Longer laterals boost Woodford shale well gas production

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 20
-- Newfield Exploration Co. said the drilling of longer laterals led to higher production rates from wells in the company's unconventional Woodford shale gas play in the Arkoma basin of southeastern Oklahoma.

As an example, its Madison 1H-15W, with a 9,983-ft lateral and hydraulically fractured with 20 stages, produced initially at 13.5 MMcfd with about 25% of the frac load recovered. Another well, Martin 1H-15E with a 9,405-ft lateral and fraced with 19 stages, produced initially at 13.5 MMcfd with about 15% of the frac load recovered.

Newfield classifies wells drilled with laterals greater than 5,000 ft as super extended lateral (SXL) completions.

The company's more than 300 operated horizontal wells in the Woodford now produce 323 MMcfd of gas equivalent, and the production will increase with the completion of 20 wells, including five SXL wells, drilled in 2009.

The company said in 2009 the average lateral length it drilled in the Woodford shale was about 5,000 ft or about twice the length drilled during 2006-07. For 2010, it estimates that the average lateral it will drill in the Woodford will have a 6,000-7,000 ft length.

Newfield estimates a SXL well will cost $7-8 million to drill and complete. It expects, based on drilling to date and 3D seismic data that covers all of its Woodford shale acreage. to develop about 25% of the acreage with SXL completions. The company also has applied to unitize a large portion of its acreage to facilitate drilling more SXL wells. This would increase to 33% the acreage that potentially could be developed with SXL wells.

During 2010, Newfield plans to operate six to eight drilling rigs in the Woodford shale and increase production from the shale by about 20% above 2009 levels.

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