Finding The Edge Of The Bakken - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Finding The Edge Of The Bakken

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The Bakken may not be as spread out as Geologists had first thought.

Recent wells to the east and south of "known" oil development have not been successful.

Donnell Preskey has more on how recent failures are helping to define the Bakken's border.

<< The appeal of discovering oil in an "unproven" area -- has lured some oil companies to the outer edges of the Bakken.

Striking oil gets a company into one of the most well-known plays in the nation.

Not hitting oil is a huge financial failure.

Industry leaders have a pretty good idea of where the Bakken lies.

However, recent drilling in the south and east will lead to an update of this map.

One that has the outer edge -- moving in.

(Lynn Helms / Dir. of Mineral Resources) "That's been another surprise with the Bakken, when you reach that eastern maturity limit, you can have a 900 barrel a day well, and go just 6 miles, outside that limit and get 0."

And recent drilling by Chesapeake -- that was unsuccessful -- will help geologists learn more about the southern edge...

The oil company drilled 8 wells between Dickinson and Belfield.

None of the wells produced any significant amounts of oil.

(Helms) "There's production as far south as 1 mile south of Gladstone and 4 miles s of Belfield and then it literally falls off a cliff."

Helms says the eastern and southern edges are sharply defined. While the western and northern borders have gradual drops.

(Helms) "Important lesson for geologists and companies that are looking for buying leases and experimenting around the edge of the Bakken play. They are going to need good Seismic to know for sure if the Bakken is present."

Dry holes in the Bakken are rare... 99.9% of the wells are producers, and 80% are profitable.

Helms says since 2006 -- virtually every single well, in and under the Bakken Shale has produced oil.

Failure is something new in the Bakken.

(Helms) This would be a situation that was much more common in the 1980's, when we were drilling vertical wells and 1 well out of 3 would actually encounter oil. 1 / 10 be profitable."

Helms says since 2006 fewer than 20 oil wells have gone bust--all are right on the fringe of the Bakken.

(Helms) "Years away before the experienced company decides to step off that edge and take that risk. THey've got enough acreage in the low risk areas to keep them busy for a couple of decades. I think it's going to be the new guys with new ideas who will be playing around the edge and looking at the Tyler formation."

As of now, finding the edge of the Bakken is truely a multi-million dollar gamble. >>

Along with Chesapeake's failures in Stark, Hettinger and Golden Valley, Helms says there have been other unsuccessful wells drilled by other companies in Mercer, McLean, Ward and Renville counties.

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