Marathon Oil: 3,000-plus wells possible in Eagle Ford acreage

Posted on 21 May 2013

By Joanne Liou, associate editor

Marathon Oil forecasts its production from US resource plays will increase by 150% from Q3 2011 to Q4 2013, Bryan Roy, vice president – drilling & completions for Marathon Oil, said at the 2013 IADC Drilling Onshore Conference.

Marathon Oil forecasts its production from US resource plays will increase by 150% from Q3 2011 to Q4 2013, Bryan Roy, vice president – drilling & completions for Marathon Oil, said at the 2013 IADC Drilling Onshore Conference.

Marathon Oil has determined that it may drill more than 3,000 wells in its Eagle Ford acreage, up from an earlier estimate of approximately 1,200. In fact, the company expects production from its US resource assets, which also include the Bakken and the Woodford, to increase by 150% from Q3 2011 to Q4 2013, Bryan Roy, vice president – drilling & completions for Marathon Oil, said. “When you talk about shale and moving the needle for a company that is producing between 400,000 and 450,000 bbls/day, that is substantial,” Mr Roy said during a presentation at the 2013 IADC Drilling Onshore Conference on 16 May in Houston.

For Marathon, the impact that US resource plays are having on the company’s portfolio is significant. As an example, its US business once provided capital for large expenditures overseas, but that pendulum has swung in the opposite direction due to the growth in US unconventionals. “Now, a lot of Equatorial Guinea and Norway production is funding a lot of capital in the US,” Mr Roy said. “We are targeting 5% to 7% average growth rate (in production) across the world.”

Marathon currently has 16 rigs working in the Eagle Ford and expects to spend nearly $2 billion in that play this year, according to Mr Roy. “One of the challenges we continue to have is we tend to overspend our capital because we keep drilling wells so fast,” he stated. “That will continue to be a problem, I hope, because it’s a mark of efficiency.” The company also continues to study its approach to developing its Eagle Ford acreage, such as optimal well density, lateral lengths and completion techniques. “A lot of pilots in the ground now are already completed … and the science looks good. We spent a lot to get into the Eagle Ford, but it’s looking a lot better than what we thought it was going to be,” he said, referring to the increase in the number of estimated wells.

Outside of the US, Marathon also continues an aggressive exploration program in Kurdistan in northern Iraq, where the company made entry in 2010. It currently has two rigs drilling in the Harir and Safen blocks, which Marathon believes have “the potential for the largest unexplored basins in the world,” Mr Roy said. “We are very interested to see how productive the wells could be.”

The region does come with significant operational challenges, however, from security issues to high H2S concentrations in the ground. In fact, some zones can carry up to 22% H2S combined with 13% CO2, Mr Roy said, making it a challenge to complete and make long-term production adequate. Other challenges include lost circulation and issues with primary cement jobs and directional control. Beyond that, “we still have significant issues relative to emergency response plans and evacuations that could be required,” he noted.

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 17 December 2014

    Saudi Aramco: Four factors for a sustainable drilling business

    Despite the modest growth in demand and drop in oil prices today, the long-term outlook for industry is healthy. “Our industry will need to add around 40 million bbl per day for new capacity...

  • 16 December 2014

    Ensco development program produces driller in 3 years

    Ensco’s Accelerated Development Program (ADP) takes a “green” individual and, within a three-year period, trains them to become a driller. In response to personnel shortages in various areas, including drilling...

  • 16 December 2014

    Saudi Aramco: ‘Industry cannot afford to lose talent when the economy is down’

    Industry is facing a human resources challenge in two areas: the ageing workforce and the shortage of skills, Mohammed Al Sellemi...

  • 16 December 2014

    Nanotechnology has potential to improve tool performance in extreme environments

    In terms of temperature stability and corrosion, tools have limitations, especially in extremely challenging drilling environments. Jothibasu Ramasamy...

  • 16 December 2014

    Colville: WCI provides forum to evaluate practical, economical advances in well control practices

    Major players throughout industry are joining forces under the Well Control Institute (WCI). The mandate of WCI is “to provide the definitive forum...

  • Read more news