Sunday, December 30, 2007

Some Reader Input

David expended some effort in writing some comments to a recent post that deserve some better exposure. He wrote:

EOG seems pretty confident that they can recover 750,000 bbls of oil from each section drilled in the Parshall/Bakken field almost irrespective of the initial bopd figure. According to Mark Papa in one of his responses during an analyst presentation, the Bartelson 1 well, one of the first completed which initially produced 1800 bopd, produced an average of 600 bopd over an entire year, but was at a little over 400 bopd rate 1 year out. The wells seem to pop off initially at quite variable rates, ranging from about 700 bopd to 2000+ bopd, but once the initial pressure is off, they all seem to move fairly quickly into a rate of 500-600 bopd, and then the rate of decline is much less rapid after that.

I've been trying to determine what assumption about well life EOG is using for the 750,000 barrels recovery from each 640 acre spacing--as near as I can tell that assumes a well life of about 5 years, possibly 6. EOG is experimenting right now drilling a third well on a 1280 acre spacing from the opposite corner across the Bartelson and Patten sections 1 and 2 of 152-90. If you listened to their request in Bismarck, they aren't really expecting this strategy to increase recovery on the two sections relative to what they are getting from the two existing wells(they think that the oil from the new well simply cuts production from the two older wells on the 640 acre spacing) However, this is an experiment (EOG's words) and there is a possibility that this will become a normal method to increase recovery rates, and a third well running crosswise of the laterals on two of the current 640 acre spacings may turn out to be the norm in the Parshall and Austin fields (those two fields will eventually be one).

The EOG economics are pretty simple: a very average well producing 500 bopd for 6 months generates over a million $ of oil a month at current prices and pretty much covers all their direct drilling costs of 5+ million $. As a capital budgeting project, this number is nothing short of fantastic, and EOG has been saying this over and over again in their reports to shareholders. What is pulled out after the 6 months is over less royalties and the cost of running and maintaining the pump goes straight to EOG's bottom line.

With oil around $90 a bbl, the economic incentive for EOG and others to experiment with new technologies to up the recovery rate on each section is huge. EOG seems pretty confident that there is 9 million bbl of oil under each section in the Parshall/Austin field, and that this first round of wells using the laterals, fracturing etc, is going to bring about 8 % of that to market. But if there is any way to pull more of the total 9 million bbls of oil out, the economic incentive to find that technology given what has already happened is huge. No doubt, 5 years from now EOG and others drilling the field will have further honed their techniques. EOG isn't going to walk away from a field that has been treating them this way from a purely capital budgeting standpoint. The only part of the puzzle I havent quite figured out is why the majors have not already landed. EOG is a big company, in the S&P 500, but small by the standards of a major oil company.

Does anyone have a number to toss out with respect to how much gas a typical well in the Parshall/Austin field might produce once the pipeline is in and the gas gets old rather than flared off? I have been guessing that the value of the gas might be 10-15% of the value of the crude oil produced each month, but this is only an uneducated hunch on my part.

I think the Feb-March date EOG is talking about corresponds to the date that the wells will be connected to the crude pipeline as well. At the moment the number of trucks needed just to haul off the oil from the 22 wells producing 500 bopd has been substantial--things should get a lot simpler with the pipeline in place.

How many barrels do each of those storage tanks hold? There are typically 8 or 9 set up on each well in the field. EOG is confident enough that the wells will come in that they set the tanks just as the wells are being started. [typically 400 bbls for the permanent tanks on location]

Here are some production histories from the Patten and Bartelson wells and projection for the infill well on the 1280.

And an earlier projection of production for the Warberg 1-25H well that indicates an EUR of about 400K bbls.

Another reader, Larry, sent along a graph plotting EOG's drilling permits and active rigs, indicating more rigs are likely to appear in the near future.


Anonymous said...

I Have noticed that EOG is drilling a stratigraphic test well at 153 - 90 section 26. There is currently a well on confidential status on this section. What might we be able to read into this if anything.

David said...

EOG has said publically that they are going to be running some experiments soon on a 320 acre spacing.This could be the first.

Anonymous said...

The strat test is also intended as a microseismic moniter well for the Herbert 1-26H, according to the documents filed with the state. Microseismic monitoring of frac jobs is what enabled the significant improvements in drilling and completing in the Barnett Shale