Analytical Instrumentation

Where is Arenite's "Hidden in the Open" Gas Field?

Jan 09 2017 Comments 0

Towering hundreds of feet above sea level, offshore oil rigs aren’t covert. Why then, is Scottish owned company Arenite Petroleum describing its new Scarborough gas field as a “hidden in the open” site?

While the project itself is new, the original wells were drilled by Total more than 40 years ago. Now, Arenite Petroleum is revitalising the offshore wells located, and hoping to tap into a wealth of ‘hidden’ resources that were previously unrecoverable.

A lost opportunity

When drilling took place four decades ago, Total recorded gas flow rates of 15 million standard cubic feet per day. At the time, this was considered sub-economic and the project was abandoned. The site was explored again in 1991 by Conoco, a US independent oil company. Conoco drilled an additional well, with daily gas flow rates of 34 million standard cubic feet. They also noted the potential to harvest more than 1,200 barrels of condensate per day, sourced from fractured Permian carbonates. But once again, the ROI simply wasn’t high enough to justify continuing the project.  

“At the time, companies considered the gas finds small and subsequently relinquished their licences,” explains Mike Cooper, director and founder at Arenite Petroleum Limited.

Teaching old wells new tricks

Now, Arenite Petroleum is turning ‘sloppy seconds’ into bona fide profit with an innovative new exploration project underpinned by ultra-advanced seismic imaging and horizontal drilling techniques. With the cutting edge technologies on-side engineers have drawn up new extraction plans, backed with impressive ROI.

“We name this accumulation the Maxwell gas field. It is a giant gas field, which has been hiding in the open, analogous to the realisation made many decades ago that a series of small gas discoveries in the Netherlands were indeed part of the giant Groningen gas field, now the largest onshore gas field in NW Europe,” comments Cooper.

Armed with state-of-the-art drilling, completion and production techniques, Arenite is determined to unlock the potential of the Maxwell gas field, and achieve long-term commercial deliverability.

“At the time of drilling, these discoveries were interpreted as small accumulations. However, it can now be demonstrated most of these wells flow tested small isolated ‘pop-up’ fault blocks,” says Cooper. “Had Conoco drilled a horizontal well away from these anomalous pop-up features, as was their intention before encountering drilling problems, we believe such a well would intersect natural fractures which would have delivered commercial flow rates, proving the extensive accumulation.”

The next step is securing investors to fund a ‘proof of concept’ horizontal well drilled into the Permian carbonates. This will kick-start the project, and confirm that the potential of the “hidden in the open” site is more than just a hunch.

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