Encana Corporation released information about their 14-well Davidson Pad project in Midland county in the Permian Basin. The impacts of a pad this size are huge to suppliers and service companies in the basin where one pad in the Permian averages over 2-3 wells currently. 

Utilizing pad drilling increases the complexity of logistics, but reduces the time from spud to completion decreasing the overall cost per well. 

Of all the wells drilled on pads in the Permian, about 90% of them are drilled with four or less wells. A 14-well pad in the Permian is one of the first of its kind. Encana has steadily increased the number of wells per pad and are trending above peers like Oxy, Pioneer Natural Resources and EOG Resources. 

enter image description hereSource: Energent Group

Find out more from Energent Group's Basin Pad Trends report

Material Impacts of Large Pad Development

The notion of one sale equals one well is no longer as pad development continues to grow and show operator financial benefits. Oilfield suppliers must be proactive in finding the operators who are drilling large pads which will yield a larger number of wells to supply. 

Encana's Davidson pad used a staggering amount of material: 

  • 259,177 feet of casing
  • 54,832 pounds of cement
  • 170,600,000 pounds of frac sand
  • 246,000,000 gallons of water

The wells utilized 13 3/8, 9 5/8 and 5 1/5 casing sizes with an average of 18,513 feet per well. The average well needed 3,917 pounds of cement. 

Nearby horizontal wells in the Permian are averaging about 10 million pounds per well and the Davidson pad was averaging 2 million pounds more per well. 

Other stimulation materials which are important for suppliers are chemicals like surfactants which Encana used Innospec’s flow back surfactant MorFlo 410 on all of the wells. Innospec was the supplier the majority of additives for this pad supplying scale inhibitors, gelling agents (guar gum) and more. 

enter image description hereSource: Energent Group

Importance of Logistics

Logistics are an essential part of this magnitude of operations. It is necessary to have the materials on site on time so that there is minimal down time contributing to the speed of the frac cycle times, cost reductions and total time per well. Encana reported average spud to rig release time of 16 days. 4 days per well and an average time from pad spud to production was 120 days. 

Energent Group estimates that the pad used a total of 853 rail car loads and 3,791 truck loads of frac sand to get the proppant to the well site. The last mile logistics are paramount.

The frac sand likely arrived via the Union Pacific rail line which runs through Midland and Odessa. As for the transload facility, Encana had a couple options all of which would be through Odessa in which Emerge, US Silica, Unimin, and FM Santrol all have nearby facilities (about 28 miles from the pad).

What's Next for Pad Drilling?

Pad drilling reinforces the need for transparency across the supply chain. Without the proper planning, the steel, frac sand, and fluids would not arrive on site during the proper phase of well construction. Introducing further transparency will extend cost savings and efficiencies across the entire supply chain. 

Other basins have large pads using factory drilling concepts. Now, we can watch the evolution of pad drilling in the Permian as companies move to larger pads that reduce the environmental footprint and maximize efficient operations.

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