
The ingenuity and creativity in the oil patch and petro-engineering field must drive the bunny-snugglers absolutely nuts.
Every time they come up with some malthusian prediction about the end of oil, you guys go and find some more. Lots more.
This is what, the third time ‘round for ‘peak oil’ fabulists?
Fracturing is making cracks in the formation leading to the well bore. It is tough for nature to accomplish that without a well bore.
It can be done with fluids, gases, explosives and a few times, nuclear explosions.
At that time, they were producing the easy, shallow oil that is now mostly gone. Today they are getting oil from fields they could not economically, even if technically, they could produce then.
How much potential and how much did they actually managed to get at with traditional conventional drilling back in the day ?
Keep in mind, most of the methods that increase the total production (recovery) of an oil field are not drilling, but other steps in the process. A horizontal lateral will produce more oil per well for the play, but more vertical wells could produce the same amount, although for more money and more time to produce.
A common enhanced recovery methods come from injection of water, CO2 or other at the edges while still drawing out from the middle of a play. This helps sweep the formation and moves more droplets of oil along to the withdraw well. This often involveds cycling more and more non-oil fluids through the formation over and over after a period of time.
It can get to the point where what is coming out of the well is mostly water and only a tiny amount of oil. The water is separated out, filtered and sent back in at the edges.
What this all means is that enhanced oil recover methods can produce a higher percentage of the oil-in-place, but typically at a much slower and more expensive rate.
As a whole back in the day of conventional drilling here in the USA when it was at it's peak how much was actually brought up to the surface and how much could there still be there as far as traditional conventional drilling goes with this newer technology ?
Not all fields can be treated the same. To be effective fields need to be modeled to determine the best total recover for economical spending. Different methods are used to match the characteristics of the individual field.
What Is EOR, and How Does It Work?
Understand we started many of the techniques many decades ago. We were doing some of these back in the 1970's. They get applied to fields as the production matures and the economics dictate. New fields drilled today may not have this done for many, many years.
Could this spell the rebirth of America's industry and rebirth of our economy if government gets out of the way and let the markets take the lead ?
I think you are confusing methods used to produce the tight formation like shale, and the enhanced recovery methods that can be used in shale and also more traditional fields.
There is far more to telling the future than understanding the oil/gas industry.
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GE is exploring ways with 3D painting to help reduce the cost and extend the life of parts and repair or coat parts involved in oil and gas drilling and turbo machinery
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