For the second time this year, Newfield Exploration Co. raised its full-year production forecast based on rising output from key U.S. onshore oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) plays.
The Woodlands, TX-based independent now expects 2012 output to hit 296-304 Bcfe, up from an April forecast of 292-302 Bcfe (see Shale Daily, April 26). Newfield originally expected to produce 290-300 Bcfe this year.
Encouraging results from three shale plays — the Cana Woodford, the Eagle Ford and the Uinta — have helped the company to make the shift from natural gas to more oily output, said CEO Lee Boothby.
“Our 2012 plan called for the early and rapid assessment of new plays in the Uinta’s Central Basin, the Cana Woodford in the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma and super extended laterals in the Maverick Basin Eagle Ford,” Boothby said. “Our shift to oil, which began in 2009, continues as more than half of our expected production in the second half of 2012 will be oil/liquids. For 2012, we expect our oil/liquids production will increase nearly 30% over 2011 levels,” with most of the liquids output “black oil.”
Newfield’s oil and liquids liftings in the second quarter totaled 6.1 million boe, or 67,000 boe/d, which was 49% of total output. About 4% of quarterly output was NGLs. Together oil/liquids volumes were 40% higher than in the year-ago period. Natural gas production in the latest period totaled 40 Bcf, or about 440 MMcf/d. On an equivalent basis, production in the quarter was 76.4 Bcfe.
Quarterly financial and operating results are to discussed during a conference call on Wednesday (July 25).
In the wet gas condensate and oil assessment plays, Newfield said it is using controlled flowback to complete wells, in which initial production rates are intentionally held back to minimize pressure drawdown, maintain higher reservoir pressure and maximize oil recovery over time.
In the Cana Woodford, where Newfield said it now has more than 135,000 net acres, the company ran an average of five operated rigs in the first half of this year “and with continued strong results, plans to further increase activity levels in 2013.” Drilling is focused now in the South Cana, which is prone to high oil and liquids yields that cover about 80,000 net acres. In the North Cana, where Newfield has 55,000 net acres, the region is in “very early stages of development,” with drilling planned later this year.
Production in the Uinta Basin also is growing, said Newfield, with current gross output recently setting a new record of about 36,000 boe/d or 25,000 boe/d net. This year output is expected to jump by about 20% from 2011 levels; the company has an interest in close to 230,000 net acres.
The Eagle Ford Shale, where the producer holds about 230,000 net acres, has six wells scheduled to be drilled in the second half of the year using super-long laterals (SXL), including a 10,000-foot lateral. The SXL wells can be drilled and completed for about $8 million gross, Newfield said. Current net output from the Gulf Coast onshore unit is more than 15,000 boe/d.
Williston Basin net output achieved a new high recently of more than 10,000 boe/d, reflecting “strong production rates” from six wells completed in the second quarter, the company said. The recent wells had average initial gross production rates of 2,650 boe/d; average lateral lengths were more than 11,000 feet.
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