"This project brings on a new area of production and reserve growth for Anadarko in Canada," said Mike Bridges, President of Anadarko Canada Corporation. "In addition, the project's success demonstrates how we can access other areas that were previously considered uneconomic because they were too expensive or difficult to reach."
Two wells were drilled horizontally to a depth of 4,600 feet (1,400 meters), beginning nearly two miles apart on opposite sides of a 1,000 foot deep, steeply sloping and unstable river gorge. The wells intersect beneath the river and were guided by data from a magnetic source on the drilling assembly in the south well and a magnetic receiver on the drilling assembly in the north well. The distance between the wells and the depth to which they were drilled make this project the first of its kind in North America.
A conventional pipeline crossing either under the river or across the top would have been a significant technical and economic risk, with little chance of success due to slope stability issues on either side of the gorge.
In addition to making the crossing feasible, drilling horizontally beneath the river also required less of a footprint on the land than a conventional crossing, as no pipeline right-of-way was required.
"The government of British Columbia is committed to ensuring our increasingly successful oil and gas industry meets our high environmental standards," said Minister Richard Neufeld, British Columbia's minister of energy and mines. "Anadarko Canada's project is the type of high tech, innovative, cutting edge solution that the oil and gas industry is known for, and I applaud them for using this technique to minimize any environmental impacts."
Since 1999, Anadarko has drilled five exploration wells on the north side of the Buckinghorse River and plans to drill four exploration wells in the upcoming winter drilling season. The company holds approximately 60,000 net acres in the Buckinghorse area with an estimated 200 billion cubic feet of potential resource. The newly completed river crossing has the capacity to transport up to 30 MMcf/d of gas. Current volumes go to the nearby Caribou gas plant in Jedney, which has another 42 MMcf/d of existing gas processing capacity available. On the south side of the river in Anadarko's Jedney area, the company plans to drill three exploration wells this winter that would also flow to the Caribou plant.
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