SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – Stock price for junior Saskatoon-based Sure Fire Energy plummeted 83% to $0.37 in early morning trading on the TSX after news of the company’s failed heavy oil recovery scheme.
This propietary recovery method, called Super Heated Injection at Temperature Threshold Yield (or SHITTY), involves injecting super-heated gasoline into a wellbore in the hopes that the gasoline will dilute the heavy oil, which should make it easier to produce when the well is cycled into a producer.
Unfortunately, in the company’s haste, it did not conduct any lab tests or even attempt to model the technique, and this lead to catastrophic results, as depicted below, which took place at the 191/04-32 well in the company’s Postes field near Weyburn.
The company’s COO, Adam Burntwood, held a press conference where he described the failed event,
You don’t need to tell me that this didn’t work – I was there! I suppose we should have thought things through a little bit more. I sometimes use gasoline to dilute grease on the floor of my garage, and it loosens it up pretty good. So we figured that we could apply that concept to our only oil field.
The idea behind heating the gasoline before injecting it into the wellbore is that hot gasoline should do a better job because it’s, well, hot. But something went wrong, we must have miscalculated something.
According to a post-mortem investigation conducted by a former Bendovus Energy executive,”very, very much was wrong with the SHITTY method.” The report indicates that the junior company did not consider that the high-temperature gasoline could autoignite as it was pressured up in the wellbore.
I would appear that Sure Fire Energy was attempting a fire flood, but by accident. My work concludes that the fire was not caused by autoignition of the wellbore fluids due to a lack of oxygen downhole. Instead, surveillance footage from a nearby single-well battery reveals that the lead operator on the scene disposed of a lit cigarette butt in an area where the gasoline injection line had a leak. The butt ignited the gasoline vapours that escaped from the leak, and that caused the fire. How shitty is that? Get it? SHITTY. Yeah, I’m too funny. – Investigator with the Wellbore Fire Investigation Board.
A report released by the company indicates that the lead operator has been suspended with full pay, thanks to his involvement with a trial period with a new super union. And despite the failure, the company continues to believe that the SHITTY method will work, and it plans to try it again once they get things turned around with investors and the stock price recovers. But this time, the company will try it on an offshore well so that there is ample water readily available in the event of a fire.