Some moderately technical background on drilling history in Bakken

Geo ExPro has good background on drilling in the Bakken field in their article From Trickle to Gusher: the Bakken Oil Story, by Thomas Smith.

Some historical data:

North Dakota’s Bakken Formation oil production was just 1,500 bpd in 2004…

The increase of Bakken oil production in North Dakota has come within the past five years. In the beginning of 2007, North Dakota had 303 wells producing 12,000 bopd. By early 2009, that number had risen to 904 wells producing 106,000 bopd. Jump to November of 2011 (the most recent date published for North Dakota) where 3,118 wells were producing 443,425 bopd.

From a table provided by the state, we can find total production in North Dakota by month back to 1951. Some production data at comparable dates are:

  • 70,168 bopd – 3,102 wells – January 2004
  • 115,028 bopd – 3,440 wells – January 2007
  • 187,733 bopd – 3,951 wells – January  2009
  • 510,452 bopd – 6,079 wells – November 2011
  • 575,490 bopd – 6,636 wells – March 2012

Great article. If you’ve read this far in this post, you will enjoy the article.

Two things I enjoyed.

Volume of water and sand needed:

Fracturing fluids and the size of treatments have varied widely over time. The amount of fluids used in one treatment can be staggering as seen from a 2010 example, where 10,000 horizontal feet (3,048m) were treated with 3.5 million gallons (13.3 million cubic litres) of fluid to place 4.5 million pounds (2 million kilograms) of proppant.

To put those measurements together, water weighs 8.3#/gallon, so that is 20.05 million pounds of water plus 4.5 million pounds of proppant.  So that would be 33.5 million pounds of materials to fracture a 10,000 foot run.

Last picture in the article shows four producing pumps on one site, perhaps 20 or 30 feet apart.  The text says Continental Resources is drilling four wells on one pad to reduce environmental impact. I’m guessing it also helps hold down costs too.

hat tip: BakkenBlog

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