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Paul M. Gerlach1, Saibal Bhattacharya1, Timothy R. Carr1
(1) Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence, KS

Abstract: Cost Effective Techniques for the Independent Producer to evaluate horizontal drilling candidates in mature areas

Horizontal wells, cost efficient tools for reservoir management, have not been widely adopted by small independent operators of mature oil fields. Recent declines in cost factors have brought horizontal drilling technology within the economic reach of independent producers. Application of horizontal drilling in Kansas has been limited, and results have been mixed with a few significant successes. Operator concerns for appropriate economic return, and difficulty in identifying candidate reservoirs have been the principal factors restricting application of horizontal drilling technology. The remaining barrier to wider application of horizontal technology is cost-effective approaches to target a horizontal well. Several low-cost approaches are presented that can be used to evaluate a potential horizontal well. These cost-effective screening techniques can be applied at the field scale, the lease level, and the well level. Volumetric screening coupled with low-cost simulation enables the small independent producer to quickly and efficiently evaluate reservoir candidates, and predict performance of horizontal well application. Horizontal technology can add significant new reserves by exploiting the remaining oil in place in their existing fields.

Small independents can successfully apply horizontal drilling technology to recover additional oil and gas in mature areas. The recommended approach emphasizes low-cost techniques to understand reservoir heterogeneity, to evaluate recovery potential at the field, lease and well scales, and to characterize and simulate candidate reservoirs.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana