The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) reported in 2008 that undiscovered technically recoverable oil in the Bakken was about 3.6 billion barrels across the U.S. portion of the basin, considering recent successful application of horizontal wells and multistage hydraulic fracturing technologies. As the development of the unconventional resources in the Williston Basin continues beyond the phases of exploration and lease evaluation, optimum well spacing and recovery factor will become forefront considerations in the formulation of asset development strategies. Based on our studies the reservoir producing mechanism is primarily solution gas drive and primary oil recovery factor is lower than 15% of the original oil in-place. This low recovery or very high oil volume remaining in place is a strong motivation to investigate the application of enhanced oil recovery methods in this basin.
This paper describes the construction of numerical simulation models using typical fluid and rock properties for the Bakken and Three Forks, assuming both naturally fractured and single porosity systems and their combinations. Multistage hydraulic fracture properties are determined from well completion engineering and coupled with the flow models. The flow models are constrained by well operating practices implemented by operators across the basin during primary oil production.
The results of pressure maintenance methods to arrest the rapid reservoir pressure decline due to large pressure drawdown necessary to produce oil and water, as well as gas (including carbon dioxide) and water injection methods to improve oil recovery are presented.