Unconventional resource plays can provide a long-term supply of oil and gas to help supplement the North American energy demands. However, obtaining a good economic return from these developments can be challenging. A successful entry into an unconventional play requires careful pre-entry analysis in order to develop meaningful production profiles and set realistic expectations. Wells completed in unconventional plays typically exhibit limited drainage areas and produce a majority of recoverable reserves at low rates. Due to the limited flow capacity of these reservoirs typical development strategies include some form of horizontal completion.
When considering a potential entry into a "new" resource play there are a number of important questions that must be answered such as "What is an appropriate range of initial production rates and reserves for the development?" or "What is the most cost effective completion method?" and "How will post drill completion efficiency be determined?". This paper will present one operator's approach to answer these questions for its entry into the Bakken Shale development of North Dakota. The paper focuses on the effective use of existing public information to frame expectations for the development. It will also present the completion design considerations and initial implementation results from the development.