Washington state acreage, drilling progress

Operators are consolidating acreage positions in the Columbia River basin as EnCana Corp.'s US unit drills its third subbasalt wildcat in the nonproducing area since 2004.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Aug. 9 -- Operators are consolidating acreage positions in the Columbia River basin as EnCana Corp.'s US unit drills its third subbasalt wildcat in the nonproducing area since 2004.

Exxel Energy Corp., Houston, acquired 12.5% working interest in 390,000 gross acres in the basin in Washington state from EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. Netco Energy Inc., Vancouver, BC, acquired a 7.5% working interest in the same lands.

The acquisitions included interests in the EnCana Brown 7-24 wildcat in Grant County, which Exxel said is drilling in the sedimentary section below the base of basalt (OGJ, June 11, 2007, p. 53).

EnCana has made public no results from the three wells it has drilled in the basin under an agreement with Shell's SWEPI LP unit. The others are the Anderville Farms 1-6 in Grant County and the Anderson 11-5 in Yakima County.

Those three wells and Shell's Yakima 1-33 and BN 1-9 wells drilled in the 1980s are evaluating gas potential at 14,000 ft in a basin centered gas accumulation (see map, OGJ, May 2, 2005, p. 53).

Exxel said the acquisition gives it the "ability to participate on an unpromoted basis in current and future exploration and development of acreage covered by the leases within the CRB, including the Yakima fold belt, Saddle Mountain, and Hog Ranch high."

Exxel said its due diligence of the wells drilled to date, including the Brown well, "confirms our geologic model of the basin."

In July, Exxel approximated Columbia River basin positions as EnCana 850,000 net acres, Delta Petroleum Corp., Denver, 468,000 acres, ConocoPhillips 400,000 acres, and private E&P companies 270,000 acres. The overpressured gas play is believed to underlie 4 million acres.

Exxel said its leases have primary terms of 6-10 years and average more than 8 years. The company has identified several prospects but has no drilling commitment.

Delta, meanwhile, received permits to drill the Gray 31-23 and McBride 28-13 wildcats and is permitting the Mustang 22-11 wildcat, all on separate geologic structures, in Klickitat County, Wash., which borders the Columbia River and Oregon. It plans to drill Gray 31-23 after EnCana's Brown 7-24.

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