How Close Can Horizontal Wells Be Spaced

I have a question on well spacing. Recently two horizontal wells were drilled on my mineral rights in Lea County New Mexico. (T25S, R36E, Sec 18, South half of the North East quarter). I find it appears they have permits for 4 additional wells on that same 1/4 section. Can they actually put in six horizontal wells in the space of a half section?

Yes, they can. It would depend upon which reservoirs they are drilling for and where the well bores will be going once they come off the surface locations. They might be drilling a couple wells in a shallower zone and a couple in a lower zone. Each zone may have different preferred drainage patterns for optimal recovery.

Thank you, as usual you have reduced it to common sense and understandable logic. I have never thought of that tactic. Now I will look at the drilling permits to see if the depth varies and by how much.

You also need to check the spacings on the wells. For environmental and cost purposes, many wells can be drilled from one drill pad and then they fan out for their intended bottom hole locations. The permit should list the reservoir that is the target.

Depending upon the geology and the structual environment, some horizontals fan out like bicycle spokes. More prevalent are wells that line up like cigars in a box. In some cases, they may come from one or more pad sites, but end up lining up in a parallel fashion, sometimes all in the same reservoir at a certain “optimal” spacing and sometimes parallel, but staggered as to true vertical depth for more than one target.

Keep in mind that permitted depth will exceed anticipated drill depth for flexibility. No one can be absolutely certain as to formation top and bottom before drilling. A company cannot drill below the permitted depth without amending the permit, but there is no requirement to drill to that depth.