E Bakken Update: Newer Well Designs Are Frac Sand Intensive And Good For The Producers

Changes to well design could create some very big changes with in the oil and gas industry. We continues to see operators shorten frac lengths and focus on fracturing closer to the well bore. This has produced impressive results, and looks to be the future of US unconventional completions.  Operators will continue to improve completion techniques. The increased fracs will also make larger voids in the rock requiring more proppant. This technique not only produces more resource but allows for more locations per section as wells can be drilled closer to one another. The emergence of Mega-Fracs also has increase demand as a percentage for sand. The changes in this design has excluded the use of some ceramics as pressures do not require the most durable proppants. This could be an issue for oil prices, as operators are seeing significant increases in production with cost increases of just a million per location on average. 


(Source: Pioneer)

Pioneer (PXD) shows the metamorphosis of its well design. The fractures become more numerous, shorter and wider. This change results in a better job of breaking up the source rock.  It also requires more sand and fluids. It now is using 1,700 lbs/ft of proppant or 17,000,000 lbs for a 2 mile lateral.  The trick is the use of tighter frac cluster spacing, and shorter stages. This better focuses the pressure created on the rock and releases more resource. It is important to note, induced fractures or those done by the operator produce more resource than the natural fracturing interconnected with the well. InItial thoughs were for fracs deep into the interval creating better returns. This changed after EOG Resources (EOG) was able to show its design was superior.  Other operators are also increasing the use of proppant (sand). 

(Source: Pioneer)

The well results have been phenomenal.  Its 9,500 foot laterals have been 78% oil and EURs have averaged 1,600 MBoe.

Continental Resources (CLR) has reported increasing proppant volumes by 50% in the SCOOP Woodford Condensate.

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Michael Filloon 3 years ago Author's comment

Thanks Craig,

I appreciate your input in any form. Have a great weekend buddy!