Sunday, February 5, 2012

For Newbies, Including Myself -- A Re-Look at the Original Leigh Price Paper -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA -- Part II

The Leigh Price Paper 
Part II

Part I
Part II

The original Leigh Price paper that "predicted" the Bakken boom is chock full of little nuggets.

I've read the paper once before -- maybe three years ago --  and have occasionally gone back and re-read parts of it. I am not a geologist and don't understand much of what was written. But, if read very slowly, literally line-by-line and stopping to think about what Price has just written, one can get a pretty good idea of what he is saying. Actually I'm impressed with how readable it is for a layperson considering the audience.

On page 19 of this 282-page paper, Price begins discussion of the "Fairway" and the heterogeneities of the Bakken as described in an earlier paper.
Local production heterogeneities (e.g., where two spatially-close wells produced vastly different amounts of oil) were assumed to be due to heterogeneities in reservoir geology between the two wells over short lateral distances. [Price's italics.]
Price argues that no proof was offered to support that differences in neighboring wells was due to geology; in contrast, Price shows in this paper that the geology (under discussion) is constant over the entire area of discussion in the Williston Basin. [my bold]

What does that mean? Price agrees that there are "pronounced local and regional production heterogeneities" between Bakken wells "throughout the Bakken HC kitchen."
However, these production heterogeneities appear to be completely due to variable drilling, completion, stimulation, and maintenance procedures applied to different Bakken wells. Application of procedures appropriate to the unique characteristics of the Bakken Source System results in productive wells. Our studies suggest that very rarely does variatio in local geology have any measurable effect on the productivities of Bakken Source System wells. 
As a side note, I've read any number of references to the "Fairway" and I knew its general location, but it was rewarding to find a geologist's description of the Fairway and why it was so named.

For Newbies, Including Myself -- A Re-Look at the Original Leigh Price Paper -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA -- Part I

I've been blogging about the Bakken for about four years now (I deleted my original site and started over with this one), starting with a knowledge level of about two (2) on a scale of 1 to 100. After all this time/blogging I may be up to eight (8) or nine (9) on the 1 to 100 scale.

Someone's comment pushed me to look at the original Leigh Price paper (1999/2000) again which is linked elsewhere at this blog.

A bit lower down, I will quote the opening two paragraphs of that paper. I'm sure I have read this paper several times, certainly the introduction and the summary, but now I find the statements in the paper mean so much to me, and some of the sentences are packed with huge amounts of information, easily overlooked.

Even if you "know" the Bakken well, these opening two paragraphs should still get your attention:
As discussed in section 2.0 [of the research paper to follow], the Williston Basin, the most structurally-simple basin in the world, is characterized by unvarying flat-lying sediments. Most (75%) of the conventional  oil production of this basin is found in the Mississippian mid-Madison limestones, the principal oil reservoir of the basin. Sediment age in the basin ranges from Cambrian to early Tertiary with numerous unconformities present. The lower Mississippian-upper Devonian Bakken Formation contains two black shales, the richest source rocks in the basin, indeed, among the richest source rocks worldwide. The rocks adjacent to the two Bakken shales are organic-poor, carbonate-rich, brittle, low-porosity, impermeable rocks, which, with the two shales, form a tight, closed-fluid system which cannot transmit fluids. These rocks have been termed the "Bakken Source System" (Price and LeFever, 1992).

Due to several unrelated circumstances, the North Dakota portion of the Williston Basin has the best rock, oil, and well-history sample base worldwide. Because of this sample base, and because of the relatively simple geologic history of the basin (compared to many other basins), the Williston Basin is also one of the best-studied petroleum basins worldwide. This unique sample and data base, and the structural simplicity of the Williston Basin, has led to the recognition and delineation of an unconventional base-centered oil-resource base there, possibly 200 - 400 billion barrels in place, the point of this discussion.

The general consensus is that with current technology, the operators expect to produce six (6) percent of the original oil in place. Six percent of 400 billion is 24 billion. Harold Hamm has opined that there are 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil from the Bakken, which I believe he includes the Three Forks. When one does the math, EURs and the number of wells proposed for the Bakken, the number also approaches 20 billion bbls of recoverable oil. It is my understanding that EURs are primary production numbers. I believe I have seen a Denbury presentation in which the company opines that a similar amount of oil can be produced through secondary and/or tertiary production (I forget the actual presentation) as in primary production.

Just some idle rambling, that last paragraph. Those first two Price paragraphs are the "wow's" for me this morning.

Random Flashback to 1996: Seismic 3-D Survey of the Lodgepole in Dunn and Mercer Counties -- The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

Link here.
Grant Geophysical, Inc., and Interactive Seismic Imaging LLC  announce the start of a major non-exclusive 3-D seismic survey in North Dakota for a major consortium. This project marks the re-entry of Grant into the Williston Basin area. The 200 square mile 3-D survey in the Williston Basin in Dunn and Mercer counties will focus on the Lodgepole formation. 
A reader alerted me to this -- note the 1996 date.

In the big scheme of things, I suppose such surveys were done throughout the Basin targeting many different formations. In the industry, this may be just another press release, but it should be there are at least three Lodgepole wells currently being drilled or still on the confidential list north of Williston. 

Random Note on Oil Patch Jargon: "Runs" vs Production

Production: amount of oil that the well actually produced.
Runs: the amount of oil that was sold. 

Original Post

Elsewhere I saw this comment:
Do you have the file numbers for the wells that are actually pumping? I looked at these wells (21143,21139,21135,21681,21885,and 21734) and none of them have any runs. 
I could be wrong but it is my understanding that "production" and "runs" are two separate things.

I could be wrong but a company could be putting oil into tanks that are sited on the pad, and not put the oil into pipelines or trucks. "Runs," I believe, refer to the actual oil that is put into the "system, " sold and bought. The difference is important. "Owners" share in profits of the oil that is sold. If the oil is produced (brought to the surface) but not sold (placed in tanks on site, for example), then there is no monetary value derived from those wells. No "runs" would be recorded. But there would still be production, under this scenario.

Again, just my two cents worth.

If a company wishes to keep as much about a well confidential as possible, they would lose a significant amount of confidentiality if they reported "runs" to the NDIC for all to see.

The Connection Between Fracking and Anthropogenic Global Warming


Minutes later: I cannot make this up. To prove my point (see story below), someone looking for the answer to this question: rome in snow is global warming true?.
09:53:03 -- 23 minutes ago
ended up on my site.

Original Post

Years ago when I watched network television (ABC, CBC, and NBC) I knew it was the weekends when the news was only about the weather. All week long, stories out of the Middle East, out of the White House, and out of nowhere. But then, come Saturday and Sunday, the lead story was invariably a weather story. Journalists and newsmakers take the weekend off, also, it appeared, and it appears.

So, I guess the same holds for me. I was not going to post this as a stand-alone post (honestly). I had already posted it at "Global Warming Central, 2011 - 2012," where I place updates. But when I read the lede, it was too important to not post here with some of the usual rambling comments.

Here is the lede:
London's Heathrow Airport, the world's busiest air hub by passenger traffic, cancelled a third of the day's flights, while much of Britain was blanketed in snow, leaving drivers stranded on roads overnight.

In Italy, which reported a seventh victim, snow-covered Rome was virtually paralyzed, thousands of people were trapped on trains, and the weather emergency sparked runs on supermarkets.
And the story goes on to say that nearly 300 deaths directly attributed to the cold have now been reported in central Europe. 

Fracking and global warming have something in common. Science no longer matters. Both issues are now in the political arena where it is being fought out between elitists (the one-per centers) and the rest of us (the 99 percenters).

For global warming, folks keep sending me notes that the science is still accurate, that the earth faces catastrophic consequences due to anthropogenic global warming. It no longer matter whether the science is right or wrong. Two things: tell it to the folks affected by the story above. And then tell them, that to keep warm, their utility costs will have to increase dramatically to pay for alternative energy sources.

So it goes with the controversies surrounding fracking. Science no longer matters to folks who are against fracking.

I suppose there is one difference. Most of the concerns about fracking have to do with consequences that are in the near term, geologically speaking. And yet, after thirty or forty years of fracking and tens (hundreds) of thousands of fracked wells, there have been no adverse consequences confirmed from same.

On the other hand, we are told we will have to wait at least a century, probably longer, to see the consequences of anthropogenic global warming (if it exists -- that is one difference: we know fracking is going on; I cannot say the same for AGW. )

Bottom line: how "we" deal with fracking and AGW will be how "we" deal with most issues: politically.

Notes to the Granddaughters

Speaking of myths, here is simply a bit of rambling for my granddaughters. I advise others not to read the following.

The older granddaughter, now 8.5 years old, has talked about becoming a marine biologist "when she grows up." She and I spend much time reading about sharks, and we never miss an opportunity to visit local public aquariums. A couple of weeks ago, she was given a personal tour of the Boston Aquarium by one of the staff members because of her knowledge and her interest.

Her other two interests in reading are Shakespeare and mythology. I have no idea how that all started. She reads the children's books on Shakespeare and knows the plots of at least two of the tragedies (Macbeth and Hamlet). We go back and re-read them (or portions of them) often.

Likewise, she reads and re-reads her children's books on mythology, and knows more than I do on the genealogy of the gods. I remember having trouble locating Apollo on a huge wall chart of mythic genealogy and she, somewhat sarcastically, told me he was right next to his twin sister, Artemis. She knows all their personalities.

The other night down at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge (no connection to Harvard University), I ran across a new book on mythology: Jon Solomon's translation of Giovanni Boccachhio's Genealogy of the Pagan Gods. It was a real struggle to decide whether to buy it, and if I did whether to buy it at the bookstore or through No doubt it would be less expensive through but I ended up buying it at the bookstore (for many reasons).

It's a very thick book, about two inches, but very compact. It's kind of a pain to carry in the backpack because of its thickness;  it's 887 pages with index and notes. The thickness / length is a bit misleading. Each facing page on the left is the original Latin and each facing page on the right is the translation. My favorite subject in middle school was Latin, partly because of the subject matter, but mostly because of the teacher who made it come alive for me. I think we can all name the handful of teachers or classes that were our favorite, and 8th grade Latin and Mr Becker were among my favorites.

I didn't open the Boccaccio book for several days; I was afraid I had made a mistake in buying it and did not want to be disappointed. But gradually, little by little, I have been reading it and am not disappointed.

I often have to go back and start reading a book all over agin, having forgotten what I've read, and that's true in this case also. I think this is the third time I have read the introduction to this book, but this time I can honestly say I understand -- or at least think I understand better -- how incredibly important this book is.

Boccacchio was an incredibly faithful Christian living in the 14th century.
Here [in the final two books of the 15-book genealogy] the author [Boccacchio] becomes an advocate of the propositon that the pagan poetry he has been discussing throughout the work has great value in revealing divinely inspired truths to the reader who has been properly guided through allegorical hermeneutics.
When Boccaccio writes of ancient poets in Book 14, it is not to recount and interpret their fables but to cite the lives of the authors as moral and ethical exempla superior to the contemporary icons revered by his detractors or to compare the value of their fables with those told by and about Christ. ....
Aware of the different spiritualities underlying his chronologically broad spectrum of sources, ... Boccacchio accommodates what he considers to be pagan irrationality within a traditional Christian context. 
And this:
Perhaps no passage in the Genealogy is more indicative of Boccaccio's ability to reconcile his pagan and Christian sources than the chapter in Book 15 in which he affirms eloquently and at length his commitment to Christ by citing stories about a fictitious pagan character in Terence and the historical pagan King Mithridates of Pontus.
The book is a reference book, and will be useful in sorting out some of the inconsistencies or unknowns or unreported stories in my granddaughter's children's mythology books.
The commitment, learning, and passion Boccaccio poured into his defense of poetry and the study of pagan literature in Books 14 and 15 contributed to making the Genealogy a standard text for literary critics, scholars, and poets of the Renaissance, and it remained an intellectual high-water mark for Sidney, Wordsworth, and Goethe, who was reportedly reading the Genealogy during the final days before his death.
The 800-page book (technically about 350 pages of mythology) represents the first five books of the 15-book genealogy. The publisher says the rest of the ten books will be published subsequently, but that is a lot of translation yet to be done, so we'll see.

And this is how I'm relaxing, waiting for the Super Bowl tonight.

Random Note: Update on the Matthew Schmidt Well, #18427 -- The Cabernet Field, The Williston Basin, North Dakota, USA

Link here to a discussion thread.