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Using natural gas for enhanced oil recovery on Bakken wells

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Dave Thompson
/
Prairie Public

A project is planned for next year to use natural gas produced in the Bakken for enhanced oil recovery in horizontal wells.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms said XTO Energy is planning to use natural gas for enhanced recovery in 9 wells. He said this will use produced natural gas from surrounding wells.

Helms said this is different from a project spearheaded by Liberty Resources. That project failed.

"The reason given by Liberty Resources for the fact that their pilot project did not achieve the necessary pressures or incremental oil was a shortage of natural gas," Helms told the state Industrial Commission. "They were trying to take gas from just the spacing unit where they were doing the test, and it was insufficient to bring the pressure up."

Helms said XTO has more wells – and more available natural gas. He said the project will also explore the possibility of produced gas storage.

"Can we do temporary storage of natural gas, instead of flaring it, by putting it into somewhat depleted wells, put it back in the reservoir, or keep it there until we have the infrastructure to produce it and market it, and then bring it back?" Helms said.

Helms says XTO has more wells – and more available natural gas. He says the project will also explore the possibility of produced gas storage.

The Industrial Commission endorsed the plan. Gov. Doug Burgum -- who chairs the Commission -- called it a "win-win."

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