The use of produced water in well stimulation is not straightforward and presents numerous challenges. A case study using 100% produced water from the Bakken Formation to stimulate a two-well pad in Williams County North Dakota is presented. The well stimulations include a typical 30-stage plug & perf completion using a hybrid fluid design consisting of slickwater and crosslinked gel. The pad includes both a Middle Bakken horizontal and a Three Forks horizontal well. This case study addresses the challenges and obstacles faced over a two-year period since embarking on the first field experiment using 50% produced water to stimulate a well in the same area. A number of first-time experiences have been addressed in the areas of cost, fluid chemistry, water quality, facilities, logistics, storage, and regulatory. All of these factors appeared to be insurmountable barriers in the early phases of considering the use of produced water for well stimulation. However over time and with careful developments along the way, we have progressed to the point of practicality for such endeavors. This case study presents the barriers, technical issues, technology development, current practice, and expected progress of produced water stimulation in the Williston Basin.

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