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Production from the Bakken and Three Forks formations within the Williston basin is continuing to climb, as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. One of the keys to increased oil production is the evolution of reservoir stimulation techniques, such as fracturing fluids and proppants. This article describes a study that evaluated the key factors that may result in conductivity loss within the Bakken and Three Forks reservoirs. Various proppants and reservoir rock cores were exposed to common fracturing and formation fluids at reservoir conditions. The results of this study suggest that the conductivity of propped fractures within the Bakken petroleum system appears to be a function of several factors, including proppant and rock strength, as well as formation embedment and spalling. Further understanding can be achieved through advanced conductivity testing, coupled with quantification of formation embedment and spalling.
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