HGS President's Column - January 2013 by Martin Cassidy
Happy New Year. The Old is New Again
The New Year is upon us and, yes, it is a new beginning. However, we are in the middle of our HGS year with our monthly HGS General evening and noon meetings, our International, North American, Environmental and Engineering, and Northsiders meetings. A special treat in January is Legends Night 2013: Legends of Sedimentology on January 14, 2013. It is a night with our great teachers, George Devries Klein, James Coleman, Miles Hayes and Robert Folk. HGS’ meetings are important opportunities to stay current with new technology and information. These are going to be much needed as change in our business occurs at an increasing rate.
Not only do we have new understanding of “shale” oil and gas, in many reservoirs not strictly shales, horizontal drilling, and hydraulic fracturing technologies improve by the month. Water protection and handling , a concern as old as civilization, is now a hot topic. At the recent Gulf Coast Association of Geological societies (GCAGS) meeting in Austin, a full day of talks dealt with water issues of the Gulf Region – its use, availability, and the level of need in unconventional plays. The amount of time given to water use talks was equal to that allocated to shales in the Gulf Coast Region.
We in the industry need to be very careful that in the quest for speed in drilling to objective we do not slight the planning and execution of drilling the shallow portions of wells. Water is precious, especially in the semi-desert of Southwest Texas. A cautionary tale comes from distant North African land of Tunisia where an American firm had a water blowout in the desert while drilling a simple deep hole for a seismic survey. Suddenly, the well spit the drill string out of the uncased hole with a heavy flow of fresh water. The mobile rig managed to drive free, but the well continued to flow, a crater expanded, and a lake began to form. Attempts to control the flow were futile as the well swallowed casing and lowered the rig. Workers were able to scramble to safety.