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Six Tech Advancements Changing the Fossil Fuels Game

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MULTI-WELL-PAD DRILLING: OCTPUS IN THE HOUSE

One of the greatest drilling developments of the last decade is multiple well pads, which some like to refer to as “Octopus” technology.

Imagine gaining access to multiple buried wells at the same time, from a single pad site. This is what “Octopus” technology is doing, first in a canyon in northwestern Colorado in the Piceance Shale Formation and then in the Marcellus shale. It's definitely not your traditional horizontal drilling.

Traditionally, to drill a single well, a company needs a pad or land site for each well drilled. Each of these pads covers an average of 7 acres. The Octopus allows for multiple well drilling from a single pad, which can handle between 4 and 18 wells. So, a single pad on 7 acres can now be used to drill on up to 2,000 acres of reserves. More than anything, it means that drilling will be faster, faster, faster … And less expensive in the long run once it renders it unnecessary to break down rigs and put them together again at the next drilling location. It's simple math: 4 pads usually equals 4 wells; now 1 pad can equal between 4 and 18 wells.

Here's how the technology works: A well pad is set up and the first well is drilled, then the rig literally “crawls” on its hydraulic tentacles to another drill location from the same pad, repeatedly. And it's multi-directional. It takes about two hours between each well drilling. With traditional horizontal drilling methods, it takes about five days to move from pad to pad and start drilling a new well.

Last year, Devon Energy finished a 36-well drilling program from a single pad site in the Barnett Shale. More recently, Encana (ECA) drilled 51 wells covering 640 underground acres from a single pad site with a surface area of only 4.6 acres in Colorado. Multi-well pad drilling is also revolutionizing drilling in Bakken, and this is definitely the long-term outlook for shale. It will become the norm.

It's also good (or at least slightly better) news for the environment because it means less drilling disturbance on the surface as we render more of the process underground.


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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Post a Comment Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
David Tkachuk | Jul. 19, 2013
Onshore pad drilling aka octopus drilling certainly isnt new to the oil & gas industry. Its a very standard onshore approach in northern climes where tundra must be contended with, just to list one example. My own experience commenced in the early 80s in the Canadian Arctic with Esso but Ive also pad drilled in Siberia where "Kyusts" (the Russian term for pads) are as common as mink coats, and have been for about a century. Therefore, I have difficulty understanding all the present day "hoopla" around pad drilling. Its a natural, and rather transparent adaptation from offshore platform drilling to onshore applications as required.

Buster Bryant | Jul. 18, 2013
It is not clear (to me) from the article how the Octopus concept differs from the SOP of Alaskas North Slope. This approach to drilling wells has been employed and refined essentially since development began at Prudhoe Bay in the late 1970s.



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