Enerplus Raises Estimates of Bakken Reserves

By The Bakken magazine staff | August 15, 2014

Enerplus Corp., based in Calgary, Alberta, reports that the future outlook of its holdings in the Fort Berthold, Bakken, and Three Forks core area have significantly improved.

The company said that as a result of its operational performance and continued technical assessment—including a detailed analysis of well data within the region—the original estimate of 1 billion barrels of oil in place (OIP) has increased by 50 percent to 1.5 billion barrels. Enerplus also noted a 250 percent increase in its contingent resource, from 39 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) to 136 MMboe.

“We’re pretty excited about where we are with this project right now and how it fits into the company,” said Ian Dundas, Enerplus president and CEO. “Generally, our belief is that this field has gotten consistently better over time. The resource keeps increasing, and we’ve made meaningful strides in enhancing the economics over the last several years through a combination of cost control and productivity enhancement.”

The increase in drilling inventory is a result of a revised contingent resource assessment and the company’s estimate of future drilling locations. Enerplus estimates approximately 330 future net drilling locations, up from 145 previously, with long horizontal wells representing 60 percent of these locations. This assumes an average well density of seven wells per drilling spacing unit. In addition, Enerplus continues to see further upside potential through additional down-spacing, higher recovery rates and the continued evolution of its well completions.

Enerplus said that changes in its completion design over the past year have resulted in a 50 percent improvement in capital efficiencies within the Bakken play. With the increase in well productivity, the net present value and internal rates of return of this play have improved meaningfully.

“We continue to understand our reservoir. We continue to work on our reservoir modeling,” said Ray Daniels, Enerplus senior vice president of operations. “We’re pointing to a recovery factor of 15 percent, which we’d be comfortable with.”
Dundas said the increased opportunity supports a greater growth potential in the Bakken field.

“When we originally got into the field, it wasn’t producing effectively, and we saw a potential upside of 20,000 to 25,000 BOE a day,” he explained. “Now we see a potential upside of 50,000 barrels of oil per day. The pace is going to depend on drilling rigs and well count.
“The potential for more than double from where we are now is quite meaningful. It’s been a really significant win for us. It’s been a key driver of value with the company,” Dundas said.