The Three Forks Formation in the Williston Basin has started to see a large increase in activity in the past six years. This is largely due to the shallower Bakken Formation transitioning into an infill development mode and operators looking at finding incremental reserves from the Three Forks Formation below. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the geological and completion variables of Three Forks horizontal wells in the North Dakota portion of the Williston Basin, and show which factors impact production performance using multivariate statistics. A financial evaluation of the completion factors will also be presented to show which variables have the biggest impact on production.

A database of available completion and geological data has been assembled from the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) website. To date there are roughly 2,400 horizontal wells targeting the Three Forks Formation on the North Dakota side of the Williston Basin. Some of the variables collected include number of fracture stages, amount and type of proppant, total volume and type of frac fluid, lateral length, max treatment pressure and rate, API oil gravity, formation thickness (from formation tops) and production. The data was subjected to multivariate nonlinear statistical analysis. This type of analysis allows for simultaneously comparing multiple variables to one outcome variable. In this case study the outcome variable is 180-day production.

Using multivariate analysis in the Three Forks Formation of the Williston Basin will aid in predicting production in different parts of the basin and finding which controllable completion variables have the most significant impact on production. The output can also aid in production forecasting based on changes to treatment designs.

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