Manitok Energy Inc.

If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing right. At Manitok Energy Inc., employees do their best to ensure that tasks are completed professionally and with a high level of quality, COO and Vice President of Exploration Tim de Freitas says.

“[Our] specialized geologists work 24-7, with continuous discussion with the operations team to make sure we do hit the target,” de Freitas explains. “They are making sure we don’t get into trouble, while directionally drilling along the right path to intersect the best part of the highly structured foothills reservoirs. Our drilling team is first class, and has nearly 100 collective years of experience dealing with these complex plays.”

The Calgary-based firm focuses on the exploration and development of conventional oil and gas reservoirs in the foothills of the Western Canada Sedimentary basin. De Freitas and finance partner Mass Geremia started the company in 2005 with a small, undeveloped heavy oil property.

De Freitas explains “that this was ‘starter kit property,’ allowing us to drill cheap wells and gain a base of cash flow. The real intent of the company, though, was to establish a financial foundation in order to pursue the initial plan of exploiting the vast foothills play type, an area where the team excelled previously at Talisman Energy.

“We grew the heavy oil property from 0 to 400 bbl/d [barrels of oil produced per day] peak production, but now has become defocused,” he adds.

Previously, he worked at British Gas International, Talisman Energy Inc., Imperial Oil and Nexen Inc. Throughout the years, he has been responsible for the discovery of oil and gas pools in the plains and foothills of Western Canada.

“The whole intent of the company was to get into the foothills,” he says, adding that Manitok Energy only had two people on its staff. “Now we’re up to 22.”

Industry Expertise
Manitok Energy’s multidisciplinary staff includes associates with more than 100 combined years of experience in the foothills. This includes Drilling Manager Yvonne McLeod, who de Freitas worked with at Talisman.

“Basically, it’s a reincarnation of a very successful foothills E&P team, de Freitas says, noting that Manitok Energy employs many other former Talisman workers and uses several techniques that were employed by them at Talisman.

In addition, the expertise of Manitok Energy’s team proves critical on each of the projects. “Every well has to be thought through and planned,” de Freitas says. “The execution is different for each.”

McLeod agrees. “We operate in a complex downhole geological environment,” she asserts. “We’re using the latest in drilling technology to geosteer to the targets.”

This includes the use of systems like AutoTrak, an advanced rotary steerable. “Most people would think twice before using it,” she says. “We’re using it [without hesitation].”

Profitable Ventures
Manitok Energy enjoys a low level of competition in the foothills. According to President and CEO Massimo M. Geremia, this is because many major energy firms have shifted their focus away from hydrocarbon reserves at shallow depths to other play types.

“During their drilling campaigns of the previous 20 years, the majors bypassed the shallower foothills reservoirs in the pursuit of the larger, deep structures where they had numerous drilling targets to pursue,” he said in a statement. “They are now exiting the region before having fully exploited the deeper structures and leaving the shallower horizons relatively untouched.”

This leaves Manitok Energy in a good position. “We are currently one of the very few companies in the industry, including the majors, with the necessary geological and drilling experience to methodically and reliability exploit these bypassed reservoirs in the foothills,” he said. “In our opinion, we have a world-class foothills technical team which can compete with anybody in the industry.”

De Freitas agrees. “We are certainly the most active player in the Foothills basin,” he says, noting that most, if not all, operators have become inactive in this part of the basin, including Shell, Talisman, Suncor Energy and Husky Energy.

McLeod and the rest of Manitok Energy’s team are at work on the company’s Stolberg Cardium oil well in the Foothills. In late 2011, the company drilled a vertical exploration well, which intersects a Cardium light oil pool.

“The wellbore was first perforated and produced at an unstipulated, stable rate over a test period conducted in January of 2012,” the company says. “Since then, this zone was fracture stimulated and tested over a 76-hour period.”

At approximately the same time, the company conducted a production test for 44 hours on a second oil well. According to the company, both wells tested at stable rates of approximately 1,261 barrels per day of sweet light oil and about 250 barrel per day of associated natural gas. The oil is very light indeed, and is more like a condensate, at 54 API, and so demands a premium price to Alberta’s benchmark light oil.

Staying Put
De Freitas says Manitok Energy does not plan on leaving the area any time soon. “We’re looking at a long-term run in the foothills,” he states.

“There’s other parts of the globe that have a very complex structure,” he continues. “Why not find hydrocarbons in those areas? It is a long-term view of exploration in a structured place.” EMI