With a typical 3350m lateral well with more than 30 completion stages costing $8 million and upwards (upstreamonline.com 2011), the infill plan dramatically impacts long-term economics of the program. For very little relative additional cost, 3D seismic technology can be effectively utilized to reduce the risk of drilling costs overrun and maximise ultimate recovery from the field. The key is processing the seismic data specifically for these types of plays without taking shortcuts due to perceived time and cost constraints. We present a case study from the Bakken shale play in North Dakota, U.S., where advanced imaging and inversion techniques unlock the true predictive power of 3D seismic methodology for optimal development of unconventional resource plays.


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