In an age of liquids-rich hydrocarbon love, plays such as the Granite Wash and Mississippi Lime carry the limelight for the Sooner State. But at the heart of Oklahoma, where gas once reigned, operators are now discovering new liquids targets. And while the gas liquids in the western Granite Wash have suffered severe pricing differentials over the past year, and the northern Miss. Lime faces challenges in consistency, the unheralded liquids plays in the middle are looking pretty darn good.
The Cana Woodford play tops the bill. While the Woodford shale is ubiquitous across much of Oklahoma, and is best known as a lean gas producer in the Arkoma Basin in the southeastern quadrant of the state, the Woodford in the Anadarko Basin is decidedly wet.
Devon Energy Corp. discovered this in 2010 and made it a company focus after selling down its international and Gulf of Mexico holdings to concentrate on U.S. onshore unconventional plays. At year-end 2012, Devon had drilled 164 wells and booked 427 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) of proved reserves here.
The company continues to push the play eastward, where thermal maturities yield more oil. Other name players such as Cimarex Energy Co., Newfield Exploration Co. and QEP Resources Inc. are active in the play.
North of Cana, Devon is also amassing re- sources to chase its newly revealed Woodford oil play, a region congruent with its Mississippi Lime position. Further to the south of the central Cana, Newfield, Continental Resources Inc. and Marathon Oil Corp. are opening a new oil play known by some as the SCOOP.
And true to the best hydrocarbon basins, Oklahoma hosts multilayered stacked-pay zones, which have not gone ignored in the modern-day quest for oil. In the central region, Gastar Exploration Ltd. and a collection of private opera- tors have hit paydirt in the Hunton play. Far south-central, XTO Energy and BNK Petroleum like results in the Caney shale.
While the Cana Woodford shale doesn’t exude the same sex appeal as, say, the Eagle Ford or Utica shales, Devon Energy is quick to point out that the Cana is one of the most economic shale plays in North America. Devon, too, is the largest leaseholder in the play, with 255,000 acres, a twofold increase in two years. Of those, 204,000 are considered “wet.” That is understood to mean gas liquids, even condensate, yet the Cana is giving up decidedly oily yields as operators further test it to the east and south.
“As far as shale plays - especially in this commodity price environment - the Cana has a lot of opportunity,” says Bret Jameson, Devon vice president of the Anadarko business unit. “We like the results we’re getting, and we see it as a driver for years to come.”
For Devon, based in Oklahoma City, the Cana falls in line behind its prolific Barnett program, and ahead of its Canadian oil-sands and Permian Basin programs, based on proven reserves. With 10 rigs running, Devon is in full development mode.
The Cana is named for Canadian County in west-central Oklahoma, where the first unconventional Anadarko Basin Woodford well was drilled by Devon in 2007. The hydrocarbon window trends on a diagonal from northwest to southeast about 100 miles long and 25 miles wide, with the oil and liquids band splicing through Dewey, Blaine, Custer and Canadian counties. The basin tends gassy and deeper to the southwest, with more liquids and shallower targets to the northeast.
Read the entire article in the October 2013 issue of Oil and Gas Investor.