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As Bakken E&Ps have ascended into full development phase, the real question now is how to maximize the productivity of Bakken wells whilst simultaneously driving down cost. Completions and well spacing play a huge role in cost and production efficiency, and mastering the optimization of both aspects has the ability to significantly transform the economics of every Bakken well drilled.
Amongst all of the available completion techniques available to operators, deciding upon the highest performing frac recipe is not an easy task. Operators not only need to look at increasing efficiency at every stage of completions, but need to do this in a way that balances increased recovery with reduced costs. Needless to say, if funds were unlimited, operators could spend millions of dollars testing all possible combinations of frac fluids, proppants, liners, frac stages and frac spacing to deduce the optimal recipe for the reservoir in place. However, as reality would have it, trial and error on a grand scale is neither economically viable nor operationally feasible. So, what operators must do is learn from successes and failures of other operators and understand what different producers are seeing with regard to....
Plug & Perf vs. Sliding Sleeves
Slick Water vs. Cross Link vs. Hybrid Fracs
Cemented vs. Open Hole Completions
Cost vs. Increased Recovery Of Additional Frac Stages
Resin vs. Sand vs. Ceramic Proppants
...thus enabling for the first time ever, operators to compare and contrast the production results seen from varying completions across different Bakken fields.
The second biggest challenge facing Bakken operators is well spacing. Producers are now down-spacing to fully exploit the potential of the reservoirs; but what is the optimal spacing? How can operators increase well density without causing wellbore interference and pressure drops in the reservoir? From an economic standpoint, how many wells are too many? Operators need to examine data and interpretations on drain and drillings per well from latest down spacing pilots to identify whether or not the right spacing has been reached and ultimately, determine how far apart Bakken wells should be drilled for maximum recovery.