Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pioneer Natural Resources And Horizontal Drilling

Pioneer Natural Resources of Dallas announced the success of two projects in distinctly different settings, but with at least one thing in common: the utilization of horizontal drilling. The first is the completion of a gas and condensate well producing from the Eagle Ford Shale in south Texas. The second success is better-than-expected oil production from horizontal wells in the Nuiqsut Sand from the Oooguruk Field on Alaska's North Slope.

A significant factor in each case is neither project would be economic without utilizing horizontal drilling technology. This seems to represent a continuing trend in the oil and gas industry.

Pioneer Natural Resources updates Texas, ANS drilling

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 10 -- Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Dallas, completed its first horizontal well in the Eagle Ford shale play.

The Friedrichs Gas Unit No. 1 well, drilled in Dewitt County, Tex., initially flowed 3.7 MMcfd of gas equivalent, including 2.7 MMcfd of natural gas and 160 b/d of condensate, after partially completing only five stages of a planned eight-stage completion.

Mechanical problems in the original lateral required a sidetrack with a modified well path that reduced the well’s exposure to the main reservoir section in the brittle shale at the base of the Eagle Ford formation. Pioneer estimates only two stages of the fracture stimulation, representing less than 500 ft of the 3,000-ft lateral, penetrated the brittle shale and are contributing to gas production.

Scott Sheffield, Pioneer’s chairman and chief executive, said, “We have drilled more than 150 wells through the Eagle Ford shale as we developed the deeper Edwards formation and recognize the potential that underlies our 310,000 gross acres in the play.” The company plans to drill a second Eagle Ford well more than 40 miles southwest of the first location in the third quarter. Additional wells are planned to high grade that acreage, including another well in the Friedrichs area.

Alaskan operations
At Pioneer’s Oooguruk project on Alaska’s North Slope, operations are under way to drill four horizontal laterals in the Nuiqsut formation during the second and third quarters. Two will be fracture-stimulated producing wells, and two will be water-injection wells.

The first water-injection well was completed and is being produced temporarily to measure the unstimulated productive capability of the Nuiqsut formation. It was tested initially at 2,500 b/d of oil and was put on production at a stabilized 1,000 b/d.

Initial production exceeded expectations, Sheffield said. Pioneer’s net production from Oooguruk was forecast to average 5,000 b/d in 2009, gradually increasing to 10,000-14,000 b/d in 2011 as development drilling continues. “Later this year, we will reevaluate our production profile to incorporate higher than expected performance from our Kuparuk wells, early waterflood results, and the performance of our planned fracture-stimulated Nuiqsut wells,” Sheffield said.

Pioneer operates the Oooguruk project with 70% working interest, and Eni Petroleum US LLC holds a 30% working interest.

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