Production profiles that shows the short-lived success of PNRL’s edge-drilling program.

CALGARY, Alberta – Bendovus Energy elevated PNG competition to a new level when it took unprecedented efforts to mitigate the effects of a program implemented by PNRL to edge drill one of the integrated oil company’s largest units.

Standing outside of the company’s headquarters, Idoue Knowitall, a Senior Reservoir Engineer with Bendovus Energy, told 2P News reporters that while preparing for 2012 year-end reserves over a year ago, he’d noticed that the oil rates on all of the wells just inside the perimeter of his Unit had dropped off considerably.

I learned from GeoRoute that PNRL had edge-drilled our Unit, and that really hurt my feeling (Editor: That is not a typo – he’s an engineer, he has 1 feeling). And based on the spud and rig-release dates for those drills, it appears that PRNL used 77 rigs to drill 77 wells simultaneously so as to surprise us.

Bendovus Energy’s  Emergency Competitive Drainage Field Task Force realized that the only way to prevent PNRL’s fence wells from draining its reserves was to build a physical reservoir-level barrier around the entire Unit’s perimeter, in effect, containing the Unit within a tank. But the company struggled with techniques to create a trench to 1700m TVD.

One of many grass fires started by the heated wires.

The company’s first idea was to use a series of heated wires to melt through the overlying strata down to the Unit’s producing Charlie’s Angels formation. But this only resulted in grass fires and the technique was abandoned once the heater elements reached the water table, at which point the wires would cool off too much to continue trenching.

According to reports, the Calgary-based PNG giant then attempted to build an in-situ fence. They successfully set casing around the perimeter of the 8.5 section Unit every 12 feet to represent fence posts, but laborers had trouble pounding the steel plate panels into the ground, as they would routinely bend, break, or both.

Roger Shcrumlick

Well, this idea appeared to be very good at the onset… we got the fence posts in no problem. It was the steel plates that were a problem, perhaps we should have used stronger or thicker plates, or heated them up or something, but they wasn’t getting down much past 3 or 4 feet before they’d bust up. – Roger Shcrumlick, field supervisor.

The company’s 3rd, and last, solution turned out to work like a charm. Bendovus Energy custom built a series of special coil vac trucks that were equipped with oscillating hydrovac brushes. These special trucks essentially shot water down at the ground in an oscillating fashion while sucking up the liquified overburden. The coiled solution enabled the hydrovac brush nozzles to reach any depth.

After digging the trenches, and in an effort to make the project as affordable as possible, Bendovus tasked its HR and IT departments with manually dumping bags of cement into the trenches, followed by manually dumping buckets of water on top to mix. The project took 9.3 months, but saved nearly $4,500 over using field contractors. HR and IT departments were apparently tricked into thinking that they were on a geology field trip.

Schematic showing how cement wall works. (DIAGRAM IS NOT TO SCALE!!)

As the AER has not seen this type of operation before, they are stunned with what to do.  They will need to decide what action, if any, needs to be applied to an operator physically separating reservoirs.  Bendovus has filed an intent with the AER to isolate 25 more Units in 2014 using the same method.


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