OT-Drilling Private Gas Well?
Drilling my own private gas well has crossed my mind several times...today the gas bill comes in and there's yet another customer charge increase on it....hence prompting me to post here and ask what would be involved in drilling a well? I think the biggest thing would locating the right place to drill. I think there would be a high possibility that gas would exist here as there are old and working oil and gas wells close by. (Looked it up oil and gas well map) I know very little about this sort of thing, just enough to be dangerous. Very little info I've been able to find about private gas wells-other than that I've seen them around before. But haven't really learned how they came into being-or even know of any contractors that drill gas wells...
The closest oil wells to here would likely be in N Indiana. Seems like there may be some that direction within 50-100 miles. ???
However we doo have some nat gas wells here. AFAIK they were all accidental while drilling for water.
There is a house about 20 miles away that is for sale and says "free heat" out front.
I have seen right here once one summer when we had a low spot in the field holding water. I could see from the shop here that there was something disturbing the water surface. I'm thinking "water bugs in the field?" (The wind is calm when it's 95* out eh? )
So I wonder out in the mud to find bubbles comming up from the ground consistantly. I should have went'n grabbed a book of matches - but I'm not sure they even make them anymore. Maybe a Bic lighter? I ass_u_me that it was gas, but I guess I don't know for sure.
Think Snow Eh!
no idea in your area but pressures can be high 20,000PSI and a blow out is likely with home made equipment. if it blows you pay for clean up etc. I would think to sell gas you would need state drilling permits inspections etc. See BP blowout costs.
There are some ng wells near me that the gas can not be sold. it is too low a heat content and the gas buyers do not want to mix it into their lines. It can be burned but you have to modify equipment to do so and I think it is impure and blows out the flame from time to time.
work fine last long time
I grew up in a little farm town (pop. 800) in central Illinois.
Many of the homes in the north-west part of town had their own gas wells. I used to service them as a kid helping the local handy-man.
The gas was stored in a tank in the basement. The bottom half (about three feet tall and maybe six feet in diameter) was filled with water. The upper (movable) part sat in the water. The gas was stored in that upper chamber, which rose and fell as the gas volume changed.
There was a thin (3" ???) concrete weight poured onto the top of the movable part to maintain pressure.
Worked fine for those lucky enough to be over the gas pocket.
I guess how practical a home gas well is depends on how close your land is to the gas station
First off do you own the mineral rights to your land? if not you would have to pay the royalty to the owners. There are also huge liability issues, look at BP. You would have to set surface casing and cement off the gas zone all big expensres.Once you have your well developed there's not to much expense to keep it running. Did you research how deep your gas zone is? We had a played out well on our land we could have taken over but after talking to a lawyer about the liability refused it and the company pluged it. Ron
I am not in the oil/NG business, but work for a gentleman that is. Nor am i a petroleum engineer or geologist, but here are some things that I have learned from osmosis:
1. In Ohio, and most likely other states also, one must own or lease the mineral rights to a minimum amount of acreage before one may drill a gas or oil well.
2. The intended depth of well (production zone) determines the amount of acreage needed for permitting.
3. There are property setbacks as to how close one may drill to the property line. One cannot drill ten feet from the line fence and steal the neighbors gas.
4. The state requires all sorts of permits before you just poke a hole 2000 feet or more into the ground.
5. Drilling a well for oil or NG is very expensive, with no guarantee that your well will not be a duster, even when near a currently producing well. If everything was so easy and a sure thing, there would be more folks in this very risky business.
6. Even if a well does hit gas, it can be very costly to keep some wells in production. Some wells are also producers of salt water, that must be properly disposed of, at a price of coarse.
7. Some wells produce natural gas contaminated with hydrogen sulfide, which is deadly if inhaled. Forget about using it in your home.
8. If you are whining about a small amount of increase to your gas bill, do not even think of attempting to drill a private well on your place. Your lifetime cash outlay to the gas company most likely will not buy the rig (rotary or cable tool), pipe, tubing, bits, permits, or expertise needed to drill a well.
Sorry to be so negative, but the general citizen has no clue as to what it takes to drill even a shallow well, then operate it, and transport the gas to everyone's home. Do not get me wrong, I too do not like paying my gas bill, but it is a real deal when compared to drilling my own well!
Years ago, a vendor I dealt with in Pa. told me that there was a well on his property,drilled and owned by a Petro Co. One of the parts of his agreement was to get free NG. He did use the free NG to heat his outdoor pool, but he would not use it in his house, since that gas lacks the odorant that lets you know if there is a leak.
NYS is still on a moratorium to decide some of the issues, especially around fracking. It used to be sort of common to get "free" gas for the landowner in some areas but it has been a lot less common in recent years. Part of the deal though, was putting in the system to filter it and add the mercaptin odorant.
Like the OP, I used to think "lot's of people who barely knew what they were doing did it with a cable drill in the old days & some of those wells are still producing, how hard can it be?" Then KMC reminded me "EPA fines, 5,000 psi pressures, and how would you explain a blowout" among other issues
Realistically, even with a cable drill and time, the cost of the pipe alone is going to be worth a few years costs of just paying for gas through the meter unless the wells are really shallow in your area.
But I, too, remain curious to see how things develop on the personal sized home drilling operation front.
I currently drill water wells in OH with a cable tool rig. Recently I considered drilling oil & gas wells here. I sent to ODNR for paper work and in OH the state requires you to cary insurance for both the rig and the wells you drill and own. You may not for a private well but I can't remember for sure. You should be able to get the well logs on the wells in your area that will give you an idea of what formations are and how deep. A lot of the wells in my area were drilled with cable tool rigs. It takes almost a month to drill a clinton well running 24/7. It's expensive but the cable rigs are cheaper than rotary and if you're going to do it yourself you won't be able to buy a rotary unless you have alot of money. First string of casing has to be cemented in once you drill through all the water formations. The drilling process itself is not as easy as most think whether it is water or oil. It can be dangerous and there are all sorts of things to watch for and problems that can complicate things such as losing tools in the hole getting them stuck, crooked hole etc. There are multiple strings of pipe that are run, you have to know when to reset a rope socket, how to dress bits, change tools, and learn how to tell what your tools are doing downhole by feel of the cable. I wouldn't recomend attempting it unless you can find someone that has done it that can help. A mistake can cost you alot of money and sometimes ruins the hole and you have to move and start over. Here's a video of a rig I took last fall when I was helping a guy drill a gas well. This one was fairly shallow, finished at around 1,250 ft if I remember right- YouTube - Cyclone 46 Drilling A Gas Well
Here's a pic of a 6" bit being heated in the forge to be dressed-
Wow, thanks guys, great info, very interesting!
I understand paying the gas company would be alot cheaper than drilling a well...but what FUN is that?
I'm pretty sure I own all the mineral rights-the deed doesn't say anything about them.
Some very good thoughts, this is not something I'm looking to do right away, but just very curious about it.
okay n47ie5, did it posting the video of the cable rig! That is way too cool, now to find one of those sitting in the weeds somewhere!
Now on the bright side. A friend of mine in Nashville, Ohio was contacted by an oil company to drill a well on his property. They drilled, but not a producer, just natural gas. They were going to cap it, but my friend somehow assumed the ownership of it and used the gas. It cost a few thousand bucks for the mercaptin injector, separator, little joe and other stuff. Plus hiring a swabber a few times a year, but he had free gas. The real upside to it all, was that he bought an old Gardner Denver nat. gas engine and generated electric for his house and shop. The excess was then sold to the power company at the wholesale rate. Still going, as far as I know.
Couple more suggestions, if you're really considering doing this, then you need to learn all you can. There is a good book on drilling called Deep Well Drilling by Walter Henry Jeffrey. It is copyright 1921 but is now being reprinted. It starts with the old derricks, but it is the best book i've seen with lots of info on cable drilling. It talks about the different tools bailers, drilling in the different formations etc. Not all rigs are the same. You need to know how deep you're going to have to drill. Some of the smaller rigs that guys use for water wells can drill about 500' max. The Bucyrus Erie 22W can drill about 1200' and the bucyrus erie 36L can drill to 3000' I think. The cyclones weren't as common but there are a few around. The biggest one I seen was a walkeneer that could drill to 6000' and I don't remember what model it was. If you find a rig you're most likely going to have to put on all new cable to start. Figure at least 3/4" drill line, and drill line is not ordinary cable. It is left hand lay. You can learn the basics of cable drilling from a water well driller, some of the older guys came out of the oil field. If you see a cable rig working somewhere stop and talk to them. If you have questions about a rig or other stuff PM me and I can help. Also most of the gas wells in my area the gas coming straight from the well does have an odor. The one I was helping drill did, we could smell the gas coming from the hole when we were getting into the gas formations. When processing plants dry the gas and take out all the impurities then they have to add odor because the gas itself in pure form does not have an odor.
Thanks for posting some really useful practical information & videos! It looks like you are into a wide range of stuff, too.
Can you put a number on what it would cost to drill 3,000 ft through typical mud rock and shale that overlays a gas reservoir with a cable rig like yours? If that is too open ended, how much would it cost -per day- to hire a rig like yours along with the operator & experience for the same job? What would the additional costs of consumables, cement, and casing add?
I'm convinced that if the intent is to sell gas, a private person is far better off signing a lease and letting the gas co do everything else. Especially since getting commercial quantities would entail fracking around here.
However, suppose the intent was for a small co-op of of a few houses (3) to get heating gas to run shops and houses with the possibility of running a genset or co-gen at times. What might it cost to go 3,000 ft and cap, ready to install the rest of the system?
I'm guessing that there have to be a few small private operators with some good experience who could specialize in doing simple wells for private individuals with a serious intent for success. As opposed to hiring one of the big operations who don't really care if you are not in a lease with their main customer, the gas development co.
Don't quote me on this but I think the going rate in my area for drilling was around $25/ft and i'm not sure if that included casing but that's $75,000 for a 3,000ft hole. My rate for water which includes 7" casing is $24/ft. If your going to invest the time and money into the equipment you might as well start leasing land and drilling your wells to make some money. Land owners typically do get some royalty fees off the well production to, but once you get enough good wells drilled then you should be able to make some good money off the wells and not have to do anything during the winter months. All you do is service your wells and drill a few new ones here and there to keep up your production. There are private drillers out there that do just what I described. The guy I helped owns and services all his wells and will occasionally drill one for someone too.
You tube has lots of great video on cable drilling. Re-sharpening the tooling is something else!
I worked in the gas field as a welder's helper/laborer off and on since October and would say that the best way would be simply see if one of the big gas companies would be interested in drilling on your property. Worst case scenario they say no cause its not a viable option for them. Middle ground is they take core samples and say you don't have anything to drill for. Best case they do and drill for you and as part of the agreement tie you in and pay you a monthly lease fee. That is how most homes get free gas hook ups is because they lease land in some shape or form to the gas company either letting them run pipes through their land and in addition to the $$$ income from a drilled well.
Buying gas from the big boys is a pain and SELLING gas might very well turn out to be a pain too. One guy I know signed a lease for natural gas wells on his property. After the lease was signed, they turned around completely and are now very hard to work with. Its a long story, but effectively his property is tied up and he couldn't rent it out (to us) cause they're supposed to be possibly coming in to drill a well-but he didn't know when or where. Sure its within their rights in the lease, that's why I'm hesitant to get involved with them if its even possible-it wouldn't be a problem if its land you don't really use, or they could try to work with you and say this is where we're going to put down the well, you can use the other 60 acres right now and not worry about us tearing down fences and putting in roads over on that part. That guy is supposed to get free gas too I believe...when ever the well may be going.