Devon Resources Settles Natural Gas Pact / CONOCO Proposes Research

Article excerpt

A settlement in a natural gas contract has been reached between Devon Resources Investors and an unnamed natural gas purchaser, Devon has announced.

The $1.6 million received from the purchaser will be used by Devon to pay down its bank debt, which at year-end 1987 was $8.5 million, said Marian J. Moon, spokesperson for Devon.

The agreement also allows Devon to seek a buyer on the spot market for any natural gas not sold to the purchaser, Moon said.

The settlement is for a dispute begun in mid-1986 over natural gas volumes produced by wells that Devon had an interest in. . .

- A proposed $40 million research project by Conoco Inc. could save millions of dollars by reducing the number of drilling platforms required for offshore production of crude oil and natural gas, the company said.

By improving drilling technology to increase the horizontal reach of a well, offshore producing companies could reduce their costs.

"If you can do it with one platform instead of two, you could save millions on your development," said Sondra Fowler, a spokesperson with Conoco.

The company hopes to get nine other companies involved in the project, and has begun preliminary discussions with some companies, she said. The $40 million includes engineering studies and operational costs.

Horizontal, or directional, drilling is currently performed in the industry, she said.

"But this is more aggressive than the current record by far, due both to its angle and the length," Fowler said.

Part of the project is the drilling of a well in the United Kingdom Sector of the North Sea that would have an angle of 72 to 75 degrees, a true vertical depth of 11,000 to 12,000 feet and lateral displacement of between 28,000 and 32,000 feet. The most extended reach well to date was drilled in the BAss Straits offshore Australia with an angle of 69 to 72 degrees, a true vertical depth of 7,974 feet and a lateral displacement of 15,082 feet.

Employees in Conoco's Ponca City research and development will be involved in the development of drilling muds and drilling cuttings systems for the project, Fowler said.

"Your angle is so flat, you need to get something to remove the cuttings from the well," she said. . .

- The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's fees , rules and regulatory power will be the subject of the next meeting of the Desk and Derrick Club of Oklahoma City, set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Petroleum Club, on the 36th floor of Liberty Tower. …