Shell Texas Gulf Coast Resources Co. recently drilled its 100th producing natural gas well on the main McAllen Ranch lease, marking nearly 40 years of development at the historic lower Rio Grande Valley field. Shell Texas Gulf Coast Resources is one of the Shell Continental Cos.
This newest well, drilled to offset the McAllen 2 and 3 wells, is part of a program designed to rejuvenate one of the oldest parts of the field. The well was drilled to a depth of 12,700 ft and tested at 10 MMcfd of gas, 106 b/d of condensate, and 90 b/d of water.
In 1959, Shell Oil Co. geologists began looking for an extension of the deep Vicksburg gas production that had been discovered at Javelina, Tex., in 1957 halfway between the Rio Grande River and what is now McAllen Ranch field. The nearby McAllen Ranch appeared to be the best prospect to search for the trend, and the A.A. McAllen 1 well was completed in 1960 to a depth of more than 15,000 ft. Although the well ultimately produced less than 200 MMcf of gas, it indicated that a much larger gas field existed beneath the ranch. The success of the McAllen 2 and 3 wells confirmed the area's potential.
More than 200 total exploratory and production wells have been drilled on McAllen Ranch leases since 1960, when Shell completed the A.A. McAllen 1. Shell and its working interest partners have spent more than $500 million drilling and completing wells in the field and have produced about 1.1 tcf of gas.
Shell began its McAllen operations in partnership with Delhi Taylor Oil Corp. and Continental Oil Co. Shell's current partners include Conoco Inc. and Fina Oil & Chemical Co. Before the Shell name ever appeared on the ranch, Roxana Petroleum Corp. (a Shell predecessor) held the first McAllen Ranch lease in 1925, although no wells were drilled under that lease.
Since the late 1950s, Shell has drilled more than 800 wells in South Texas. Today, the Shell Texas Gulf Coast asset produces nearly 300 MMcfd of gas and more than 6,000 b/d of condensate from 260 wells in 14 fields. Forty Shell employees are assigned to the company's South Texas operations.
The history of the McAllen Ranch dates to 1793, when the King of Spain granted Manuel Gomez 100,000 acres of arid, mesquite covered land 35 miles north of what is now the city of McAllen. More than 200 years later, 42,000 acres of that original grant comprise the McAllen Ranch that is owned today by James A. McAllen and family. The city of McAllen is named for James's great-grandfather, John.
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