Montreal, Canada-based Gastem (TSX VENTURE: GMR) is a gas exploration junior. It owns drilling rights to approximately 1,210 sq. miles of land in the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Gaspe Peninsula and the Magdalen Islands in the Canadian province of Quebec. It has been involved in a joint venture with Canadian Forest Oil, Questerre Energy Corporation and Epsilon Energy Ltd to develop the Yamaska property in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. Forest has been operator of the Yamaska Utica shale development that consists of 112,000 acres of drilling rights. Gastem owns a 20% working interest in the property. Three horizontal wells have been drilled on this permit, and in February, 2009 drilling results were announced.
In early January, 2009 Gastem announced a farm-in agreement with Canbriam Energy regarding two Mundiregina permits (92,104 acres) located in the St-Lawrence Lowlands directly south of the aforementioned Yamaska property. Gastem was to have a 17% interest there, Canbriam 68%, and the remainder stayed with the sellers (farmors). Canbrian was to be the well operator.
In February, 2009 it was also reported that Gastem and its partner, Canbriam Energy, had been in the process of selecting drilling sites on the St-Hyacinthe permit to the southwest of Yamaska. It was not apparent whether this was the same property referred to above as Mundiregina (although in a later press release, it was described as immediately south of Gastem's Yamaska Property and 92,039 acres--this sounds very similar to how Mundiregina was described.)
Three vertical test wells were to be drilled on this permit to test the Utica and Lorraine shale formations:
- Update #1: In August, 2009 Gastem announced that it had spudded the Saint-Hyacinthe No. 1 well. The depth of the vertical well was to be 8,300 feet, and it was expected to take about four weeks to finish drilling. The series of three wells was to test gas production on two distinctly different fault blocks, and also to analyze the Lorraine shale sequence. The companies planned to fracture stimulate the wells once core samples had been analyzed. A pipeline infrastructure was already available on the property.
- Update #2: A September, 2009 press release stated that the second well in the series had been spud. This well was to reach a depth of 6,890 feet through the Ordovician shale formations with a primary target of the Utica shale. It is known as La Presentation No. 1, and was expected to take about 4 weeks to drill.
- Update #3: In February, 2010 Gastem announced the results of single stage completions for both the Saint-Hyacinthe No. 1 and La Presentation No. 1 wells. Both vertical test wells had been drilled to the Trenton Limestone and cores had been successfully taken from the Utica interval. Gastem's partner Canbriam Energy and operator had cased and then fracture stimulated each well in one of the targeted Utica intervals--only a small section of the gas bearing interval was used. The wells were flowed for 15 days. The results were as folows:
- St-Hyacinthe No. 1 flowed at an instantaneous rate of 1.8 Mmcf/d which settled down to an extended steady rate of 200 Mcf/d.
- La Presentation No. 1 had some interference from what was believed to be nearby faulting, yet still yielded a stable flow rate of 100 Mcf/d. Gas shows had been good on this well and, with optimization of completion, the flow rate was expected to equal that of the St-Hyacinthe one. Testing demonstrated that the source rock for both wells was over-pressured; both partners anticipated further testing and optimization.
Drill cutting and logs had confirmed a 30% increase in the thickness of the Utica shale south from the Yamaska fault. Gastem owned drilling rights to the surrounding acreage.
- Update #4: According to a June, 2010 press release, Gastem had spud a vertical well on the St-Hyacinthe permit named the St. Barnabe No. 1. It was to be drilled to a total depth of 8,320 feet. Similar to the earlier vertical wells, the purpose of this one, once it had been drilled, was to core and log its Utica and Lorraine shale as well as Trenton-Black River intervals. It was expected to take 3 weeks to drill. The company planned to plug back this well and drill a horizontal section. The St. Barnabe was the second of four wells planned on the property for 2010. It was to be fracture stimulated later in the year.
In May, 2009, the company announced that by month-end it intended to conduct a 39 square mile gravity survey in the vicinity of the Magdalen Islands east of the St. Lawrence Lowlands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Excel Geophysics was to conduct the survey. Gastem's permit is located in the lower section of the Gulf in the Magdalen Basin. This basin has several salt domes similar to those found in the Gulf of Mexico which are considered highly prospective for conventional natural gas. The gravity data combined with earlier geophysical data collected on the Magdalen Islands will help Gastem zero in on the the best areas to explore.
Gastem has also been working with Boyd Petrosearch to reprocess and evaluate seismic data shot in the Magdalen Islands between the 1970s and 2002. Boyd will help Gastem evaluate all of the geological, geophysical and geochemical data developed over previous few decades and estimate the total natural gas potential for these islands. Almost 90 miles of seismic will be reprocessed.
In October, 2009 Gastem drilled its first vertical Marcellus shale well, Yoho #1 in West Virginia. The depth was 6,600 feet, and at the time of the November, 2009 report it was still awaiting fracture stimulation and flow-testing. Within the year, Gastem planned to drill five additional vertical Marcellus shale wells, and based upon the results of these verticals intended to develop a horizontal drilling program. It was still in the process of securing pipeline capacity for its first well and did not anticipate any sales from it until mid-2010 at the earliest. The company had drilled a number of shallow wells in order to hold its leases and was bringing production from these wells online in the third and fourth quarters of 2009. Net Appalachian production for the third quarter, 2009 had been just under 0.5 Mmcf/d.
- Raymond Savoie is the President of Gastem.
- Orville Cole is President of Gastem USA.
- David Vincent is a spokeman for the company.