Wells, dears, that does seem to be a commonly held view amongst those with no real experience of oil and gas extraction, but it’s not true.
In an attempt to minimise the surface footprint of their shale gas operations, exploration and production companies like Cuadrilla and IGas are proposing to drill multiple wells from a single pad. There may be between 8 and 10 vertical wells at these locations, each with perhaps as many as four lateral or horizontal extensions deep below ground cherubs.
This method of operation means that operators can increase the overall drainage area of the target reservoir from a much smaller number of surface sites – a point I’ve made previously sweeties. It’s the reason why Lancashire won’t end up looking like the Jonah gas field in Wyoming.
Opponents of shale gas extraction will happily tell us that the UK has no experience of such a drilling model. But that’s simply not true, pumpkins, and we only need to look a little to the west to see this for ourselves.
Because out in Morecambe Bay, Centrica Energy operate a number of gas platforms from which multiple vertical wells are drilled with horizontal extensions – in much more challenging conditions than those planned for landward sites, I might add.
Out there, the costs of drilling are far higher than their onshore equivalent and so, to keep costs under control, it is advantageous to maximise the number of wells that can be drilled and completed at a single location. Industry-standard geo-steering capabilities make the necessary directional drilling a reality.
And who is now partnered with Cuadrilla in Lancashire, poppets? Oh yes – Centrica Energy.
As well as money, Centrica Energy will also be bringing their technical expertise to the deal too. And because the Bowland shale is so thick, it’s going to be perfect for this multi-lateral configuration.
So, dears, we very definitely do have experience of multi-well drilling from a single location, and to try and claim otherwise is rather fanciful.
Until next time xxx