By NANCY K. OWENS
VIRTUAL DRILLER: Dale E. Steinkuehler of Ensaga recently was the featured speaker during the Tulsa Press Club’s Headliner Luncheon Series. Ensaga is interested in virtual drilling technology, which provides an electromagnetic log similar to a conventional log produced by drilling a well, but without drilling a well.
The recent upswing in the oil industry has spawned the growth of companies positioning themselves to provide consulting and services to the industry in a variety of areas. Ensaga, based in Tulsa with offices in Lugano, Switzerland, is one such company. Dale E. Steinkuehler and Robert A. Duncan founded Ensaga in 2004.
Steinkuehler’s experience spans 25 years in the oil and gas industry including roles from financial analyst to Chief Financial Officer at Adams Energy Company. Since 1988, he has been president of the Steinkuehler Investment Company and affiliates. Duncan has over 25 years experience in the oil and gas industries including senior international positions in Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia with Cooper Energy Services. Since 1988, he has been president of Duncan & Associates, Inc & DAR S.A.
The company combines Steinkuehler’s and Duncan’s experience in the oil industry to offer services in investing in exploration and production companies, leveraging upstream services into exploration programs, participating in oil and gas exploration, providing strategic focus and active management and employing worldwide strategic relationships.
As part of its participation in oil and gas exploration, Ensaga is in the process of acquiring an Oklahoma company and marketing its virtual drilling technology. Virtual drilling provides an electromagnetic (EM) log similar to a conventional log produced by drilling a well, but without drilling a well. This proprietary EM technology is similar to the EM technology used offshore by ExxonMobil and Statoil, Norway’s national oil company. Ensaga markets its virtual drilling as MaxEx, Maximize Exploration results.
Steinkuehler comments, “Using MaxEx, oil and gas companies can best allocate their operational and financial resources to the best oil and gas opportunities. MaxEx can virtually drill wells to 18,000 feet. By analyzing only the potential oil and gas zones, it can drill roughly 12 wells per week.”
Much of this is accomplished by drilling fewer dry holes. Steinkuehler says, “MaxEx successfully calls 100 percent for calling dry holes and 50 percent for calling commercial wells, but with ongoing advances in the technologies, we expect the commercial call rate to improve to 55 percent or more.”
There has been controversy recently about the number of reserves available and the ability to meet future demand for oil. New discoveries of oil have declined in the last 40 years by 65 percent, while demand has increased by 50 percent. As a result, oil is in tight supply. Discoveries like the Saudi Arabian Ghawar field, the world’s largest producer at 5 percent of the daily oil production, have already been found. Innovative exploration methods are required to locate new reserves.
According to Steinkuehler, “Virtual drilling is a logical response to this issue. MaxEx is that tool. It improves the results of much-needed exploration.” Depressed prices over the last 20 years have led to reduced investment in exploration. Current-level prices can support increased exploration, but many companies remain apprehensive because oil prices are historically volatile. Steinkuehler considers virtual drilling to be a cost-efficient tool that complements seismic exploration.
According to Steinkuehler, “Response to virtual drilling technology has been positive. We are in the marketing phase both domestically and internationally. Currently, we are in discussions with two companies in India, ONCG and OIL, to utilize MaxEx technology in their oil fields. They have 18 million acres of onshore fields, 45 active rigs and a capacity of 90. MaxEx could add immense value in that area.” He adds, “We are also working with domestic producers to add value to deep gas fields and coal-bed methane plays (CBM).
He concludes by saying, “Transportation consumes over 50 percent of the world oil production; the Energy Information Agency forecasts this level of usage to continue over the next 20 years. MaxEx is an innovative, commercially effective tool that will enable oil exploration and production in response to the projected growing demand.
For more information, see www.ensaga.com.