Noble turns to DJ, Delaware Basins for shale efficiency gains

By Luke Geiver | August 06, 2019

Like the majority of major exploration and production companies operating within the U.S. unconventionals space, Noble Energy is currently focusing on generating free cash flow and returning capital to investors. While doing so, however, Noble has found ways to reduce operating expenses across the DJ Basin and Delaware Basin without greatly impacting productivity.

In the DJ Basin, Noble reduced well costs by $1 million per well and in the Delaware, cost reductions helped reduce costs by $1.5 million. The company has incentivized service companies to pump more stages per day and use less fluid to do so. The new frack design uses less fluid, which in return the company said, reduces fresh water costs, shorter pump times and quicker rates to getting on production. The strategy uses less fluid but more high viscosity friction reducers.

All of the changes to completion designs related to cost savings will stick no matter the state of oil price or service costs, the company said.

In the Delaware Basin, the company has deployed a row development strategy for placing wells in multiple zones. The plan places three wells in the 3rd Bone Spring and then below that formation, six wells in the Wolfcamp A followed by another two wells below the Wolcamp A into the Wolfcamp B.

The row development strategy has helped reduce parent to child well interference, the company said.

Noble’s DJ Basin activity is providing a growth engine while also generating free cash flow. The Delaware Basin activity is providing an oil growth driver. In the Eagle Ford, after brining roughly 40 drilled but previously uncompleted wells online, Noble is now done drilling and completing new wells in the Eagle Ford for the year. Instead, Noble will develop and test an Eagle Ford refrac program. The program could impact 75 to 100 wells.