APRIL 2017 LUNCHEON MEETING
Peter K. Blomquist
of IHS Markit
Hottest Play in the USA:
Wolfcamp Play, Midland Basin, West Texas
11:30 AM Wednesday, April 19, 2017
at the Cascades
4511 Briarwood Road
Tyler, TX 75709
Peter Blomquist works for IHS Markit in the Dallas office as a geologist and Technical Advisor in Petra and Kingdom Geology. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in Geology from the Colorado School of Mines. During his 20 years’ experience as a geologist he has explored for a variety of commodities, including oil & gas, diamonds, high-calcium limestone, water, sand & gravel, and abandoned water wells. His job responsibilities have included those of staff geologist, consulting geologist, university instructor, entrepreneur, facilities engineer, and independent operator. The key lesson that he learned while in operations is that the pumper never calls with good news. Peter is a Registered Professional Geologist in the State of Texas and an active member in AAPG, West Texas Geological Society, and the Dallas Geological Society.
A total of 116,383 wells have been drilled for oil and gas in the Midland Basin of West Texas, which includes 101,647 oil and gas producers. Historically, the most productive portions of the Basin are in the south and center. Wolfcamp production follows this same trend.
The Wolfcamp Formation (Wolfcampian-Leonardian) exists across the entire Midland Basin and was first drilled as a vertical oil play in the 1950’s. Various operators experimented with horizontal wells in the Wolfcamp during 1990 – 2001, and the results of those early efforts were inconsistent. No additional wells were drilled in the play until 2007 – 2010 when six more wells were drilled. Activity accelerated in 2011 when 57 wells were drilled in this resource play, and with the success of those wells, interest in the play increased dramatically.
Stratigraphically, the Wolfcamp Formation is complex, consisting of mostly shale and argillaceous carbonates, with sand and sandy intervals near the basin edges, and facies that exhibit abrupt lateral changes. The Wolfcamp has stacked pay potential, with six possible target zones, or benches in which to direct horizontal wellbores, designated top-down as the A, B, C (upper and lower), and D (upper and lower) zones. The most drilled targets to date are the A and B zones in the section. The Wolfcamp Shale has excellent shale rock properties; it fractures well and has a good range of total organic carbon, e.g., between 2% and 7%. Structure does not appear to be an influence in this play.
The total number of horizontal wells in the Midland Basin through January 2017 is 5,123, with 3,318 horizontal wells completed in the Wolfcamp interval. Wolfcamp horizontal wells can exhibit substantial initial production (IP) values. To date, 28 wells have had IP's greater than 2,000 BOPD, with an average IP of all Wolfcamp horizontal wells of 680 BOPD. Although this play is still in the juvenile stage, cumulative production to date is 181 million BO. Recent drilling has increased lateral lengths to 13,000 feet, with Pioneer Natural Resources leading this effort. Average lateral length for the Wolfcamp horizontal wells is 7,100 feet, and 122 wells have laterals greater than 10,000 feet. Estimated ultimate recovery is greater than 500,000 BOE per horizontal well from multiple zones, which increases with increasing lateral length. Based upon areal extent, thick and abundant source rocks, and multiple producing horizons, the Wolfcamp Play is one of the largest resource plays in the world, particularly when combined with the overlying Spraberry Formation. Total recoverable reserves may exceed 35 billion BOE for the Wolfcamp horizontal play.
Like a good fishing hole, this play has captivated the locals, in addition to attracting new players. The new attention, plus strong IP’s, existing infrastructure, and multi-stacked pay zones have pushed average land acquisition prices over $25,000 per acre, with some recent deals topping $50,000 an acre. This is the hottest play in the country and continues to grab headlines.