​Inside ‘the Cube,’ Encana’s new base case for Montney and Permian development

Encana CEO Doug Suttles. Image: Encana

Western Canada’s Montney play has a key feature in common with the Permian Basin, the busiest drilling area in the United States: stacked resource potential.

Encana and other operators are developing approaches specifically tailored for stacked assets, and Encana recently released details on its approach, called the Cube.

According to GMP FirstEnergy, the Cube is now Encana’s base case for development in both the Permian Basin and Montney plays.

“Encana unveiled a new connotation for large multi-well pad, full-scale development, targeting multiple stacked pay zones from a single above-ground location, drilling all of the inventoried premium wells for a given cross section of pay and simultaneously fracturing, instead of returning at later dates to drill different zones and/or infill wells,” GMP FirstEnergy analysts wrote following the release of Encana’s first quarter results.

“Encana has already applied ‘the Cube’ to multiple well pads in the Permian, and has just completed a 16-well pad in the Montney,” GMP FirstEnergy said.

Rendering of Encana's Cube drilling and completions system. Image: Encana

The Cube is delivering not only lower development costs but also improving recovery from the reservoir, Encana CEO Doug Suttles said while announcing the company's first quarter results.

“We’re confident this probably will become the model for the industry,” he said.

GMP FirstEnergy noted that another Permian operator, QEP Resources, recently announced a similar go-forward development strategy, which it referred to as a "tank-style" completion method.

QEP says that in its tank-style completion method, a group of wells is fractured simultaneously.

The idea is that all wells in one “tank” are drilled and completed before any well in a “tank” is put on production.

The company announced in its first quarter 2017 results that five wells treated with tank-style completions were delivering results that exceeded expectations.

QEP says it expects to complete all future wells on its Permian acreage position using this tank-style completion method.