Despite the meteoric rise in the number of 水平井 and the use of hydraulic fracturing, vertical wells are still a mainstay of oil production in conventional fields throughout 俄克拉荷马州. With plenty of oil available in shallow formations that can be accessed at significant less cost, producers won’t be retiring this tool from their production tool belt anytime soon.
直到2016年， 大约1000中的200 completed wells in 俄克拉荷马州 were vertical wells. Despite declining use, many producers still reap substantial benefits from drilling vertical wells, not the least of which is cost savings. Even though technological advances have reduced the costs of drilling 水平井, vertical wells still cost substantially less to drill due to simplicity of drilling, lack of need to frac, and shorter length of wellbore.
沙特阿拉伯 is the King of Vertical Wells with their conventional fields producing oil at a cost of only around $10 per barrel. Other areas in the Middle East and North Africa produce crude from conventional fields for around $20 per barrel. Worldwide, conventional oil production typically costs between $30 to $40 a barrel, which is on par for U.S. producers drilling similar vertical projects. For horizontal drilling (and the requisite 液压压裂 needed for getting oil out of 非常规页岩 fields in the United States), breakeven ranges from as low as $40 per barrel to as much as $90 per barrel depending on location.
When looking at these breakeven numbers, it becomes apparent why producers may turn to conventional fields when prices are low. With 垂直钻孔, the process is more simple and straightforward than the process of drilling 水平井. Drilling a short, straight wellbore can happen quickly and efficiently with far less margin for error. One caveat to this is dry hole risk. With 非常规页岩, wells are drilled horizontally into a blanket formation, which exposes the wellbore to sometimes up to two miles of production potential and almost guarantees oil will flow. With 垂直钻孔, operators rely on technology such as 3-D seismic to detect geological anomalies to help guide their drilling operations to find pockets of oil.
Vertical Wells in 俄克拉荷马州 Still Viable for Investors
Targeting conventional reservoirs via vertical wells remains a viable option in places like 俄克拉荷马州 and other areas outside the major shale plays. Even with the trade-off of significantly lower initial production numbers, vertical wells enjoy much lower breakeven points, which can help producers maintain profitability in lower price environments thus delivering returns to their capital partners.