The light oil bearing, low permeability, Spearfish formation, in Southwest Manitoba, Canada, has been a recent target of extensive horizontal drilling and fracture stimulation. An extensive completion database, along with historical production data, is available in the public domain. It is beneficial to review what the production trends illustrate about this play, in order to optimize the development of other similar types of low permeability sandstone plays, with regards to horizontal well spacing and fracture design.

Decline analysis was performed on over 120 horizontal wells that had sufficient completion information available, to study the effects of varying fracture spacing and size. The emphasis was to review the longer term production histories of the oil wells, as well as the predicted ultimate reserves, and see if there were any discernible trends, when production was compared to various fracture parameters.

Both the initial production rates and the ultimate reserves, showed significant data scatter when compared with fracture size, and number of fractures per well. It was difficult to make strong conclusions about initial production rates, being a function of varying fracture parameters. Closer analysis of individual wells, suggests that ultimate reserves appears related to the moveable oil-in-place, within the drainage area that a horizontal well produces from. It appears that well spacing effects and localized reservoir properties, must be taken into consideration, when analyzing the long-term performance of multi-fractured horizontal wells.

It seems that caution is required, when drawing long-term conclusions from initial production results. The basic reservoir engineering principle of an oil well draining a defined reservoir volume, are still applicable to low permeability reservoirs. There appears to be a finite number of horizontal wells that can be drilled in any given area, and an optimum number of fracture stimulations that can be placed per well.

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