9/24/09 UPDATE: Anschutz confirmed today at the NDIC hearing that this is mid-Bakken development, and that indeed they did not cross the section line and drilled only a 640 because of pressure (blowout) concerns. Thus, it looks like some type of local geologic anomaly at play here that greatly enhanced the fracture system, and possibly a "collapse feature" caused by the nearby fault.
That seems to be the question in the Cabernet Field area about seven miles west of Manning, Dunn Co. Up until now this field has been a four section Madison pool, which has in recent times been surrounded by the expanding Little Knife, Fayette, and Murphy Creek Bakken field boundaries.
Several weeks ago, Anschutz Expl. finished drilling its first well in this immediate area at the Stroh 11-1H, sec. 1, T143-R97. What is intriguing is the unconfirmed reports indicating that strong hydrocarbon shows encountered during the horizontal portion that prevented the company from drilling the last mile of the planned two-mile lateral, and that a 110 ft. flare was observed, most likely during a connection or a trip.
These observations seem to be confirmed somewhat by reports that it appears to be an excellent well after being frac'ed, and that a strong drilling flare exists at the company’s offset currently drilling to the east. This is uncharacteristic for this area. Therefore, the question is posed regarding what formation may have been targeted. Besides the Bakken, the Three Forks is a possibility, as potentially is the lower Lodgepole, given the well is about six miles south of Marathon’s Lodgepole discovery in sec. 35, T145-R96.
Nothing from nearby Bakken wells, including Marathon’s a few miles to the NE, or Anschutz’s own wells several miles to the SW indicate that a well in that zone here would have such high potential (absent some localized extreme natural fracture system). But it is unlikely that the company would try some unconventional formation other than the Bakken for it’s initial test in the area. The Lodgepole is a possibility, but seems just too far-fetched at this early stage in that game. A more likely scenario is that they went into the TF, which would indicate that the TF has much better reservoir properties here than the mid-Bakken. If so, it could have a much broader impact as the nearest TF well is about 20 miles to the north.
Anschutz has a number of wells permitted in this area along with about a dozen drilling or spacing units approved or planned. Burlington recently received approval for four 1280 units to the area immediate east and SE of Anschutz’s well. While most everything indicates that the Anschutz well is a mid-Bakken well, a number of things suggest it may not be. If I had to make a guess, I’d say it is in the TF (thereby all but ensuring that it will actually be in any formation but the TF). Time will tell.