The Duvernay shale play shows no sign of slowing down in the Kaybob and Two Creek areas based on wells brought on production between 2020 and 2022.
Drilling activity continues to expand towards the northeast, from the condensate window into the oil window. The big question is, when will industry hit what we call the ‘line of death’ where Duvernay shale is too immature to be commercially productive?
While development continues in the core areas, where infrastructure has been built, operators are now starting to drill into the oil window to see how far they can extend the Duvernay fairway (see coloured dots, by year, on the map above. Source: gDC Cloud). Click here to view — this visualized data is instantly available free of charge to guest users of geoLOGIC’s gDC Cloud.
Land sale activity increased dramatically in 2022 on the fringes of the play to the north and northeast. Also, it appears lands are starting to be reposted that were purchased five years ago that couldn’t be validated by existing drilling activity. With new oil wells being put on production in the Two Creek area and production rates coming off confidential, excitement is rising.
The 100/03-03-064-15W5/00 well (view here), in the oil window, has been flowing since March 2022. Production averaged 492 bbls/d and 73 mcf/d in the first six months. It was completed with 36 stages of 150 tonnes/stage along the 3,595.2m lateral. The log suite is limited to horizontal logs, but the vertical offset 100/13-05-064-15W5/00 well shows the Duvernay upper shale to be 24m thick (see Figure 1). The 13-05 well also recovered core in the upper shale and special core analysis, which can be found in the geoLOGIC qFind documents. The core provides thermal maturity indicators — Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and Tmax. The values for the shale reveal a TOC that ranges from 2.39% to 4.94% and a Tmax of 447-452, which places it in the oil window.
The 100/08-18-066-18W5/00 well (view here) is another strong oil producer. It was put on production in May 2021 and averaged 443 bbls/d and 589 mcf/d in the first six months. It has similar initial oil rates to the 03-03 well but higher gas rates because it is closer to the condensate window. Completion operations were different between the two wells. The 08-18 well had 241 clusters over 31 stages and 7,091 tonnes placed compared to 5,415 tonnes on the 03-03 well (36 frac stages and 284 clusters over the 3,265.3m lateral).
The 08-18 well also has just standard horizontal logs, but the vertical well 100/11-08-066-18W5/00 offsetting shows 18m of upper Duvernay shale (6m thinner than the 03-03 well).
See Figure 1 below for the cross section of the two vertical offset wells.
Chevron and Murphy have seen impressive results from the Duvernay in this area. Murphy’s 03-6-65-15W5 well produced over 800 BOPD (IP90). For further information, view the Two Creek IP90 chart in the Q3 2022 edition of the geoXPLORER newsletter.
Due to promising production results from these oil wells, land postings have increased in and around these wells in Kaybob and Two Creek in 2022. Operators have paid significant prices — a whopping $208.9 million was spent on purchasing land highlighted on the gDC Cloud map in 2022 (view here).
It is an unknown, at this time, where the Duvernay productive fairway ends. Additional rock work and production results are needed to clarify further the boundaries of this immature window. Companies will continue to push exploration as long as results continue to be positive. Meantime, while operators explore the northeast limits of the oil window, additional open Crown land is available on the edges of the Duvernay play fairway and expansion continues.
Bruce Hancock is Director, Technical Advisory Group, at geoLOGIC systems ltd. He has over 40 years’ experience in oil and gas exploration, development and production.