Operators eye Montana Bowdoin field redevelopment

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, June 16 -- Several operators have proposed to almost double the number of wells in Bowdoin natural gas field in Phillips and Valley counties, northeastern Montana.

The project would help maximize recovery from the field, where an earlier estimate of ultimate recovery was 475 bcf (see map, OGJ, Feb. 28, 2000, p. 71).

The US Bureau of Land Management at Great Falls is to update the field's last environmental assessment, prepared in 1989.

The gas field, discovered in 1917 on the Bowdoin dome in the northwestern Williston basin, covers 1,300 sq miles in parts of 16 townships from Beaverton, Mont., to the Canadian border at Saskatchewan. It has some 1,500 producing gas wells.

Fidelity Exploration & Production Co., Denver; Noble Energy Inc., Houston; Decker Operating Co., Malta, Mont.; and Omimex Canada Ltd., Cut Bank, Mont., outlined an 813,000-acre project area in which they propose to drill 140 exploratory wells, 680 development wells, and 435 replacement wells in 10-15 years. Including producing life, they put project duration at 30-50 years.

BLM will allow limited drilling while it conducts the study. For instance, Noble's web site mentions a 2006 plan to drill 25 wells at Bowdoin.

BLM said the project area contains several active fields predominantly spaced at 4 wells/sq mile for drilling of the shallow Upper Cretaceous including but not limited to the Niobrara, Bowdoin (Carlile), Greenhorn, Phillips, and Belle Fourche formations, also known as the Colorado Group.

The project area's surface ownership is 61% private land, 33% federal, and 6% state.

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