Why Oklahoma's STACK Play Could Become More Desirable Than Texas' Permian Basin

Oct 31, 2016

Energy industry experts say Oklahoma’s oil and gas plays could soon become the hottest in the country due to several geological factors that make it a good place for commodities.

The so-called STACK play is favored by many drillers, because it has many rock layers to extract petroleum from. Those layers are stacked on top of one another, and could mean could mean oil wells in Oklahoma are more productive than in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

[Jessica] Pair, manager of upstream research for Stratas Advisors, said she examined wells in Oklahoma’s STACK play, which includes a wide swath of central and northern Oklahoma. Drillers like the play because there are multiple rock layers from which to draw petroleum.

She compared estimated ultimate recovery figures for wells drilled in the previous two years. Those drilled in 2015 had a lot higher estimated ultimate recovery values compared to those drilled in 2014.

In addition, service providers used less sand to frack those STACK wells drilled in 2015 compared to those fracked in the previous year. Those wells also had shorter horizontal well bores compared to those drilled in 2014. That’s in part because operators studied the geological data more carefully and developed better drilling and fracking plans, she said.

Many of Oklahoma’s rock layers have been explored for decades, but some wells are surpassing those of the state’s southern neighbors.

Oklahoma’s rig count for the week ending Oct. 28 held steady at 73, the same as the previous two weeks. There was nearly three times as much drilling activity in the Permian Basin, with 212 rigs in that formation in New Mexico and in Texas, according to Baker Hughes’ weekly rig count. The Permian Basin’s geology is the closest to Oklahoma’s, Pair said.

Drillers like the Oswego layer within the STACK play, because it’s 200 feet to 1,000 feet shallower and can be up to $1 million per well cheaper to drill a well, she said.

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