Some perspective on InterOil’s roaring wells

Roar they do indeed…

Call Guinness, again!
Vertical gas well in Papua New Guinea sets record.
Article By Don Lyle, Contributing Editor
Published Dec 1, 2009

InterOil Corp. of The Woodlands, Texas, and Cairns, Australia, created a monster, setting a new record for a vertical gas well with a drillstem test recorded at a calculated 705 MMcf/d of gas and 11,000 b/d of condensate.

The company tested the well on a 280/64-in. (4.375-in) choke that it imported from Saudi Arabia.

The well might produce more. After the test, InterOil planned to drill another 1,100 ft (335 m) to test potential from an oil leg in the well. Following that, it planned to drill a horizontal leg to test potential for even higher production rates.

InterOil Corp. setting a new record for a vertical gas well with a drillstem test recorded at 705 MMcf/d of gas and 11,000 b/d of condensate.

It would be helpful to put the well size into perspective. If the Antelope-2 well in the Gulf Province in the Papua New Guinea Highlands were produced at the test rate, it could supply two LNG trains with no help. Five of the wells could beat the output of all of the wells in the hottest gas play on the onshore United States, Barnett Shale.

InterOil tested Antelope 1 in June for 382 MMcf/d of gas and 5,000 b/d of condensate from a thicker, but less porous, carbonate section. That well tested on a 3.5-in. choke and claimed a Guinness Book of World Records entry, easily outpacing the 250 MMcf/d gas well that previously held the title.

The Elk-4 well on the same structure (across a fault) tested for 105 MMcf/d of gas and 1,890 b/d of condensate in 2008, and the Elk-1 in 2006 tested 102 MMcf/d of gas and 510 b/d of condensate.

Antelope-2 tested from a gas and liquid column of 1,224 ft (372 m), from 6,000 to 7,228 ft (1,829 m to 2,203 m) on the structure.

These wells will not see gas production for some time because they are in an isolated section of the Papua New Guinea jungle. The nearest access is the Purari River, three miles from the drill site, and the only roads are the roads InterOil has built from the river and among the four drill sites.

Flare from the Antelope-2 well site.

The company is working with the Papua New Guinea government to build an LNG plant next to its refinery west of Port Moresby, but current plans call for first shipments of LNG no sooner than 2015 if government approvals come through.

Until that time, InterOil will produce liquids from the wells and re-inject the gas to maintain pressure.

A 2008 estimate by a third party engineering company put best-case recoverable gas at 3.8 Tcf. By March, 2009, Knowledge Reservoir estimated recoverable hydrocarbons at 6.1 Tcf gas equivalent, including liquids, but that was before the two Antelope wells added their muscle.