Lodgepole Scallion zone yields oil in North Dakota

Alan Petzet
OGJ Chief Editor-Exploration

HOUSTON, Jan. 7 -- Continental Resources Inc., Enid, Okla., said an initial test of a horizontally drilled section of Scallion limestone in west-central North Dakota produced at an uneconomic 7-day rate of 65 b/d of oil and 37 Mcfd of associated gas and plans no further drilling at present.

Scallion, a lower member of the Lodgepole formation of Mississippian age, lies at 9,500 ft just above the Upper Bakken shale. Continental Resources also tested the Middle Bakken shale in the Traxel 1-31H well in Mercer County, ND, but didn’t encounter meaningful oil shows.

The company drilled one lateral in each of the two formations and completed the Scallion leg with a multistage plug-perf style frac.

The Traxel exploratory well on the little-drilled southeastern perimeter of the Bakken play “establishes the potential for another producing reservoir in the Bakken petroleum system of the Williston basin. Productivity would have to increase for it to be economic,” Continental Resources said.

Continental Resources plans to monitor activity by other operators in this part of the play before drilling more test wells. Scallion has produced oil since the 1960s from about 2,000 ft in the North Virden pool in Manitoba about 100 miles north of the Traxel well.

The company, which holds 483,000 net acres in the North Dakota Bakken play, in the past 6 months has added 70,000 net acres of leases strategically located on the western and eastern edges of the Nesson anticline as well as expanding westward into Williams County, where it is drilling its first well.

It plans to operate 15 North Dakota Bakken rigs by mid-2010 compared with seven at the end of 2009.

Six rigs will be on ECO-Pads, a patented concept of a single drill pad located on the shared boundary of abutting north-south, 1,280-acre spacing units. Four wells will be drilled from each ECO-Pad, with one Middle Bakken and one Three Forks-Sanish well each into the north unit and a similar pair of wells into the south unit.

The concept is expected to reduce well cost and allow for a longer horizontal bore in each well, generating higher initial productivity and reserves, Continental Resources said.

Contact Alan Petzet at alanp@ogjonline.com.

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