Pioneer speeds up Edwards reef gas play

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 9 -- Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Dallas, is building activity in the Cretaceous Edwards limestone gas trend south and east of San Antonio with a $115 million capital budget in the resource play in 2006.

Without disclosing details, the company said it recently drilled two successful wells in the trend that tested prospects analogous to Pioneer's Pawnee field in Bee and Live Oak counties. Initial potential was 2.5 MMcfd at both before stimulation. The company also reported a recent Wilcox discovery in Pawnee field.

Pawnee field, discovered in 1961, is producing 50 MMcfd of dry gas (14 MMcfd net to Pioneer). Cumulative production is 184 bcf, and estimated ultimate recovery is 310 bcf, up 8% from 2004. EUR has risen every year since the late 1990s.

Pioneer started a two-rig drilling program in late 1999 and has drilled 80 wells, 63 of them horizontal, since then. Two newbuild rigs are to arrive by July and a third by the end of 2006.

The company's 2006 plan is to drill 10-15 development wells in Pawnee field and eight to 13 low-risk exploration wells and acquire more 3D seismic data along the trend.

Six of the exploration wells are to be completed by July 2006, mainly 10 miles southwest of Pawnee field in the Sinor Ranch, Abaco, and Three Rivers/Schulz field areas.

Pioneer holds 80-100% working interest in 170,000 acres in the trend and has proved reserves of 133 bcf. It has identified 24 exploration leads and expects to find more.

The trend consists of a band of dry gas fields that extends 250 miles from McMullen County to Colorado County. The tight Edwards produces from 9,500 ft to more than 14,000 ft. Pawnee field covers 5,500 acres and has a 350-ft gas column in the Edwards.

Completions involve specialized rigs, bits, and mud systems designed for 3,000-ft laterals in extreme temperatures and pressures with low-cost stimulations in open hole.

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