Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Whiting Plans Significant Three Forks Wildcats, NW Stark Co.

After recently receiving approval for establishing numerous drilling units in the area, Whiting Pet. has wasted little time announcing exploration plans targeting the Three Forks Formation ("TF") in NW Stark Co., near the town of Belfield. In the past week, Whiting has permitted two TF wildcats, one in a standup 1280 in secs. 13 & 24, T140, R99, about four miles NE of Belfield. Another test is apparently planned six miles directly west in the same township.

The second permit is in a laydown 1280 about a mile south of Belfield in secs. 8 & 9, T139, R99. This is the only laydown configured unit in the area, apparently established in this manner because the city of Belield lies in the two adjoining sections to the north. Both wells are configured with a NW/SE trending lateral.

These significant tests are about twenty miles SE of where Whiting has had good success in exploiting the TF in their Lewis and Clark Prospect in the limited number of wells drilled, of which the current projects appear to be an extension. This area is near the southern depositional edge of the Bakken shales, where the lower shale is virtually nonexistent and the upper shale is very thin. Whiting plans to set the lateral about 20 ft. below the top of the TF, and the top of the TF lies appx. 15 below the top of the upper Bakken Shale.

Though Continential and others had marginal success developing the Mid-Bakken in the area to the north in southern Billings Co. in the 2005-06 era, this area has largely been dormant since that time. The closest TF production is from the Whiting Lewis and Clark Prospect wells to the NW. As shown in the slide from Whiting's corp. presentation, the company plans to have three rigs running in the L&C prospect area by year end.

Given that Whiting has not requested tight hole status with the drilling permits, and will likely request such status later before the wells begin producing, it may be quite awhile before actual production info is released (assuming the company does not issue a press release soon after production is established -- assuming it is established). It probably goes without saying, but any Whiting success here has the potential to open a large untested area on the southern limit of the Bakken to extensive development in the TF where mid-Bakken potential appears highly speculative at best.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What In The World Has Anschutz Found?

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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Marathon Unlocks The Lower Lodgepole -- The Third Productive "Bakken Zone," Dunn Co.

I am content now that I didn't write about the Lodgepole/Bakken fracture system in North Murphy Creek Field here last year for nothing. As previously noted, this area has been of interest for almost 30 years since a wildcat almost blew out in this area when encountering the fracture system in the lower Lodgepole.

There have been rumors for the past few months that one of Marathon's wells southwest of Killdeer had targeted the lower Lodgepole, just above the
upper Bakken Shale. This was confirmed recently when tighthole status ended for the Darwin 14-35H, sec. 35, T145N, R96W, Dunn Co., indicating that production was established with an IP of 160 bbls/day from a limestone porosity streak approx. 50 ft. above the mid-Bakken member. The well was drilled on 640 acre spacing with an approx. 5,500 ft lateral transecting the section from SW to NE. This is an open-hole completion without any type of fracture stimulation being employed.

Notably, this limestone section has good fracturing, porosity and permeability. I'll let the Sunburst Consulting geological report speak for itself regarding the oil shows while drilling:

And the pictures can speak for themselves also:

While the productive capability of this zone may well be confined to a localized area, it can't be overstated that this represents the third possible productive zone (in this area at least) in the "Bakken System," consisting of the mid-Bakken, Three Forks/Sanish, and now the lower Lodgepole formations. Equally notable is the excellent reservoir properties present here in this zone. This may result in some competitive top leasing for any remaining undrilled tracts left in the area, and results of future drilling in the Lodgepole should be interesting.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Larry's March Scorecard For Mountrail Co.

At month end there were 23 drilling rigs on location in Mountrail County. EOG 8 rigs; Hess 4 rigs; Whiting 5 rigs; Fidelity, Hunt, Slawson, Murex, Sinclair, and Marathon 1 rig each. .

During March 22 wells were spudded. EOG 10; Hess 4; Whiting 2; Fidelity 1; Brigham 0; Hunt 1; Marathon 1; Murex 1; Slawson 1; Sinclair 1; St Mary 0; Oasis 0; and Windsor 0.

During March NDIC issued 15 new permits to drill. EOG 7 permits in Fertile, Burke, Liberty, Sidonia, and Ross Townships. Whiting 3 permits in Brookbank and Crane Creek Townships. Hess 1 permit in Idaho Township. Fidelity 0 permits. Marathon 0 permits. Slawson 1 permit in James Hill Township. Hunt 1 permit in Oakland Township. Murex 0 permits. KGX 2 permits in Liberty Township. Brigham 0 permits. Sinclair 0 permits. St Mary 0 permits. Windsor 0 permits. Lario 0 permits. Oasis 0 permits. Encore 0 permits. Cirque 0 permits. Duncan 0 permits. Stephens 0 permits. Windsor 0 permits.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The RMOJ's 2008 ND Recap

The Rocky Mountain Oil Journal has allowed re-publication of its excellent summary of the 2008 production statistics for ND:

North Dakota Breaks All Time Oil Production Record For 2008

Bakken Output Increases 269%

North Dakota’s produced more oil in 2008 than in any year since commercial production was established in the state in 1951. The state reported production of 62,776,123 bo, up an impressive 39% compared to the 45,121,983 bo extracted a year earlier. 2008 shatters the previous record, which was set in 1984, when the state produced 52,658,396 bo. It appears that North Dakota will be the top oil producer for the first time in the Rocky Mountain Region beating out Wyoming, who has perennially claimed that #1 spot.

This 17.65 mmbo increase compared to the previous year is attributed to the increased drilling and completion activities in the horizontal Bakken that was spurred on by record oil prices. In 2008, the Bakken produced 27,233,329 bo from 881 wells, an increase of 269% as opposed to the 7,382,025 bo from 457 wells that the state recorded in 2007. Mountrail County accounted for 59% of the Bakken produced in the state with the vast majority of it coming from Parshall and Sanish Fields. It’s interesting to point out that in 2008, total spuds for the year was 720, of which 517 of those were for the horizontal Bakken. With official data is still being compiled, according to the RMOJ’s database, Mountrail and Dunn County accounted for about 63% of the Bakken drilling in the state. Although an estimate, and factoring in 640 spacing vs. 1,280 spacing, total horizontal hole drilled (not including vertical) in these two counties for the year is in the neighborhood of around 485 miles.

In another first, the Bakken was the top oil producing formation in the state since 1951, accounting for 43% of the states total. In previous years, the Ordovician Red River was the top producing formation. Now in second place, the Red River produced 17,239,458 bo or about 27% of the states total in 2008.

The top producing company in 2008 continues to be Burlington Resources (BR), who reported production totals of 12,106,151 bo from 163 active wells. 92% of this production is coming from the Ordovician Red River, primarily from the Cedar Creek Anticline in Bowman County where the company is exploiting the horizontal Red River. BR is also active in the Bakken play where they produced just over a million barrels of oil from 33 wells. A year earlier, BR was credited with a yearly total of 12,690,287 bo.

The second largest producer in the state is EOG Resources (EOG), the current king of the Bakken. Jumping up six places from 2007, EOG extracted 8,613,534 bo, and increase of 493% or 7,160,745 bo compared to the 1,452,789 bo produced in 2007. All of EOG’s production is coming from the horizontal Bakken, primarily from Parshall Field in Mountrail County. Latest production figures for this field, which locates in the overall area of 151-155n, 89-91w; reveal that in December, this field yielded 1,398,352 bo from 108 active wells (including confidential wells). The majority of these wells are operated by EOG, which discovered this field in 2006.

Continental Resources (CR) dropped from 2nd place to third place even though their production increased by over 26%. In 2008, CR produced 6,505,653 bo, an increase of 1,358,939 bo as opposed to the 5,146,714 bo produced in 2007. Like BR, 71% of CR’s production is coming from the Red River, while 25% of it is being produced from both the Bakken and to a lesser degree, the Three Forks.

Coming in at #4 is Hess Corp. (Hess). The company extracted 5,490,629 bo for the year, up 1,300,759 bo compared to 2007. For the first time since the company drilled the discovery well in the Williston Basin 58 years ago, Hess produced more oil from the Bakken than the Madison. 2,428,465 bo or 44% of the Hess production came from the Bakken with the remaining coming from the Madison, Devonian, Duperow, Heath, Ordovician, Red River, Sanish, Silurian, Spearfish/Charles, Stonewall, and Deadwood. The bulk of Hess’s production is still coming from Nesson Anticline in Williams and McKenzie counties as opposed to their horizontal Bakken activity in Mountrail, Mclean, Burke and Ward counties.

Remaining in fifth place is for the year is Whiting Oil and Gas (WOG). For 2008, WOG saw its production jump an impressive 69% to 3,895,134 bo compared to the 2,298,580 bo produced a year earlier. 53% or 2,072,973 bo of this total was from the horizontal Bakken, with the majority of it coming from the company’s operations at Sanish Field in Mountrail County.

A quick look at drilling statistics for the state in 2008 show that a total of 720 wells were spud for the year, up from the 407 that spud in 2007. Total permits applied for in 2008 was 946 an increase of about 92% compared to a year earlier. 85% of these permits were for the Bakken.

The following list ranks the top oil producers in the state of North Dakota for the year 2008. We have also included a list showing the top gas producers in the state however it should be noted that the vast majority of the gas produced within North Dakota is casing head gas produced in association with oil production. Also included is a 2008 list showing the rankings of those operators that produced Bakken oil only and a compilation of producing oil and gas formations within the state for the year. Please note that the company rankings for oil and gas and the Bakken do not include confidential wells, skimmed oil, drip gas or other liquids extracted during gas processing.

We would also like to thank the staff at the North Dakota Oil and Gas Commission for their patience in putting up with our somewhat picayunish questions and getting us the data that we asked for.

Below is the list of the 2008 top 30 oil producers in ND. The remaining top oil producers as well as lists of the 2008 top gas and Bakken producers in ND are available in the February 27, 2009, edition of

Operator-2008-Oil Oil (BBLS) Gas (MCF) Water (BBLS) # Wells
12106151 3526433 17743237 164
2. EOG RESOURCES, INC. 8613534 3670224 969659 66
3. CONTINENTAL RESOURCES, INC. 6505653 18827325 6365514 296
4. HESS CORP. 5490629 25116362 20663012 389
5. WHITING OIL AND GAS CORP. 3895134 5394685 9268943 244
6. ENCORE OPERATING, L.P. 3311878 5001679 26187592 300
7. MARATHON OIL CO. 2395410 901776 606949 80
8. ST MARY LAND & EXPLORATION CO. 1817305 2917923 6452989 257
9. PETRO-HUNT, L.L.C. 1557445 3133156 4313784 157
10. MUREX PETROLEUM CORP. 1129486 571471 873595 110
11. XTO ENERGY INC. 1047661 1470244 618282 83
12. ZENERGY, INC 937186 791865 3608014 96
13. BTA OIL PRODUCERS, LLC 746427 2390704 1733888 175
14. HUNT OIL CO. 634417 206460 174607 8
15. SLAWSON EXPLORATION CO. INC. 515647 124196 376038 25
16. SAGEBRUSH RESOURCES, LLC 515346 98596 3797665 103
17. CITATION OIL & GAS CORP. 503106 501832 6108233 115
18. FIDELITY EXPLORATION & PROD. CO. 496632 2057472 229472 77
19. LUFF EXPLORATION CO. 447171 191783 1139549 28
2O. EAGLE OPERATING, INC. 348914 299754 4370002 178
21. ZARGON OIL (ND) INC. 317825 10990 3626496 67
22. PRIMA EXPLORATION, INC. 301879 639027 573010 23
23. BRIGHAM OIL & GAS, L.P. 300969 222663 282518 12
24. TRUE OIL LLC 295902 1215392 144044 25
25. SAMSON RESOURCES CO. 289067 385844 248687 25
26. SUMMIT RESOURCES, INC. 288398 236805 2439499 37
27. CONOCOPHILLIPS CO. 270285 173845 1248060 5
28. ANSCHUTZ EXPLORATION CORP. 252384 117861 114462 23
29. WARD-WILLISTON CO. 235758 97111 1894419 131
30. WINDSOR ENERGY GROUP, L.L.C. 211142 80173 20565 2

Content courtesy and copyright The Rocky Mountain Oil Journal

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Larry's February Scorecard For Mountrail Co.

At month end there were 26 drilling rigs on location in Mountrail County. EOG 10 rigs; Hess 5 rigs; Whiting 6 rigs; Fidelity, Slawson, Murex, Sinclair, and Marathon 1 rig each. .

During February 20 wells were spudded. EOG 8; Hess 5; Whiting 4; Fidelity 0; Brigham 0; Hunt 0; Marathon 1; Murex 1; Slawson 1; Sinclair 0; St Mary 0; Oasis 0; and Windsor 0.

During February NDIC issued 12 new permits to drill. EOG 4 permits in Austin, Cottonwood, Liberty, and Ross Townships. Whiting 0 permits. Hess 1 permit in Clearwater Township. Fidelity 0 permits. Windsor 0 permits. Slawson 0 permits. Hunt 1 permit in McAlmond Township. Murex 0 permits. Brigham 0 permits. Sinclair 1 permit in Rat Lake Township. St Mary 0 permits. Windsor 0 permits. Lario 0 permits. Oasis 0 permits. Encore 0 permits. Marathon 2 permits in Big Bend and 150-92 Townships. Cirque 0 permits. Duncan 0 permits. Stephens 3 permits in 150-92 Township.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Larry's January Scorecard For Mountrail Co.

At month end there were 30 drilling rigs on location in Mountrail County. EOG 10 rigs; Hess 4 rigs; Whiting 6 rigs; Fidelity 3 rigs; Slawson, Hunt, Murex, Oasis, Windsor, Sinclair, and Marathon 1 rig each.

During January 19 wells were spudded. EOG 9; Hess 0; Whiting 2; Fidelity 2; Brigham 0; Hunt 1; Marathon 1; Murex 0; Slawson 1; Sinclair 1; St Mary 0; Oasis 1; and Windsor 1.

During January NDIC issued 22 new permits to drill. EOG 9 permits in Burke, Parshall, Liberty, Model, Oakland, and Ross Townships. Whiting 6 permits in Knife River, 152-93, 153-93, Sikes, and Brookbank Township. Hess 5 permits in Myrtle, Manitou, Robinson. and Idaho Townships. Fidelity 0 permits. Windsor 1 permits in Osborn township. Slawson 0 permits. Hunt 0 permits. Murex 0 permits. Brigham 0 permits. Sinclair 0 permits. St Mary 0 permits. Windsor 0 permits. Lario 0 permits. Oasis 0 permits. Encore 0 permits. Marathon 1 permit in Big Bend Township. Cirque 0 permits. Duncan 0 permits.