Brian Salgado, Energy Executive Magazine
When founded in 2010, Allied Wireline Services, entered into an exclusive agreement with GE Oil & Gas to provide certain state of the art technology. Using leading technologies, experienced management and one of the most modern fleets in the business, Allied Wireline concentrated on open- and cased-hole logging services in the U.S. land market and quickly grew to be one of the leading independent provider of wireline formation evaluation and completion services in the country.
Led by an industry proven management team, Allied Wireline began their strategic plan to expand their already sizeable footprint into all of the active U.S. basins.
After a very deliberate and detailed search, Horizontal Wireline Services stood above all other options as an impeccable opportunity of growth.
In March 2014, Allied Wireline and Horizontal Wireline merged to become Allied-Horizontal Wireline Services.
“The fit was perfect,” says Allied Wireline founder Larry Albert, who now serves as vice chairman of Allied-Horizontal Wireline Services.
“We combined the industry leading completions execution and service quality with the best independent reservoir analytics to form the leading independent logging and completion services provider in the United States,” Albert says.
The merger moved Allied into new geographic markets. Albert says early on his company focused primarily on plays in the central region of the United States, including the Mid-Continent, Permian Basin, Eagle Ford, Denver-Julesburg Basin and the Bakken shale.
Horizontal Wireline brought a significant footprint in the Marcellus shale natural gas market to the merger.
In July 2014, Allied-Horizontal added the new resistivity micro imaging tool, manufactured by GE Oil & Gas, to its suite of reservoir answer products designed to meet the down-hole formation evaluation needs of its customers.
This tool, according to Albert, takes images of the reservoir rock via a series of pads which make electrical resistivity measurements. These are converted into an image of the well bore that shows how a rock structure changes along the surface. This gives users a view of fractures, bedding planes and geological features that can be managed to enhance completions and improve well placement.
“This is very helpful for clients to evaluate reservoirs and know where to put the next wells,” Albert says. “It is a very important piece of technology brought to market in combination with GE Oil & Gas, our alliance partner for our open-hole logging.”
Making the Case
For case-hole evaluation, Allied- Horizontal has recently introduced a new spectral gamma ray tool to run in combination with the pulsed neutron tool that was brought to the market in 2012. This new tool measures the energy spectrum of natural formation gamma ray radiation. Gamma ray contributions are segregated by energy level, which allows users to learn a great deal about the formation type and shale content. Plus, the uranium component can be associated with total organic carbon.
“This gives us a new tool to help clients evaluate their reservoirs, and is especially useful in the shale plays,” Albert says. “This means less stress for the operator.”
Despite launching new products on a regular basis, Allied- Horizontal does not have an internal R&D department. Instead, the company employs technical and engineering support staff that knows how to solve customer problems while relying on a network of vendors who can find solutions.
“We work closely with most of the major product manufacturers around the globe, and I’ve known most of the people having worked in the wireline industry for more than 40 years,” Albert says. “We’re very unique as an independent wireline company – most of our competitors don’t have the capabilities we have.”
Albert says Allied-Horizontal will continue to grow alongside horizontal drilling and resource plays throughout the United States.
“It seems that every day, there’s another reservoir somewhere that E&P operators are applying horizontal drilling and completion technology,” Albert adds. “We have seen different technologies come and go over the years, but horizontal drilling and stimulation (fracking) have been a remarkable game-changer for this industry, and we see progress continuing. “A big part of our business is in horizontal completions,” Albert adds.
Horizontal wireline completions, or “plug and perf” jobs as they’re known in the industry, are used to complete horizontal wells, primarily those with cemented liners.
Plug and Perf
During plug-and-perf jobs, the wireline companies perforate the wells to create pathways for the frack fluids to be pumped into the reservoir. This is accomplished with specialized explosive carriers that perforate the casings, cement sheath and then penetrate into the reservoir rock.
These perforations are also the pathway for the reservoir fluids (oil and gas) to be produced. The wireline companies also set plugs between frack stages, so individual sections of the rock can be stimulated.
The traditional method to selectively perforate wells utilized pressure switches between perforating guns. This technology has been used by wireline companies for decades, suffered reliability issues and was not intrinsically safe.
The latest technology for perforating utilizes Radio Safe Addressable switches.
This technology was developed by Horizontal Wireline in close collaboration with a perforating technology leader and now offers a safer more effective way to perforate horizontally.
This unique perforating switch processor provides a significant step change in the ability to get the horizontal stage safely shot the first time – every time.
This means elimination of wireline misruns, real-time shot detection and more over, a safer location.
“That was 99 percent of what Horizontal Wireline did, it is now a very big part of our business,” Albert says.
Rocky Mountain High
Albert foresees ongoing growth for his new company as it gets settled months after the merger. Allied-Horizontal has a new operation in the Rocky Mountain region where there is a sizable opportunity for growth.
The company has developed and maintained solid relationships with Bakken operators that will facilitate growth in the new Dickinson, N.D., district, and there is hope that natural gas will make a comeback, as well.
“We’ll continue to look at other places around the U.S. to expand our footprint, especially as gas prices rebound and continue to improve,” Albert says. “We continue to grow our technology portfolio through new tools developed in conjunction with GE and other technology leaders; these will help us expand our formation evaluation capabilities, which will improve our market share.
“We’re a relatively small player still, but we’re getting bigger and are adding to a strong position,” Albert adds. “There are a lot of growth opportunities for Allied-Horizontal Wireline Services.”
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