3D seismic guides Arkoma Fayetteville play

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 2 -- Drilling and 3D seismic surveying are ramping up in the Arkoma basin Fayetteville shale gas play in Arkansas.

Southwestern Energy Co., Houston, which held 1,400 sq miles of net acreage in the play as of June 30, has shot 145 sq miles of 3D surveys and expects to have 400 sq miles of 3D surveys by yearend.

The company, which plans capital spending of $950 million in the play this year, including gathering systems, will focus most of its development drilling in areas identified as "better performing" and with 3D seismic coverage. It also is forming a preference for slickwater fracs.

Southwestern's net Fayetteville shale production averaged 105 MMcfd in the first 6 months of 2007, and its gross operated production reached 200 MMcfd on July 28. That included 10 MMcfd from five wells producing from conventional reservoirs in four pilot areas.

As of June 30, Southwestern had drilled and completed 303 operated wells, 246 of which are horizontal. Of the horizontal wells, 219 were fracture-stimulated with slickwater or crosslinked gel fluids.

The wells are in 33 pilot areas in eight counties from Franklin County east to northwestern White County, largely east of the traditional Arkoma basin gas producing fairway. The company runs 19 rigs, including 15 capable of drilling horizontal sections.

Southwestern drilled and completed 62 operated Fayetteville wells in the quarter ended June 30. Excluding wells drilled vertically in new areas to gather reservoir data before horizontal drilling, they averaged $2.9 million/well, 2,550-ft laterals, and 18 drilling days.

Costs may increase as the company drills longer laterals, Southwestern said. Ten of the second quarter wells had laterals longer than 3,000 ft.

One well, Bartlett 2-27 in the South Rainbow pilot area, had a 3,700-ft lateral, flowed 4.4 MMcfd after an eight-stage slickwater frac, and was making 4 MMcfd on July 21 after being on production 25 days.

The last 10 wells Southwestern completed using slickwater fluids have averaged initial rates of 2.6 MMcfd, and three exceeded 4 MMcfd. One of those, Reaper 1-12 in the Bull pilot area, which had a 2,000-ft lateral and a four-stage completion, made 4.6 MMcfd, the company's highest daily rate to date.

Southwestern's Fayetteville play position includes 699,000 undeveloped acres, 76,000 net acres held by Fayetteville shale production, and 125,000 net acres held by conventional production.

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