Super Laterals Are Spreading From Utica and Marcellus Shale to Other Plays
From Seeking Alpha:
The shift towards longer laterals in shale development is a broadly recognized industry trend. It is worth noting, however, that long-reach laterals have been a staple in the shale industry for quite some time. For illustration, the Bakken has been developed using two-mile laterals for many years now, with thousands of such wells currently on production.
That said, wells with lateral sections longer than two miles have been uncommon. While several operators have recently reported wells with laterals in the 12,000-13,000 range, such wells still represent a negligible fraction of the total well population.
The limitation on the lateral length is often defined by lease geometry. However, technical concerns - the risk of a lost or compromised wellbore or completion job - have driven operators’ deliberate election to limit lateral lengths to 10,000 feet or less. The reference to “longer laterals” typically indicates operators’ preference for 1.5-mile or 2-mile laterals as opposed to 1-mile (single-section) laterals.
However, as drilling and completion techniques continue to evolve and acreage is blocked up, the industry may need to expand its lateral length vocabulary. There are multiple reasons to believe that two-mile laterals are not the final destination in shale development - three-mile laterals and even four-mile laterals are on their way and will become an effective tool in reducing the industry’s cost of supply. Currently, the term “super-lateral” may work well for those wells. Over time, however, “super-laterals” are likely to become just as common as two-mile laterals are today. “Super” may become the new “long.”Click right here to read more.
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