The Bakken Petroleum System of the Williston Basin

09 December, 2010
Who Should Attend
Geologists, geophysicists, engineers, and support technicians who are interested in the Bakken Petroleum system.
Course Content

This e-symposium will look at:

  • the Bakken Petroleum system
  • Bakken source beds
  • Horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracture stimulations that are applied to both the Bakken and upper Three Forks
  • An estimate of recoverable oil from the petroleum system

The Mississippian-Devonian Bakken Petroleum System of the Williston Basin is characterized by low-porosity and permeability reservoirs, organic-rich source rocks, and regional hydrocarbon charge. The unconventional play is the current focus of exploration and development activity by many operators. Previous workers have described significant Bakken source rock potential and estimates of oil generated from the petroleum system range from 10 to 400 billion barrels. The USGS (2008) mean technologically recoverable resource estimates for the Bakken Formation are 3.65 billion barrels of oil, 1.85 trillion cubic ft of associated/dissolved natural gas, and 148 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

The Bakken petroleum system is thought to have created a continuous type of accumulation in the deeper parts of the Williston Basin (Nordeng, 2009). A continuous accumulation is a hydrocarbon accumulation that has some or all of the following characteristics: pervasive hydrocarbon charge throughout a large area; no well-defined, oil- or gas-water contact; diffuse boundaries; commonly is abnormally pressured; large in-place resource volume, but low recovery factor; little water production; geologically controlled “sweet spots”; reservoirs commonly in close proximity to mature source rocks; reservoirs have very low matrix permeabilities; and water occurs up dip from hydrocarbons. The Bakken petroleum system meets all these characteristics.

Many of the reservoirs in the Bakken petroleum system have low permeability. Productive areas or “sweet spots” are localized areas of improved reservoir permeability through natural fracturing or development of matrix permeability, or combination of both.

Each e-symposium consists of one-hour live e-symposium, along with material for one full day of independent study. The live portion will be followed by a full day of independent study (not a live event). The one-hour live e-symposium can be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world using a high-speed internet connection. After the event is over, you will receive via email information about accessing the asynchronous segment (not live) which consists of your independent study materials, to be accessed and studied at any time. You will be able to email responses to the readings, along with your study question answers for CEU credit (if you sign up for the extended package).

Recording of original webinar, packet of independent study reading materials, PDF of original PowerPoint presentation by FTP download. (Original presentation date: December 9, 2010.) Some materials will also sent by e-mail.

Expires on
01 January, 9999
Member Tuition without CEU
Expires on
01 January, 9999
Nonmember Tuition without CEU
Expires on
01 January, 9999
Student Tuition without CEU
Expires on
01 January, 9999
Member Tuition with CEU
Expires on
01 January, 9999
Nonmember Tuition with CEU
Expires on
01 January, 9999
Student Tuition with CEU

Expanded package for CEU credit is $100 for AAPG members, and $145 for non-members. Special Student Pricing: $25 for Webinar only; $35 for Expanded package.


Stephen A. Stephen A. Sonnenberg Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Susan Susan Nash, Ph.D. Director of Education and Professional Development +1 918 560 2604
Debbi Debbi Boonstra Education Manager +1 918 560-2630

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