ExxonMobil drilling extremely long laterals

Oil supermajor ExxonMobil is drilling shale well laterals that stretch farther than the length of New York’s Central Park, Bloomberg reports.

The company recently finished four wells in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale that extend horizontally for three miles, Barclays analyst Paul Cheng said in a research note after meeting with ExxonMobil executives.

And the oil giant’s eyeing the four-mile mark. That would be “a game changer that could potentially allow the company to leap frog the competition in unit cost and return metrics,” Cheng wrote.

In the Permian Basin that stretches beneath West Texas and southeast New Mexico, the company’s laterals are approaching the 2-1/2-mile threshold, Cheng wrote, roughly the length of Manhattan’s Central Park from north to south, Kallanish Energy understands.

ExxonMobil appears to be transferring breakthroughs it made in the Russian Far East a decade ago to its North American fields, Bloomberg reported.

In 2007, on remote Sakhalin Island, the company drilled a total of 7 miles down and horizontally to reach a cluster of oilfields beneath the Sea of Okhotsk.