HAWK SPRINGS – Oil exploration took a big step forward in southern Goshen County recently.
Samson Oil and Gas horizontal well, called Spirit of America No. 2, began the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process July 12, Samson officials announced July 17.
The well’s initial pumping operations reached a depth of about 10,000 feet in the Hawk Springs project area. Samson’s advisory document states the job went as planned, and crews pumped nearly 48,000 pounds of proppant, sand or similar particulate material suspended in water and used in hydraulic fracturing, into the well.
According to Samson’s report, crews are preparing the well for the second stage of stimulation operations. Stage 2 is expected to begin within the week.
Samson has identified 24 prospects in the project area the company may explore, depending on the results of its initial venture.
According to the company’s website, Samson holds 144,000 acres in the area, which sits in the southeast Wyoming portion of Denver-Julesburg Basin. The basin, in turn, is part of the Niobrara Shale formation, which is a chalk formation several oil companies have targeted due in part to continuing advancements in horizontal oil well and hydraulic fracturing technology.
The Hawk Springs project area sits on two formations targeted by oil companies in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado: the Niobrara Shale and Codell Sandstone formations.
Samson drilled the initial Hawk Springs project well in 2006, named the London Flats No. 1. The fluid rates were marginal, yielding roughly eight barrels per day. Through the use of seismic mapping, however, Samson workers should be able to better locate fracture sets, and therefore possibly bigger oil and gas deposits, with more precision.
As of press time, the records from the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission indicate there are 42 permits for horizontal wells in Goshen County, most of which belong to Devon Energy Production. Most permits target the Niobrara formation, but about one-third of county permits have the Codell Sandstone as their objective.
Compared to the rest of the state in terms of number of horizontal well permits, Goshen County sits at about the middle of the pack. However, numbers are wildly different throughout the state; Goshen County far surpasses the single horizontal permit in Sheridan and Park counties, but is dwarfed by Converse County, which lists 380 permits as of press time, the most in the state.
Much of the oil activity in the eastern portion of the state tends to be in Converse County, according to Bob King, interim commission supervisor.
“There still seems to be a higher level of activity over in the Douglas and Glenrock areas all the way up to Gillette,” he said. “There are several formations targeted: the Teapot (Dome), Frontier, Sussex; multiple formations.”
King said there is still activity in the Goshen and Laramie counties; however, much of it’s potential and yields have not yet been reported.
“It’s still being evaluated there,” King said. “We haven’t heard any firm conclusion as to if it’s performing better or worse than expected.”
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