Individual stripper wells produce small volumes of natural gas -- 90 Mcf/d over a 12-month period, by definition -- but in aggregate, the United States' 456,000 stripper wells accounted for 11% of the nation's natural gas production in 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). "The production share of stripper gas wells has remained relatively constant over the past 25 years, rising from about 10% in 1991 to 15% in 2006–09 and dropping again to about 11% in 2015," EIA said. "The recent decrease in stripper wells' share of total production reflects the large increase in production from relatively prolific wells drilled in shale and tight gas formations with enhanced completion techniques. Because these wells, and nonstripper wells in general, produce at a much higher rate than stripper wells, they account for the bulk of total U.S. natural gas production." There were about 122,000 nonstripper gas wells in the United States at the end of 2015, EIA said. In a report issued last month, EIA estimated that stripper wells accounted for 10% of total U.S. oil output last year (see Shale Daily, June 29).
Royal Dutch Shell plc said its Fort Sumter well, a discovery in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Mississippi Canyon Block 566, has initial estimated recoverable resources of more than 125 million boe. Further appraisal drilling and planned wells in adjacent structures "could considerably increase recoverable potential in the vicinity," management said. The well is about 73 miles southeast of New Orleans in a water depth of 7,062 feet to a total vertical drilling depth of 28,016 feet measured depth. The block is nine square miles and is 100% operated by Shell. An appraisal sidetrack well also was drilled to a depth of 29,200 feet measured depth. Since 2010, exploration success has brought Shell's total resources in the GOM to about 1.3 billion boe. Current GOM production is around 600,000 boe/d, and production is expected to increase to about 900,000 boe/d by the early 2020s from already discovered and established reservoirs.