Marathon unveils exciting Bakken results, other shale firsts

By Luke Geiver | August 08, 2017

Marathon Oil Corp. CEO Lee Tillman believes the exploration and production company’s second quarter operational performance was “outstanding.” The company increased hydrocarbon production by 6 percent in Q2 and the company completed several notable accomplishments this year throughout its shale-based focus areas.


Marathon returned to production growth in Q2, totaling 49,000 net boepd in comparison to last quarter’s 48,000 boepd. In the Hector area, Marathon completed two wells with its enhanced completion design. The average initial production for the first 30-days of the two wells was more than 2,500 boepd—85 percent of which was oil.

Mitch Little, executive vice president of operations, said the results of the wells could create a new chapter in Marathon’s Bakken story. “It is clearly very exciting,” he said of the well results.

To complete the wells, Marathon used 8 million pounds of proppant, 45-stages with plug n’ perf technology, 215 foot spacing, slickwater and diverter applications. During the second half of the year, Marathon will be completing more than five other pads that will all deploy similar well completion designs. Throughout the rest of the year, the company intends to add several more wells to sales, Little also said.


Like the Bakken, Marathon was able to increase hydrocarbon production in its STACK play to 49,000 boepd. In Oklahoma, Marathon said it is still in the early days of pilot programs and testing strategies that it will use to better understand and properly develop its acreage—some of which still needs to be held by production.

Within its Q2 update to investors, multiple child wells were reported to have produced less in IP-30s in comparison to the parent well. However, Little was quick to point out that the company is still working to optimize all of its well placement and completion designs. The parent-child well scenario is not one investors should count on in the future, he added. “These are the kind of technical challenges that our team loves to solve,” he said.

Eagle Ford:

At 4,200 feet per day, Marathon set an Eagle Ford record for the fastest well it has ever drilled. Production was up slightly, from 99,000 boepd to 100,000 boepd. The production uptick came even as the number of wells-to-sales decreased in Q2. This quarter, the total was 41, but in Q1 the total was 47. The Eagle Ford and Bakken plays offer the highest returns for Marathon at the moment, Little said, based on well productivity, well costs and other variables.

Delaware Basin:

For the first time, Marathon completed a well in its Northern Delaware Basin acreage using its own in-house completion design. The well produced a 30-day IP of 1,500 boepd. The company currently has three rigs running with no plans to add more rigs. In the second half of the year, the company plans to drill their first infill pilot spacing test.