During the last 10 years, more than 2,000 horizontal wells have been drilled and completed in the Middle Bakken formation, which is sandwiched between the two Bakken organic-rich shales. Although most of the debate about this reservoir has centered on the lateral length, stimulation treatment, and the number of treatments, little work has been performed to explore the variations of rock properties and the effect of natural fractures along the 6,000 to 10,000 ft lateral lengths.
Maintaining the horizontal well between the two Bakken shales is easily accomplished with only a gamma ray tool. There are, however, two important questions to be addressed. First, is this an optimal practice for well placement? Second, is there a "sweet spot" layer in which the horizontal well should be placed to increase production?
In a recent well, an azimuthally-focused resistivity (AFR) tool and an azimuthal deep-reading resistivity (ADR) tool were run as a final wiper trip to investigate the location of natural fracture swarms and the variations of rock properties along the 10,000-ft lateral. The goal of this exercise was to test the concept of improving production by using a "smart" horizontal completion technique, spacing the swellable packers, and locating fracture stages based on horizontal reservoir data. The AFR image log identified more than 839 individual fractures in four fracture swarms. The ADR mapping showed approximately 40% of the lateral in the sweet spot layer. The evaluation of a post-stimulation oil tracer indicates that these sweet spot layers provide 70% of the production after stimulation. If the well had been geosteered to remain within the sweet spot using a smart completion technology, the production modeling suggests that production could have been increased by 20%.