First discovered in 1951, development of the Bakken formation in the Williston Basin has been problematic and inconsistent. However, technological advancements in horizontal drilling and completions in the past decade have steadily improved production results and consistency on a well by well basis. So much so, that the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) reported in 2008 that the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in the Bakken was between 3 to 4.3 billion barrels.

How many fracture stages to run and how far apart to space stages in horizontal wells are prevalent questions asked by the oil and gas industry. This study provides insight into the advantages of various stage numbers and optimum stage spacing by analyzing up to 21 months of production results from horizontal wells targeting the Bakken in the Stanley Field, North Dakota. These wells were completed with open hole, mechanical systems (OHMS) and production is compared to offset wells and field averages.

Advancements in OHMS completion and fracturing technology have enabled maximized production from this asset. The lessons learned and methodology can be utilized for other unconventional oil and gas plays around the world.

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