News Column

Drilling Boom in Lubbock?

March 20, 2013

Ashley Eady, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas

oil well

Impressive exploratory drilling results and recently discovered oil reserves in Lubbock County indicate the area could soon be a hot spot for West Texas drilling.

Initial log results from the Ratliff 1 well, operated by Fort Worth-based energy company Enduro Resource Partners, have resulted in Enduro pushing their Lubbock County drilling schedule ahead by six months, said one on-site employee who wished to remain anonymous.

Enduro began drilling the Ratliff 1, which is located near the intersection of Woodrow Road and Milwaukee Avenue, about a month ago.

"Lubbock is about to get busier than it ever imagined it could be," said the worker.

The well is on the Cy-Jack Field, a formation thought to be an exstension of the Permian Basin and only recently designated by the Texas Railraod Commission. Data gathered from the Ratliff offers evidence of the ever-growing theory that the Permian Basin stretches all the way across West Texas to Fort Worth.

Ratliff 1 is significant for several reasons. Not only is it one of the first test wells to be dug on the Cy-Jack, it is a vertical drill, meaning it hit a conventional reserve, at least one expert says.

Drilling of conventional reserves thought to have been exhausted has been replaced with the numerous shale plays emerging.

"The discovery of untapped conventional resources in this area is huge," oil industry expert Buddy Beach said. "Producers operating rigs in this area have invested millions of dollars. No producer is going to do that unless they are certain the oil reserves are there."

Most of the leases held by Enduro are five-year terms, with a five-year option. "The length of the lease terms tell me there are major reserves with long-term benefits in the area," said Beach.

Beach said that employees on the Ratliff 1 site told him the well is projected to pay for itself in about six months, unheard of by industry standards.

Enduro holds more than 50,000 acres of leased land in the Lubbock County area, and is making offers to buy out other area leases.

Ratliff 1 was originally permitted to 11,000 feet, where Beach said McVay Drillers out of New Mexico, anticipated hitting the Cline Shale.

Instead, the well was drilled to 10,500 feet, where a conventional reserve was met, eliminating the additional expense and time involved with horizontal drilling.

Enduro decided to drill vertically, rather than horizontally, in order to look at all available formations from an exploration standpoint, Drilling Superintendent Joe Flemming said.

While the option to frack the well in order to increase production is still available, after seeing the initial well's logs, workers on the site do not expect a frack.

While on-site workers say Ratliff 1 has returned expection preliminary data, Flemming said it is impossible to see what the overall Enduro assets may produce at this point.

With only one other well in the area, and major completion of the Ratliff 1 about a month away, Flemming does not believe there is enough information available to begin speculating.

All data gathered from the well will be filed with the Texas Railroad Commission as soon as the well is complete.

The Ratliff 1 is centered on Enduro's Lubbock County assets, and the company plans to drill at least two other observation wells near the outer edges of the platt in order to establish boundaries.

Enduro is one of several oil producers actively pursuing a location in the Lubbock market.

About 20 producers currently operate in the area, but only three or four have Lubbock field offices, according to Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate agent Nick Eyehorn.

Active from the preliminary drill through final production, Enduro wells will be maintained out of a local field office.

With drilling activity increasing, so does interest in available commercial real estate, Eyer-horn said, as producers like Enduro manuever to be in position ahead of the anticipated drilling boom hits.

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(c)2013 the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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