This project expands on recently completed Bakken Formation investigations. The project goal is to quantitatively describe and understand the Bakken Formation in the Williston Basin by collecting and analyzing a wide range of data (including geomechanical and geochemical data) that impact well productivity and oil recovery.
Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), Grand Forks, ND 58202-9018
The Bakken Formation has emerged as an important source of oil and gas in the Williston Basin. Operators are realizing production from the middle Bakken and Three Forks formations which are sourced from the organic-rich shale units within the Bakken formation. Total organic carbon (TOC) within these shale units may be as high as 40%, with estimates of total hydrocarbon generation potential across the entire Bakken Formation ranging from 200 to 400 billion barrels. The Bakken play is noteworthy because a wide variety of approaches and technologies have been applied. Areas that were initially using single stage hydraulic fracturing have progressed to multi-stage approaches with as many as 40-stages within a 10,000 foot lateral well-bore; shallower depth areas are finding success with shorter laterals and fewer stages. Understanding the technologies, geology, and their interrelationships can help improve production for more challenged areas of the Bakken play. This project will implement a robust, systematic, scientific and engineering research effort to address challenges and unlock the vast resource potential of the Bakken Formation in the Williston Basin.
The EERC implemented and completed an initial four-pronged approach to evaluate and compare key attributes of the Bakken play in two North Dakota counties (Mountrail and Dunn) to enhance the understanding of key components critical for efficient resource development, and provide technical guidance to stakeholders regarding future production efforts. The research program focused on four topic areas: geology, geochemistry, geomechanics, and engineering. By comparing key geological and engineering attributes of the two counties, insights would be gained that could improve the productivity of Dunn County wells and/or provide guidance in exploring and exploiting new sub-plays.
The EERC is continuing the Bakken research as part of the ongoing EERC–U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Program on Research and Development for Fossil Energy-Related Resources Cooperative Agreement. EERC will conduct four major activities:
It is anticipated that the activities will be coordinated with complementary, but separate, ongoing research efforts being conducted by the North Dakota Geological Survey (NDGS) and a consortium of petroleum production and service companies.
The results of this study will provide a clearer understanding of how to efficiently maximize production from the vast Bakken resources in the Williston Basin. The web-based BDSS will provide an interactive geographical database of wells that will allow the user to compare and analyze relevant information, including production and completion information, for all publically available data. A detailed comparison of the predictive utility of various collected data sets within different geological settings of the overall Bakken play will provide operators and stakeholders fresh insight regarding the roles that geologic structure and geomechanics play in the design and operation of a successful Bakken well in North Dakota.
The project has been completed. This study provides the technical characterizations that are necessary to improve knowledge, provide characterization, validate generalizations, and provide insight relative to hydrocarbon recovery in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations. Highlights from the study are as follows:
Development of the BDSS has been completed and the web-based tool is now available on the EERC website[external site].
Data on production, drilling, completions, and stimulation activities from over 1000 North Dakota wells were added to the BDSS. The BDSS includes geological properties—such as thickness, depth, structure, and organic content—for the Bakken and Three Forks formations and incorporates analytical tools that allow a user to evaluate and interpret the information. Production data can be used to understand development history and identify "sweet spots" with the best oil production potential. The website also provides the latest newsfeeds about oil and gas activities in the region, and it includes educational materials about petroleum geology and oil and gas development along with supporting publications. Monthly well production data can be downloaded via the BDSS website through a subscription service with the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. Additional well completion data is planned for future release.
A paper entitled “Mechanical and Geochemical Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing Proppants Exposed to CO2and H2S” based on earlier proppant laboratory work was presented at the Canadian Unconventional Resources and International Petroleum Conference.
The project has been completed and the final report is available below under "Additional Information".