High child well productivity in Wolfcamp A points to down-spacing potential

May 3, 2019

Activity in many parts of the Permian Basin has already entered into large-scale manufacturing mode, but some elements of optimal development strategy have yet to be understood. One such area in the Permian Basin is found in Midland County. The horizontal unconventional development in Midland County started largely from the Wolfcamp B interval in 2011 and 2012, where a combination of depth and thickness of the pay zone offered the highest expected profitability. Over time, the stacked potential of Wolfcamp A and the Lower Spraberry/Jo Mill intervals have also been delineated, and the contribution of Wolfcamp B to total activity thus declined, although the original interval maintained its leading place in terms of total well completions even in 2018.

20190503 Friday snapshot_Shale Well_Midland_Permian.jpg

As illustrated in the figure, we generally observe clear degradation in normalized productivity for child wells across Lower Spraberry and Wolfcamp B zones in 2017 and 2018. In particular, child wells in the Lower Spraberry intervals exhibit degradation of more than 20% compared to parent wells. Meanwhile, parent and child wells within Wolfcamp A wells performed at the same level in 2017 and 2018. This implies that there is still some potential for down-spacing within the Wolfcamp A interval in Midland. From a spacing unit value perspective, the inflection point is normally reached after productivity per well starts declining.

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