In a move that would eliminate flaring in its Divide County operations, Bakken Hunter LLC is reconfiguring well pads in order to perfectly align them with Oneok’s new gas gathering pipelines so the wells can be connected to gas sales before they go into production.
In February, Bakken Hunter, a subsidiary of Magnum Hunter, submitted applications to the North Dakota Industrial Commission requesting 13 new 640-acre spacing units and 10 new 1,280-spacing units in the Bounty School field where the company wants to drill up to eight wells on the 640-acre units and as many as 16 wells on the 1,280-acre units.
What is unique about the application is that Bakken Hunter has configured the multi-well pads to line up with Oneok’s Divide County east-west trending natural gas gathering pipelines.
The pads in the 640-acre spacing units would be at the top or the bottom of the spacing unit, but in the 1,280-acre units, the pad would be in the middle of the unit so as to line up with Oneok’s gathering lines.
In the monthly Director’s Cut press conference, Lynn Helms, director of the commission’s Department of Mineral Resources and the Oil and Gas Division, says initially the commission didn’t think “highly” of the idea.
“It looked like a very odd reorganization of our typical 1,280 pattern spacing units.” However, when Bakken Hunter explained the company’s approach in the hearing, it was “really refreshing,” and approaches like that could be a “step change.”
Helms says it is “a good illustration” of the work that the pipeline authority and the commission have been doing, which “now has operators and midstream people working together to really try to solve the flaring problem and get the well pads and the gathering systems lined up” so that flaring will be eliminated, or nearly eliminated.
The Oneok gathering laterals are part of the company’s Divide County gathering system that will transport gas to its Stateline gas processing plants. The laterals run on east-west corridors between rows of stacked 1,280 spacing units.
Helms says the laterals also line up with Continental Resources spacing units to the east of the Bounty School field, as well as some traditional 1,280 spacing units to the west.
Whiting’s approach at Lewis and ClarkAnother good illustration of companies addressing the flaring issue, Helms says, is Whiting Petroleum’s approach in its Lewis and Clark Three Forks play in Billings and Golden Valley counties.
After drilling two or three wells in that play, Whiting soon realized it needed to install gas pipelines to capture the produced gas. Before proceeding with further drilling, Helms says, Whiting first installed a gas gathering system.
He says because of that foresight, Whiting is only flaring 1 percent of the gas in that play.