Friday, October 1, 2010

The Heath/Tyler Formation: Another North Dakota Formation Ripe for Unconventional Exploitation? -- October 1, 2010


USGS assessment, summer, 2017.

Geo News (official ND publication): history of horizontal drilling in the Tyler, January, 2012 
ND DMR presentation, 2012 (PDF)
Geo News (official ND publication): Review the Resource Potential of the Pennsylvania Tyler Formation, January 2011, Geo News, January, 2011 (PDF)
ND DMR presentation, November 1, 2011 (PDF) -- apparently this one has been removed
Central Montana Heath Geology Report (PDF, could take a moment to download).
Short blurb on the Heath/Tyler in central Montana, book,1994.
Nice map (regional link may break).
Some "monster" Heath/Tyler wells
In central Montana: maybe not so good

October 4, 2019: a Tyler/Heath re-entry well in the southwest corner of the state of North Dakota?

December 29, 2013: Williston Exploration will target the Tyler in acreage previously controlled by Chesapeake in southwest North Dakota. At the same link: 21589, Petro-Hunt, Clear Creek-Tyler, redefine field limits, rules, McKenzie.

October 3, 2013: the significance of MRO targeting the Tyler.

September 26, 2013: MRO has rig-on-site targeting the Tyler; far southwest corner of the state.
Marathon Oil provides some of this information which came from a reader, unidentified source.
  • 1280-acre spacing in Slope County
  • lateral lengths of 4,500 feet to 10,000 feet; vertical depth of about 7,500 feet
  • EURs: 380,000
  • 36°API, similar to sweet Bakken crude, which ranges between 36-44°API
  • USGS Tyler conventional estimates: 15 million bbls 
  • USGS has not provided estimate of unconventional Tyler potential
June 27, 2013: musings on Chesapeake, Marathon, the Tyler formation, and Slope County

March 15, 2013: Heath/Tyler in Montana not panning out

November 24, 2012: a Platts update of the Tyler.

June 7, 2012: Statoil partners with Cirque Resources, LP, in Heath formation, Montana; 

April 19, 2012: Denbury re-completes a Madison well --> Tyler.

March 21, 2012: Is Chesapeake ready to target the Heath/Tyler?

November 1, 2011: Are they paying $14,000/acre in southwestern North Dakota for the Three Forks?

October 20, 2011: Back in the news

May 15, 2011: More on the Heath (Montana) which probably is an extension from the Tyler (North Dakota). 

January 1, 2011: Peer-Reviewed Article on the Tyler.

November 17, 2010: EUR for a Tyler well? 200,000 barrels with old technology. Here we go.

November 17, 2010: Leasing begins in the Tyler formation. Here we go.

November 17, 2010: Good, but not as good as the Bakken

The Original Post

Update of the Tyler formation here, January 8, 2018.

Location of the Tyler Formation

Average TOC for the Tyler: 1.39% (better than Saudi Arabia) but not as good as the Bakken's 11%!  The best Tyler is in McKenzie County, almost the same location as the Bakken bull's eye; in McKenzie County, the TOC for the Tyler is an incredible 4.0 to 5.0 percent.  See ND DMR slide presentation, slide #13.
January, 2011 Article

This is a much more interesting article than I first thought when I rushed over it this morning.  [As noted in earlier posts, many stories in "local" newspapers are removed from the web or require a paid subscription. This article is an example. As of October 8, it was already removed, but the following is the gist of the story.]
The Director, North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) says the Tyler formation is yet another known formation that may be amenable to horizontal drilling and fracturing.
That is not a trivial statement.

The Tyler formation accounts for about one percent of the total amount of oil produced in North Dakota. That compares to the Birdbear which has produced almost an identical amount (one percent of total North Dakota production). The Bakken, or course, will far surpass those numbers someday, but at the moment the Bakken is responsible for only six (6) percent of the total amount of oil that has been produced in North Dakota. The Madison formation has produced 51 percent of the total North Dakota oil.

The Tyler formation, according to Helms extends well past the North Dakota borders, west into Montana and south into South Dakota. Based on stratigraphic maps, the Tyler formation may be even thicker than the Bakken in some areas.
If you are interested in looking at the Tyler formation, simply "google" it. You will be surprised by the number of hits.

In addition to the comments about the Tyler formation, the director reiterated how long he thinks active drilling will continue:
Helms said officials estimate about 2,000 wells per year will be drilled in the Bakken and Three Forks formations, consuming 23 million gallons of water per day, continuing for close to 20 years.
This jibes with a previously posted scientific paper on a basic analysis of the Bakken in which the authors suggest that active drilling will continue through 2030 and these wells will be producing through 2100.

This story is centered around Dickinson, ND. For more on Dickinson (Stark County) story, click here.

[Idle chatter: who would have guessed ten years ago that the US would literally be swimming in natural gas in 2010. Wouldn't it be interesting if horizontal drilling and fracturing vastly increased the total oil production in the lower 48 states ten years from now? The peak oil theorists will disagree.]


  1. Is the Bakken as big as the East Texas oil discovery. Please compare the Bakken with the East Texas oil field

  2. You can fiand any number of sources on the internet that confirms the Bakken is the largest oil field ever discovered in the lower 48 (continental US, excluding Alaska). It is bigger than any field in Texas. However, there are several large fields in Texas and, in total, they would exceed the Bakken. The East Texas Oil Field is 140,000 acres in size. There are several companies drilling in the Bakken that far exceed 140,000 acres. CLR alone, just one driller, has 590,000 acres in the Bakken (about 4 times larger than the East Texas Oil Field). BEXP, another driller, has 358,000 acres, again 2.5 times larger than the East Texas oil field.

    The Bakken, on the other hand covers 200,000 square miles. Repeat: 200,000 square miles. There are 640 acres in a square mile. You can do the math, but you would multiply 640 acres by 200,000 and that would be the approximate number of surface acres over the Bakken.

    The East Texas oil field was discovered in 1930. The Bakken was known as far back as the 1950's but no serious drilling until 2006, so comparisons between the two fields with regard to ultimate oil recovery are premature, but based on acreage alone and the most conservative estimates, the Bakken will far outstrip the East Texas oil field.

    The numbers are staggering. It is estimated that the oil in place in the Bakken exceeds the amount of oil in place in Saudi Arabia, but only a very small percentage is believed to be recoverable.

  3. It is estimated that starting within a couple of years, 2,000 wells per year will be drilled into the Bakken, and that pace will continue through 2030. The wells will continue to produce oil through 2100. And remember, that's just the Bakken. The Bakken, to date, has accounted for just 6% of total North Dakota oil production. Another formation, the Madison Group, has accounted for 51% of total North Dakota oil production to date.

    Of course, this is all contingent on price of oil and geopolitical events and risk of federal regulation of fracking.

  4. Bruce,

    Thank you for all of the valuable information and updates on your blog.

    Have you heard anything of note lately on the Tyler? Has it been gaining much attention South of the Bakken?

  5. Thank you for your kind comments.

    Unfortunately I haven't heard any activity in the Tyler. My gut impression is when some company has two or three good Tyler wells, interest in that formation will take off, but right now they are still focused on the Bakken.

    But now you've piqued my interest to look for some articles on the Tyler. If I find anything I will post it.

  6. The March production numbers for the Rundle Trust (26794) well in Slope County were released yesterday. 731 cumulative barrels (158 oil/673 water) in 6 days production. I realize that flowback water is a real issue with this new well but can any inferences be drawn from these numbers? Thank you in advance for your comment.

    1. I went back and read the geologist's report for this well and posted a bit of the summary verbatim:

      Going back over it again, a few minutes ago suggests that the Tyler will be a hard nut to crack in this area as noted by the difficulty they had with both wells trying to drill horizontally through the seam; that initial samples require further analysis -- this is definitely different than Bakken reports when the geologist notes obvious oil in the formation.

      My hunch is that MRO will have learned a lot about drilling the Tyler in this area, but it won't be the discovery well that folks were hoping for. The proof in the pudding will be what MRO does next.

    2. In the May dockets, MRO wants the commission to define proper spacing for this well. To me, that is good news. This is a wildcat, and MRO thinks there is enough oil (if spaced correctly) to continue drilling the Tyler in this area. If they get a few good wells, then they will request the commission to define a new field with the Tyler as the pool.