Oklahoma’s STACK play continued making headlines over the past month as established players in the area double down on their Q1 investments and new players enter the space. Most of the Pilot wells I introduced in the last article have 90 days or more of production data further underscoring the vast potential of the play to positively impact operators, investors, royalty owners, and many others. This month, I would like to revisit some of the most notable Pilot well projects and examine some of the activity being driven by the knowledge and experience operators are gaining through the drilling, completing, and producing of new STACK wells.
Performance of Test wells
Devon’s successful spacing pilots have de-risked a significant portion of their Meramec inventory while leading to the company’s first Meramec multi-zone development projects in the second half of this year. The initial well of the planned 15-well pattern, is the Showboat 1003-1AH which was drilled and completed in the summer of 2015.
Devon’s other notable pilot well projects are the 2 well Born Free staggered pilot, the Alma, a 5-well pilot, and, the Pump House, a 7-well pilot.
The company having the most pilot wells, Continental, also has one of the most successful pilot wells, the Angus Trust 1-4-33xh, which showed an initial production rate of over 2000 bpd of oil and 15,300 mcf of gas. Continental’s first STACK density test in the over-pressured portion of the STACK oil window also was moderately successful. The Ludwig pilot consisting of 8 wells has been producing for more than 120 days at this point. At its peak, the Ludwig wells posted a combined peak 24-hour rate of 21,354 boe 70% of which was oil.
Newfield’s Chlouber and Dorothy spacing pilots have been online for over 100 days now and are outperforming the company’s 1.1 MMBOE Type Curve by nearly 40%. Newfield has been testing an “upsized” completion method with these and several other wells yielding exceptional results. Perhaps the most positive result was the record-breaking Burgess well, which initially produced 2931 BOEPD 69% of which was oil. The Burgess’ 20-day average was 2492 BOEPD (70% oil).
According to Newfield, the well’s oil production set a STACK record of 361 bbl per 1,000 ft GPI
Although these and other pilot projects are yielding encouraging results, the STACK is still far from full-scale development. Companies are still testing well densities, spacing, lateral lengths, completions, and multizone development of deeper formations such as the Woodford. The goals of these projects can be expressed simply by the following formula:
Tighter spacing + longer laterals + bigger fracs = more production per section
- Most STACK operators have increased the amount of proppant and fluids required for their well completions. As an example, Cimarex has steadily increased its use of sand and fluids for STACK fracs since 2015. In the Meramec, sand usage has more than doubled from 1250 lbs/lateral foot in January 2015 to 2800 lbs./lateral foot. For its Woodford completions, Cimarex used 2,000 lbs. in 2015 and in increased to 3500 lbs. during 2016.
- Newfield’s productive experimentation with “upsized completions” on 15 wells required 2100lbs/ft. of sand and 2,100 gallons fluid/ft. This positive result sets the standard for the company’s STACK well completions as it adopts larger fracs. According to industry market research firm, Energent, Newfield’s completion requirements for proppants could reach beyond 500 million pounds this year- more than double that of other leading producers in the area.
Most of the STACK operators are experimenting with or drilling laterals greater than 5,000 ft. as a way of increasing production without necessarily increasing the number of wells to be drilled. Cimarex provides an interesting example of the blockbuster combination of longer laterals and bigger fracs. The company compared the performance between drilling 24, 5,000 ft. laterals with drilling nine 10,000 ft laterals and found a 47% increase in production after 180 days. As you can see in the map below, longer laterals appear to have become the choice among leading operators.
As I mentioned in last month’s article, density pilots, also called spacing tests, are the most common pilot type in the STACK. Operators are still trying to determine the optimal spacing, laterally, between wellbores in the same formation. In fact, data from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission supports operator reports of continued density testing. The data shows 36% increase in the number of increased density applications between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017.
One of the more interesting spacing tests currently underway is a 2-section test in Canadian county targeting the Woodford formation. Cimarex is comparing the results of 4 wells as part of a 16 well development in one section and 5 wells within a 20 wells development in an adjacent section. Expect results later this year.
How is new knowledge playing out in the field?
- Operators are increasing investment in the STACK.
- Newfield doubling down on the Anadarko Basin where investments in the STACK and neighboring SCOOP will consume 85%-95% of its capital this year. 4-5 rigs planned in 2017.
- Devon says 60% of planned 2017 activity will be in the STACK. o Continental has 12 rigs currently running (7 Meramec, 5 Woodford) and 6 units planned for this year.
- Cimarex – 1/3 of capital approximately $330 million, 11 rigs currently running with plans to increase to 18 by Q4 of this year
- Operators are drilling and producing from some impressive wells – Several operators reported many wells producing IP’s in excess of 1,000 BPD on the first quarter of 2017.
- Applications in STACK counties are up – Corporation Commission data shows applications in the STACK counties of Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Custer, Dewey, and Kingfisher are up nearly 22% compared with this time last year.
- The number of wells spud so far this year in the STACK is higher than last year during the same time.
- According to Corporation Commission data 110 wells were spud in Q1 2016 compared with 151 wells spud so far this year in the STACK counties of Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Custer, Dewey, and Kingfisher. Most of the current activity centers in Blaine and Kingfisher counties.
In the next article, we’ll do a status check on STACK’s Pilot Well Programs as well as changes in the overall development of the Play. As always, you can reach me at email@example.com. I’m always here to help.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to geologist and former colleague, Lee Wescott for sharing his knowledge of the STACK and vast experience with well pilot projects. Your insights were truly invaluable. Also, I’m grateful to Organon Data for the GIS data used to create the maps for this article.
Julie Parker has a decade of experience serving the Energy industry where she became an expert in the integration and application of geospatial technologies to exploration and production projects and workflows. Ms. Parker entered the industry in 2006 when she became the first GIS Director for Chesapeake Energy, a large independent producer of natural gas headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with operations throughout the U.S. During her tenure at Chesapeake, Ms. Parker built and lead a robust, cross-functional GIS department that gained a reputation for developing and deploying leading edge solutions for nearly all areas of the company.