The Wolf Lake Dry Holes of 2011-2013
In January, 2011, the first of two wells was horizontally drilled under the center of Wolf Lake (Figure 1(a) below) by West Bay Exploration, which paid a total of $140000+ to the City of Jackson for 6 years of MC Chain drilling rights. This turned out to be a dry hole (#1). In August 2012, a second drilling was made in the northeast corner of the lake (Figures 1(b),(c)); this also was a dry hole (#2). The surface hole was returned to its original state by March, 2013 (Figure 1(d))
It may come as a surprise that two (not one) rigs can be used (as shown at the 2nd Wolf Lake well above). Once a well is drilled and the bottom hole looks promising for useful oil flow, a “completion rig” (red and white above) is moved in. Production casing is run into the hole and cemented. Then a tool called a “perforating gun” is lowered into the well-bore to blast holes through the casing, cement, and into the oil reservoir; this allows communication between reservoir and the production casing. Tubing may then be lowered into the casing and a plug can be set above the perforations as a barrier between the production casing and tubing. This allows the earth’s natural pressure to push oil to the well-bore and to the surface through the tubing; if the pressure is inadequate, a “pumpjack” is necessary to raise the fluids to the surface. Apparently, at Wolf Lake, the 2nd well looked promising enough to bring in a completion rig, but later the flow was estimated not to be commercially viable. The hole was plugged with cement and the well abandoned. The state then requires that the land be restored to its original form as shown (Figure 1(d).