The Fairway Field of East Texas: Its Development and Efforts Towards Unitization
- J.R. Latimer Jr. (Hunt Oil Co.) | Fred L. Oliver (Oliver And West, Inc.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1964
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 133 - 138
- 1964. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.1.9 Tanks and storage systems, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.6 Natural Gas, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing
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Since discovery in July, 1960, the Fairway field has been completely developed and unitization preparations have been completed. The rapid development of 23,000 acres on 160-acre spacing and agreement on unitization within so short a time are major accomplishments. Early studies showed pressure maintenance will be necessary for maximum recovery, and as unit negotiations proceeded operators centralized tank batteries and built a gasoline plant. Such progress on a major field could be possible only with determined effort and cooperation among working and royalty interest owners, and the state regulatory body.
The Fairway field of East Texas is the largest oil discovery in the United States since the Aneth field was found in Utah in 1956. Although notable for its reserves, productive acreage and relatively wide well spacing, its significance goes far beyond size alone; it is an example of major cooperative efforts to unitize a large oil field within three years after discovery so that pressure maintenance may be started to achieve maximum recovery. Fairway is important for the steps by the Texas Railroad Commission in progressively authorizing 160-acre spacing, allowable allocation on 100-per cent acreage, and then allowable allocation on 50-per cent acreage and 50-per cent acre-feet. And as a result of Fairway, new concepts of geologic exploration have rekindled intense interest in a region of declining activity.
The field was only three years old in July, 1963, and already 21/2 years of joint effort had been devoted to preparation for a fieldwide unit. Final papers are now being circulated among more than 150 working interest owners. Unitization should permit installation of a pressure maintenance program which may increase ultimate recovery from around 70 million to about 200 million bbl. Fairway is an example of broad co-operation among operators in obtaining and exchanging reservoir data. Fluid samples have been obtained on 12 wells, 51 wells have been cored, several miscible drive tests have been made and a number of special core analyses have been run.
Vigorous efforts to form pooled drilling units of the permitted 160-acres resulted in an irregular but relatively wide spacing pattern for the field. Operators centralized production facilities into some 27 tank batteries, most of which were formed at the time the wells were drilled.
Central tank batteries simplified design and construction of a dual (high and low pressure) gas gathering system and a gasoline plant. The jointly-owned plant began operation in April, 1963, less than three years after discovery of the field.
Fairway is a significant example today of the value and importance of (1) early recognition of reservoir properties and (2) forthright action to achieve maximum recovery without needless cost, while functioning within our freely competitive system. It is an example of using our technology to make the most of our resources, and should serve as a guide to more effective utilization of our future discoveries. It shows plainly that efficient recovery can be achieved under existing state regulation.
Location, Discovery and Description
The Fairway field is located in northeastern Anderson and southeastern Henderson Co., Tex., approximately 25 miles south of Tyler and 20 miles north of Palestine. The field underlies three small communities: Frankston, Poynor and Fincastle (Fig. 1).
Production in the Fairway field is from four members of the Glen Rose formation of Lower Cretaceous age: massive anhydrite, and Rodessa, James and Pettit limestones. The James lime reef is by far the most important producer in the field, with a total of 146 wells being completed in this zone as of Oct., 1963.
The James lime trap is formed by an elongate northwest-southeast reef crossing the major structural feature of the area: a large northeast-southwest trending Lower Cretaceous structural ridge, which extends from central Anderson Co. into northern Henderson Co. The ridge is approximately on and parallel to the axis of the East Texas Basin. Maximum growth of the ridge occurred after Rodessa time and continued until the end of the Lower Cretaceous.
At the time of the Fairway discovery, only a few fields were producing from the James lime in the East Texas Basin.
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