A Summary of Unitization and the Engineering Functions in Unitization
- Bruce A. Landis Jr. (Pan American Petroleum Corp.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1959
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 30 - 32
- 1959. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.6 Natural Gas
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A wealth of valuable, well documented information about unitization exists today. Consequently, the scope of this presentation will be confined to (1) a summary of the over-all picture of unitization and (2) a review of the specific function of the petroleum engineer in the formation of fieldwide producing units involving secondary recovery operations.
A fieldwide producing unit can be defined as a unit comprised of lands that are producing or are reasonably proved to be productive at the time the unit is formed. Such lands usually embrace all or substantially all of a reservoir (common source of supply) in an established field. Such units are usually formed for the purpose of initiating some type of secondary recovery operations, but they may be formed for more efficient operations such as selectively producing certain wells, etc. which will have the effect of increasing ultimate recovery.
Sometimes units of substantial size involving a number of wells, but which do not include all or most of a field, are classed as fieldwide producing units to distinguish them from so-called spacing units. In fieldwide producing units, usually the entire 8/8 interest is unitized; i.e., the oil company's interest and all of the royalty interest are unitized. It is recognized, of course, that the engineer also plays a primary role in the formation of exploratory units, drilling and spacing units, partial units, communitization agreements and other species of joint operating programs.
The History of Unitization
In 1948 Robert E. Hardwicke wrote a truly informative and interesting book called Anti-Trust Laws et al vs Unit Operation of Oil and Gas Pools, which was published by AIME as a service to the industry. Hardwicke defines, in form of questions, two problems which were facing the industry in 1925.
First, what could be done to increase efficiency in oil and gas development and production, or how could recovery of oil and gas be materially increased and the expense of operation materially decreased? Second, what could be done to prevent the haphazard development of new pools, with resultant over-production, waste, inefficiency, and the demoralization of markets and prices? The answer to both problems is, in a large measure, unitization.
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