Whisper it quietly: The Gulf of Mexico remains the long-term 'must have' asset in virtually every major operator's portfolio. Production is still rising with several
major deepwater projects recently on- stream and at least six more due to flow this year. Still, technological, operational and economic challenges lie ahead.
The industry is responding with new collaborative alliances, partnerships and joint ventures, for greenfield developments as well as for operational efficiency from existing facilities and brownfield production enhancement.
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Permian Boosts Sand Demand With Longer Laterals Sand use and proppant volumes are rising in the Permian as operators push lateral length in the Delaware Basin.Operators appear to be de-emphasizing Bone Spring targets in Lea and Eddy counties, N.M., and emphasizing Wolfcamp Shale targets utilizing longer laterals in Culberson, Loving, and Reeves counties, Texas.Otherwise, operators remain committed to slickwater plug and perf for the time being as the most cost effective way to convert hydrocarbon reserves to production.In some cases sand volume has increased to 16 million pounds per lateral, or more than 1,800 pounds per linear foot on extended reach laterals.Overall, sand use grew to 12.5 million pounds per lateral in Hart Energy’s Heard In The Field survey. This is a sharp jump vs. 90 days ago among survey participants.Other than rising sand volumes and an increase in linear gel for longer laterals, completion techniques remain similar to the last survey 90 days ago.The preferred recipe overwhelmingly involves slickwater plug and perf on stage spacing of 200 feet to 250 feet with four perforation clusters and anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 pounds per linear foot of sand as proppant.Survey respondents anticipate a return to batch completions as the industry recovers. Indeed, zipper fracks grew from 35% of completions 90 days ago to 41% in the current survey and are expected to rise as a share of completion activity if commodity prices hold firm.Watch for the next Heard In The Field report on the Permian Basin downhole completions market in September.