Kyle Makovsky – (Doctoral Candidate) Syracuse University
Rockin’ the Bakken - Life and times of a Wellsite Geologist in North Dakota
Oil production began in the Williston Basin nearly 70 years ago with discoveries of oil in the Interlake Formation and soon thereafter in the Madison Group (Lodgepole-Mission Canyon-Charles Formations). More recently, production exponentially ramped up after an assessment from the USGS in 2008 estimated there were nearly 3,645 million barrels of recoverable oil contained primarily in the Devonian-Mississippian Bakken Formation. The Bakken Formation is known as an unconventional resource because unlike conventional systems, the Bakken is the source, reservoir, trap, and seal for oil accumulation. This brought the realization that new technologies would need to be developed to economically extract this resource.
Improvements in horizontal drilling allowed for the rapid development of the Bakken Formation. Along with these improvements, the need arose to accurately determine wellbore placement in real-time based on geologic datum. This is primarily achieved through what is colloquially known in the Oil Industry as Geosteering. This method utilizes data derived from the wellbore in real-time while drilling and allows for accurate determinations of wellbore position in 3D space. It also allows geologists to make an interpretation of where the wellbore is located within the formation and the formation inclination (i.e., dip). This information is critical to the correct placement of the wellbore, thereby minimizing drilling and completion costs while ultimately maximizing production. This talk will focus primarily on the basics of drilling, how data is collected, how this data is used to make geologic interpretations, and finally how these interpretations are used to make real-time decisions to efficiently make hole.