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NFR Energy’s Haynesville Drilling Program: Why so many verticals?


NFR Energy is a 50/50 JV E&P between Nabors Drilling and First Reserve.  Formed in 2006, each company put in about $500MM.  NFR is active in unconventional oil and gas primarily in the Rockies and East Texas.

During the 2Q Earnings Call, Nabors said that an IPO will be issued for NFR probably in the first two quarters of 2011, but if it makes sense to do it earlier they will. This got me wondering about their East Texas assets, particularly the Haynesville shale.  Some Drillinginfo digging ensued.

First, here is a map of all the NFR producing leases brought on since 2006, colored by Reservoir.  They are primarily active in the Cotton Valley and Haynesville shale.

This next chart was generated from HPDI production tools.  It is the historical production chart of the NFR Haynesville wells.  The production has increased since steadily and during the 1Q2010 peaked at about 48 MMcf/d.

An interesting note about the NFR Haynesville program is the wellbore profile.  22 out of the 42 currently producing Haynesville wells are vertical according to the Drillinginfo database.  This is the only Haynesville drilling program that I have seen that uses a significant amount of vertical wells.  Below is the map showing this.  The reds are vertical, the yellows are horizontal.

Here are some quick Horizontal vs. Vertical stats for the NFR wells:

  • Horizontals average max monthly prod is 4,613 Mcf/d, with the top well max of 12,403 Mcf/d. 11 Bcf of gas has been produced horizontally.
  • Verticals average max monthly prod is 855 Mcf/d, with the top well max of 2,267 Mcf/d. 3 Bcf of gas has been produced vertically.

Most numbers that I have seen clearly show that ROR is significantly improved in horizontal wells.  There is not a tremendous amount of public NFR information so I do not know their reasons for vertical development.  However, I can speculate.  I assume these wells are drilled using Nabors rigs, maybe they have a lot of vertical rigs in the area and since they own those rigs, the prices are cheaper thus raising ROR.  Maybe they are exploratory wells designed to delineate the acreage and can be reworked in the future.  I’ll try to do some more research into the Drillinginfo data, particularly completion data which shows drilling contractor, and I’ll blog on this in the future.

In the meantime, visit the Haynesville Unconventional Update for all things Haynesville.

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Justin Birmingham

Justin Birmingham is a Research Analyst at Drillinginfo. He creates proprietary research studies, works with statistical models and manages datasets for the DI Analytics team. Justin earned his Bachelor of Science from Texas State University – San Marcos.