"Exploration is when your trying to identify a yet-to-be discovered hydrocarbon reserve or pool of oil and gas. Delineation is you have an existing field. You know there's a hydrocarbon reserve there and your trying to delineate what the extent of that reservoir is. And, we're now in development, which means you know the extent of the reservoir," says Jaime Rhoads, Henry Resources drilling engineer.
But a few steps still have to be taken before drilling can begin.
"The first step in actually taking it from an idea to the operations phase falls in our land department, and they go out and acquire leases to the mineral rights that allow us the opportunity to come out and do the producing of the oil and gas," says Blake Braun, Henry Resources drilling engineer.
Once they have approval from the Railroad Commission and the company has structured a deal with the drilling contractor, the rig can go up at the site.
"The first thing we'll do is drill a large diameter hole. For the Wolfberry in the area, that can be anywhere from a 17-and-a-half inch hole down to an 11 inch hole for our surface casing," says Braun.
Once the surface hole is drilled, they trip out of the hole and run surface casing down the hole and cement it in place to prevent groundwater contamination. Braun says, "Once we have our surface casing set and cemented, in this particular application, (we) begin our production hole drilling right out from under our surface casing."
The crew can then drill an average of 10,800 feet. That's a little more than 2 miles in the ground. "At that point, that's our total depth for this well, we'll trip out with our drill string and run our production casing, which will be the life of the well. That's the casing or the pipe that the well will be produced out of. It's run and then cemented in place. From spud, which is the beginning of the drilling process, to the running and cementing of the production casing, for us, usually takes anywhere from 10 to 13 days," says Braun.
At this point, the rig can be taken down and moved to another location and the fracking process can begin. The fracking process is somewhat complicated. Beginning next week, we'll begin a series of reports to help everyone better understand exactly how it all works. That begins next Thursday at 10pm.