Gummy Bears

Strange things come out of oil and gas wells besides just oil, gas and water, often so strange there is nothing to do but go sit on an upside down 5 gallon bucket, with your head in your hands, and think, in utter dismay, what in the world it might actually be. Most of the time one can come to some reasonable conclusions, but then again, its dark down there, hard to see, and stuff is very, very old. Like millions and millions of years old.

I wrote this years ago about weird stuff that comes out of wells and its worth another look see.

Below is sort of new weird thing coming out of tight oil wells these days that's interesting (as long as you don't have to deal with it) and its called, gummy bears. Not kidding on this. There is an SPE paper on this stuff and I relied heavily on it to learn something new.

I suppose you could call this polymer gunk but it looks like gummy bears, kinda, and oil men do have a sense of humor sometimes. You have to, or you'll stroke-out from stress.

I've pumped polymers to shut off excessive water production, with reasonable success, and have pumped the same kind of stuff in some well control situations, along with a "shit shot" of cut-up panty hose, sash cord, golf balls, marbles and strips of old tire inter tubes, also with reasonable success.

THIS gummy bear phenomena, however, typically occurs in a parent well when children wells around her are frac'ed and communication, or bashing between wells occurs. Not always, but most of the time. Its guar (polymer) used to gel the frac fluid. The polymer often reacts with natural irons in the rock and when a friction reducer is added to the frac fluid to make it pump easier, a combination of different ingredients all make their way to the parent well and causes this chemical reaction to occur. When gummy bears is at the surface, in separators, heater treaters and tanks, its a mess. When it occurs down hole, at perforation windows, your pretty much f%&ked.

This is a fairly common problem in the SCOOP/STACK in the Woodford of Oklahoma but occasionally it even occurs in some portions of the Midland Basin. Again, its polyacrylamide gel that has interacted with friction reducers and high natural iron and iron oxides from the formation. Its carrying lots of flocculated illite clays from the formation as well and the ensuing rubbery gunk can cause an awesome reduction in production, clearly. It can sometimes be broken down with chemicals, most often not; the good news now days is that tight oil folks know what not to add to their frac fluids.

Imagine your $10MM tight oil well producing this shit. And its actually your money you invested to drill the well.

People think this oil and gas business stuff is easy; all you have to do if find a spot, drill a vertical well, turn the corner on bottom, drill some more, fill the whole thing up with sand and water and bingo, your an oilman. It ain't so.

Gummy bears is designed specifically for operators and frac consultants who get the big head, which the entire tight oil industry has at this brief moment in time, because of "free" cash flow. Gummy Bears is Mother Natures way of putting you back in your place. Of showing you who is really boss.

There is NO messing with Mother Nature.