My favorite well location in the Ragged Mountain Unit (mountain in the background), Piceance Basin, Gunnison County, Colorado. Did a 12 mile, -20 deg F hike out of this one when my snowcat broke down. Can’t think of much more fun than that. My kind of office with a view. Photo was taken Feb. 2005 when I was the Field Superintendent.
This was a nice little tight sands well I drilled and completed in the Corcoran and Cozette formations about 8400′ deep at 11,000′ elevation, early 1990’s. Brought this well in at 3 MMCF/ day at 3500 psi. On earlier wells we drilled in 1983 our engineer wanted them wide open to clean up, most came in at 7-8 MMCF/day. Experience taught us to choke them back, water came in as strong as the gas after a couple years.
Another well about 6 miles from this one consistently produced 250 MCF/ day dry gas after gradually declining production for 10 years until periodic mild earthquakes would hit a fault near Carbondale, CO. Then it would spike off the Barton Chart Recorder at 2 1/2 million for a couple weeks, produce about 200 bbls of condensate and 10 bbls water, then subside to 250 MCF dry gas. Like clockwork.
Unit sold and I worked elsewhere for a while. A second new owner hired me several years later to turn the unit around. After reducing loss and use from over 30% to less than 4%, we got this well back to a steady 350 MCF/ day after it watered out under the other operator. They said it was a dead well. The company I worked for operating the unit sold all assets in August 2005 and the new company didn’t even want to see my resume. Ouch, hurt my tender little roughneck feelings. Went on to work on a number of record setting drilling projects after I recovered from the rejection. I think it was the next day after I was released.
Almost forgot to mention, in the summer of 2005 we had some vandalism on the gathering line running 3 miles from this well to a compressor station. I often started my day troubleshooting the line by pulling onto a location and watching a herd of about 25 cow and calf elk move off the location onto the hillside above me. I would travel back and forth on the line for several hours and the elk were always content to watch me from their beds. One day a wildlife biologist showed up at noon to do a wildlife study (every hunter will tell you noon is the best time to observe wildlife, the Oprah show is generally finishing then). He got out of his pick up looked around spotted the elk and automatically crouched to avoid detection. As soon as he did the elk bolted.
I explained to him that on that morning I had been back and forth from that location 7 times before he got there and they remained bedded down. He denied my story even when I showed him pictures of the calves from new born to 2 months of age and showed him how they had different numbers and configurations of spots like a fingerprint. He insisted that my activity was terrorizing the elk and he would have to restrict my access, even though I had them all named after watching them for months. I thought it was curious that they would flee when he came on location, then I realized, he assumed a predatory posture as soon as he spotted them, no wonder they fled. Me on the other hand, I was just a familiar passer by that posed no threat. I’ve since concluded that 98% of all wildlife biologists never see more than the back end of the wildlife they do spot, therefore concluding oil and gas and wildlife don’t mix.