REGINA, Saskatchewan – A Regina-based PNG operator has put all of its land west of the 3rd meridian up for bid. The junior exploration company has deemed that the drilling challenges and geological niceties of these areas are more than its budget and patience can afford. The lands in question currently produce mostly salt water, although there is a fair amount of heavier cold flow fluids from the upper clastic zones, exemplified by smoother operators.
The wells are just so damn hard to drill out there. We tried everything we could to get into those zones easier, but nothing helped. Special mud additives, slimline tools, faster mill-style bits, we even tried asking nicely. Nothing worked. – Glen Pound, COO Rimshot Energy
Rimshot’s first 3 wells in the area were largely unsuccessful. The first well drilled fine until a set of expensive directional tools were lost when the hole clamped up on the pipe and everything had to be cemented in place.
The second well drilled very slowly, control drilling was used to make sure the pay could be reached and the hole was cleaning properly, but the target pay was over pressured and a gas blowout ruined the mud system and almost burned down the rig.
The third, and last, well attempted was successful in hitting the target, but only after significant expense of the mud system used and 3 weeks of control drilling to ease into the zone without getting stuck or causing a blowout. The well produced very little even after being swabbed with a string of special swabbing beads and 3 days of pumping.
Several competitors in the area have faced similar challenges, but they overcame them with technical skill and perseverance. Neighboring oil producer Slick Rod Resources has drilled a number of wells in the region, at the same target with much success.
The trick is to get a good start on the well and don’t hold back. You really have to pound that hole into the ground and not go easy. If you go easy, shit starts to fall apart, and that gets ugly in a hurry.
We learned that we need to go in rough, or we might as well go home. The more aggressive you are with these wells, the better they get. And we have shown this well after well. – Ronny Crackerjack, Slick Rod Resources.
The company’s West 3 properties are now up for sale for $69 million. While the price seems steep ($1,375,000 per flowing barrel) for little to no production and challenging drilling, Rimshot argues it is worth the wait. They are willing to accept fair offers (including unsolicited backdoor offers) and possibly land trades for more conventional west of 2 reservoirs that are typically much easier and cleaner to drill, at least three-quarters of the time.
(Editor’s note: This story was inspired by many colleagues, some of whom have never drilled west of the third, and it is to them we dedicate this article.)