Spacing of Oil Wells
- Lyndon L. Foley (Consulting Petroleum Engineer)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Transactions of the AIME
- Publication Date
- December 1938
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 15 - 24
- 1938. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.6 Natural Gas, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements
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The proper spacing of oil wells is a problem of vital importance to the oilindustry. Conservation demands a maximum recovery, while economicconsiderations attach primary importance to profitable extraction of oil.Formulas have been evolved, which attempt to solve the spacing problemmathematically, using reservoir characteristics as factors. Comparisons havebeen made of fields producing from supposedly similar sands, which have beendrilled to varying densities, and also of different leases in the same field.Intermediate wells have been drilled in old, depleted fields to test theefficiency of drainage by the original operation. Intermediate wells have beendrilled also to obtain cores of the depleted sand for analysis, from which tolearn the degree of efficiency of extraction. The problem is being attacked bymany students, and along several different lines.
Unfortunately, the fields now depleted were produced generally withoutrestriction, and conclusions drawn from them may not apply to fields operatedunder restricted production. Reservoir conditions in a restricted field,especially reservoir pressures and pressure gradients within the reservoir, arequite different from those in a field produced to capacity.
Many people have held the idea that the closer the spacing, the greater therecovery. This general statement is not always true, as other factors than wellspacing enter into the recovery problem. Cutler, 5 who has been quotedfrequently by advocates of close spacing, limited his conclusions to gas-drivefields, and to the particular fields and spacings that he investigated. Hilland Sutton 7 analyzed four tracts in the
Powell field; the tract most closely drilled had the third largest recovery peracre-foot, and the tract with the widest spacing had the second largestrecovery per acre-foot. A search of the references to well spacing in thepublications of the U. S. Bureau of Mines discloses repeated condemnations ofthe wastefulness of the practice of town-lot drilling.
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