EOG to corner North Dakota Bakken play

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 20 -- EOG Resources Inc. booked 21 million boe of proved reserves in Parshall field in the North Dakota Bakken shale oil play by yearend 2007 and is still comfortable with its previous estimate that net reserves will eventually reach 80 million bbl.

The multiyear Williston basin play is the major driver of EOG's 36% growth target in oil and condensate production in 2008, the company told investment analysts earlier this month. EOG averaged 24,600 b/d of crude and condensate in the US in 2007 and 27,600 b/d in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The company's best horizontal wells, in the northern part of the play, have had initial production rates of 2,000 b/d, and the last 10 completions averaged 1,700 b/d and 700,000 bbl/well of reserves.

"We feel we have a considerable amount of technically proven but unbooked reserves in the Bakken, Barnett, and Uinta basin plays," said Mark Papa, EOG chairman and chief executive officer.

EOG said it has 24 producing wells on more than 175,000 acres in what it believes is the most economic area, is acquiring more acreage, and plans to reveal more about the play in late February. It said it has leased the vast majority of the play area.

The company, which is still defining the productive area's extent, is drilling its first 320-acre downspaced well in the play, explored so far on 640-acre spacing. Recovery factors at 640-acre wells are very low, and it will be late December before it can observe the downspaced well's flow rates relative to offset wells, EOG said.

The company said it is seeing declines of 5-10% lately in rig rates and stimulation costs compared with 2007 in the Bakken.

It plans to start up a gas processing plant in March because the Bakken casinghead gas is especially high in natural gas liquids content.

EOG said it is exploring in other "shale and unusual rock plays" in the US that involve horizontal drilling and will only discuss those efforts after they have been technically proved and the company has leased the acreage it seeks.

EOG is experimenting with horizontal drilling in a couple of resource plays in the East Texas-North Louisiana-Mississippi area, which are run from its Tyler, Tex., office. It said drilling in these plays has been 100% vertical to date, and Papa said it might have some good results to report in 2008.

In a joint venture, EOG and National Fuel Gas Co., Buffalo, NY, have drilled vertical and horizontal wells to Devonian Marcellus shale in the northern Appalachian basin, but it is too early to discuss results, Papa said.

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