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Well of the Week – On Commitment and Creekology

On Commitment

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.

Begin it now.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Or if you prefer

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

John Steinbeck

As much as anything else, this Petro NinjaEnlighten Geoscience Well of the Week is a cogitation on the importance of taking action even if the rationale might be considered specious. According to the experts, Creekology as an exploration technique faded into the background as more modern scientific principles were developed.

By the 1980s we had facies models, seismic, well logs and other technologies to find oil and gas. But the recommendation on where to drill and the commitment to expend the funds often centred around one single kernel of information. Once you had evaluated all of the information and your prospect still held together, you needed that one point to illustrate to the “Capital Allocator” (a.k.a. Management, or your boss) that an exploration prospect well needed to be drilled.

As a case in point, back in 1987, the discovery of the Cecil Charlie Lake A pool by 100/08-15-084-08W6/00 is notable for what engendered the “genius, magic and power” behind drilling this well. At the time people were well aware that there were a number of porous units in the Charlie Lake which were subcropped against evaporitic units. There were a number of these plays all along the subcrop trends. Some trapped oil. Some were wet. But how could a company develop the confidence that any single prospect met the criteria for a successful play? What final bit of information was the impetus behind this particular decision to drill?

As I recall from a CSPG Technical Division talk at the time, the decision to drill was edged over the line by the fact that 8-15 is nestled in a switchback in the Peace River. This reversal in the river’s path was postulated to be due to reactivation of deeper faults which might also have enhanced trapping. In other words, Creekology provided the final push, not any fancy-pants modern science.

And as can be seen through the video in Figure 1, “A whole stream of events issue from the decision.” Prior to 8-15, there were hardly any wells in the surrounding townships. Within in a year of the Rig Release of 8-15, the portion on the pool on the southern side of the river was drilled up. A related benefit is that this activity generated lots of ideas, and once people learned to handle those, other pools were discovered. Activity waxed and waned over the ensuing years, but it can all be traced back to this discovery well that opened up the area.

And that initial commitment, in large part, hinged on an outmoded exploration method. The important thing was to commit to action. The beneficial results unfolded in an unforeseeable manner.

Figure 1. Animation of the development of the Cecil area of Alberta.

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