Tag Archives: Horizontal Drilling

Bakken Oil Production Hits 1 Billion Barrels

Bakken Oil ProductionCumulative Bakken oil production has reached one billion barrels, according to recently released data.

The data, by IHS, a global information company, revealed that the Bakken oil field found in North Dakota and Montana reached the one-billion-barrel milestone of light, sweet crude oil during the first quarter of 2014.

Much of the oil taken from the Bakken play has been produced recently. In fact, two-thirds of the cumulative Bakken oil production was reached in the last three years, according to Jack Stark, the senior vice president of exploration for Continental Resources, the largest leaseholder and producer in the Bakken oil shale region.

“This milestone validates the immense potential of the Bakken field and development is just beginning,” Stark said in a news release.

The Bakken oil field appears to be the largest oil field discovered in the world in the last 40 years. The discovery and production of oil fields like the Bakken has been driven in many respects by the emergence of horizontal drilling technology.

“As a result, the need for pipeline protection has never been greater,” said Chris Sheldon, utilities practice lead for MATCOR, a Pennsylvania-based company that specializes in cathodic protection products and corrosion engineering services for oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure industries.

“With all of the horizontal drilling and the massive production coming from plays like the Bakken oil field, pipeline integrity management has never been more important,” Sheldon said. “These pipelines represent a huge investment by producers, who need to protect that investment from corrosion.”

“Oil producers in the Bakken oil field and plays all over the world look to MATCOR to provide the best-in-class cathodic protection and corrosion engineering to secure all their pipeline investments for years to come,” Sheldon said.

Bakken Field Produces First Billion Barrels of Oil,” press release, April 28, 2014.


MATCOR is a full-service, ISO 9001:2008 certified provider of customized cathodic protection systems to the oil & gas, power, water/wastewater, and other infrastructures industries. Cathodic protection is a technique used to control the corrosion of a metal surface through the application of electric current. MATCOR has an array of proprietary cathodic protection products and systems combined with high-quality corrosion engineering, installation and maintenance services.

In business for almost 40 years, MATCOR is considered the technology leader in cathodic protection and corrosion engineering. MATCOR is headquartered in Chalfont, PA, has a service office in Houston, TX, provides turnkey services throughout the United States and has a growing list of international distributors. MATCOR has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

First deep-shale well drilled in Erie, Crawford

COCHRANTON — Gas wells are a familiar sight here in the rolling farmland of southern Crawford County.

East Fairfield Township Supervisor Bob O’Brien can see a half dozen of them from his kitchen window on Franklin Pike.

But the latest well isn’t like all the others.

Lippert 1H, located at 6321 Pettis Road, was drilled this summer into the Utica Shale to a depth of 7,236 feet, before crews drilled nearly another mile horizontally.

That makes it the first deep shale well drilled in this corner of Pennsylvania, said Gary Clark, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

A DEP drilling map shows a heavy band of drilling activity that extends from southwestern Pennsylvania, across the center of the state to northeastern Pennsylvania.

Gas exploration companies continue to drill so-called shallow wells throughout the state.

But until now, the Utica and Marcellus formations were largely untapped in the uppermost corner of northwestern Pennsylvania and a broad swath that included more than 20 counties in the southeastern part of the state.

That changed this summer, at least in Crawford County, when rigs and crews working for Texas-based Range Resources arrived in this rural township of about 850 people.

Range Resources, which developed some of the state’s first successful wells into the Marcellus Shale, drilled the Crawford County well in July.

The entrance to the well site is blocked by no-trespassing signs and by a security building, staffed by a guard.

Horizontal drilling is making it possible to reach the reserves under hundreds of acres from one location.

SOURCE: http://www.goerie.com/article/20120919/NEWS02/309189889/First-deep-shale-well-drilled-in-Erie-Crawford

Searching for answers after Red Deer’s pipeline spill

For a pipeline that is nearly half a century old, a river crossing can pose all manner of hazards. Bacteria and corrosion can attack from inside. Floodwater, scouring away the river bottom and heaving against the exposed pipe, can damage the outside. Pipes installed using old methods can be particularly vulnerable.

Sometimes, the result is catastrophe.

Last week, the Rangeland pipeline, built in 1966 and run by Plains Midstream Canada, ruptured beneath the flooding Red Deer River. It leaked 160,000 to 480,000 litres of oil, coating the banks with crude when the waters receded and leaving a large stain on Gleniffer Lake, a reservoir that supplies drinking water to Red Deer, Alberta’s third-largest city.

It may take many months to conclude what went wrong with the Rangeland pipe, and Plains has declined to comment on the cause, saying it is focusing on a cleanup effort that continued on Monday with more than 100 workers.

Today, companies building across major rivers typically use horizontal drills to burrow deep beneath the water – anywhere from eight to 30 metres – into stable rock. Those crossings are considered some of the safest parts of a pipeline. “Virtually all creeks and rivers are drilled under,” said Kevin O’Brien, president of IMV Projects Inc., a Calgary engineering firm that works on pipelines. Environmental regulations won’t even allow other methods “except in rare circumstances where not technically feasible.”

Techniques decades ago involved digging into the riverbed. Dredges, diggers and backhoes were all used, sometimes with the help of temporary dams, to open a trench for the pipe. Depending on the method, the pipe might be pulled into place, or coated in concrete, floated above the trench with barrels and then dropped down and covered with sediment.

The risks were numerous: Trenching in a flowing river meant it was difficult to create a clean bed for the pipe. Dropping it into place could introduce stress and strain, creating weak spots. And the cover was not always certain: The pipe might be buried two to three metres from the bottom of the river, but rivers are dynamic systems with the power to sweep away sediment, exposing the pipe. When they do, the force of the water can crack a pipe, or throw rocks that puncture its sides. In other cases, the trench was too shallow, compounding the problem.

“Some of those older ones, they weren’t too deep. They might have a couple, three feet of cover,” said Barry Singleton, senior vice-president of Singleton Associated Engineering Ltd., which designs pipelines. Even then, construction crews knew that what they were doing might not last.

“Lots of times they would install two crossings – they would install a spare,” Mr. Singleton said. “There were concerns back in the day.”

But external issues are only part of the potential problems. River crossings are low parts of the pipe, where water can collect, posing a risk of corrosion. Older pipes also may not be used as consistently – the Plains Rangeland system, for example, operated intermittently – which allows sediment to collect in low spots.

“Things start falling out [of the oil] and start stagnating,” said Izak Roux, technical manager for RAE Engineering and Inspection Ltd., which specializes in pipelines. A kind of mud layer can build up, and “then you can start having what we call a bacterial attack. This bacteria can eat right through the steel, and then you get a leak as well.”

Worse, many older pipes use sharp bends to get into and out of the riverbed. Those bends can make it impossible to push through cleaning tools called pigs. Neither Plains nor Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board responded to questions on whether the Rangeland pipe is accessible to pigs.

But those pipes “constructed in the ‘50s and ‘60s, not all of them are piggable,” Mr. Roux said. “That’s basically the problem we have on the older lines.”

SOURCE: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/searching-for-answers-after-red-deers-pipeline-spill/article4249733/?cmpid=rss1