In 2013, two thirds of the permits issued for drilling wells in the oil patch were for multi-pads, said Alison Ritter, public information officer for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources in Bismarck.
The majority of operators in the Bakken are drilling multi-wells on a single pad, Ritter said. "The average number is four on a pad."
But a pad could have eight to 20, she said.
Rory Nelson, of Williston, was named North Dakota's energy impact coordinator last year. Nelson told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce's Energy Committee at a meeting in Minot recently, that by drilling multi wells on a pad more of the formation can be drilled and more oil can be recovered. "It actually makes the infrastructure a little bit easier," he added.
Although pad drilling is being done by most of the Bakken operators, there are some fields with single wells drilled, Ritter said.
Continental was one of the first companies to drill multi-wells on a single pad. The company completed its first multi-wells on a single pad called ECO-Pad in 2010 in Dunn County (four wells from a single drilling pad) from the Three Forks and Middle Bakken Formations of the North Dakota Bakken, according to the company website.Several story lines follow from that:
- one rig on a pad drilling 20 wells, could take two years to complete; mini-manufacturing site
- two 20-well pads back-to-back (across the road from each other), one rig for both pads: 4 years
- 40 wells x $7 million = $300 million just to drill, complete
- the speed with which operators moved to multi-well pad drilling has been nothing short of phenomenal
- twenty horizontal wells in close proximity leads one to consider different completion techniques
- might operators be able to frack every other horizontal and get about the same production? or frack every third horizontal? come back and frack others later?