As Permian Basin production has grown, so too has the demand for fresh water, transport, and disposal of waste water. Bloomberg recently reported that the average Permian well pumps 7 barrels of dirty water for 1 bbl of oil and put the service cost of water disposal at about $1.50 to $2.50/bbl, driving operators to look for cost savings and improved efficiencies in the water management side of their business. The demand for water and disposal services has piqued the interest--and investments--of several companies eager to acquire existing pipeline infrastructure and SWD facilities and in some cases, expand the capacity to capitalize on the growing need. RRIG Water Solutions, a Fort Worth-based water transfer company, acquired a 475-mile pipeline located in the Eastern Delaware Basin from Oilfield Water Logistics. The pipeline has the potential to move more than 2.3 million bbl/d of fresh water for oil and gas operations located throughout the Permian Basin.
SPE Gulf Coast Section's Permian Basin Study Group held its third annual High School Invitational in November at the Norris Conference Center in Houston, Texas. The luncheon was led by Texas A&M drilling professor and retired ExxonMobil chief drilling engineer Fred Dupriest, who gave a presentation titled, "What We Need From This Generation, and Steps to Help Them Achieve It." Dupriest spoke to more than 50 students from Cy Fair High School and more than 20 students from Seven Lakes High School--both located in the Houston area--about the role of future generations in the oil and gas industry. The section's community services group arranged for the student visit.
San Antonio-based Petro Waste Environmental (PWE) announced the opening of its newest state-of-the-art nonhazardous oil and gas waste landfill facility in Howard County, Texas. "We are very excited about the opening of the Howard County landfill, which now gives us two facilities operating in the Permian Basin," said Petro Waste founder and chief executive officer George Wommack. "With its opening, we are positioned to better serve oil and gas operators in the Northern Midland Basin efficiently, cost-effectively, and in an environmentally responsible manner." The 144-acre Howard County landfill will accept oil-based mud, water-based mud, oil-based drill cuttings, water-based drill cuttings, contaminated soil, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act-exempt nonhazardous exploration and production waste. The facility will provide washouts and other ancillary services.
In areas where freshwater costs and produced-water-disposal costs are problematic, operators and service companies have shown the desire to use produced and flowback water in field operations to enhance overall completions economics. This paper details the experience of using new stabilized crosslinked-fracturing-fluid systems in the Permian Basin using borated produced water. The new fracturing-fluid systems are designed to delay the crosslinking time when needed, using the boron already present in the water. In the US, nearly half of the wells hydraulically fractured since 2011 were in regions with high or extremely high water stress and more than 55% were in areas experiencing drought. In Colorado and California, 97 and 96% of the wells, respectively, were in regions with high or extremely high water stress.
The lower tertiary formation found in the pre-salt layers of the Gulf of Mexico has become a proving ground for extending what is possible when completing multistage fracturing in ultradeepwater wells. The stimulation vessels that pump fracturing fluids, acids, and proppant into these wells are key to achieving the volume of production needed to make them profitable. Baker Hughes operates one of the industry's youngest fleets of such vessels in the North Sea and offshore west Africa, Brazil, and Vietnam. But because of the strength of lower tertiary rocks and the pressure required to improve contact between the well and the formation, some of the company's newest and most advanced vessels are reserved for the Gulf. One of them, the Blue Dolphin, is the world's first 20,000-psi stimulation vessel.
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.
Stimulations on several wells showed suboptimal production rates, which led to the conclusion that the Lower Cretaceous was not economically producible. An intensive study was therefore carried out to evaluate all aspects of the fracture design and implementation. This paper focuses on the aspects of proppant selection and adequate fracture-conductivity placement, with the goal of improving well productivity and cumulative recovery. The Valdemar field is located in the Danish sector of the North Sea. The reservoir is characterized by a heterogeneous sequence of argillaceous chalk with thin beds of marl and claystone.
Sourcing water for large multifracture stimulations in west Texas is a well-known constraint on oil and gas activities in the area. A 6-month pilot operation demonstrated that produced-water reuse is technically feasible and can be a cost-effective solution. A fit-for-purpose treatment scheme was created to remove free oil, suspended solids, hydrogen sulfide, and iron and to render microorganisms inactive. The technical approach developed allowed for the use of salty produced water for completion activities using a new type of friction reducer. The oil and gas industry has identified water management as one of the top challenges for energy extraction from unconventional resources.
For all of the upstream activity going on in the Permian Basin of Texas, it can be difficult to assess which horizontal well strategies are working best and why. The primary reason is operators in Texas are not required to share as much detailed drilling and completion information as they are in other major oil producing states such as North Dakota, home to one of the shale sector's most revered public databases. But with the recent formation of the Texas Oil and Gas Institute (TOGI), it is expected that the Permian will soon become a much more well understood shale play. TOGI was established in 2015 by the regents of the University of Texas (UT) system, which manages oil and gas mineral rights across 2 million acres of land in west Texas. A non-profit organization, TOGI describes its mission as one focused on improving the value of the university lands for the benefit of both the UT system and the Texas A&M University system--a co-beneficiary of the lands program.
Strong development potential exists in the Upper Devonian Woodford Shale of the west-Texas Val Verde Basin with further prospective drilling targets lying above in the Barnett Shale, veteran industry geologist John Van Fleet told the SPE Gulf Coast Section's Northside Study Group recently. Van Fleet gave a presentation on Kerogen Exploration's Vista Grande Woodford project, which he served as the company's new ventures advisory geologist before retiring last year. The Val Verde is a sub-basin of the Permian Basin that lies south of the Permian's Central Basin Platform and north of the Ouachita Thrust Belt. Kerogen's Vista Grande acreage holds expected gross and net recoverable resources of 1.4 billion BOE and 1.1 billion BOE, respectively, according to an estimate by Morning Star Consultants. Van Fleet said that Kerogen's prime area of interest was the wet gas window.