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Oil Producing Area Stirs Again

“West Virginia has much to offer the oil industry”, says Earl A. Tarver, petrolium geologist of Tulsa and Gatesville, W.Va.

Tarver points out that small independent companies are finding West Virginia to be a real “bread and butter” place to look for oil and gas. The state is one of the nation's oldest producing areas and many wells are still commercial after more than 90 years of production. Some of these old wells are being fractured with highly satisfactory results. Many of the oldtimers are making more oil and gas now than when first put into production.

Tarver says that Roane, Braxton, Gilmer, Ritchie, Doddridge and Lewis counties had a success ration of 87.5% in 1963, according to the AAPG. Last year the success ratio was even higher at 89.8% (AAPG). This increase is due primarily to improved completion methods. It is for this reason that Tarver recommends the listed counties as good hunting grounds.

There are 23 known pay zones in West Virginia. In the above counties there are 14 pay sands above 4,300 ft. Recoveries of 40,000 to 60,000 bbl per well in not uncommon in the state. “At an average price of $4.00/bbl for oil, this is a very good return on a 2,000-ft hole,” says Tarver.

He notes that lifting costs are comparably low, due to the fact that there is very little or no water to contend with. Oil is Pennsylvanian-grade, high gravity, and a good percent of the wells completed in the past 3 years or longer still flow. Most of the wells have normal pressure. Immediately against the old fields, some of the wells have lower pressure, yet will flow for several years with very good recoveries.


Oil and Gas Journal, February 15, 1965
Averages. Average size for a West Virginia oil well is 57.2 b/d: average size gas well was 1,569 Mcfd. This was from AAPG 1963 records. In the 1964 AAPG report average oil-well size was 60 b/d and gas 1.665 Mcfd. This is a 5% increase for oil and 6.1% for gas. “This is a remarkable increase in year 1 and it is due chiefly to our improved methods of completing.”

“Due to the shallow depths, high price of oil and gas, low lifting cost. West Virginia is one of the few places left for a small company to operate and grow,” said Tarver. Although there are some big wells found each year in the state, most of them are not large by western standards. But the state's high success ratio certainly requires the least drilling gamble.

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