Geology Firm With Office In Fairfield Working With Glacier County Oil & Gas Lease Owner

Joe Large Sun Times photo by Darryl L. Fliwers

By Darryl L. Flowers
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014 10:43 AM CST
The former Fairfield town office on Central Avenue doesn’t look like the type of place where the next Rocky Mountain resource play is being planned. The office is cluttered with geology notes on the wall. Large computer screens sit atop a second-hand conference table. A coffeemaker left over from the town hall days still sits on a table next to the door.

Now the office serves as the western Montana office of RPM Geologic, a firm that specializes in helping oil companies find their targets when drilling miles below the earth’s surface.

Part of RPM Consulting, RPM Geologic is headed by Joe Large, a geologist who ended up in Montana courtesy of the US Air Force. After completing his stint with the Air Force, Joe earned his geology degree at Virginia Tech.

Joe has long been intrigued with the potential for gas development along the Rocky Mountain Front. “Science and history make it obvious that there is a gas deposit under the Eastern Slope of the Rockies.”

As evidence, Joe cites the enormous success a few miles over the Canadian border, at the Pincher Creek, Waterton, and Lookout Butte fields. “For almost a century, there has been a steady stream of research that shows the geology of the Canadian gas fields continues along the Rockies.” Joe adds, “When you examine a map of development along the Front, from Canada to the United States’ southern border, you can see gas and oil production spread along the entire length. Except Montana”

Joe and his colleagues at RPM believe they have found the sweet spot, the Sidney Longwell Federal Oil and Gas lease near East Glacier. RPM has agreed to develop the lease. “We met with Mr. Longwell, and quickly came to an agreement.”

Reached at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mr. Longwell told the Sun Times, “We are looking forward to working with everyone to resolve the problems and start development of the lease.”

RPM will drill and develop the lease. “RPM Consulting has been doing turn-key oil and gas wells for several years,” said Large. “Now we want to expand, we want to build on our expertise and move into exploration and production.” As a turn-key firm that oil companies use to plan and drill wells, RPM has a history of bringing wells online under budget and on time. “We can pull in the best talent, can stay focused and make sure the operation moves smoothly.” He adds that when drilling close to sensitive areas, being able to complete the job in an efficient manner is key. “The less time you spend drilling, the less impact you have on the surface area.”

In the opinion of the RPM management, the gas potential under the Longwell lease is only part of the attraction. The location offers onsite access to a pipeline network for distribution. Situated on the lease, in an area designated as a  “utility and transportation corridor” by the U.S. Forest Service, are two natural gas transmission lines operated by NorthWestern Energy. Running some distance from Highway 2 is the original “Kalispell” gas line and the newer, larger “Lewis and Clark Loop”. The Lewis and Clark Loop line splits form the older line east of the lease property and runs along the older line for seven miles before it rejoins the original pipe. Also running over the lease is the Burlington Northern Railroad.

“Here we have a set of major natural gas transmission lines, enabling us to tap in and send Montana produced energy across the state, and we also have the nation’s major railroad on the lease… a railroad that is pursuing natural gas as a source of energy for their locomotives… clean energy, ready distribution and access to markets. We fell like we’ve hit a home run.”

Joe’s optimism is borne out in comments made by the late Doug Strickland, a Petroleum Geologist whose work led to the discovery of the Covenant Field in central Utah. AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) Explorer reported, in 2011, on Strickland’s optimism about development in Glacier County: “Strickland grew excited about the possibility of a major gas field lurking to the west of the new Bakken play. “I’ve been working in this part of Montana for 25 years. One of the largest prospects I believe I’ve ever mapped is in the western portion of the Blackfeet Reservation,” he said.

He described a trend that started in Canada and extended south into the Glacier mountain front.

“Across the border, there are three major fields within six miles of the United States,” he said. “There’s a swath in there that looks very prospective.”

 “There is a resource play out there, and companies like resource plays. They’ve 

mostly ignored the thrustbelt,” Strickland said, commenting on the industry’s lack of interest in the Glacier mountain front. “Companies have been leery of the risk and the exploration costs,” he noted. “Northwest Montana is very remote.”

A geologist with insight into the complexities of thrustbelt exploration, Strickland felt the Montana mountain front held important and overlooked potential. “It’s very difficult for people to understand the geometry of the thrusting, much less what the prospect looks like,” Strickland said.

“What’s neat about this area is that you’re just six miles from word-class production – it’s six miles across the border,” he added.

The Longwell lease is only a few miles from the Reservation’s western border, in the heart of the overthrust belt.

The history of commercial oil exploration in Montana began not far from the Longwell lease, near Kinta Lake. The first sale of natural gas in Montana was recorded in the area where Lake Sherburne is now. Says Large, “We are building on a long history of exploration and research of well documented oil and gas exploration in Montana, both by the government as well as the industry. People such as Mel Mudge developed geological maps of the region that are still being studied today, and well respected Great Falls petroleum geologist Bill Hansen who conducts annual field schools of the region, we are building on a huge body of research in this project.”

An exploratory well on the lease was approved in the 1980’s. Repeated attempts to stop the drilling failed until politics intervened and the well was put into suspension. That three decade suspension is what has landed the Forest Service and Mr. Longwell in Federal Court.

Joe Large thinks the plan RPM has may quiet a lot of the criticism from the anti development organizations. “What drives most of the complaints, though unfounded, about oil and gas drilling is hydraulic fracturing and, to a lesser degree, horizontal drilling over great distances. Our plan for this site makes those worries moot.” According to Large, the deep formations they expect to drill are naturally fractured, broken up by the same forces that created the Rockies. “Based on the study of wells drilled in the area, and to the north in Canada, the target zone of production is naturally fractured, allowing the natural gas to migrate to the well bore.” The wells will be drilled vertically, and while there may be some short “lateral” legs, they most likely will not exceed 1,000 feet in length. “It’s an overthrust region and with the jumbled nature of the rocks miles below the earth, if you extend a long lateral you run the risk of ruining the well.”

According to Large, in researching comments regarding plans to drill on the lease, he noticed that a great deal of worry was expressed over the use of “reserve pits,” open pits, lined with a heavy material, that act as storage for water used in the drilling process. “We will use a closed system. There will not be a reserve pit, so that is another concern we are addressing.”

If the lease proves capable of gas production, the long term visual effect will be minimal. Gas wells do not require a pumpjack, the large machinery found on many oil wells. Instead a pipe comes out of the ground with a valve assembly, the gas is piped to a gathering station located at a suitable spot where it would tie in with transmission lines.

Large told the Sun Times that, according to available reports, some of the wells in Canada can, at current prices, produce gas at a value of $75,000 per day. “Imagine what that would mean for the citizens of Glacier County. For the schools and other county operations. The burden it would take off the shoulders of the taxpayers in Montana.” Twelve percent of the sales from production on a federal lease is collected in taxes. Half of that would flow to the state of Montana, with roughly half of that going to the county in which the production occurred.

Could 1942 Court Case Result In Faster Development?

In its research into the Longwell lease, as well as other leases being held up by politicians and activists, the Sun Times discovered that Mr. Longwell’s lease, as mentioned earlier, runs under the railroad. Sidney Longwell owns the oil and gas that lies beneath the Burlington Northern tracks. He also owns the oil and gas under Highway 2, under the NorthWestern Energy gas lines, under the Qwest Communications lines… under any of the rights of way that cross his lease. And his rights to develop those minerals are affirmed by at least two decisions from the highest court in the land. In the landmark case, Great Northern Railway Company v. U. S., 315 U.S. 262 (1942), the United States Supreme Court ruled that the surface occupant of a right of way across federal lands did not have claim, unless otherwise specified, to the subsurface minerals.

The case holds particular significance to Mr. Longwell’s lease since the Great Northern case came out of the same area.

In the Great Northern case, the railroad had made plans to develop three oil wells along the right of way. For years, lower courts had been ruling that the railroads could only use the right of way surface. Great Northern, according to the Supreme Court decision,  “asserted that it proposed to drill three separate oil wells-the oil from the first to be sold commercially, that from the second to be refined, the more volatile parts to be sold and the residue to be used on petitioner’s [Great Northern] locomotives, and that from the third to be used in its entirety by petitioner as fuel.”

The wells were to be located in Township 29 North, Range 15 West and Township 32 North, Range 24 East. But the court ruled against the railroad, saying that the federal government would retain the oil and gas so that those could be sold to another party.

The Great Northern case was reaffirmed in 1957 when the same issue came before the United States Supreme Court in the case United States v. Union Pacific R. Co., 353 U.S. 112.

The Great Northern case was cited in a more recent case, Marvin Brandt v. United States. The Brandt case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month by attorney Steve Lechner, with Mountain States Legal Foundation. Mountain States is representing Sidney Longwell in his litigation against the U.S. Forest Service before the district court in Washington, DC.

The Great Northern ruling could provide a means by which RPM could bypass the issue of surface occupancy that is being used to hold up the drilling. “We may be able to locate a drilling rig on these rights of way and move forward with our wells,” said Large.

Drilling on, or near, the rights of way would put the wells squarely into the corridor as defined by the Forest Service in their Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from 2004 when the agency approved the Lewis and Clark Loop pipeline. Large says that the FONSI documents are of vital importance in the current process of seeking approval to move forward. “In their findings related to the pipeline, the Forest Service made determinations that seem to contradict what they are saying now about Mr. Longwell’s lease, those findings involve a pipeline that travels across the lease for bout two miles.”

When asked what he thought the chances were of drilling a successful well on the lease, Large responded, “Ninety percent… maybe more.” Challenged on that high degree of confidence, Large cited other wells drilled in the area: the Morning Gun, Kiyo and Two Medicine.  “Just about every one of those wells had good gas or oil shows, but at the time getting gas to market was impossible and gas was selling for about $0.07 per thousand cubic feet, when the Morning Gun well was drilled. Today, with transmission line access and a decent price, those wells would be productive.”

Near the lease boundary, at Lubec, at least one gas well was drilled around 1905. The well, drilled by the Spokane Petroleum Company, was located near the railroad tracks at Lubec. Montana newspapers eagerly carried news of the well, with one article in the Anaconda Standard reporting that “gas had been flowing undiminished for days.” The report went on to say that the light from the burning gas would light the trains up as they passed by. The well was slightly over 1,000 feet deep.

Geologist Responds To Fracking Presentation; Urges Understanding Facts, Not Hype

Joe Large, center, discusses the Madison Group of formations with Dr. Duncan Patten, left. Sun Times photo by Darryl L. Flowers

Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:21 PM CST
Madison Aquifer

Dr. Patten suggests that the Bakken (sappington) and 3 Forks Formations are sitting directly beneath the Madison Aquifer and fracturing the formation could contaminate the Madison Aquifer.

The Madison Aquifer exists in the top half of a 600 Ft. thick section of Rock known as the Mission Canyon Formation.  This formation is part of the “Madison Group” which also includes ~600’ of formation known as the Lodgepole Formation below the Mission Canyon Formation.  So all fracturing activity would be going on 1000’ below the aquifer, not “just below it.”

There are oil bearing members of the Mission Canyon Formation.  In certain places, the water from the aquifer  mingles with hydrocarbons naturally.

When the springs from the Madison Aquifer come to the surface they are often doing so through oil bearing formations like the Sunburst and Morris formation which are drilled for oil and gas in nearby Teton and Pondera Counties; however, the water also goes through hundreds and hundreds of feet of other sandstones, limestones and coal beds that filter the water producing the clean spring water that is used as a domestic supply.

Facking causes seismic activity

Dr. Patten says that fracking is related to seismic activity and loosely ties this in with tectonic movement and fissures in the ground.

Fracking DOES cause seismic activity, as does explosions for seismic readings.  Seismic activity is nothing more that the movement of energy through the ground in the form of compressional waves and should not be confused with fault movement or creation.

Underground mining, cars driving down the road, people running through a park, buildings being blown up,  all generate seismic activity.  Not even underground nuclear explosions have the power to create new faults in the ground.  It takes a level of compressional force that human beings are not capable of creating yet.

According to professor Mark Zoback of Stanford University, seismic magnitudes causes by hydraulic fracking have been measured at -4.5 to -1 which is equivalent to “a gallon of milk falling off a kitchen counter.”

Contents of fracking fluid

Professor Patten states, “We don’t know what is in fracking fluid.”

Completely untrue.  On any site where hydraulic fracturing is taking place there are by law MSDS sheets that state every single chemical on site and what its properties and dangers are.

What is not publically stated is the blend of these contents in the fluid; the contents however, are not some super secret.

Lack of knowledge on the topic

Aside from a 15 minute introduction to hydraulic fracturing that could have been found by typing fracking into youtube,  he seemed to have little knowledge on the topic he was speaking of.

Showed multiple photos of activity on a fracking job and stated he had no idea what was going on.

Pointed at a “frack tank” with his laser and said he did not know what it was for but he imagined it was for holding some sort of fluid.

Made comments like, “I do not know exactly what is going on here but it looks pretty loud and disruptive.”

When asked if in the almost 8 years of high levels of hydraulic fracturing that has been going on in western North Dakota there has been even one case of the contamination, pollution or environmental impacts he talks about, he replied that he did not know, that he has not studied that area.

Fear Tactics

When possible he would use “half truths” or misrepresentations of the truth.

He evoked the high profile EPA study done in Dimock, Pennsylvania admitting that the study found no evidence of fluid contamination but that the study did find “Methane in many of the water wells near the drilling sites.”   What he failed to mention was that the study also mentions that there is a history of methane in the well water of that area for the entire history of wells being drilled there, predating hydraulic fracturing by almost 200 years.

He repeatedly made the statement, “Is there any proof of this?  No not yet, but who knows?  Do you want to take the chance?”

Professor Patten shows a picture of a tractor trailer laying on its side in a road and makes statements suggesting that this would be a form of pollution associated only with oilfield activity.  Nothing in the picture distinguished what the contents of the truck were or what its purpose before the accident was i.e. bringing gas to a gas station, water to a cistern somewhere, milk from a dairy.  He left it up to the observer to attached whatever significance they felt appropriate.

He made gross misrepresentations of the Madison Aquifer, its location relative to the Bakken and Three forks formations as well as to hydrocarbon deposits that exist in the same formation.

He brought up a picture of the “Welcome to Sidney, Montana” sign with notes underneath suggesting that with the coming of the oil field came also strip joints, prostitution and drugs.  Professor Patten need only go 10 blocks south of the Paris Gibson Square or 20 miles west of the town he teaches in to find strip joints, but he will find none in Sidney if he honestly cared about the accuracy of his statements enough to look.

Conclusion

People should always be concerned with happenings within their communities.  Especially with new activity or industries to an area.

There will be hurdles to overcome if oilfield activity picks up along the front;  issues with housing, transportation, road conditions, possible fresh water and environmental impacts.

None of these issues are new or a surprise.  They have existed and been overcome in thousands of small towns in dozens of states around the country and even the world.  State and local governments will work with the companies to insure that the process is as safe and low impact as possible.  Community members should be involved with the process as well and being involved first and foremost means becoming educated about the industry and the process.  Learn to recognize fear mongering and propaganda from both sides.  Come to a question with an open mind and listen to both sides of an issue, ask lots of questions and then make up your own mind.

Joe Large, President of RPM Geologic since August of 2010, has a Bachelor’s of Science in Geosciences from Virginia Tech.

He has been working in the Williston Basin since February of 2005 for companies that include Marathon Oil, Hess, Bill Barrett, Anschutz Exploration, Samson Oil and Gas, Samson Resources, Oasis Petroleum, Whiting Petroleum, and Panther Energy.

The opinions expressed by Mr. Large are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sun Times

Stene Hultgren Is Ready To “Rig Up”

Stene Hultgren. Sun Times photo
By Darryl L. Flowers

Stene Hultgren would like a summer job. On an oil rig.

The 19 year old, a Freshman at Montana Tech in Butte where he is studying Petroleum Engineering, says he would like to take on any job in the oil field to get started, “I would like to get the experience of working on a rig.”

Stene is the grandson of “Swede” and Faye Olsen of Fairfield. He grew up in Molt, Montana where he was homeschooled by his Mom, Tara.

According to Hultgren, there are three types of Petroleum Engineers: Reservoir, Drilling and Production. “I want to pursue Drilling and Production… the Reservoir engineers have to spend too much time in an office looking at charts and data.”

Growing up on the family farm in Molt, Stene says he is accustomed to the hard work he expects on a rig, “I enjoy working from sun-up to sundown, as long as I’m outdoors.” He adds that being in Butte is hard for him, saying that he is not able to get out of town much, “But I love going to ‘Tech’.”

Hultgren made his decision to work in the oil patch at an early age. When he was 13, he was working with a neighboring farmer when he was asked what he wanted to do when he grew up. The farmer was good friends with Billings oil man Tom Hohn and helped arrange a chat with Hohn. When his Dad, Randy Hultgren found out Stene had an interest in oil and gas, he told his son he knew another oilman, Tom Hauptman, a geologist and surveyor, who also encouraged Stene.

Montana Tech is recognized as being one of the leading Petroleum Engineering and Geology schools in the nation. At a recent career fair on campus, 43 oil and mining firms showed up looking for resumes. Stene was not able to take part, the event is for juniors at the school.

Hultgren is fascinated with the fast pace of the industry, “Developments seem to happen overnight… new technologies… new oil fields are constantly being discovered to make oil exploration and production more efficient.

Stene says when he graduates he hopes to stay in the Montana, or maybe North Dakota Oil Patch. Asked if he would like to work on a rig in the ocean, he doesn’t seem enthused about the possibility, or even the question. After pondering for a few seconds, he admits that working on a rig in Norway, where his ancestors come from would interest him, maybe working for a company like Norwegian oil giant Statoil.

But the thought of working on a rig down south, in the Gulf of Mexico, causes Stene to shake his head, “Man, down there south of Texas… it’s too hot to work on a rig out in the ocean.”

Spoken like a true Montana oilman.

Slawson Completes Well Into Upper Bakken Member: Weekly Oil Report

A Bakken well being drilled in Richland County. Sun Times photo by Darryl L. Flowers

Compiled by Darryl L. Flowers

New Locations

In Fallon County’s Cabin Creek Field,  Denbury Onshore, LLC was approved to drill the Unit 11X-03, located at NW NW 3-9N-58E (307 FNL/743 FWL). The well will reach the Red River Formation with a Proposed Depth of 9,400 feet.

In Glacier County’s Cut Bank Field,  Montalban Oil & Gas Operations, Inc. was greenlighted to drill the Kruger 12, located at NW SW 13-37N-5W (1650 FSL/990 FWL), reaching the Madison Formation with a Proposed Depth of 2,900 feet.

In Musselshell County, Antelope Resources, Inc. was approved to drill the Lida Kluzek 2, located at NW NW 20-11N-28E (616 FNL/659 FWL) and targeting the Amsden Formation at 3,300 feet.

New Locations – Horizontal Wells

There were eight new horizontal wells approved during the reporting period. All eight wells will target the Bakken Formation in Richland County and fly the Continental Resources Inc. banner.

The Mufflin 1-30H has a Surface Hole Location (SHL) at NW NE 30-23N-54E (260 FNL/1780 FEL) and a Probable Bottom Hole Location (PBHL) of 14,369 feet at SW SE 30-23N-54E (200 FSL/1980 FEL); the McHenry 1-35H has an SHL at NE NW 35-24N-52E (295 FNL/1553 FWL) and a PBHL of 14,030 feet at SW SW 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/660 FWL); the McHenry 2-35H has an SHL at NE NW 35-24N-52E (295 FNL/1598 FWL) and a PBHL of 13,818 feet at SE SW 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/1980 FWL); the McHenry 3-35H has an SHL at NW NE 35-24N-52E (270 FNL/1343 FEL) and a PBHL of 13,953 feet at SW SE 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/1980 FEL); the McHenry 4-35H has an SHL at NE NE 35-24N-52E (270 FNL/1298 FEL) and a PBHL of 13,957 feet at SE SE 35-24N-52E (200 FSL/660 FEL); the Charlotte Federal 3-11H has an SHL at NW NE 11-25N-52E (260 FNL/2390 FEL) and a PBHL of 19,007 feet at SW SE 14-25N-52E (200 FSL/2200 FEL); the Parsons Federal 1-6H has an SHL at NE NW 6-26N-53E (359 FNL/2098 FWL) and a PBHL of 18,461 feet at SE SW 7-26N-53E (200 FSL/1980 FWL) and the Mulholland Federal 1-32H, with an SHL at SE SW 32-27N-56E (260 FSL/1345 FWL) and a PBHL of 19,973 feet at NE NW 29-27N-56E (200 FNL/1980 FWL).

Re-Issued Locations

In Carbon County, J.J. Bunkirt Oil & Gas Corp. has been approved for two wells.

The Federal 22-26, located in the South Clark’s Fork Field at SE NW 26-9S-22E (1955 FNL/2086 FWL) will target the Greybull Formation at a Proposed Depth of 8,300 feet.

The Summit 21-26, located at NW NE 26-9S-22E (1109 FNL/2473 FEL), has a Proposed Depth of 5,800 feet, aiming for the Colorado Shale.

Completions

In Powder River County’s Bell Creek Field, Denbury Onshore, LLC filed a completion report for the Bell Creek Consolidated 33-09R. The well has an SHL at NE SE 33-8S-54E (1900 FSL/661 FEL) and a Bottom Hole Location (BHL) of 4,635 feet at NE SE 33-8S-54E (1841 FSL/940 FEL), reaching the Skull Creek Formation.

The remainder of the completions were in Richland County.

Slawson Exploration Company Inc. filed a completion report for the Boomerang 3-4H. Geologists had been watching this well closely, calling it a “significant completion.” The Boomerang is situated far south of the Elm Coulee Field, with an SHL at NE NW 4-20N-60E (240 FNL/2225 FWL) and a BHL of 15,226 feet at SE SW 4-20N-60E (255 FSL/2596 FEL). At this location, the middle layer of the Bakken System disappears as it is “pinched out.” The Boomerang was drilled into the upper layer of the Bakken. The well reported an Initial Potential of 414 Barrels of Oil Per Day (BOPD), 124 Thousand Cubic Feet of gas Per Day (MCFPD) and 903 Barrels of Water Per Day.

Slawson filed completion reports on three other Bakken wells.

The Archer (Federal) 1-26H has an SHL at NW NW 26-24N-52E (300 FNL/660 FWL) and three laterals: 13,720 feet at SW SW 26-24N-52E (259 FSL/741 FWL); 13,187 feet at NE NE 26-24N-52E (746 FNL/535 FEL) and 13,882 feet at SE NE 26-24N-52E (2450 FNL/313 FEL), the reported IP was 490 BOPD, 539 MCFPD and 275 BWPD. The Android 1-6H has an SHL at SE SE 6-23N-53E (540 FSL/850 FEL) and a BHL of 13,049 feet at NE NE 6-23N-53E (767 FNL/771 FEL) and turned in an IP of 180 BOPD, 210 MCFPD and 136 BWPD. The Rustler 1-4H has an SHL at NE NE 4-23N-52E (200 FNL/700 FEL) and a BHL of 13,948 feet at SE SE 4-23N-52E (250 FSL/780 FEL) and reported an IP of 247 BOPD, 272 MCFPD and 455 BWPD.

Continental Resources Inc. reported the completion of the Candee 3-18H. The Bakken well has an SHL at NE NE 18-24N-53E (145 FNL/380 FEL) and a BHL of 19,274 feet at SE SE 19-24N-53E (208 FSL/784 FEL) and reported an IP of 109 BOPD and 64 MCFPD.

Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation reported the completion of the Simmers 4 21-30-1H, with an SHL at

NE NW 30-25N-57E (375 FNL/1600 FWL) and a BHL of 20,461 feet at SW SW 31-25N-57E (243 FSL/721 FWL). The Simmers reported an IP of 470 BOPD, 256 MCFPD and 1,080 BWPD.

Oasis Petroleum North America LLC filed a completion report for the Sherri 2658 43-9H, with an SHL at SW SE 9-26N-58E (225 FSL/2000 FEL) and a BHL of 20,460 feet at SW SE 21-26N-58E (303 FSL/1456 FEL). The well turned in an IP of 860 BOPD, 644 MCFPD and 186 BWPD.

Expired Permits

All three expired permits for the reporting period were located in Roosevelt County: EOG Resources, Incorporated’s NBB 3-3031H, located at NE NW 30-30N-59E (250 FNL/2425 FWL) and two G3 Operating, LLC wells: the McCabe 1-2-11H, located at NE NW 2-29N-56E (250 FNL/2020 FWL) and the KDW 1-26-35H, located at NE NW 26-30N-56E (250 FNL/1980 FWL).

Abandoned Wells

In Big Horn County’s CX Field, the permits for six wells operated by Fidelity Exploration & Production Co. expired: the Consol Federal 2399 43D, located at NE SE 23-9S-39E (1800 FSL/990 FEL); the Consol Federal 2699 44D, located at SE SE 26-9S-39E (833 FSL/644 FEL); the Consol Federal 2699 44C, located at SE SE 26-9S-39E (795 FSL/733 FEL); the Consol Federal 2399 43C, located at NE SE 23-9S-39E (1785 FSL/1072 FEL); the Consol Federal 2399 43M, located at NE SE 23-9S-39E (1807 FSL/1032 FEL) and the Consol Federal 2699 44M, located at SE SE 26-9S-39E (815 FSL/685 FEL).

In Glacier County’s Cut Bank Field, the permits for two wells operated by Quicksilver Resources, Inc. expired: the Jacobsen-Lee 3, located at C NE SW 23-37N-5W (1980 FSL/1980 FWL) and the Jacobsen Lee 1, located at C NW NW 23-37N-5W (660 FNL/660 FWL).

Also in Glacier County, the permit for the Gage 3606-19-01, operated by Rosetta Resources Operating LP expired. The Gage was located at NE NE 19-36N-6W (390 FNL/660 FEL).

In Toole County, the permit for Keesun Corporation’s Leuck 6-13, located at SE NW 13-34N-3W (2420 FNL/1650 FWL), expired.

Darryl L. Flowers is the Publisher of the Sun Times in Fairfield, Montana, www.fairfieldsuntimes.com. Darryl can be reached at publisher@fairfieldsuntimes.com.

Norstra Closing in on First Drill Location

A comparison of the Krone Well, located near the proposed Norstra drill site south of Augusta, and a well located in Elm Coulee in eastern Montana.
Published: Monday, May 20, 2013 2:02 PM CDT

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — Norstra Energy today announced that the company is finalizing the evaluation of technical data this week for the first drill location on its South Sun River Prospect. “We received the first seismic interpretation from our geophysical team in Denver and are reviewing the proposed first drill location internally. Once we have evaluated and cross-referenced the proposed location with the actual surface conditions for the drilling operations we will send our surveying team out to stake the location and design the drilling pad,” stated Glen Landry, the CEO & President of Norstra. He further said: “We are also very excited about the quality of the seismic lines.”

Central to the viability of Norstra’s South Sun River Prospect are the subsurface well logs in the area. Norstra is fortunate to have acreage that is near wells that show the likelihood of commercial oil in the Bakken Oil Formation.

There are three key wells in the immediate vicinity of the first potential Norstra drill site.

• Krone #3132 drilled by Shell Oil Company. This well demonstrates those essential parameters for a commercial well in the Bakken Oil Formation. There are 24 feet of Bakken middle member present. The middle member of the Bakken Oil Formation produces most of the oil today. The reservoir rock displays a resistivity of 200 ohms suggesting oil and gas is present. The well is less than 2.5 miles away from the first proposed Norstra drill site.

• Steinbach #1 drilled by Arco. The Steinbach # 1 well is around 3,000 feet deeper than the Krone well.  The same reservoir is present, but with deeper buried shales that are heated at a higher temperature resulting in higher resistivities from the generations of oil and gas.  The resistivity here is over 2,000 ohms.  The well is less than 5 miles south of the first proposed drill site.

• Soap Creek Cattle Co. #1331 drilled by Flying J Oil and Gas.  The well is not studied much because it did not penetrate the Bakken Oil Formation. It still has some very significant information for our project. The well stopped in the middle member of the Blackleaf Oil Formation at a depth of 5,480 feet. The Bakken is perhaps 3,000 feet deeper. What is of interest is that in one of the many faults present, there is oil described by the geologist, M.K. Jones. The oil is described from 4,928 to 4,994 feet.  It is in a fractured member of the Taft Hill and the oil has been biodegraded to a heavy crude due to the presence of the water in the fractures. This oil has migrated up the thrust from deeper formations. The source for the oil could be the Bakken Oil Formation. This well is less than 0.75 miles from the proposed first drillsite away. Just the fact that oil is present so close to the Company’s proposed well site is extremely significant.

We anticipate that the Bakken Oil Formation on the Norstra drill site may be very similar to the Krone well or Steinbach well. A comparison has been made by the Company’s technical consultants between the Krone well and the Balcron 44-24 Vaira well located in the Elm Coulee field of Eastern Montana. Elm Coulee (2007) was the highest producing onshore oil field in the United States, and it is Bakken Oil. This field is expected to exceed 270 million barrels of production from the Bakken Oil Formation at depths of 8,500-10,000 feet. This is exactly the depth range around the proposed Norstra drill location and in the Krone and Steinbach.

The comparisons do not stop there. (See photo accompanying story)

The Vaira 44-24 well has produced over 159,000 barrels of oil and was completed in 1989 when new fracking and drilling technologies were in their infancy. A series of upgrades have been applied to this well but in today’s world one would expect this well to exceed these figures. The Company plans to employ all of the latest completion technologies to drill the Norstra #1 well. Production is anyone’s estimate but just based upon the increased thickness of the Bakken Oil Formation at the proposed Norstra location, the recoverable reserves may compare favorably to those found in nearby wells.