When Data is Released on Confidential Wells

How long does it normally takes to update data on wells when they are released from confidentiality?

We get asked this question on a regular basis and usually the most accurate answer I can give is: um, it depends – different well data is released and available at different times, in advance of and after the confidential release date.

Just a bit of background on well data confidentiality – as a general rule in North America, well data including tests, completions, formations, logs, etc is made available to industry by the applicable regulator after a defined period of confidentiality ranging from 0 days to infinity. For Alberta, 30 days and a year are common.

Earlier this month, we had such a question where a specific well was mentioned:



This well which targets gas in the Spirit River formation is about 200km west of Edmonton. Instead of prying for more information, such as which data the question was referring to, I decided to answer the question as completely as I could with an ulterior motive of making the response blog fodder.

Google maps (53.77591,-116.59326), approximate well position pinned

Data Release Timeline (Actual and Future) 

  • Friday July 9th, 2010 – Well License issued
  • Monday July 12th, 2010 –  Well shows up in geoSCOUT/gDC as a drilling location with information about who licensed the well, where it is, how deep they are planning to drill and what type of well it’s going to be.
  • Tuesday July 13th, 2010: Well License, Applications and Survey plats documents are available in Qfind.
  • Tuesday August 3nd, 2010 11:23am – drilling commences, status in next day’s daily update changes from Location to Drilling and the spud date field is populated. The exact hour and minute is oddly specified in the daily spud report.
  • Friday August 20th, 2010 – Drilling finishes, updated dates are published in the August 25th ERCB (Energy Resources Conservation Board) weekly well update. A confidentiality period of 1 year is granted. 
  • September 2010 Monthly Well Update – Confidential Date, Status Change to Drilled and Cased, Casing information released
  • Thursday September 16th, 2010 – Directional survey released. Several years ago, the ERCB determined that directional surveys would be non-confidential. Other jurisdictions didn’t follow suit and keep these confidential until release day.  The data-entered survey is included in the October well update.
  • Monday January 24th, 2011 – Well goes on production and is linked to Alberta Gas Battery 0096372. This information is published in the March 2011 Well updates. Released production information is limited to Production volumes. Hours on production and Pool name remain confidential
  • Saturday August 20th 2011 – The big day!!! The well is no longer on the ERCB’s confidential list and nobody notices because it’s Saturday.
  • Monday August 22rd 2011 – Earliest possible date that Tour reports available for viewing at Core Research Center. We have observed that freshly released confidential wells may take several days before these are available.
  • Monday August 22rd, 2011 – Earliest possible date that Test and Analysis documents are available for purchase from Information Services. Similar to the Tour reports, a lag of several days is common.
  • Wednesday August 24th, 2011 – Perforation and Completion, Log Interval, Test summaries released in weekly update
  • Friday August 26th, 2011 – Raster logs available in geoSCOUT
  • Monday August 29th 2011 – Available Pressure test and Fluid Analysis PAS files in Qfind
  • September 2011 – Fluid Analysis, Gas Pressure and DST databases updated from information in digital test files in monthly updates
  • October 2011 – Pool name, production hours available in monthly updates

As is the case with this well and every other well, the most accurate answer to the original question is … it depends.

Some disclaimers: This example is for just one well in Alberta. In other provinces and states, the regulations and release dates vary. The dates in the future are also estimates and there may be some variance between expected release dates and actual release dates.

About James Brownbill

I've been with geoLOGIC since 1998 and in my current role as Manager of the Data group since 2005. Blogging is new thing for me and I will either succeed in making stories of Oil and Gas data interesting or I wont.
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