In recent years, the formation known as the Bakken Shale in eastern Montana and western North Dakota has seen enormous growth in oil and gas production. Scientists from the United States Geological Survey have commented that the area has the potential to become "the next Saudi Arabia."

In most cases, the Bakken horizontal wells are fracture stimulated. However, with several thousand feet of formation, effective stimulation of the entire length has proven time-consuming and costly. In the past, a single-leg zone was fractured all at the same time, regardless of the varied permeability of the layers. Although this simple method of stimulation was seen as a success at the time, a new, more efficient method using swellable packers with reactive elements now promises to optimize total recovery and minimize fracturing cost.

Case history data will show how employing multiple frac sleeves with swellable packers straddling each interval proves to be a cost-effective way to stimulate multiple zones and save days of rig time. Specific experience in the Bakken field provides an optimization model for worldwide well completion markets

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