Next Generation Multi-Stage Completion Technology and Risk Sharing Accelerates Development of the Bakken Play
- Matthewe C. Houston (Slawson Exploration Co. Inc.) | Mark A. McCallister (Slawson Exploration Co. Inc.) | Joshua D. Jany (Packers Plus Energy Services) | Joshua Audet (Packers Plus)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, 19-22 September, Florence, Italy
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2010. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.8.2 Shale Gas, 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology, 2.2.2 Perforating, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 3 Production and Well Operations, 2.5.4 Multistage Fracturing, 2 Well Completion, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant), 1.6.6 Directional Drilling, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 5.8.4 Shale Oil
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Over the last decade, an industry wide shift to unconventional plays has occurred due to advanced drilling and completion technologies allowing the recovery of previously uneconomic reserves. A notable play in this category is the Bakken formation in the Williston Basin. Through the application of horizontal drilling and innovative completion design, the recoverable reserves in the Bakken are now estimated at 3.65 billion bbl of oil.
Through multiple case study wells and direct offset comparisons, this paper analyzes production results for two completion methods employed in the Bakken today: cemented production liners with "plug and perf?? stimulation and open hole, multi-stage system completions. Additionally, production differences based on stage number, stage interval length, and 640 acre spacing versus 1,280 acre well spacing are presented.
The trend to increase stage density in extended-reach, horizontal wells in the Bakken requires leading-edge technology to maintain operational efficiencies and improve overall well economics. With the introduction of new "high density?? technology to open hole, multi-stage systems, these requirements are exceeded with maximum stage density capability allowing for decreased completion time and lower-risk stimulation practices compared to conventional methods.
Formation Description. The Bakken formation encompasses an area of approximately 200,000 square miles (518,000 km2) and is located within the Williston Basin, which is the largest onshore sedimentary basin in the United States (Pollastro et al., 2008). This play stretches from the northeastern section of Montana across to the northwestern corner of North Dakota and up into Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2008, the USGS reported that the Bakken holds a mean 3.65 billion bbl of oil and 1.85 Tcf of gas (Pollastro et al., 2008).
The Bakken is an Upper Devonian - Lower Mississippian aged formation made up of three members. The Upper and Lower members are organic-rich shales that provide the source of, and trap for, the hydrocarbons in the Middle member (Figure 1) (Pitman et al., 2001). A mix of dolomite, siltstone and sandstone, the Middle member has both low porosity and permeability values, averaging 5% and 0.04 mD, respectively (Pitman et al., 2001). However, higher porosity and permeability values are associated with natural fractures, which contribute to the ability to recover reserves (Pitman et al., 2001, Olsen et al., 2009). The Bakken is upper bounded by the Lodgepole Limestone and lower bounded by the argillaceous Three Forks formation (Figure 1).
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