Evaluating hydrocarbon-in-place and recovery factor in a hybrid petroleum system: Case of Bakken and three forks in North Dakota

S. Amin Gherabati, John Browning, Frank Male, Scott Hamlin, Katie Smye, Mark Walsh, Svetlana A. Ikonnikova, Guinevere McDaid, Casee Lemons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

17 Scopus citations


This paper presents an integrated workflow for hydrocarbon-in-place and recovery factor estimation in Bakken. Evaluating factors that control generation and storage of hydrocarbon such as total organic carbon (TOC), maturity of shale, thickness, porosity and permeability is a challenge in any shale play study. In addition, hybrid nature of the Bakken petroleum system where source and reservoir rock present within short depth interval adds complexity to the production interpretation and outlook of the play. One of the complexities is the contribution from the shaley Upper and Lower Bakken to the production of horizontal wells completed in the Middle Bakken. In addition, presence of local, structural and stratigraphic traps complicates mapping water saturation distribution in Middle Bakken that is mostly affected by hydrocarbon generation in the Upper and Lower Bakken. We address geological and petrophysical uncertainties and calculate and map hydrocarbon pore volume. For fluid characterization, we use three models in order to accurately cover a range of American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity and gas/oil ratio (GOR). We evaluate the contribution of Upper and Lower Bakken in production by constructing simulation models and used that knowledge to estimate recovery factor of the horizontal wells. Production depletes the Middle Bakken, creating a pressure difference between the Middle Bakken and the Upper/Lower Bakken, which in turn depletes the Upper/Lower Bakken. Vertical permeability controls production from the Upper and Lower Bakken, and higher vertical permeability increases the contribution of the two shale members. An understanding of maturity and trap mechanism can help to explain the water saturation distribution and understanding these factors is crucial to any future development of the play.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSPE/AAPG/SEG Unconventional Resources Technology Conference 2017
PublisherUnconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTEC)
ISBN (Print)9781613995433
StatePublished - 2017
EventSPE/AAPG/SEG Unconventional Resources Technology Conference 2017 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jul 24 2017Jul 26 2017

Publication series

NameSPE/AAPG/SEG Unconventional Resources Technology Conference 2017


OtherSPE/AAPG/SEG Unconventional Resources Technology Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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