ABSTRACT

Instead of using discrete values for properties that influence the volumetric calculation for recoverable reserves from the Middle Bakken, Pronghorn, and Three Forks reservoir rocks in the Williston Basin in North Dakota, an uncertainty-based assessment method was used. Various estimates have been published in the past that attempt to quantify recoverable reserves from the Bakken petroleum system. The Bakken–Three Forks trend is regarded as an unconventional tight oil play typical of a continuous-type basin-centered accumulation. However, production data reveal that areas are unequal and that certain regions stand out as sweet spots whereas others exhibit fairly high water cuts. This paper is based on 28 well models, which have been porosity-calibrated and adjusted for the prevalent thermal regime. The area of interest was delineated by geological parameters such as shale maturity and reservoir rock presence as well as existing production data. The purpose of this study is to use an uncertainty assessment method based on hundreds of basin model simulations that sample ranges of probable input parameters to quantify the recoverable reserves from the Bakken petroleum system in North Dakota. The results are displayed in reverse cumulative probability plots, tornado sensitivity charts, as well as in maps of the 10% chance, 50% chance (P50), 90% chance values. This means that there is an X% chance of success or an X probablity of realizing a certain amount of hydrocarbon. The P50 results of the uncertainty assessment indicate that approximately 4 billion bbl of oil and 3.6 tcf (102 billion m3) of gas are recoverable from the Middle Bakken, Pronghorn, and Three Forks reservoir rocks in North Dakota. The Bakken–Three Forks trend appears to be an overcharged petroleum system, where the available pore space in reservoir rocks is the limiting factor for each accumulation.

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