The souring of oil (increasing concentrations of hydrogen sulfide [H2S] gas) from reservoirs in the Bakken Formation has been observed in the field. Souring of oil presents challenges including but not limited to health and environmental risks, corrosion of wellbore, added expense with regard to materials handling and pipeline equipment, and additional refinement requirements. As such, sour oil and gas have lower profit margin (~10% lower price) than traditional sweet Bakken crude.
The understanding of causes for souring in the Bakken Formation and its timely identification are essential for determining the best operational practices and mitigation procedures at this formation. This paper will present an outline of the research goals, a current understanding of souring at the Bakken, and initial findings. Over the course of this project, the series of case-oriented uncoupled compositional reservoir simulations were developed to research the most probable mechanism of H2S generation in the Bakken Formation. The results of this investigation will be correlated in the future with field data from the Bakken oil field operator and laboratory experiments.