CERAWeek: New play types drive innovations

Guntis Moritis
OGJ Production Editor

HOUSTON, Mar. 9 -- New play types are driving innovations in the oil and gas industry, Jonathan Lewis, Halliburton senior vice-president, drilling and evaluation, said at the IHS-CERA energy conference in Houston. Deepwater presalt and shale gas are two examples of the new type of plays that the industry is developing.

But with such plays as shale gas, the industry can ill afford the 20-30% nonproductive rig time common in the industry and the industry needs integrated work flows to gain efficiencies in well construction, Lewis said. This cannot be done in laboratories but must be done at the wellsite and operations centers, he added.

Operating companies have been driving down costs and gaining efficiencies in tight gas sands and in shale plays. As an example, Charles Stanley, president and chief executive officer of QEP Resources Inc., said QEP in 2010 completed gas wells in the Haynesville shale in 40 days compared with the 66 days/well when the company first started developing the play. For these 12,000-ft wells in the vertical depth and with 5,000-ft horizontal laterals, fraced with 14-16 stages, well completion costs have continued to come down with costs in the later half of 2010 averaging $8.5 million/well compared with $10 million/well in 2009, he said.

Another example of efficiency gains is the Pinedale tight gas sands. In 2004, QEP needed 64 days to complete a well compared to 16.8 days/well averaged in 2010, Stanley said. Initially QEP drilled these 14,000-ft wells that contain a 5,000-ft gross gas column from well sites with single wells. Now QEP has some well pads with up to 50 wells. Costs for completing these wells with about 14 frac stages have dropped to $3.9 million/well from the $8 million/well spent in 2003-04, Stanley said.

Stanley attributed much of the gains in efficiency to the people involved, to real-time data that allows speedy improvements in the process, and using the appropriate technology for the economics involved. He noted that the industry has a lot of innovative tools but many are too expensive to deploy.

Contact Guntis Moritis at guntism@ogjonline.com.

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