Well density analysis leads WPX Energy to up Bakken inventory

By Luke Geiver | August 06, 2014

Well density testing and analysis efforts have paid off for WPX Energy. The exploration and production company has increased its well inventory in the Williston Basin by roughly 200 locations. Although many of the multi-well patterns used by WPX Energy are based on a 7 well pattern, the company announced in its second quarter earnings call that it would start to develop multi-well pads with an 11-well design. Based on infill density analysis and the company’s plans for multi-well pads, WPX Energy now has a total of 652 undeveloped drilling locations planned.

For its 1,280 acre drilling spacing units planned, 83 11-well pads will target the Middle Bakken with another 198 7-well patterns targeting the same formation. In the Three Forks, WPX Energy has planned for 116 11-well pads in the first bench of the Three Forks and another 203 7-well pads in the same formation.

In all of its Williston Basin wells, the company plans to increase the amount of proppant used per well. According to the company, an increase of proppant by 25 percent in a Middle Bakken and Three Forks well improved cumulative production for each well over a 180 day period by roughly 33 percent. Although WPX has initiated the proppant increase on 10 wells in the second quarter already, the plan for the rest of the year is to use the increased proppant technique on most new wells. “A completion using 6 million pounds of sand on the Ruby multi-well pad was finished at the end of July,” the company said. “This is twice the size of WPX’s historical Williston completions and is expected to become its new standard in the basin.”

For 2014, WPX is also looking to add $100 million to its capital plan to fund the larger well stimulation efforts and other flare reduction efforts in the Williston Basin.

Rick Muncrief, WPX Energy CEO, said the company’s oil assets are an important part of its value creation ability. “We’re excited about adding significant inventory in some of the highest quality acreage in the entire Williston Basin,” he said.

The inventory addition, along with other efforts by WPX Energy in other oil plays, has allowed it to raise 2014 guidance for domestic oil production from 40 percent to 55 percent.