Enhanced completions position Whiting for profitable 2015

By Emily Aasand | July 21, 2015

Despite the ebb and flow of oil prices, Whiting Petroelum Corp. is on track to see a seven percent 2015 production growth over 2014, which has also caused the company to increase its 2015 capital budget from $2 billion to $2.3 billion. The company also estimates it will produce roughly 170,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd)—a two percent increase over the first quarter 2015—despite non-core property sales during the quarter.

Whiting says its $300 million increase consists of a $158 million increase in its operated drilling budget, a $120 million increase in its non-operated drilling budget and $22 million of rig termination fees incurred during the second quarter.

In the first half of 2015, Whiting drilled and completed approximately 23 more net Bakken wells than projected due to an improvement in operating efficiencies. “We have entered into an agreement to monetize the majority of our non-operated drilling through the remainder of 2015 to concentrate capital in our most profitable operated drilling prospects and projects only $42 million of non-operated capex in the second half of 2015,” the company added.

In June, Whiting estimates capital spending totaled $155 million, a decrease from an average monthly rate of roughly $300 million in April and May. The company noted that the decline was due to a decrease in operated drilling activity with its drop to a 10-rig program, its agreement to monetize non-operated drilling expenditures and a reduction in facilities spending upon the completion of two major gas plant expansion projects.

The Whiting team has been testing larger sand volume completions across its acreage in the Williston Basin. The new completions integrate sand volumes of four to six million pounds with well costs ranging from $6.5 million to $7.5 million.

Enhanced completions at Polar field in Williams County, North Dakota, resulted in a 40 percent productivity increase. On average the two higher volume slickwater wells had 60-day rates of 935 boepd. Enhanced completions at Walleye field—also in Williams County—resulted in a 50 percent productivity increase. On average, these wells had 60-day rates of 1,095 boepd. Finally, enhanced completions at Pronghorn field in Stark County, North Dakota, resulted in a 50 percent productivity increase. Based on its results, Whiting recently moved a drilling rig back to the Pronghorn field.

During the second quarter of 2015, Whiting sold two packages of older, conventional, operated and non-operated properties to private buyers for a total of $185 million. Whiting did not disclose which properties were sold. Including $108 million of non-core property sales announced in Whiting’s first quarter 2015 financial and operating results, year-to-date, Whiting has completed a total of $293 million of non-core asset sales.


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