New Permian Oil Play Requires Pumping and Persistence

Topics: Reservoir management
Source: Manzano LLC.
This well pad for Manzano Energy serves two leases with about 8 wells. Most of the 16 tanks store produced water from wells producing about 15% oil, before it is sent via a company pipeline to its disposal well.

Sometimes a new oil play is discovered by an explorer doing “the right thing for the wrong reason.”

That is how Ken Barbe, one of the founders and managers Manzano LLC, describes the decision to drill one of the first successful wells into a Permian play which is unconventional, but not in the way he and his partner had expected.

The independent company drilled a horizontal well thinking “we were dealing with tight rock that produced limited amounts from vertical wells,” he said. But when they fractured their first horizontal well they found more permeable rock producing a lot of water.

That led to conversations with two other companies pioneering this zone that said it was to be expected.

“We had some conversation with Forge Energy and Walsh Petroleum and they encouraged us to be patient and that we would start seeing an oil cut once we got our pump intake pressure down,” Barbe said. “They were exactly right and we had to change our opinion on how and why the reservoir would work economically.”

The three companies are among a group of independents in West Texas that have shown it is possible to consistently drill and complete wells producing hundreds of barrels a day of good-quality oil from relatively shallow, horizontal wells that require little fracturing.

The method requires a leap of faith and some high-capacity injection wells because those wells initially produce only large quantities of water and continue to do so long enough to make a strong case for plugging and abandoning the hole.

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New Permian Oil Play Requires Pumping and Persistence

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

01 February 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 2