This is the seventh Well of the Week in a series detailing how resource plays (basin-wide plays where hydrocarbons are the continuous phase) have often driven the Canadian oil and gas industry throughout its history. Links to the previous posts are provided at the bottom of the post.
Resource Play: Montney Deep Basin Gas
Type Well Well UWI: 100/13-05-075-07W6/00
Drilling/Completion Technology: Rotary/Vertical/Hydraulically Fractured
The Montney resource play didn’t start with Montney coquina oil wells in the vicinity of Fox Creek. Neither did it start in 2008 with multi-stage fractured horizontal wells. It started in between these bookends as a series of vertical gas wells. A company named Conwest Exploration did such a good job of breaking open a new exploration play that they were purchased by AEC (which begat Encana, which begat Ovintiv and the Montney has been a constant through all the corporate entities).
Seemingly out of nowhere, Conwest began drilling gas wells in the Montney formation of west-central Alberta. It might have seemed anomalous to produce gas from a siltstone with high gamma-ray readings and low porosity and permeability. Admittedly, they were targeting a facies that was soon recognized as a turbidite with higher general porosity and permeability.
And these wells were very good. Case in point is the 100/13-05-075-07W6/00 well. While 13-5 might not be, sensu stricto, the Montney discovery well, it is the first Montney well licenced in the play area. And, with an initial rate of 4 mmcf/d and over 6 bcf of cumulative production, it was an impressive opener for a new play.
As to whether this is a resource play, it ticks all the boxes for a Lower Pressure Deep Basin:
- gradual production decline
- sub-hydrostatic pressure gradient of 8.5 kPa/m
- very low water production
- widespread resource distribution
A pretty impressive start for a play that, after extensive mapping, is recognized as one of the largest resource plays in North America. With 2,719 billion m³ (449 Tcf) of marketable natural gas, 2,308 million m³ (14,521 million barrels) of marketable NGLs, and 179 million m³ (1,125 million barrels) of marketable oil (NEB, 2013) this is not an overstatement.
As the WCSB discovery timeline is filled out, the prevalence of resource plays becomes more and more apparent.
Davies, G. R., Watson, N., Moslow, T. F., and MacEachern, J. A., 2018. Regional subdivisions, sequences, 7 correlations and facies relationships of the Lower Triassic Montney Formation, west-central Alberta to northeastern British Columbia, Canada — With emphasis on role of paleostructure. Bull. Can. Pet. Geol. 66, 23–92.
National Energy Board, Energy Briefing Note, 2013. The Ultimate Potential for Unconventional Petroleum from the Montney Formation of British Columbia and Alberta – Energy Briefing Note. https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-commodities/natural-gas/report/ultimate-potential-montney-formation/the-ultimate-potential-unconventional-petroleum-from-montney-formation-british-columbia-alberta-energy-briefing-note.html (accessed 09-21-2021)
August 12, 2021 Well of the Week – The first gas well in Western Canada
August 19, 2021 Well of the Week – first oil well in Western Canada
September 2. 2021 Well of the Week – Bitumount: The start of something big
September 9, 2021 Well of the Week – The first resource play with legs
September 16, 2021 Well of the Week – The Deep Basin era begins