Imperial gears up for four-well shale oil campaign

Vol 17, PW 13 (13 Feb 14) Exploration & Production

Imperial Energy is preparing to ‘frak’ four pilot shale oil wells at its Snezhnoye oilfield in Western Siberia.

OVL subsidiary Imperial released drilling tenders in early January to kick-off the four-well campaign by June this year. Originally the four-well campaign was estimated to cost $40m but the company now believes it could cost as much as $60m because of harsh Siberian conditions.

“Bids for most services were due by February 9,” confirms Imperial. “But we're extending the deadline to end-February.

” Imperial hopes this will give smaller service companies time to prepare. “Contractors like Schlumberger, Halliburton and Weatherford charge too much," says Imperial.

"Smaller companies find it hard to get the resources together for a tough Siberian project.” Imperial will use its own 2000-hp rig to explore the Bazhenov shale formation.

Each well will be drilled vertically to 2000 metres and a further 2000 metres will be drilled horizontally. Imperial plans to ‘frak’ the 2000 metre horizontal sections of the pilot wells with help from Denver-based Liberty Resources, which signed a technology agreement with OVL on September 12 last year with a promise of up to 30% in its Siberian assets if its technology to produce oil from tight formations proves successful.

Between 15 to 30 ‘fraks’ are expected at each of the ‘oil-prone’ wells but there’s no indication yet of how much they will boost stalled production.