Abstract

An extensive data acquisition program commenced with drilling a pilot comprised of a slant well and a total of ten wells in three stacked formations. The slant well was fitted with fiber optics and pressure gauges utilized to monitor frac propagation during completion. A comprehensive workflow is described in this paper and includes detailed acquired pilot data analysis, reservoir and fracture surveillance and building hydraulic fracture and reservoir simulation models. The models are constrained and calibrated with the acquired diagnostic data. The calibrated reservoir simulation model is utilized to develop forecasts and spacing charts to inform development decisions. The impact of well orientation and fracture azimuth on development is discussed in this paper.

Analysis of the acquired diagnostics reveal significant vertical pressure communication metrics on the order of 30% between stacked benches. Model-based results indicate that EUR differences between investigated well orientation configurations are on the order of 15%. To minimize waste due to observed vertical communication and potential parent-child effects with phased development, a cube-type development was recommended.

Introduction

The Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is a prolific unconventional oil and gas producing area accounting for about 40% of oil production in the United States in 2022 (McKinzie, 2022). The Permian Basin located in New Mexico is also the largest producer of potash in the United States. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has designated "Drilling Islands" in "Development Areas" from which new oil and gas wells are to be drilled for safe development and to minimize disruption to the potash mines. The shape and size of the "Drilling Island" is designed to be as small as possible (Salazar, 2012). Challenges with drilling in such a geologically complex area, dealing with depleted zones in the shallower Delaware Mountain Group, casing and cementing designs to adhere to federal regulation required to protect groundwater and mining resources are well documented (Pelton, 2022; Willis et al., 2018). Geological complexity, regulatory requirements and surface restrictions because of regulations combine to make this area a challenging one to develop and operate.

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