HOUSTON, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the devastation caused by recent deadlyA tornadoes in Moore, Okla., Apache Corp. announced it has pledged $500,000 toward providing ...
HOUSTON, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --A The Board of Directors of Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) has declared regular cash dividends on the company's common shares ...
Arrows Newsletter: July 2010
On April 27, members of the Ootla team at Apache Canada celebrated a milestone almost 10 years in the making – completion of hydraulic fracture operations on the first pad in northeast British Columbia’s Horn River Basin shale gas play.
“Fracturing” or “fracing” is a simple term for a what seems like a simple process – using pressurized sand and water to break hard rocks to release natural gas. But multi-stage horizontal well completions in the Horn River Basin are massive operations, involving a field team of about 280 workers and requiring some of the largest fleets – pressure pumpers, wireline trucks, cranes, coil tubing service rigs and other vehicles – ever assembled onsite in Canada’s energy industry.
Apache worked with industry leader Sanjel, which reported that Apache’s Horn River project is nearly four times larger than any project of its nature in North America. The project took 111 days to complete and averaged about three fracture jobs per day. When all was said and done, the completions team performed 274 successful fracs on the 16-well pad, using 50,000 tons of sand and 980,000 cubic meters of water.
When dealing with operations of this magnitude, efficiency is critical. Apache invested more than $10 million on innovative solutions in the Horn River Basin, including expanded use of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). Thanks to sensors on wellsite equipment, Apache specialists have access to 18 screens of data, allowing decisionmakers to have immediate access to critical performance and safety information.
Another innovation that has been key to Apache’s success is the automation of the fracture manifold to allow simultaneous work on each pad.
Karl DeMong, completions manager at Apache Canada, explains, “The onsite frac supervisor swings the valves and keeps the pump program on track during the frac interval. Simultaneously, the pumpdown supervisor can do work on the other pad, like placing the plug and perforating gun or pulling out of the hole. Because of automation, we’re reducing cycle times and doing it safely.”
By redesigning the fracture manifolds, Apache also reduced its wellhead size an industry-leading 10 feet – critical for reducing the environmental footprint of shale gas development.
As with all energy developmental projects, managing environment impact is a priority for the company. Working with partners at EnCana, Apache designed a water treatment facility that allows the use of non-potable subsurface water for fracturing and avoids using surface water supply. Other environmental initiatives included water availability and wildlife studies and reducing surface impact by sharing infrastructure with other companies in the play.
Apache received a 2010 stewardship award from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) as part of the Horn River Basin Producers Group, a joint industry initiative formed to develop shale gas in British Columbia responsibly.
“We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of collaboration and sharing of information, and it’s really paying off for our stakeholders, First Nations and the community at large,” says Rob Spitzer, vice president of Exploration at Apache Canada and chair of the producers group. “We’ve been able to maximize benefits to the people in the Fort Nelson area beyond what each company could have done individually.”
Apache is one of the 11 companies that participate in the group with goals of understanding stakeholder and First Nation concerns, minimizing environmental impacts, and maximizing benefits to the region – including economic development and employment – through a process of collaboration and open communication.“For the producers group to succeed and deliver all these initiatives, each company had to integrate economic, social and environmental factors with the technical development of shale gas,” says Spitzer.
So what does the future hold for the Horn River Basin? On April 5, Apache’s first well from the massive frac project was brought online. That process was also a product of innovative thinking, as it was tested without flaring. The production, completion and facility groups coordinated an in-line test that allowed all of the gas to be processed and shipped to market.
The group has since been busy bringing the rest of the pad online. Over the next year, Apache expects to complete two more pads with 25 to 28 wells and bring an additional 42 to 45 wells on production before the end of the year. Apache’s drilling team has been hard at work too, expecting to leave 2010 with more than 30 wells ready for completion in 2011.
With this initial success under their belts, the team still believes it has no where to go but up.