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Data Check: The Top 10 Most Productive Oil Wells

If we want to see a better industry, we need better data, more consistency, and perhaps most important, more transparency.

So this article came up on my LinkedIn feed recently – Drilling Down – The Top 10 Most Productive Oil Wells.

When I saw it, I thought it would be interesting to dive into the top 10 wells and see if there were insights I could make as to why they were successful. Little did I know that it would open a can of worms around the inaccuracy of data out there. So instead of insights on why these wells were so successful, you will now get a rundown of why the data is wrong. Still fun, right?


1 . Gwendolyn 2636WA 4. Gwendolyn 2646MS

Company: Henry Resources

Lease: Gwendolyn

County: Midland

Basin: Permian Basin

Well: 2636WA

Six Month BOE: 744,320

Well: 2646MS

Six Months BOE: 505,572

To get started, we’ll go straight to the top. The Gwendolyn 2636WA. While we’re on it, we’ll look at the Gwendolyn 2646MS (#4). Pretty crazy that 2 of the top 10 wells would be in the same lease. The Gwendolyn lease has been producing since February 2014, so all volumes we are talking about are allocated. Very important to remember.

Offhand, by IP alone it looks like the 2612LB is the highest producer with the 2646MS right behind it.

The 2636WA IP’d at 855 bbl/day oil and 383 mcf/day gas (also 748 bbl/day water). Based on the public data alone, I can’t find a way to say that the 2636WA actually produced 744,320 BOE over 6 months. WellDatabase says 122k six month BOE (6:1 BOE factor). We have the 2646MS at 97k six month BOE. Both very nice wells, but well below the numbers listed.

As a side note, the combined six-month BOE of the two wells listed in the article is 1,249,892. The entire Gwendolyn lease has produced 1,405,394 BOE over the best 6 months of this year (29 wells are currently producing on this lease).

 Here is what the entire lease looks like. Here is what the entire lease looks like.

It seems pretty obvious that the allocation to the wells in question is well overstated. Allocation is a challenge, but you have to do better than this.


2. Mabee 240A 4406AH

Company: Concho Resources

Lease: Mabee 240A Unit

County: Andrews

Basin: Permian Basin

Well: 4406AH

Six Months BOE: 728,660

Ok, on to #2 on the top 10 list, the Mabee 240A 4406AH. This particular well has yet to be assigned a lease by the RRC, so the production continues to be reported on the pending lease report. Typically it’s a great way to get well level production numbers, but of all the sources of production, it tends to be restated more frequently. That’s ok though, at least this particular well is spot on with the production numbers. One thing to note is that this Well allows us to see that they are using a BOE factor of 20 MCF: 1 BBL. Good to know and something we should always note when talking about BOE.

So then now the question is what did this well do right? Unfortunately looking down that rabbit hole makes us question the production numbers. The 4406AH has nearly double the production of the next best Concho well.

 The 4406AH has nearly double the production of the next best Concho well. The 4406AH has nearly double the production of the next best Concho well.  The lateral length, proppant loading and IPs are very pedestrian for such a high producer. The lateral length, proppant loading and IPs are very pedestrian for such a high producer.

And then it hits you…the data isn’t right. Now, the Texas Railroad Commission did report these numbers. That much is verifiable. What we see with the 4406AH is that the production for it and 12 other nearby wells are rolled together.

 All recent Mabee wells. Easy to see that those 13 wells were all loaded to the 4406H All recent Mabee wells. Easy to see that those 13 wells were all loaded to the 4406H

Another bust here. We’ll give them partial credit for simply reporting the values that came from the state. Just don’t put this on your top 10 list. You should know better.


3. Blanc Unit 102H

Company: EOG Resources

Lease: Blanc Unit

County: Karnes

Basin: Eagle Ford

Well: 102H

Six Months BOE: 610,225

So we’re not off to a great start. Three of the top 4 look to be busts. I’m optimistic though. For number 3 we head over to the Eagle Ford and EOG’s Blanc Unit. Should be an easy win…..

Ok, this one isn’t even funny. There are only 2 wells producing on this lease, the 101H and the 102H. The 104H was just completed last month, so we don’t production on it just yet. Turns out the 610k six month BOE is actually the entire lease volume. Not only should that production be split over the 101H and 102H, but the 102H IP’d at over 2,000 bbls higher than the 101H.

Where is this data even coming from?


5. Yellowfin Tuna WC 4701H

Company: ConocoPhillips

Lease: Yellowfin Tuna WC

County: Reeves

Basin: Permian Basin

Well: 4701H

Six Months BOE: 498,366

We’re down to #5. We haven’t had a great run for #1-#4, but #5 looks to be good. The great news is that all of ConocoPhillips Yellowfin Tuna WC wells are gas wells. For those who don’t know, gas wells are all 1 well leases in Texas. This means we know our production data is right. What’s more is that this particular gas well has a GOR of 4.3-4.4 (Mcf:Bbl). Makes for a good well. The offset Yellowfin Tuna wells pale in comparison, so I wouldn’t expect them to make a list of the top 1000 wells. At ~250′ spacing though, this is bound to happen. The 4701H is taking the lions share of the production here.

 Distribution of production on each of the Yellowfin Tuna wells Distribution of production on each of the Yellowfin Tuna wells

 Simple measure of spacing on the bottom hole locations of each of the Yellowfin Tuna wells. Simple measure of spacing on the bottom hole locations of each of the Yellowfin Tuna wells.


6. Jersey Lilly 17-7 Unit B 11H

Company: Noble Energy

Lease: Jersey Lilly 17-7 Unit B

County: Reeves

Basin: Permian Basin

Well: 11H

Six Months BOE: 446,971

So #5 was the first example of correct data on this list. These kinds of data issues are causing major issues for everyone. Bad data leads to bad decisions and that is not what the industry needs right now.

So #6, the Jersey Lilly 17-7 Unit B 11H well. Offhand, it looks pretty good. The well is a part of a two-well lease along with the 46H. The 11H IP’d about 33% higher than the 46H and the 6-month BOE for the lease is 588,819 BOE (20:1 factor). Just splitting by that gives this well a BOE of 336,468. Not quite 446,971, but in the neighborhood. But there’s a problem…

The 11H is on the pending lease production report. This means we get actual values. I admit that I hesitated when I saw the values on WellDatabase, but digging in deeper proved them to be correct. The 11H did a full 10 months on the pending lease report and the first six-month BOE is… 224,153. Less than half the quoted production…Ouch.

 Initial Production of the 46H & 11H Initial Production of the 46H & 11H  Production on the 11H. Matches exactly what the pending lease production report has. Production on the 11H. Matches exactly what the pending lease production report has.


7. Irwin Minerals South – G 8H

Company: Exxon Mobil

Lease: Irvin Minerals South

County: La Salle

Basin: Eagle Ford

Well: G 8H

Six Months BOE: 445,689

So we’ve had some hits and some misses…mostly misses, but I’m hoping we finish strong here. We’re on to #7, the Irvin Minerals South G 8H well. The Irvin Minerals lease has 29 wells currently producing on it. The G series wells (G1H-G8H) all came online within a week of each other in late November 2018. The original Irvin Minerals wells came on in November of 2013, with a second batch online in September of 2015. By the time we got the G series wells, we were up to 13H in the original set.

Before I talk about how wrong the data for the G8H well is, I will say that it is challenging to allocate a lease when there have been 13 wells previously producing and 8 wells come on during the same month. Challenging, but not impossible.

So yes, the data is wrong…again. No matter how you look at it, the G8H well is a fairly pedestrian well within a pedestrian set of wells. The G series wells IP’d between 848 and 488 bbl/day and between 56 and 20 Mcf/day. No, that is not a typo.

I heard a rumor that the G8H well was assigned > 150k bbls in a single month. That is impressive and nuts.

On the flip side. The E series wells (completed mostly in Aug/Sep2019) look a little better. A few with IPs > 1000 bbl/day. Maybe one of those can make the real top 10 list.

By the way, the G8H clocks in at a big 26,339 BOE (20:1 BOE factor)

 All Irvin Minerals lease wells with Oil IPs All Irvin Minerals lease wells with Oil IPs  Just the G wells by Initial Production Just the G wells by Initial Production

 Allocation of the entire Irvin Minerals South lease. You can see the 3 distinct sets of wells that were brought online. Allocation of the entire Irvin Minerals South lease. You can see the 3 distinct sets of wells that were brought online.

Last note, all of the E series wells are marked as “Forms Lacking” in the RRC proration schedule. This means that they do not have an allowable at this time. While that “technically” means they shouldn’t be represented in the lease production, our experience is that they are. The forms will be filed and the data will make sense. This might be a reason for the terrible allocation job.


8. Hay Bowen 29/32 0041WC

Company: Chevron

Lease: Hay Bowen 29/32

County: Culberson

Basin: Permian Basin

Well: 0041WC

Six Months BOE: 439,508

On to #8. Unfortunately, things just aren’t getting better. The Hay Bowen 29/32 0041WC is a Chevron well in Culberson county. Offhand, the data looks fine. It is on a gas lease (meaning 1 well lease) and the production numbers line up with the RRC. But a closer inspection shows something that is very hard to uncover, stacked laterals. Now, I would say that the data is being shown as reported and WellDatabase has the same production listed for the well. The problem is that this is a top 10 list of the best wells and this well just isn’t one of them.

The 0041WC is the parent well with 2 stacked laterals, the 0032WA, and 0033WA. According to docket 08-0308425, Rule 5, “For oil and gas wells, Stacked Lateral Wells within the correlative interval for the field that is drilled from different wellbores may be considered a single well for regulatory purposes”. For the record, this particular rule/docket only applies to The Ford, West (Wolfcamp) field. Stacked laterals in other fields may be handled differently.

You can read the docket here –https://lnkd.in/e7MEg6d

So what does it mean? The production for the 0041WC is technically the production for 3 wells and not 1. You can see the 3 wells involved in the production here. Each of the wells is at a different TVD, hence the stacked lateral. This is definitely a tricky situation in TX production.


9. Melinda 251WB

Company: Henry Resources

Lease: Melinda

County: Upton

Basin: Permian Basin

Well: 251WB

Six Months BOE: 433,493

We’re down to #9 on the list. Another Henry Resources well, the Melinda 251WB in Upton County. At 433,493 6 month BOE (20:1 BOE factor), this well would still be considered a very strong well, but ~40% of the top well on the list. I think you know what comes next…

The Melinda lease had a good lull in activity from 2015-2018 before 3 new wells were brought online. The lack of new wells for the period allows us to get a good look at the decline of the lease over that period and make a better allocation on these new wells.

The 3 new wells were the 251LA, 251WA, and 251WB. Each of these wells was spud in Sep 2018, completions filed in Nov/Dec 2018, frac’d in Jan 2019, and IP completion filed in March 2019. What each of those dates means is a whole other post. These wells were completed together with nearly identical lateral lengths, proppant loading, but different TVD’s.

All things considered, these 3 wells should be in the same ballpark. At least there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. The 3 wells combined added an additional 407,438 bbl oil and 766,044 Mcf gas for a 6-month BOE of 445,740. Unfortunately, the 251WB did not contribute 97% of that production. Oh yeah, the 251WB IPs were ~30% lower than the other two wells.

 Here is the full history of the Melinda lease along with our allocations of the production. You can see the 3 new wells come online at the end there. Here is the full history of the Melinda lease along with our allocations of the production. You can see the 3 new wells come online at the end there.  Large image of the lease production. Chart is stacked BOE (6:1 BOE factor) Large image of the lease production. Chart is stacked BOE (6:1 BOE factor)

This lease is a good chance to show a bit about how our allocation works. While these charts do not represent the actual values used, they do represent the methodology. We forecast the data to make an estimation of what the lease might do if no new wells were added. Then we can take the difference to help allocate what new production can be attributed to the new wells.

 Oil Oil  Gas Gas

The issue with the production on this well is largely an allocation problem. Here’s a link to a webinar we did on allocating production

We can’t guarantee that we will always be right, but at least we can be transparent on how we come to our answers. Unfortunately, our competitors aren’t so transparent or consistent. Hence, this list that was published is completely wrong.


10. Pegasus Field Unit 3 1406LH

Company: Concho Resources

Lease: Pegasus Field Unit 3

County: Upton

Basin: Permian Basin

Well: 1406LH

Six Months BOE: 433,137

The last well on the list is the Pegasus Field Unit 3 1406LH. This one will be pretty quick though as it’s essentially the same issue we’ve seen a couple of times now. Three wells were brought online at the same time and for no apparent reason, they appear to be allocating the lion’s share of the production to the 1406LH. The 3 wells that came online together were the 1406LH, 1407LH, and the 1416LH. At least this time the 1406LH did test higher than the other two, albeit only ~15% higher. When allocating these 3 new wells a little more evenly, the BOE comes in at 345,964 (20:1 factor). Closer, but still almost 100k BOE off.

 Initial Production test data for the 1406LH, 1407LH, and 1416LH wells. Initial Production test data for the 1406LH, 1407LH, and 1416LH wells.  Close up of the lease production when these wells came online. Close up of the lease production when these wells came online.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, then I feel like you deserve a medal of some kind. Not like a medal of honor or anything. Maybe just the medal from Wreck it Ralph. But still, it has been a little painful to see just how bad a “trusted” data source is. If we want to see a better industry, we need better data, more consistency, and perhaps most important, more transparency.

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