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CFHO: More Legs Than a Spider


Cold flow heavy oil (CFHO), as the name makes clear, describes the production of thick crude that flows slowly — think of molasses. Unlike some oil sands projects where steam is injected underground to decrease viscosity and allow the oil to flow, CFHO is pumped to surface without the addition of steam. CFHO typically relies on multiple horizontal laterals to increase reservoir contact. We subdivide CFHO production in Alberta  into three sub-plays: Clearwater, Peace River and Lloydminster.

Many CFHO operators drill multiple horizontal segments off the same vertical wellbore, with some exceeding 15 legs. However, the provincial energy regulator’s documentation system does not allow for more than nine laterals per well, creating a significant data deficiency when analyzing the play. To combat this problem, Enverus digitized thousands of additional multi-laterals to create a more complete dataset. The newly captured additional legs (Figure 1) drastically impact well costs and lateral length-normalized production, important benchmarks in assessing economics. We estimate oil recoveries, after normalizing for lateral length, for the three sub-plays averaged a 36%  decrease for wells with more than nine legs. Enverus clients now have access to the first complete dataset of multi-leg laterals, allowing increased accuracy in analysis.

FIGURE 1 | Multi-Leg Laterals Digitized by Enverus

FIGURE 1 | Multi-Leg Laterals Digitized by Enverus

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