Oil & Gas Exploration Deemed Successful in West VA
Ryan Cunningham, founder of Cunningham Energy, plans to take advantage of the untapped oil and gas reserves in West Virginia. Cunningham’s business strategy is simple: lower risk and expenses by focusing on geographical regions which yielded profitable results in the past, but still hold demonstrably capacious, largely untouched reservoirs of oil and gas.
A Step Ahead of the Competition and the Regulators
Cunningham Energy is a mid-sized, oil-focused, independent energy production company based in Charleston, West Virginia. The company does not hire outside contractors and prefers to keep its operations in-house. This makes it agile and more flexible than some of its bigger competitors and gives it the ability to outpace regulators.
When the opportunity to capitalize on shallow playing fields in Clay, Roane and Kanawha counties appeared, it didn’t take Cunningham long to formulate a plan to purchase acreage in those counties and to prepare for horizontal shale drilling. Swift execution of this plan gave Cunningham a head start over the competition and secured advantages before profit-shrinking environmental regulations could take effect.
Creating Jobs and Opportunities for the Local Community and Economy
Cunningham is proud of its tight-knit, local workforce and is committed to growing the local economies by circulating capital in the towns and cities closest to its operations.
Instead of bringing in outside contractors to run equipment and handle day to day operations, Cunningham hires locally and plans to continue doing so as it grows its eighty person operation to handle increases in workload and demand.
Employee retention is an important cornerstone of Cunningham’s long-term plan. A recruiting strategy that has worked well is hiring local high school students to work during summer breaks and then to train them as apprentices. After these students finish high school, they’re often invited back to work full-time and employ the skills they learned during their apprenticeships.
Looking toward West Virginia’s Shallow Oil and Gas Development Future
Cunningham believes part of West Virginia’s energy production future rests in horizontal drilling and completion. Three new shallow horizontal wells are slated to be drilled in Clay County from a pad comprising three wells which is often referred to as the “Rhino Pad”. The wells have a measured depth of 5,200 feet and a vertical depth of at least 2,150 feet.
Cunningham plans to use its Speedster 185 top drive rig to spud and drill the horizontal Rhino Pad wells which target oil in the Big Injun Sand formation. Each of the three wells is planned to be completed through the use of multistage fracturing.