The Parent-Child Problem

WSJ: Shale Companies, Adding Ever More Wells, Threaten Future of U.S. Oil Boom

Good read on technology and science at play in the Permian.  This is a reminder that a great deal of what is happening (in my estimation) is still experimental.

Known in the industry as the “parent-child” well problem, the issue is surfacing in shale hot spots across the U.S. as companies ramp up production. Most of the tens of thousands of planned new wells will be child wells—wells drilled close to an already producing well.

It is one of the primary reasons why thousands of shale wells drilled in the past five yearsare producing less oil and gas than companies forecast to investors, a Wall Street Journal examination of drilling data has found.

Shale producers across the country are finding “you can get a lot of interference, one well to the other,” said billionaire Harold Hamm, who founded shale driller Continental Resources Inc., in an interview last year. “Laying out a whole lot of wells can get you in trouble,” he said. Mr. Hamm was discussing other companies, not Continental.

Many of the largest shale producers, including Devon Energy Corp. , EOG Resources Inc.and Concho Resources Inc., have disclosed they are facing the problem. Some have begun drilling wells farther apart to get around it, which means they have fewer total wells to drill on their land.

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