Explanation of horizontal drilling from Anadarko Petroleum

Great video of presentation by Mr. Danny Brown of Anadarko Petroleum. Good explanation of the process of drilling a horizontal well used by Anadarko.

Good visuals. Superb explanation of drilling for a newcomer to energy, like me.


Update: link fixed – somehow the link went weird.

Mr. Brown says Anadarko is producing about 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Two things I learned that might be of interest to readers of this blog.

Groundwater protection is provided from multiple layers of piping and concrete. 

The first set of pipe is called the surface conductor. This pipe is 16 inches in diameter and goes down 100 feet. Cement is pumped down the pipe and flows back to the surface on the outside of the pipe. This creates a concrete and steel pipe barrier to groundwater.

Surface casing comes next. This is an in between diameter of pipe (I’ll make a wild guess of around 10” or 12″) that goes down about 2000’. This would fit inside the previous pipe. Concrete is again pumped down to the bottom, flows around the bottom and flows back to the surface. This creates a second concrete and steel pipe barrier.

Then drilling continues down to just above the Eagle Ford formation and the drilling transitions from vertical to horizontal. The well is drilled an additional 6000’ or so. Then 5½” pipe is put all the way to the bottom of the well, which is around 13,000 feet away. Concrete is again pumped to the very bottom, flows around and is pumped back to the surface.

This creates a solid pipe and concrete casing from the surface to the end of the well. Down to 2000’ there are two layers of concrete and pipe. Down to 100’ there are three layers of concrete and pipe.

Why are horizontal wells so productive?

The productivity from a well is based on how much of the well bore is in contact with rock that contains oil. One thing I’ve learned is that these layers of oil are very thin. They may be 6,000’ or 10,000’ under the ground but the oil is all found a layer that might be 60’ or 100’ thick. A traditional vertical well makes contact with that amount of oil bearing rock. That’s where the well draws oil.

In a horizontal well the 6000’ that goes horizontal is making contact with oil bearing rock.  That means there’s 6000’ of pipe that can draw oil instead of 100’. Cool.

By the way, if you want to ponder a high-level technical challenge, tell me how you would drill down 7,000′ into the ground, turn the drill bit to hit a target 100′ tall and put 6,000′ feet of pipe in the middle of that 100′ layer. You may count me impressed.

Check out the video. It’s superb.

Hat tip: Eagle Ford Shale blog.

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