Sustaining Oklahoma's Energy Resources gives marginal well owners opportunities to ask oil and gas veterans about production issues
So, you have an older well in Oklahoma that’s dependably produced oil or natural gas, but lately is showing its age.
Who are you going to call?
No doubt, there’s no shortage of service companies out there that can help well owners identify potential problems and solutions to cure those ills.
But experience tends to be the best teacher, and Sustaining Oklahoma’s Energy Resources, part of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, made some of that knowledge available this week in Oklahoma City to owners of marginal wells from across the state.
George Aubrey, a second-generation energy executive with Trailblazer Energy; Dan Hammond, an operations manager at L.E. Jones Operating; and Andrew Jackson, who manages engineering, drilling and production activities at the Quintin Little Co., answered well-owners’ questions during a panel discussion they participated in on Thursday at an oil and gas technology forum.
During the session, they fielded questions about options well owners might pursue whenever they encounter production problems. They also answered questions from owners who were worried about future problems they might see from their wells as newer drilling activities move into formations the older wells historically had drained.
They kicked off their discussion by talking about what types of data owners should review to decide whether a marginal well is a good candidate for stimulation.
The panelists said owners should understand what formation or formations the well is tapping and what production potentials might be. Owners also should look at well behaviors, given that wells with a decent bottom hole pressure might be good candidates for stimulation.
On many older wells, paraffin treatments can make a difference, and sometimes, a change in the mechanisms used to pump an older well could be the answer.
They talked about how to decide when to acidize older wells and whether that should be done in conjunction with reperforating a well bore.
They also discussed how well owners should prepare when they decide it is time to bring a professional in.
“I always try something simple, like creating a well bore diagram,” Aubrey said. “I know it sounds crazy, but if you draw a cartoon out, it makes it a lot easier when you are discussing what you want done with the contractor.
“It seems that really helps in the communication process,” he noted, adding it helps the owner refamiliarize himself with the well’s hardware, such as casing, tubing, production system and other particulars, like where the well’s perforations are at.
“You have gone through your inspection process, up front.”
Before the panel discussion, Danny Morgan, who leads the Sustaining Oklahoma's Energy Resources committee, talked about how it hopes to host similar events in various parts of the state in the future.
He also talked about other ways it hopes to serve marginal well owners, moving forward.
“We want to get to producers in the field,” he said.
Morgan also mentioned a new feature the organization is unveiling soon.
“One of the things we are bringing online is an ‘Ask an Expert,’ platform, kind of a blog, where if you have a question about electrical use, or production or anything else, you will be able to post your questions there” and hopefully get answers from other users of the site, SOER Connect, he said.
“We are moving the committee in a little bit different direction,” he said.
Later, Joe Brevetti, who formed Charter Oak Production in Oklahoma City in 2004, Pat Joyce, of Stimulation Pumping Services, Tim Sicking, of Quasar Energy Services, Richard Tarver, of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, and Howard Worley, of CUDD Energy Services, also made presentations to the approximately 100 well owners attending the event.
Melanie Voice, director of Sustaining Oklahoma’s Energy Resources, and James Marshall, a petroleum engineering consultant at BTM Consulting who serves on the committee, said marginal well operators these days must pay attention to what’s going on around them, especially in areas where new production fields are being developed.
For developers who are still drilling vertical wells these days, Marshall said they can take advantage of the same technologies other companies are using to drill horizontal wells, which has lowered their costs and improved well performances.
On the production side, though, time-tested technology and techniques continue to be what marginal well owners rely upon to keep their operations, well, operating.
“There have been some tweaks,” he said, but added, “even horizontal wells use the older technology to produce.”
Marshall agreed marginal well owners regularly decide whether to produce based upon commodity pricing.
“Minerals support a lot of these small companies,” he said, “and that really helps.”
Marshall said Sustaining Oklahoma’s Energy Resources is a great resource for small operators that don’t have access to large research and development staffs or the training that operators who work for major independent and integrated regularly receive.
“That is what these operators are looking for.”