3 Challenges in the Bakken Oil Field

3 Challenges in the Bakken Oil Field

The Bakken oil field is a high yield oil play that also produces a lot of water, with an average production ratio around 1:2 oil to water. The produced oil is a clean, low specific gravity blend that requires little refining.

The water content is typically high in salt content, which presents unique challenges to the production equipment. In this article we’ll cover three of the most common.

Bakken Oil Field Averages

  • Oil Production: 1.3 million bpd
  • Gas Production: 2.7 mmcfd
  • Drop off: 45% after year 1
  • Well Depth: 7-23k
  • Well Life: 30 years
  • Production Pressure: 250 PSI

Commonly Used Valves

Challenge 1: Flow back

One big challenge this play offers is erosion from flow back. There is a high pressure drop in the area with the frac sand washing out the trim and cage of the valves.

  • Solution: Kimray’s Zirconia trim used on the ball, cone, port valves and hard cages can withstand the wear from the sand.

Challenge 2: Seat Material

The poly seats have been a problem in low pressure situations for years. Customers have overcome this issue by ordering their valves with HSN or Viton seats.

  • Solution: After researching other valve’s on the market, it was determined that Kimray was the only one that continued to offer a poly compound seat. By standardizing our seats to HSN throughout the product line, we are improving the performance of our valves.

Challenge 3: Sticking Valves

Customers were having problems with their mechanical valves sticking, causing separators to either overflow to the flare stack or empty the vessel down the dump line and blow gas.

  • Solution: Kimray engineers could not duplicate the problem in our lab, so we sent a Kimray tech to North Dakota to observe in the field. It was quickly determined that due to the extremely low specific gravity of the oil, the standard float was not large enough to actuate the valve. After changing the float to the appropriate size, the Kimray mechanical valve worked correctly.

Want to receive helpful resources like this directly in your inbox?

Subscribe to the Kimray Chronicle