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Permian Spacing - Learning the Hard Way

Bio
Author

Robyn Fiell, G.I.T, Associate

Author Biography

Robyn graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in geological engineering. She previously completed a summer internship at Modern Resources where she gained experience in designing and analyzing completions in tight sandstone reservoirs. A member of Permian team, Robyn focuses on the Delaware and Midland basins and contributes to geologic basin analysis, field modeling and resource evaluation.

Operators in the Permian Basin have tested a variety of development techniques to achieve the optimal combination of well spacing and completion designs to maximize resource recovery, and this blog looks at average horizontal well spacing from 2018 to 2019 in the most economic intervals in the Delaware and Midland Basins (Figure 1). In general, consistent Y/Y spacing indicates operators are converging toward an effective design, but major fluctuations show operators are applying lessons learned the hard way.

In the Midland Basin, PXD, SM and FANG had the most consistent Y/Y well spacing, averaging six to eight wells per section. LPI and PE both widened spacing considerably in 2019, while QEP, CXO and CPE moved to slightly tighter spacing in their assets. The notable increase in well spacing for both LPI and PE is a result of previous unsuccessful downspaced pilots and a transition to return-focused development strategies.

In the Delaware Basin, MTDR, FANG and CXO showed the least variance in spacing design Y/Y. Although steady in spacing, MTDR trailed its peers in the overall transition to full-field development as it continued to drill widely-spaced parent wells, potentially impairing future drilling inventory. WPX, XEC and PE all trended to wider spacing in 2019, while CPE stood out as the only name to significantly tighten its 2019 wells. CPE is transitioning to full-field co-development and focused most of its 2019 Delaware resources on testing its first multi-zone, large-scale development, the Rag Run, at eight wells per section per zone; this led to the notable decrease in average spacing from 2018.

We will continue to monitor development techniques and analyze 2020 well results to assess challenges and achievements related to well spacing.

FIGURE 1 | Average Operator 2018/2019 Horizontal Spacing for Lower Spraberry and Wolfcamp Wells

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SOURCE | RSEG


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