Completing the Bakken shale in North Dakota presents options that are varied and complex. To achieve optimum recovery, the Bakken formation needs to be drilled horizontally and hydraulically fracture-stimulated. If the wellbore is drilled in the orientation to achieve a longitudinal fracture treatment, only one fracture treatment is needed and the issue of frac-stage isolation is not an issue. If the stress orientation is unknown, or the wellbore is drilled in the orientation for transverse oriented hydraulic fracture direction, then frac-stage isolation is an important decision. In the past few years, numerous methods have been tried to achieve good frac-stage isolation in the Bakken. A brief review of completion success in the Bakken identifies one method that has the highest degree of success when completing transverse-oriented hydraulic fractures. The best wells have an uncemented liner and a compartmental completion technique. These compartments can be tailored to cover specific areas of the borehole so the treatment is placed near the best shows. The frac compartments are created with the use of swellable external casing packers and ball-actuated stimulation sleeves. In one pumping event, multiple frac-stages are pumped, separated by opening individual stimulation sleeves selectively from the toe to the heel. The completion of two wells are discussed that show positive proof of this concept from a completion and production perspective.

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