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Horizontal Wells Proving Successful in Steeply Dipping Steam Drive Reservoir Midway-Sunset Field, Kern County, California
Shell Western E&P Inc. (SWEPI) has successfully drilled, completed, and produced three short radius horizontal wells in the Upper Miocene Sub-Hoyt E Sand, Midway-Sunset Field, Kern County, California. The E Sand has been undergoing steam drive development since 1978. The three horizontal wells have been drilled at the base of the E Sand, slightly above the oil water contact.
The first two horizontal wells, Fulton 6-7H and L&H 7-8H, were drilled form south to north, oblique to strike and dip, beginning in a mid-dip position and ending in a downdip position. Approximately 400′ of slotted liner was run in each of these two wells. The third horizontal well, Fulton 8-7H, was drilled from southeast to northwest, roughly paralleling strike of the beds, with most of the lateral in a mid-dip position. Over 700′ of liner was run in this well. To date, production rates for the first two wells are two to three times the average vertical well. Initial production rates for the third well are approximately four times greater than an average vertical well.
Horizontal well performance benefits must be judged over many years. However, initial studies and the encouraging initial production rates from the three horizontal wells indicate significant potential exists for horizontal well producers at Midway-Sunset. Engineering focus on horizontal wells is shifting from drilling and completion aspects to their optimum use in reservoir depletion planning. A detailed reservoir description and a multi-disciplinary effort on well design will assure proper horizontal well application.
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