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Drilling Down: Sinclair returns to Texas with controversial Permian Basin projects

January 28, 2019

A company known in western states for its green gas stations and dinosaur logo is setting its sights on the Permian Basin.

The exploration and production arm of Salt Lake City refining company Sinclair Oil Corp. is planning to drill its first new well in Texas in nearly 11 years.

Sinclair’s drilling arm is seeking permission from the Railroad Commission of Texas to drill five horizontal wells within the city limits of Big Spring, a Permian Basin town along Interstate 20 in Howard County. The wells target the Spraberry geological formation down to a total depth of 7,400 feet.

Drilling pads for the projects are located in unpopulated areas along Interstate 20 but the laterals run under several parts of town. Company officials did not immediately reply for comment but environmentalists said they oppose the projects.

Permian Basin

Irving oil company Pioneer Natural Resources is seeking permission to drill 10 new horizontal wells in the Permian Basin of West Texas. The company is targeting the Spraberry field in six new oil plans planned in Upton County and four more in Martin County. The company is ranked as the second most active driller in Texas. Pioneer filed for 455 drilling permits in 2018 - most of them in the Permian Basin.

Eagle Ford Shale

Arkansas-based Murphy Oil is seeking permission to drill nine new horizontal wells on opposite ends of the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas. Three wells on its Barnett Unit lease in Karnes County target the oil-rich Eagleville field of the Eagle Ford geological formation down to a total depth of 12,000 feet. Six wells on its Stumberg Estate lease in Dimmit County target the Briscoe Ranch field of the Eagle Ford down to a total depth of 9,000 feet. The company filed for 60 drilling permits in 2018.

Haynesville Shale

No applications for horizontal drill permits were submitted for in the Haynesville Shale of East Texas, but six companies are seeking permission to restore productivity at seven oil vertical wells in the region. CRD Operating, New Century Exploration, Sabine Oil & Gas, Sheridan Production Company and Sonerra Resources as seeking to recomplete six old oil wells in Gregg, Harrison and Panola counties. Tanos Exploration is seeking to recomplete an old gas well in Harrison County.

Barnett Shale

Oklahoma City oil company Devon Energy is keeping its number one spot as the top horizontal driller in the Barnett Shale of North Texas. The company filed for five drilling permits for new wells targeting the Newark East field of the Barnett Shale down to total depths of 9,000 feet. All five drilling projects are listed as for developing natural gas wells.

Conventionals

Newport Operating LLC of Burkburnett exploration is seeking permission to drill three new vertical wells in its backyard. The company plans to drill new oil wells on its Roller Extension lease in Wichita County. Located about five miles southeast of Burkburnett, the three wells target the Wichita County Regular down to a vertical depth of 1,999 feet.

sergio.chapa@chron.com

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