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Procedure for calculating estimated ultimate recoveries of Bakken and Three Forks Formations horizontal wells in the Williston Basin

May 23, 2013

Estimated ultimate recoveries (EURs) are a key component in determining productivity of wells in continuous-type oil and gas reservoirs. EURs form the foundation of a well-performance-based assessment methodology initially developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS; Schmoker, 1999). This methodology was formally reviewed by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Committee on Resource Evaluation (Curtis and others, 2001).

The EUR estimation methodology described in this paper was used in the 2013 USGS assessment of continuous oil resources in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations and incorporates uncertainties that would not normally be included in a basic decline-curve calculation. These uncertainties relate to (1) the mean time before failure of the entire well-production system (excluding economics), (2) the uncertainty of when (and if) a stable hyperbolic-decline profile is revealed in the production data, (3) the particular formation involved, (4) relations between initial production rates and a stable hyperbolic-decline profile, and (5) the final behavior of the decline extrapolation as production becomes more dependent on matrix storage.