Posted 3/03/10 (Wed)
By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
As the price of oil stabilizes in the $70 to $80 range, McKenzie County continues to be a hotbed of oil drilling activity. Especially for Continental Resources, an Enid, Okla.-based company, which is now drilling its first well in McKenzie County using a new concept.
Continental Resources’ Eco-Pad Concept allows four wells to be drilled on one pad or location. Prior to this concept, Continental Resources needed one pad for each well it planned to drill.
“The concept allows us to drill four rigs on a single location,” says Jeff Hume, Continental Resources president/COO. “The Eco-Pad drills all four wells simultaneously by completing the first step for one hole and then moving to the next until step one has been completed on each of the four holes. Then it returns to the first hole and moves to step two. It’s really amazing to see how fast the rig moves from hole to hole. The company is excited to see this new concept up and running.”
Normally, for a company to drill four wells, it would need four pads, each one about five acres in size. The company would drill one hole and then rig down and drive the rig to another location, a process that takes around five days, and then rig up and start the second hole. The Eco-Pad Concept allows the rig to move from one hole to the next using hydraulic legs instead of rigging down and moving it with trucks.
“We spudded our first hole using the Eco-Pad on Feb. 15, in McKenzie County,” says Hume. “The Kennedy 2-31T, our first ever Eco-Pad location, is located on the eastern edge of McKenzie County.”
According to Hume, the drilling technique is basically the same as directional drilling; the big difference is that only one pad is needed to drill four wells.
The concept has been used in other states for gas wells, but Continental Resources isn’t aware of any other companies using this concept in North Dakota.
“We decided to drill the first wells in McKenzie County because the opportunity presented itself,” says Hume. “The Bakken and Three Forks wells we’ve drilled there have been successful and the topography was right.”
The Eco-Pad Concept is something that can’t be used everywhere because of topography. But Hume says the company plans to use it wherever it can to help maximize the wells.
“Our second Eco-Pad location should spud in the next couple of days, just across the county line from the Kennedy,” states Hume. “The company plans to have four more Eco-Pad locations spud between now and May, with each location taking about 100 days to complete all four wells.”
Amid good economic news, Continental Resources announced that it plans to increase the company’s budget for the remainder of 2010.
“The increase in our budget should allow us to keep all 12 of our rigs running through 2010, plus add three more rigs,” comments Hume. “We have high hopes that our 2011 budget will be increasing as well, which would allow us to continue our 2010 pace into next year, plus hopefully increase our rig count.”
Three of Continental Resources 12 North Dakota locations are currently drilling in McKenzie County.