Regional appraisal of shale resource potential within the Permian, Anadarko and Arkoma basins: how does the Alpine High stack up?
The Alpine High on the southwestern fringe of the Delaware sub-basin in the Permian Basin (Figure 1) is an emerging unconventional fairway with shale resource potential. In 2016, an operator drilled a series of exploration and appraisal wells on the Alpine High, targeting the stacked resource interval comprising the Woodford, Barnett and Wolfcamp shale plays (Apache Corporation, 2017). All three plays have been successfully developed elsewhere in Texas and/or Oklahoma, but were previously untested on the Alpine High. There are more than 4500 wells targeting the Woodford in the Anadarko and Arkoma basins, more than 24,000 wells targeting the Barnett shale in the Fort Worth Basin and more than 16,000 wells targeting the Wolfcamp in the Delaware and Midland sub-basins of the Permian Basin (Rystad Energy, 2018). The distribution of the wells targeting these shale plays is shown in Figure 1. Initial well results and production tests on the Alpine High are reported to have been promising (Apache Corporation, 2017) and, as a result, the Alpine High is regarded as a highly prospective, but largely untested, unconventional fairway. However, key questions remain concerning the Alpine High: Are the shale plays comparable to their producing counterparts? How does the in-place resource concentration compare to established areas? How is the resource distributed within the stratigraphy?