Continental Says Test Well May Be Significant in Three Forks - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Continental Says Test Well May Be Significant in Three Forks

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It's another benchmark in the development of the Bakken.

Continental Resources announced this week it successfully tested the first horizontal well into what geologists call the third bench in the Three Forks.

A press release says the well in McKenzie County drilled to a depth of over 21-thousand feet. That's over four miles. Or think of it like 70 football fields.

Continental CEO Harold Hamm said in a press release that this news "could be a real game-changer."

Company officials believe this helps confirm their belief that there is significantly more recoverable oil in the play than has been estimated.

Alison Ritter with ND Oil and Gas can't confirm or deny the news because it's a confidential well. But she says if oil is being recovered from the third bench

There were wells at certain points in history, the EOG well in 2006 and the Brigham well in 2009 that when you look back yes those were historical breakthroughs. Did we know how big at the time? Maybe a little bit. Could this Continental well be something like that? You never know but there certainly is that potential there that two or three years from now we look back and say that Continental well really told us something about what was going on with the Three Forks," says Alison Ritter with North Dakota Oil & Gas.

We mentioned the well is on "confidential status." That means oil and gas can't speak to any results or say much of anything at all about it.

Ritter says the well comes off confidential status in early March and details will be available at that time.

Continental Resources says its well is the first successful test well in the third bench.
What is the "third bench?"  Right now it's the lowest level oil has been recovered by a well.
       For instance the top three rocks represent the upper, middle, lower Bakken.  The fourth represents the Three Forks.
       There are four levels within the Three Forks--known as benches.
"Each of these benches has a reservoir unit where we have these laminated dolostones and in between each of the reservoirs you have rock which is very rich in clay which acts as a seal which would separate the top bench, bench one from bench two," says Geologist Stephan Nordeng.
     Continental's recent play is below the those two benches.  There is also talk of drilling into the fourth bench, but right now no one has drilled to that level. Only core samples have shown that there is oil there

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