Twin win

June 1, 2014

Of the more than 3,500 Alberta wells brought on stream in 2013 (excluding bitumen), the top performing oil well and the most prolific natural gas producer had one thing in common—they were both completed using Packers Plus Energy Services Inc.’s ball-drop multistage fracturing technology.

In both cases, StackFRAC HD openhole systems provided by Packers Plus, the innovator of open-hole multistage completions systems, were used to complete the record producers, based on total cumulative production.

For decades, the Pembina region of central Alberta has been the stomping ground for some of Canada’s top oil and gas producers. A single well drilled early last year reminded many observers why the mature area is still of interest to the industry, including the junior sector.

Spudded Jan. 13, 2013, Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. drilled the 13–23 well and rig released in February. By March 2013, the well was producing after being multistage fractured.

“We had information that [the well] produced about 2,450 boe [barrels of oil equivalent] a day,” says Brent Eshleman, executive vice president at Bellatrix. “It’s basically a long reach, two–mile-long horizontal well into the Mannville Formation.”

According to investment banking firm National Bank Financial, the Pembina well was the best gas well drilled in Alberta last year. Cumulative production was reported at over 665,000 boe at 100 per cent gas as of November.

Completed using the StackFRAC high-density open-hole system, 36 stages were used in the well’s lateral leg, which measures 2,845 metres, with total well depth coming in at 5,200 metres. The well was completed using Packers’ SF6D degradable ball, which provides optimal production flowback. The balls can withstand pressures of up to 10,000 pounds per square inch and begin dissolving in downhole temperatures exceeding 60 degrees Celsius.

Bellatrix drilled an adjacent two-mile well last July, completing it with a 35-stage frac, and placed it on production in late September. With only about two months of run time, it already ranked number two from September to November.

At Packers Plus, Mike Kenyon, regional manager for Canada, notes many of today’s producers are trying ever longer laterals with more stages, in an effort to squeeze out the most production. “Not too long ago, the record in Canada was a lateral of about this [2,845-metre] length,” he says. “The [Bellatrix] well is right around there and will rank as one of the longer laterals.”

The service company that ran the frac for Bellatrix did so in about 29 hours. “That’s a lot of sand to place in that time,” he adds. “All of the stages went off without a hitch.” The Bellatrix gas well was not the only standout well last year. Among Alberta oil wells, a top performer was drilled at Gold Creek, Alta., by privately held Canadian International Oil Corp. (CIOC).

The Gold Creek well was one of two that CIOC drilled in the Montney resource play the company is currently developing.

“It’s been tremendously successful for us,” says Scott Sobie, CIOC president and chief executive officer. “We have a fairly significant Montney land base in the Gold Creek area, and the 12–36 well was [our] first in the Gold Creek area.

“What’s interesting here is that we’ve got very high liquids content,” he says. “These wells are highly prolific, with very high oil and gas rates.”

The Gold Creek well produced a total of 317,000 boe in 2013, averaging 41 per cent liquids, with daily volumes of just over 1,000 boe per day. The performance of the 12–36 well bodes well for the rest of the Montney resource play, Sobie says.

Also fracked with Packers’ StackFRAC HD open-hole setup, the well was completed with 30 stages in a 2,625-metre lateral leg, according to Packers Plus, with a total depth of 5,190 metres.

For its part, CIOC has built up some running room for future drilling, with 260,000 net acres in the Alberta Montney and another 225,000 net acres in the Duvernay.