If the initial well is successful, how long will it be before multiple laterals are drilled from the well site? Are we still years away from the multiple lateral scenario?
Pad drilling (multiple horizontal wells drilled sequentially from the same surface location) should be the predominate development model when operators have drilled to retain their leasehold. Pad drilling produces a barrel or mcf at the lowest cost per unit.
Skip's explanation is dead on. Because the oil companies with the most land have so much of it to drill, all with leases expiring at various points from a handful of days to 5 years, those companies are scrambling to get some operations underway to hold the leasehold by production and avoiding having to re-lease at with higher bonuses, bonuses and other concessions. There are relatively few rigs available to drill in the TMS, so it may be that companies will begin increasing the size of units, at least for newly proposed units - the bigger the unit, the more acreage held by production. In field drilling is probably a ways off.
Most of the pad drilling you are going to see in the TMS, for the next couple years, will be 2 wells drilling off the same pad, but one going North to hold a unit and one going South to hold a different unit.
We see it a lot in the Barnett Shale of Texas. Our Radio Control flying field is up against a pad with six wells on it. We RCers have a good relationship with the land owner and the drillers so admired us that they paved our parking area with pad stone. The drillers are gone now, but the producers are still here and doing their thing. These wells produce a lot of salt water so we constantly see trucks hauling water off to be deep sixed in SWDs.