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JONAH FIELD, SUBLETTE COUNTY, WY - Sjon Sorenson, a safety supervisor for a Haliburton Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation crew, in the Jonah Field, Wy., on August 8, 2005. Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation (Frac-ing) has allowed operators to harvest previously un-extractable natural gas making the Jonah Filed and Pinedale Anticline 'new' natural gas resources for development. Frac-ing involves piercing a drill hole's casing with shaped explosives and then forcing a chemically-gelled water carrying a manufactured 'sand' into the resulting hole. This further propagates the fracture while the 'sand' props open the hole. A second solution is forced down hole which turns the gel back into water and allows the natural gas to migrate out of the ultra-tight sandstone lenses of the Lance Formation and up the well. Encana, BP, and Ultra Petroleum are the main operators in the 30,200 acre field, but Encana is expected to drill two thirds of the wells to yield upwards of 10.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which has a current market value of $55 to $60 billion dollars. Encana could make $2 billion in profit per TCF depending price trends and production costs. Jonah Field operators are seeking an 'in-fill' project which will allow for an increase of wells from the currently permitted 533 to 3100 by decreasing well pad spacing from 40 acres to 20 acres and possibly down to 10 acres spacing. This will allow for a greater number of vertical as opposed to directionally drilled wells. Vertical wells take less time, are easier, and therefore cheaper to drill but require a greater amount of surface disturbance. Development and completion, the drilling and hooking up of wells to pipelines, is expected to take 10-15 years while area gas reserves are expected to last 40-60 years. .
- © Copyright 2005 Tim Matsui, All Rights Reserved
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- Natural Gas Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing in Pinedale, Wyoming