Optimizing Completion Design and Well Spacing in the Powder River Basin Niobrara Oil Play

Blake Burget, Neal Dannemiller, Dylan Garrett, and Erik Kling, Kimmeridge Energy

Copyright 2021, Society of Petroleum Engineers


The Powder River Basin (PRB) Niobrara is an emerging unconventional oil play with the potential to be at the front of the US cost curve in the near future. Given the limited development to date and the play's large areal extent, the authors believe the untapped resource and running room to be significant. To date only a few-hundred Niobrara wells exist in the PRB, but large public E&Ps are increasingly publicizing the play and allocating more capital to it over time (annual well count has steadily increased from 6 in 2016 to 45 in 2019). Despite this fact, relatively little has been published on completion and well spacing optimization on the play. This paper has two goals: (1) To share a multi-disciplinary, physics-based framework to help establish an initial thesis for optimal completion design and well spacing in under-explored unconventional reservoirs and (2) To illustrate the predictive ability of the framework in the Powder River Basin Niobrara oil play.