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Williston Basin Well Performance versus Lateral Length Evaluation

Williston Basin Well Performance versus Lateral Length Evaluation

The Williston Basin is one of the most prolific oil producing basins in North America. In the US state of North Dakota, unconventional development in the Williston Basin in Bakken and Three Forks shale formations, has increased oil production from the state by over 10 folds in the last decade and propelled North Dakota to become the third-largest oil producing state in the US with current average daily production of over 1.2 MMBOPD.


The most common drilling spacing unit (DSU) in the Williston Basin of North Dakota is 1,280 acres or 2-miles by 1-mile. Therefore, most of the basin has been developed by 2-mile wells with lateral lengths of approximately 10,000 ft or 3,000 m. However, to develop their land base more efficiently and improve economic margins, various operators have been increasing the lateral lengths up to 3-miles (approximately 15,000 ft or 4,500 m) in the last couple of years. While longer laterals provide incremental oil recovery and increased production rates, there is uncertainty regarding their “true” impact on well performance. In the absence of adequate analog data, what is a suitable multiplier to use for oil recovery (EUR) and initial rates (IP) while considering longer laterals over shorter ones as a development strategy? Is there a 1:1 relationship between lateral length and well performance or a portion of the oil recovery must be sacrificed, and hydrocarbon resource left in the ground by going longer?


In this presentation, we will attempt to answer the above questions by evaluating the relationship between lateral length and well performance. We will look at well performance in different areas of the Williston Basin in North Dakota and compare 1, 2 and 3-mile wells drilled by various operators. A guideline for using EUR and IP enhancement while considering longer laterals will be presented which can be used as a starting point while conducting their feasibility analysis. Reservoir modelling concerns to be aware of while simulating longer laterals well performance will be discussed. Finally, the operational challenges to consider and the value drivers for longer laterals will be discussed.


In-person registration closes on June 10 at 8AM MDT.

  • Date/Time

    Tuesday, June 11, 2024


    Registration: 11:45 AM MDT

    Start Time: 12:00 PM MDT

    End Time: 1:00 PM MDT

  • Location

    Calgary Petroleum Club | 319 5 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, T2P 0L5

    *This event will be hosted in-person only, and will not be recorded.

  • Speaker Bio

    Kamal Malick, P. Eng, MBA

    Senior Staff Reservoir Engineer, Enerplus


    Kamal has more than 25 years in the upstream energy business spanning across the USA, North Sea and Asia-Pacific regions. Currently, Kamal is focused on the Williston Basin of North Dakota for general reservoir engineering and development initiatives. With extensive conventional and unconventional experience, Kamal has dedicated significant time to the SPE and sister organizations for papers and teaching endeavors.

    Kamal holds a master’s degree in petroleum engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Calgary.

  • **Please Note

    Lunch will be served. Please be sure to include your dietary restrictions during the online registration process so we can do our best to accommodate.


    An event reminder will be sent the day before and the morning of the event.

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