“The Wolfcamp shale play is proving to be oily, consistent and large—very large.”

The oily, horizontal Wolfcamp play may be expanding north of drillers’ current focus in Crockett, Irion, Reagan and Uptown counties, Texas, in the Permian Basin, says Irene Haas, E&P analyst for Wunderlich Securities.

Haas analyzed results of some 30 Wolfcamp wells to date with initial-production rates of 1,000 to 1,500 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) a day and are up to 60 miles apart.

Sample wells include one by EOG Resources Inc. that tested 1,576 BOE per day in Irion County and one by Pioneer Natural Resources Co., which may drill 80 Wolfcamp horizontals in 2012, that tested 1,200 BOE per day, unrestricted, in Upton County.

Also, El Paso Corp.’s #1H University 43-17 in Reagan County flowed 1,369 BOE per day, mostly oil, from Wolfcamp at 6,700 feet through a 7,500-foot lateral that underwent 25 stages.

“Assuming a 25-mile wide fairway, the trend could cover a 1,500-square-mile area or almost 1 million acres,” Haas says. “…We visited and spoke with a number of Wolfcamp-shale first movers this week and we now believe that the play could expand northward and might not be confined to the four counties.”

Wolfcamp carbonate is a “Lower Permian” play in the neighborhood of Abo, Leonard and Bone Spring carbonates and Spraberry sandstone. Haas believes a Wolfcamp play expansion bodes well for Permian-focused, Fort Worth-based Approach Resources Inc., which tested the deeper C bench of the Wolfcamp with its University 42B #1001H.

In the El Paso well, Wolfcamp is at 6,367 feet; Wolfcamp A, 6,546 feet; and Wolfcamp B, 6,704.

“While Approach did not get to complete all the stages planned, the company is happy with the micro-seismic results and will continue to refine its completion techniques,” Haas says. “We look forward to more wells being drilled in the C Bench, and expect Approach to climb the learning curve quickly.”

EOG, which is drilling Wolfcamp, Leonard and Bone Springs, expects its 240,000 net acres over these will be productive from one or more interval. It also cites Wolfcamp as the biggest of the three and wells there cost as little as $5.4 million each.

“More drilling will need to happen before we know the true extent of this play,” Haas says. “The Wolfcamp shale play is proving to be oily, consistent and large—very large.”

–Nissa Darbonne, Editor-at-Large, Oil and Gas Investor, OilandGasInvestor.com, Oil and Gas Investor This Week, A&D Watch, A-Dcenter.com, UGcenter.com. Contact Nissa at ndarbonne@hartenergy.com.