SandRidge Energy Inc. is changing the way it talks about its asset base.
The company staked its future on its position in the Mississippian formation that spans northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas when it sold assets in the Gulf of Mexico and the Permian Basin in west Texas.
SandRidge officials now refer to the company’s operations in the Mid-Continent, stressing efforts to drill into other oil- and natural gas-producing zones.
“We say we want to be the premier, high-return, growth-oriented, resource conversion company focused in the Mid-Continent,” CEO James Bennett said March 4.
David Lawler, the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said there are four to six producing zones in the Anadarko Shelf, including the Mississippian, Chester, Marmaton and Woodford.
“We’re starting to test all of those formations,” Lawler said. “There’s a significant amount of oil in place that we have yet to recover.”
He said SandRidge has had a fair amount of success in those other zones so far, particularly in the Chester. It was the first company to drill a horizontal oil well into the sandstone formation.
Lawler said SandRidge has come up with some new well designs to develop those zones, drilling multiple laterals from the same well. That allows the company to take advantage of its existing infrastructure, while minimizing surface disruption. It can also help SandRidge produce oil and gas from sections that may not have been economical otherwise.
“This is novel well technology,” he said. “It’s cutting edge.”
SandRidge is testing three prototype multilateral well designs to find “more oil for less money,” he said. The first was drilled in September in Harper County, Kansas.
“This is the first time this technique has ever been used in this part of the country,” he said.
Lawler said the multilateral wells are meant to give the company access to more reserves from a single “take point,” while also reducing costs.
The company is trying wells with two or three laterals, which can be stacked. The most recent well, which has stacked laterals into two different zones, produced more than 700 barrels of oil equivalent in its first month, while saving SandRidge about $400,000, he said.
SandRidge also is testing a trilateral well, drilling three separate horizontal wells from the same vertical.
“In this case, we’re effectively draining one entire section from a single well bore,” Lawler said.
SandRidge intends to drill 20 multilateral wells this year. Lawler said future tests could involve as many as five laterals from a single well bore. He said the technique could help SandRidge cut as much as 26 percent from its drilling costs. SandRidge already has pared its average well costs from $3.9 million to $2.9 million over the past two years.
Lawler said the designs resulted from a 2012 gathering of about 65 of SandRidge’s best field workers to “drill the well on paper.” He praised the company’s workers and their innovation.
“I think we have the most talent per barrel of any company in the industry,” Lawler said.