El Paso plans one-rig Wolfcamp shale oil program into 2011

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Nov. 10 -- El Paso Corp. plans to spud a well during November in its Wolfcamp shale oil acreage in West Texas as part of a one-rig program focused on finding the optimal lateral length and completion method before the company ramps up Wolfcamp drilling activity during 2011.

Speaking during a Nov. 3 third-quarter earnings conference call, El Paso executives said they expect Wolfcamp will become an oil-focused core area. El Paso acquired University of Texas leases on 135,000 net acres in Reagan, Crockett, Upton, and Irion counties (OGJ Online, Sept. 23, 2010).

While considering its bid on the acreage, El Paso drilled a pilot well in Crockett County, a spokesman said. In addition, El Paso studied thousands of well logs across a 13-county area.

The combination of large contiguous blocks and a single royalty owner in West Texas provides “flexibility in the length of the lateral,” said Brent Smolik, president of El Paso E&P Co. LP. The acreage where El Paso has identified 600 potential horizontal well sites is surrounded by 300 vertical wells.

The area already is dense with vertical well production and associated infrastructure, Smolik said. Early Wolfcamp horizontal results are encouraging, he said.

Smolik said it’s too early to determine lateral length or how many frac stages might be needed for a typical well in the well. A slide in the company’s Wolfcamp presentation said El Paso is assuming 4,000-6,000 ft laterals and 12-20 frac stages/well. The company initially plans 160-acre well spacing.

“We’re dealing with a known reservoir, not just a known source rock, Smolik said of the Wolfcamp play, where El Paso expects to directly apply shale expertise that it learned in the Eagle Ford and Haynesville plays.

The company expects to top Wolfcamp at 5,800-7,500 ft and encounter 400-850 ft of net thickness.

El Paso said its Wolfcamp acreage has total organic carbon of 4-15% compared with its Eagle Ford TOC of 2-6%. El Paso’s Wolfcamp acreage has 7-15% porosity compared with its Eagle Ford’s 6-14% porosity. Wolfcamp has 24% clay compared with 30-40% clay in the Bakken, Haynesville, and Marcellus, the company said.

In its Eagle Ford shale oil and gas play in South Texas, El Paso has nine wells producing and six wells awaiting completion. It plans to operate three to six Eagle Ford rigs during 2011, Smolik said. In the Haynesville shale play, El Paso has net production of 170 MMcfd, he said.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

Related Articles

BHI: US oil rig count rises for first time in 30 weeks

07/02/2015 A sudden 12-unit jump in oil-directed rigs during the abbreviated week ended July 2 represented their first rise since Dec. 5, 2014, and helped lif...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...

BHP, Woodside move to decommission Stybarrow field

07/01/2015 BHP Billiton Ltd. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. have started preparations for decommissioning of the Stybarrow group of oil fields in production lice...

Tullow Oil provides production update on Jubilee, other fields

07/01/2015 Tullow Oil PLC reported that gross production for the Jubilee field offshore Ghana averaged 105,000 b/d in this year’s first half, up from 102,000 ...

Statoil to suspend Scarabeo 5 drilling rig

07/01/2015 Due to overcapacity in its rig portfolio, Statoil ASA said it has decided to suspend Saipem’s Scarabeo 5 dynamically position drilling rig after it...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...

USGS: Water usage for fracturing varies widely across shale plays

07/01/2015 The volume of water required to hydraulically fracture wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national analysis and map of ...

Forum extends study of subsea integrity


Work by an industry forum called SURF IM Network, which studies oil and gas subsea integrity management, has been extended by 3 years.

White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected