Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas | Unconventional Resources

The Bakken Petroleum System as a Resource Play (Montana, USA)

Course Code: N271
Course Outline:  Download
Format and Duration
6 days


This course will examine the petroleum geology and selected engineering topics of the Bakken / Sappington / Exshaw / Three Forks plays. The classroom sessions and core workshop will focus on the subsurface analysis of the oil plays in these units in the Williston Basin, while the field time will be spent visiting the western Montana equivalents of some of the productive units.    


Great tutors and really good course material. Thank you for such a good course.

Duration and Training Method

This is a six-day course comprised of classroom lectures with exercises and case histories (2.5 days), core workshops (1.5 days), and field stops (2 days).

Course Overview

Participants will learn to:

1. Characterize various factors related to oil production from the Bakken Petroleum System.
2. Assess the technologies available for tight reservoir exploitation.
3. Assess the natural fracture patterns in the basin.
4. Instigate geological and geochemical evaluations of a pervasive oil system, including determination of source rock and reservoir parameters.
5. Assess the mechanical stratigraphy of a section.
6. Evaluate matrix porosity and permeability.
7. Assess reservoir drive mechanisms in the Bakken Petroleum System.
8. Examine hydraulic fracturing design requirements, including proppant and fluid types.
9. Judge the benefits of hydraulic fracturing diagnostic techniques and how they integrate with geological and geophysical analyses and models.
10. Integrate learnings from Williston Basin case studies into pervasive oil system evaluations.

The 6 days of lectures, field visits, exercises and discussions are designed to provide broad exposure to the hydrocarbon plays currently being exploited in the Williston Basin. It is expected that many of the lessons learned will have applicability to resource plays in other settings.

Itinerary (Subject to Change)

Day 0
Travel to Bozeman, Montana

Day 1, Classroom: Geology of the Bakken Petroleum System
Lectures and exercises addressing:

  • Tight oil
  • Regional geology
  • History of production
  • Petroleum system basics
  • Bakken mud rocks
  • Lower Lodgepole

Overnight in Bozeman

Day 2, Classroom: Engineering of the Bakken Petroleum System
Lectures and exercises focused on:

  • Hydraulic fracturing - why do it?
  • Vertical vs horizontal completions and associated diversion techniques
  • Stress and mechanical properties
  • Materials used and conductivity
  • Modeling
  • Monitoring and diagnostics
  • Post treatment analysis
  • Exercises

Overnight in Bozeman

Day 3, Classroom: Geology of the Bakken Petroleum System and Core Workshop at Montana State University

  • Three Forks
  • Reservoir drive
  • Field Examples

Overnight in Bozeman

Day 4, Core Workshop at Montana State University

Overnight in Bozeman

Day 5, Field Visits: Three Forks and Sappington type sections

  • Milligan Gulch
  • Logan Gulch

Overnight in Bozeman

Day 6, Field visits and course wrap-up session

  • Sacagewea/Hardscrabble Peak

Overnight in Bozeman

Day 7

Depart for home

Any geologist, geophysicist, petrophysicist or engineer who is exploring for and developing tight oil resource plays. The course will be particularly helpful for those working the Bakken / Sappington / Exshaw / Three Forks units in the greater Williston Basin, but the lessons learned can be applied to other tight oil plays.

Mike Hendricks

Dr. Hendricks has over 30 years experience in the oil and gas industry.  From 1979-1981 he was an Exploration Geologist for Energy Reserves Group in Denver.  From 1979-1983 he was Vice President and Secretary and then 1983-1987 President and Treasurer of West Point Exploration Inc., in Denver.  From 1983-1985 he was the sole proprietor of Hendricks and Associates and since then to the present is the President.  He also held a position as Adjunct Professor at the Colorado School of Mines from 1988-1994.  He has published various papers and given numerous professional talks on carbonate geology of the Williston Basin and sandstone geology of the Rocky Mountains.

Mr. Hendricks is involved in four aspects of the petroleum industry:
1. Consulting services. He has conducted regional stratigraphic studies in the Canadian and US portions of the Williston Basin and the Lower and Upper Cretaceous in Wyoming, Utah, and  Colorado. Mr. Hendricks maintains regional databases for petroleum exploration and has done extensive reservoir characterization work in the Rocky Mountains, Mid- Continent, Texas basins, and selected international basins, and is well versed in both reservoir compartment-alization and sequence stratigraphy. International work includes carbonate plays in Canada and Australia and sandstone characterization studies in Venezuela.

2. Offers seminars and courses for industry participants in core analysis, petrography, and reservoir characterization.

3. Expert witness, having appeared before the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Committee and provided testimony in the US and Canada  on oil and gas issues.

4. Prospecting in the Rocky Mountain region, having originated and sold oil and gas prospects to exploration companies.  The current focus is the Williston Basin with exploration efforts in the Bakken Resource play and North Dakota shallow gas.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Colorado School of Mines
MSc Colorado School of Mines
BSc  University of Colorado

Courses Taught
N271: The Bakken Petroleum System as a Resource Play (Montana & Wyoming, USA)

Jennifer Miskimins

Jennifer is a Senior Consulting Engineer with Barree & Associates in Lakewood, Colorado, where she specializes in hydraulic fracturing design and treatment analysis, while also teaching a variety of short courses. Prior to joining Barree & Associates, she was an Associate Professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) in Golden, Colorado, where she still holds a faculty appointment.  Prior to joining CSM, she worked for Marathon Oil Company in a variety of locations. Jennifer is the founder and former Director of the Fracturing, Acidizing, Stimulation Technology (FAST) Consortium at CSM.

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Colorado School of Mines - Petroleum Engineering
MSc Colorado School of Mines - Petroleum Engineering
BS Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology -Petroleum Engineering
SPE Production & Operations Journal - Executive Editor  (2008-2011)
SPE Distinguished Lecturer (2010-2011) (2013-2014)
SPE Production & Operations Advisory Committee

Courses Taught
N289: The Niobrara Formation as a Resource Play (Colorado, USA)
N271: The Bakken Petroleum System as a Resource Play (Montana & Wyoming, USA)

Steve Sonnenberg

My research interests are in sequence stratigraphy, tectonic influence on sedimentation, reservoir characterization, unconventional resources and all aspects petroleum traps (e.g., reservoir, trap, seal, migration, source rocks). A complete understanding of a petroleum accumulation can provide an analog to discovering additional oil and gas fields. Much of the world’s future resource lies in unconventional reservoirs (tight sands, CBM, and oil and gas shales).

Work Experience
• Exxon Company USA
• Bass Enterprises Production Company
• North America Resources (sold to Pan Canadian)
• Pan Canadian Energy Resources (merged with Alberta Energy to form EnCana)
• EnCana Energy Resources
• Westport Oil and Gas (merged with Kerr McGee)
• Kerr McGee Oil and Gas (merged with Anadarko)
• Anadarko Petroleum

Affiliations and Accreditation
PhD Colorado School of Mines
MS  Texas A&M University
BS  Texas A&M University

Courses Taught
N184: Unconventional Resources: The Main Oil Systems (Colorado, USA) 
N289: The Niobrara Formation as a Resource Play (Colorado, USA)
N271: The Bakken Petroleum System as a Resource Play (Montana & Wyoming, USA)



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PDH: 48 Professional Development Hours
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