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Hydrodynamic Effects on Mission Canyon (Mississippian) Oil Accumulations, Billings Nose Area, North Dakota1

Robert R. Berg,2 William D. DeMis,3 and Alan R. Mitsdarffer4


Mission Canyon oil production on the south flank of the Williston basin provides an example of an area in the mature stage of exploration that shows significant hydrodynamic effects on oil accumulations related to stratigraphic traps. The effects are illustrated by the Billings Nose fields and the Elkhorn Ranch field. The reservoirs have low hydraulic gradients of about 2 m/km (10 ft/mi), tilted oilwater contacts with gradients of 5 m/km (25 ft/mi), and variable formationwater salinities that range from brackish to highly saline. Oil accumulations in some zones are displaced off structure and downdip to the northeast, parallel to porosity pinchouts. Other zones are pure hydrodynamic traps, lacking both structural and stratigraphic closure. Future success in exploration and development in the play will depend on recognizing the hydrodynamic effects and predicting oil displacement.

Hydrodynamic flow of formation water affects oil accumulations in structural and stratigraphic traps. Freshwater can invade the porous zones and dilute

Copyright 1994. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved. 1Manuscript received, February 9, 1993; revised manuscript received, November 29, 1993; final acceptance, January 3, 1994. 2Department of Geology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3115. 3Marathon Oil Co., P.O. Box 3128, Houston, Texas 77253. 4Dupont Environmental Remediation Services, 140 Cypress Station, #140, Houston, Texas 77090. The present manuscript was compiled by Berg and DeMis from detailed field studies. The Billings Nose fields were interpreted by Mitsdarffer for the Master of Science degree in geology at Texas A&M University. Drill-stem test reports for the area were provided by Roger Hoeger, Denver. Elkhorn Ranch field was studied by DeMis while employed by Pennzoil, and permission to publish the results is gratefully acknowledged. The manuscript was improved by the critical comments of John M. Parker and AAPG reviewers Kenneth Bird, Robert Lindsay, and Mark Longman.

the normally saline formation water. Flow can also displace the oil in a downstream direction causing distinct tilts in the oilwater contacts (Hubbert, 1953; Berg, 1975). Variable water salinities and displaced oil accumulations present problems of well log interpretation and selection of locations for exploratory and development wells in hydrodynamic settings. The possibility of hydrodynamic conditions in the Williston basin (Figure 1) was first suggested by Murray (1959) based on tilted oilwater contacts in two oil fields. Regional flow patterns were later established by studies of the Mississippian Madison aquifer (Downey, 1984), which includes the principal reservoir zones of the basin. The effects of flow are well illustrated by oil fields within the greater Billings Nose area of the south-central part of the basin. The Williston basin is a prominent cratonic basin in the north-central United States, and large oil fields were first discovered in 1951 along the Nesson anticline and soon afterward in Saskatchewan. Much later, the discovery of two large oil fields in the south-central part of the basin, Little Knife and the Billings Nose fields, led to extensive development drilling that confirmed the occurrence of tilted oilwater contacts in several fields. The effects of flow were not obvious during the early stage of drilling, and stratigraphic changes were interpreted to be the principal trapping mechanism in Mission Canyon reservoirs of the Madison Group. This conclusion resulted in an emphasis of research on the Mission Canyon facies, and numerous papers have addressed the stratigraphy and rock properties in the Billings Nose area (Altschuld and Kerr, 1982; Kupecz, 1984; Breig, 1988) and Little Knife field (Wittstrom and Hagemeier, 1978; Lindsay and Roth, 1982; Narr and Burruss, 1984; Lindsay and Kendall, 1985; Lindsay, 1987). A review of reservoir characteristics and stratigraphic relationships across North Dakota was provided by Lindsay (1988). The stratigraphic model involves thin, porous beds of dolomite that grade updip by facies changes into tight evaporites, similar to stratigraphic traps else501

AAPG Bulletin, V. 78, No. 4 (April 1994), P. 501518.


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota

where in the basin. An excellent summary of the reservoir properties, stratigraphy, and facies of the Mission Canyon of the Billings Nose area was presented by Petty (1988), but the importance of hydrodynamic flow was not described (DeMis, 1990). Although the stratigraphic model applied to some reservoirs in the area, it soon became apparent that oilwater contacts were not everywhere horizontal and that hydrodynamic flow could be a factor in the location of oil accumulations (Mitsdarffer, 1985; DeMis, 1987, 1992; Breig, 1988). The purpose of this paper is to document the hydrodynamic conditions, describe the effects of flow on oil accumulations, and show that hydrodynamic principles can be applied to exploration for additional oil in this mature area. The conclusions of this study apply to other basins where low-gradient, hydrodynamic flow is present.

Mission Canyon fields in the south-central Williston basin have been discovered over the past 30 yr. With the first discovery of Mississippian oil on the Nesson anticline in 1951 (Figure 1) and subsequent discoveries in Saskatchewan, exploration spread throughout the Williston basin. The first field in the Billings Nose area was Fryburg, discovered in 1953 by Amerada (Table 1). In the late 1950s, Shell Oil undertook an extensive analysis of the Mission Canyon formation. Shell geologists defined a stratigraphic play in which porosity trends were terminated updip by anhydrite. Geophysicists mapped a broad anticline they called the Medora Nose (later known as the Billings Nose), and a dozen wildcat wells were drilled during the late 1950s and early 1960s in search of the pinch-out traps. This early attempt to define stratigraphic traps was an outstanding example of insightful geology applied in a sparsely drilled areaand bad luck. Only one small, marginally economic Mission Canyon field, called Rough Rider, was discovered in 1959. Later drilling in the greater Billings Nose area proved in-place reserves on the order of 250 million bbl. Many of these fields have Shell dry holes offsetting the producing area. For example, the discovery well in Elkhorn Ranch field was drilled by Shell in 1961 and tested oil in the Mission Canyon but was completed in the deeper Bakken shale for 100 bbl/day. This single well was still producing 50 bbl/day when the casing collapsed in 1965, and the well was plugged and abandoned. Elkhorn Ranch field was rediscovered in 1974 when Cenex offset the original Shell well by onefourth mile and completed the new well in the Mission Canyon formation. Further development was slowed, however, because the hydrostatic model limited the number of possible locations to the high-

Figure lRegional structure and location of the Williston basin. (A) Structure on top of the Mission Canyon formation showing the location of important oil fields (black) and the greater Billings Nose area. Contour interval is 305 m (1000 ft). Map modified from Hansen (1972). (B) Location of the Williston basin in the northcentral United States and the location of uplifts where Mississippian rocks are exposed to recharge by meteoric waters: BH, Black Hills; BM, Bighorn Mountains.

est part of the structure. Finally, the field was extended in the early 1980s when the hydrodynamic influence on the trap was recognized (DeMis, 1990). In late 1977, Gulf Oil Company tested a large structure in easternmost Billings County and discovered Little Knife field (Wittstrom and Hagemeier, 1978). Subsequently, a number of discoveries were made in central Billings County, and development linked these fields into one large and essentially con-

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Table 1. Mission Canyon Oil Production from Selected Fields, Greater Billings Nose Area, South-Central Williston Basin, North Dakota Cumulative Production (to April 1992) Oil Gas (million bbl) (bcf) 10.2 12.9 5.5 20.3 58.0 43.1 4.0 7.5 10.2 5.3 70.1 5.5 4.0 186.5 0.8 9.5 0.1 23.0 100.0 44.5 1.7 4.6 8.9 3.4 63.1 11.6 0.6 208.6

Field Fryburg Rough Rider Medora Elkhorn Ranch Little Knife Billings Nose fields Big Stick Four Eyes T-R Tree Top Whiskey Joe Subtotal (Billings Nose) Lone Butte Knutson Totals

Discovery 1953 1959 1964 1974 1977 1978 1978 1978 1978 1979 1981 1983

Wells 27 35 24 65 179 61 10 36 34 28 22 16

tinuous producing area now called the Billings Nose (Breig, 1988). During development, brackish formation water of 15,000 ppm NaCl was recovered on tests at the southwest end of the producing area, and this water contrasts with salinities of greater than 100,000 ppm NaCl normally found in the Mission Canyon. Consequently, a study of fluids and pressures was undertaken to determine the reason for the salinity differences (Mitsdarffer, 1985). At the same time, tilted oilwater contacts were detected at Elkhorn Ranch (DeMis, 1987) and at Knutson field (Bogle and Hansen, 1987).

ft/mi). Madison formation water ranges from nearly fresh close to the outcrops to brines of 300,000 ppm NaCl in the central basin (Downey, 1984) (Figure 2B). The pattern of salinity change suggests that the inflow of meteoric water has diluted the normally saline water of the basin. Tongues of brackish water extend from the south and southwest almost to the Billings Nose area. It is in this regional setting that the effects of flow can be detected in oil accumulations.

A regional study established the hydrodynamic conditions for the Madison aquifer over a broad area (Downey, 1984). The aquifer is recharged by meteoric waters in outcrops around the Black Hills uplift on the south and the Bighorn Mountains on the southwest at surface elevations greater than 1220 m (4000 ft) (Figure 2A). A map of the freshwater potentiometric surface indicates that the flow of formation water is generally eastward across the Williston basin, but the potentiometric gradient is low. For example, the head at Mondak field in western South Dakota (Figure 1) is about 1070 m (3500 ft), and discharge from the aquifer takes place 320 km (200 mi) to the east along the truncated edge of the aquifer (Figure 2A) at elevations of about 460 m (1500 ft). The head difference of 610 m (2000 ft) in a distance of 320 km (200 mi) gives a regional gradient of only 2 m/km (10

Most of the basin is characterized by gentle dips of about 4.7 m/km (25 ft/mi), and the only major structures are the Cedar Creek and Nesson anticlines (Figure 1). Minor structures in the south-central part of the basin are the north-plunging Little Knife anticline and the broad, north-plunging Billings Nose (Figure 3). The five principal fields, in order of discovery, are the Fryburg, Rough Rider, Elkhorn Ranch, Little Knife, and Billings Nose fields (Table 1). With the exception of Little Knife, there are no structural closures. Oil accumulation appears to be largely independent of structure as shown by the producing area that extends across the shallow syncline between the Tree Top and Big Stick fields. The Mississippian Madison Group has produced most of the oil in the basin, and the Mission Canyon formation contains the principal reservoirs. Limestones and dolomites of the Mission Canyon grade laterally to anhydrites, and the formation is underlain


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota

Figure 2Regional maps of the Mississippian Madison aquifer in the Williston basin and adjacent areas (from Downey, 1984). Study area is the greater Billings Nose area (see Figure 1). (A) Freshwater potentiometric surface showing generally eastward flow across the Williston basin. Contours are isopotentials (in feet above sea level); contour interval is 61 m (200 ft). Black arrows indicate flow directions normal to isopotential contours. (B) Formation water salinity showing nearly freshwater around the recharge areas of the Black Hills and Bighorn Mountains and the brine area (cross hatched) in the central Williston basin. Contours are in parts per million (ppm) of total dissolved solids; contour interval is variable.

Figure 3Regional structure of the greater Billings Nose area on top of the Mission Canyon formation showing the northeastern trends of porosity in the FrobisherAlida interval and pinch-out of successively older zones toward the southeast. Contour interval is 30 m (100 ft). Shaded areas are fields that produce oil from Mission Canyon reservoirs. Small circles represent wells in which drillstem tests give original pressures by extrapolation of pressure buildup and also measurements of formation water resistivities.

by dense lime mudstones of the Lodgepole formation and overlain by anhydrite and halite beds of the Charles Formation. Subdivisions of the Mission Canyon are given informal member names to designate timerock units (Carlson and LeFever, 1987). However, the subunits are difficult to correlate across the basin, and stratigraphic names have not been used consistently. Therefore, we have adopted the nomenclature of Petty (1988) for this area. In the south-central part of the basin, the Mission Canyon section is called the FrobisherAlida interval, and the reservoir zones are in the Bluell, Sherwood, and Mohall submembers (Figure 4). In Big Stick field, letter designations were used for these zones. The FrobisherAlida interval in the southern Williston basin contains three principal porous zones that pinch out toward the southeast and are successively older in that direction (Figure 3). Oil production is generally from the highest porous zones immediately below the Nesson anhydrite. Each porous zone is contained within a shoaling-upward sequence deposited during a major regression. The sequences consist of (1) open marine, low-porosity, skeletal packstones that grade upward to (2) subtidal, dolomitized, higher porosity skeletal mudstones and wackestones, and culminate in (3) intertidal, porous, stromatolitic mudstones. The intertidal deposits grade updip to the southeast into supratidal, tight, anhydritic dolomites (Altschuld and

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Figure 4Well log correlation section of the upper Mission Canyon formation across the Billings Nose area showing the step-down of major producing zones in the FrobisherAlida interval and the thickening of the Nesson Anhydrite toward the southeast. Interval names are from Petty (1988); locations of fields shown in Figure 3. Datum is the gamma marker at the base of the Lower Sherwood interval. No horizontal scale. Well logs are gamma ray (GR), density porosity (D), and neutron porosity (N).

Kerr, 1982; Lindsay and Roth, 1982; Kupecz, 1984; Petty, 1988). These sequences are repeated several times within each of the submembers. Porous zones are thin and range from 0.6 m (2 ft) to 6 m (19 ft). Reservoir properties are highly variable and have been summarized for several fields (Petty, 1988). An important conclusion from these measurements is that the lower limit for water-free oil production is about 1 md, which corresponds to porosities of 10 to 15%, depending on the producing zone and rock type.

Two principal data sets are required to define the hydrogeology of any oil field: (1) original fluid pressures before drawdown by production and (2) fluid properties. In the Billings Nose fields (Mitsdarffer, 1985), initial pressures were obtained by extrapolation of pressure buildup during drill-stem tests (Horner, 1951). More than 300 tests were examined, and 60 tests were selected as having reliable extrap-

olations of pressure buildup as well as adequate details of fluid recoveries. These pressures and water properties were used in regional mapping. In the Billings Nose fields, formation water resistivities (Rw) were obtained from well log interpretations. Graphs were made of true resistivities (Rt) as a function of porosity () (Pickett, 1966) to obtain water-saturated resistivities (Ro) that were extrapolated to apparent water resistivities at = 100% (Figure 5). The extrapolations assumed that both the cementation exponent (m) and the saturation exponent (n) were equal to 2. The reliability of the graphic method was checked against resistivities of waters recovered from drill-stem tests and during completion. Water resistivities were then converted to equivalent NaCl salinities at an average reservoir temperature of 115C (240F). Pressures measured in the oil column were corrected to those which would be measured in a water column at the elevation of measurement using an average oil gravity of 40 API and reservoir density of 0.625 g/cm3. In most cases, the correction was negligibly


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota

Figure 5Interpretation of true resistivity as a function of porosity in the Mission Canyon reservoir, Billings Nose area. (A) Updip well in T-R field showing extrapolation of 100% water saturation line to water resistivity of 0.09 ohm m. (B) Downdip well in Big Stick field showing extrapolation of 100% water saturation line to water resistivity of 0.018 ohm m. In both wells, the validity of the interpretation is confirmed by initial production from perforated intervals and their apparent water saturations. From interpretation by Mitsdarffer (1985).

small. Hydraulic heads were calculated from the initial pressures using a freshwater gradient of 9.8 kPa/m (0.433 psi/ft) in areas of brackish formation water above an elevation of 2073 m (6800 ft). Heads were corrected for saline formation waters below 2073 m (6800 ft) using a gradient of 10.5 kPa/m (0.465 psi/ft). The correction for saline water resulted in small reductions in heads that would be calculated by using a single freshwater gradient for the entire area. At Elkhorn Ranch field, a study of the Mission Canyon reservoir was made to determine the trapping conditions (DeMis, 1987, 1992). Water salinities, oilwater contacts, and net pay distributions were deduced from well logs and completion records. The reservoir extent and water salinities at Knutson field have been published (Bogle and Hansen, 1987). All of these studies provide evidence of hydrodynamic conditions and effects on oil accumulation.

Formation water resistivities and equivalent NaCl salinities were determined from the interpretation of

fluid recoveries on drill-stem tests in selected wildcat wells throughout the area and supplemented by log interpretation in some fields. Water resistivities range from 0.05 ohm m (4000 ppm) on the southwest in Knutson field to less than 0.01 ohm m (>200,000 ppm) in the northeast (Figure 6). A prominent tongue of brackish to saline water extends into the Billings Nose fields from the southwest, and the pattern suggests that fresher waters have intruded the Mission Canyon by hydrodynamic flow from the outcrops beyond the map area to the south and southwest. Two other tongues of less saline water occur to the northwest and southeast, but these are not well defined. The interpretation of well logs in the study areas supports the regional salinity map. For example, along the Billings Nose, the salinities of formation waters range from brackish to highly saline from south to north across the fields. This range is illustrated by graphs of Rt() for two wells (Figure 5). A well in T-R field at the south end of the area has an apparent water-saturated resistivity (Ro) of 9 ohm m at 10% porosity. Extrapolation of this value to 100% porosity gives an apparent water resistivity (Rw) of 0.09 ohm m at formation temperature (Figure 5A) and an

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Figure 6Salinity of formation water in the Mohall and Glenburn intervals of the Mission Canyon formation in the Billings Nose area. Contours in parts per thousand () NaCl; contour interval is variable. Map was prepared from reported fluid recoveries on drill-stem tests and does not necessarily represent detailed salinity changes in local field areas. Note the occurrence of a brackish water tongue invading the Mission Canyon formation from the southwest.

Figure 7Freshwater potentiometric surface in the Mission Canyon formation, Billings Nose area. The potentiometric gradient is toward the east and implies a generally eastward flow of formation waters. Contour interval is 100 ft. Circles denote control wells for the map. Ground elevations in the area range from 716 to 850 m (2350 to 2800 ft).

equivalent NaCl salinity of 22,000 ppm. The reliability of this interpretation is confirmed by a measured water salinity of 15,000 ppm NaCl recovered on drillstem testing in an adjacent well and by the initial potential of the section. According to the graph, the perforated intervals have water saturations (Sw) that range from about 45 to 55%, indicating that both oil and water could be produced from the zone. The initial production of 506 bbl/day of oil and 421 bbl/day of water confirms that the graph correctly predicts saturations and, furthermore, that the water-saturated resistivities are essentially correct. A well in the north part of the area in Big Stick field has an apparent water-saturated resistivity (Ro) of 1.8 ohm m at 10% porosity (Figure 5B). Extrapolation of this value to 100% porosity gives an apparent water resistivity of 0.018 ohm m at formation temperature and a salinity of 160,000 ppm NaCl. The perforated intervals have indicated water saturations in the range of 30 to 40%, which suggest the production of water-free oil. The initial potential of 2500 bbl/day of oil with only a small amount of water confirms the predicted saturations as well as the estimate of formation water salinity. Waters of equally high salinities were recovered in adjacent wells on drill-stem tests of the section. The water salinity map (Figure 6) represents changes in the Mohall and Glenburn intervals below

the producing horizons because these intervals are commonly 100% water saturated. Similar patterns of salinity change, however, are represented by salinities of waters produced with oil in several fields (Bogle and Hansen, 1987; DeMis, 1987; Breig, 1988). Outside the fields, the map represents only a best estimate of water salinities from drill-stem test recoveries. Nevertheless, the changes depict a major invasion of less saline waters over a broad area.

A regional potentiometric surface for the formation water was established from measured reservoir pressures (Figure 7). The calculation of hydraulic heads accounts for the salinity differences in the formation water. The flow of formation water is normal to the potentiometric contours, northward in the south part of the area and eastward in the north. The pattern of flow generally conforms to the change in water salinity (Figure 6) and confirms the flow of brackish waters from the south and west. Two areas of low potential occur as reentrants in the regional pattern and include the Elkhorn Ranch field and the Knutson-Billings Nose fields. These lows represent traps or volumes of rock in which there is a local minimum potential for further movement of oil (Hubbert, 1953). Little Knife


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota

Figure 8Maps of the Billings Nose fields (compiled by Mitsdarffer, 1985). (A) Structure on top of the Mission Canyon formation showing producing area along structural noses and connected across shallow syncline. Contour interval is 15 m (50 ft). (B) Thickness of net pay in the A zone showing porosity pinch-out along a northeastern trend. Contour interval is variable from 1.5 to 3.0 m (5 to 10 ft). Oil production to the southeast at Whiskey Joe and Franks Creek is from the B zone and exists without stratigraphic or structural closure.

field is also associated with a potentiometric low, but there were too few early drill-stem tests in that area to determine original pressures and define the extent of the potentiometric low. Potentiometric gradients outside the producing areas appear to be about 6 m/km (30 ft/mi). Within the lows, however, the gradients are small and may be only about 2 m/km (10 ft/mi). Hydraulic heads for the area were calculated using a correction for the changes in salinity across the area. If a constant density of formation water were used, the heads would not correctly represent the potentiometric surface. For example, assuming a freshwater gradient of 9.8 kPa/m (0.433 psi/ft), the calculated heads would be too high in the area of saline formation waters. The corrected heads were calculated as follows. In the Billings Nose area, the change in formation waters from weakly brackish to highly saline takes

place in a depth interval of approximately 61 m (200 ft) from an elevation of 2073 to 2134 m (6800 to 7000 ft). Pressures measured in the brackish zone are due to a column of low-salinity water above the level of measurement. In the saline zone, however, the measured pressures include the additional weight of saline water, assuming an abrupt salinity change at 2073 m (6800 ft). For example, a 61-m (200-ft) column of saline water would exert a hydrostatic pressure of (200 ft 0.465 psi/ft) = 93 psi. If a freshwater gradient were assumed, the pressure would be (200 ft 0.433 psi/ft) = 87 psi. Therefore, the pressure difference would be 6 psi, or about 15 ft of head. The pressure difference is less than the precision of pressure buildup measurements and is negligibly small as compared to the total pressure. We conclude that the corrected heads are a satisfactory approximation in the transition zone from brackish to highly saline waters for regional mapping.

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Figure 9Maps of the Billings Nose fields (compiled by Mitsdarffer, 1985). (A) Initial potentials of wells completed in the A zone showing higher potentials in the north and lower potentials and increasing water cuts to the south. (B) Elevations of the oilwater contact showing an average gradient of 5 m/km (25 ft/mi) to the northeast in the central part of the field. Oilwater contacts based on level of 100% water saturation estimated from cross plots of Rt() (see Figure 5) and confirmed by drill-stem test recoveries.

In areas of low potentiometric gradients, however, the measured pressures may not be sufficiently accurate to establish the true gradients.

The potentiometric gradient across the area implies that the oil accumulations are affected by the flow of formation waters. These effects have been documented by detailed mapping of the oil distribution in several fields.
Billings Nose Fields

The structure is dominated by two distinct noses in a regional dip of about 5 m/km (25 ft/mi) to the north-northeast (Figure 8A). The T-R, Big Stick, and

Four Eyes fields occur along the western nose, and the Franks Creek, Whiskey Joe, and Tree Top fields are along the eastern nose. Oil production extends along both noses, and no significant structural closures can be mapped. In the central part of the area, oil production extends across the shallow syncline between Big Stick and Tree Top. The total vertical height of the oil column is 46 m (150 ft) from T-R on the south to Tree Top on the north. The principal producing zone is the lower Sherwood (A zone), which has an average net thickness of about 3 m (10 ft) and a maximum net thickness of 6.1 m (20 ft) (Figure 8B). The porous zone is abruptly terminated by a facies change to evaporites along a northeast trend that crosses the area from T-R to Tree Top. Production southeast of this pinch-out is from a thin, porous section of the underlying lowermost Sherwood (B zone). The initial flow rates of wells completed in the A


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota

Figure 10Formation water resistivities and potentiometric surface in the Billings Nose fields. (A) Water resistivities in the Mission Canyon C zone estimated from Rt() plots (Figure 5) and confirmed by drill-stem test recoveries. Contours in ohm m; contour interval variable. Map compiled by Mitsdarffer (1985). (B) Potentiometric surface showing apparent gradient generally to the east. Heads were calculated using a freshwater gradient of 9.8 kPa/m (0.433 psi/ft) and corrected for increasingly saline waters downdip.

zone show that the higher potentials are displaced in a downdip direction (Figure 9A). Completions of 1000 bbl/day of oil or more are concentrated in the Big Stick field, whereas areas updip and downdip show decreased potentials as well as increasing amounts of produced water. Low potentials with large water cuts are common in the T-R field to the southwest. The apparent oilwater contact for the area (Figure 9B) was established by graphs of true resistivity as a function of porosity (Figure 5), and the highest zone of 100% water saturation was taken as the oilwater contact. This interpretation of the contact was confirmed by fluid recoveries on drill-stem tests or by initial fluid production. The contact has a maximum gradient of 4.8 m/km (25 ft/mi) to the northeast across Big Stick and flattens to the southwest and northeast. Formation water resistivities were determined by the same method of well log interpretation (Figure 5). The water resistivities range from 0.08 ohm m on

the south at T-R field to 0.01 ohm m on the north (Figure 10A). These resistivities are equivalent to 25,000 ppm and 200,000 ppm NaCl, respectively, at an average formation temperature of 115C (240F). The northward increase in salinity reflects the invasion of meteoric water from southwest to northeast across the area, diluting the normally highly saline waters of the MohallGlenburn interval (C zone). The resistivities represent waters in the C zone aquifer that immediately underlies the oil-productive A and B zones, because the highest water saturations occur in the C zone. However, nearly the same pattern of resistivities is reflected in the salinity of waters produced with the oil (Breig, 1988). Apparently, the dilute formation waters are also invading the reservoir zones despite the low relative permeability to water. The potentiometric surface for the reservoir zone was attempted from drill-stem test pressures using a corrected gradient to account for salinity change

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Figure 11Maps of the Elkhorn Ranch field in the northwestern part of the Billings Nose area; location of field is shown in Figure 2. Maps adapted in part from DeMis (1992); well symbols are the same as in Figure 9. (A) Structure on top of the Mission Canyon formation showing displacement of the oil accumulation to the northeast. (B) Elevation of the oilwater contact showing a gradient to the northeast at about 5 m/km (25 ft/mi). Map is drawn on the base of 100% oil production. Contour interval is 7.6 m (25 ft).

(Figure 10B). Only selected well tests were used, those with the highest local pressures and that had the most reliable extrapolations of pressure buildup. This selection eliminated tests that showed drawdown of pressures by nearby production. The potentiometric map suggests that flow of formation water is generally eastward, normal to the isopotential contours. In the producing area, the map is contoured to ensure that the reservoir occupies a low-potential volume of rock that is outlined by the 990-m (3250-ft) contour. This low-potential area conforms to the flow pattern inferred from the tilt of the oilwater contact (Figure 9B) and from the salinity change toward the northeast (Figure 10A). Furthermore, the limit of the A zone reservoir is assumed to be a no-flow boundary. Beyond the A zone limit, the potentiometric surface represents the B zone, and the surface continues to dip toward the southeast. A small area of potentiometric closure is shown at T-R field in the southwest part of the map (Figure 10B). This low-potential area probably results from drawdown of pressures by oil production from earlier

wells to the northeast. The low does not represent a local sink because pressures and heads are greater in porous zones above and below the Mission Canyon. The pressure control is too sparse, and the errors inherent in drill-stem test measurements too large, to determine accurately the hydraulic gradient across the oil accumulations. It can be concluded only that the flow of formation waters is generally eastward across the Billings Nose fields and that flow is diverted locally to the northeast along the porosity limit of the A zone. It is likely that the gradient to the northeast is only about 2 m/km (10 ft/mi). To establish a more accurate gradient, bottom hole pressures in early wells should be used for head calculations.
Elkhorn Ranch Field

The structure at Elkhorn Ranch is a single, broad nose that plunges northward (Figure 11A). A possible small closure of 8 m (25 ft) or less occurs at the southern limit of the field, and the eastern flank of


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota

Figure 12Maps of net pay at Elkhorn Ranch field (adapted from DeMis (1987). Contour interval is variable, 0.61.2 m (24 ft). (A) Thickness of net pay in the lower Sherwood zone based on a porosity cutoff of 12% and showing producing area (shaded) that does not depend on structural or stratigraphic closure. (B). Thickness of net pay in the Bluell zone based on a porosity cutoff of 8% and showing producing area (shaded) controlled in part by loss of porosity along a northeastern trend.

the nose has local dips that are as much as 19 m/km (100 ft/mi) to the east. Judging from the extent of the oil-productive area, the oil accumulation is displaced in the direction of plunge. The total vertical height of the oil column is 38 m (125 ft). The oilwater contact has an apparent tilt toward the east-northeast at a rate of 5 m/km (25 ft/mi) (Figure 11B). The map is based on well completion records, and the oilwater contact is defined as the lowest level of 100% oil production, or the top of the transition zone. Therefore, the map assumes a single oil column, whereas there are multiple, thin producing zones, each of which may have separate oilwater contacts. In any case, the aggregate oil column is clearly displaced generally downdip in a northeastward direction. Two producing zones were mapped using porosity cutoffs of 12% in the Sherwood zone and 8% in the Bluell zone (DeMis, 1987). The lowermost zone, lower Sherwood, has an average net thickness of only 2 m (6 ft), but the porosity extends updip from the field area and to the east where only water pro-

duction was encountered (Figure 12A). Therefore, there appears to be no present structural or stratigraphic closure that limits the oil production. Rather, the accumulation owes its location entirely to hydrodynamic tilt and can be thought of as a simple hydrodynamic trap. The overlying Bluell zone has an average net thickness of only 1.2 m (4 ft) (Figure 12B), and it has a distinct trend to the northeast. Oil production is limited by the line of zero thickness, which also trends northeast. In this case, the original trap may have been stratigraphic and controlled by the limits of porosity, but the existing wells show that under hydrostatic conditions, this zone would lose its oil by migration updip to the southwest. The oil accumulation has been displaced to the northeast along the pinch-out. Therefore, the Bluell oil accumulation is in a combination stratigraphichydrodynamic trap. The inferred flow of formation water is supported by the change in formation water resistivities across the producing area (DeMis, 1992). The apparent resistivities range from 0.05 ohm m on the southwest

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to 0.02 ohm m on the northeast, which correspond to salinities of 130,000 and 180,000 ppm NaCl, respectively, at formation temperature. The magnitude and direction of change strongly suggest that the flow of formation water is toward the northeast and is responsible for the tilt of the oilwater contact in the same direction.
Other Fields

Indirect evidence of hydrodynamic flow is found in other fields in the Billings Nose area. One example is the Knutson field in the southwestern part of the area (Figure 3). The field is located on a minor nose, and no structural closure is present (Bogle and Hansen, 1987). The distribution of wells indicates that the oil accumulation is displaced downdip with a gradient of tilt of about 3 m/km (15 ft/mi). The main producing zone appears to be equivalent to the lower Sherwood (A zone) at T-R and Big Stick fields. Oil production is limited on the east by a pinch-out of the porous zone, which trends to the northeast (Figure 3). The effect of hydrodynamic flow is based solely on the apparent displacement of the producing area downdip and in the direction of the local potentiometric gradient, which appears to be about 6 m/km (20 ft/mi) to the northeast and parallel to the porosity pinch-out (Figure 7). The direction of flow is supported by measured resistivities of produced water that range from 1.5 ohm m on the southwest to 0.5 ohm m on the northeast. These values correspond to salinities of 4000 and 13,000 ppm NaCl, respectively, at formation temperature. The low salinities are attributed to the location of the field to the southwest (Figure 6) where dilution by meteoric waters is greatest. A second example is the Little Knife field, part of which is included in the Billings Nose study area (Figure 3). Based on structure maps, the producing area appears to be displaced eastward on a large nose (Lindsay and Kendall, 1985), which suggests a hydrodynamic effect. However, there are no published maps that document the oilwater contacts in the pay zones, and original pressure measurements from drillstem tests are too few to establish local potentiometric or salinity gradients. The field lies in a high water salinity area, and if tilted oilwater contacts are present, the gradients can be expected to be less than those at either the Billings Nose or Elkhorn Ranch fields because of the higher oilwater density contrast.

The field data clearly show that (1) the oil accumulations are displaced in a downdip direction; (2) there is a great range in formation water salinities, increasing downdip; and (3) the flow of formation

water is generally toward the east, across the structural dip. These facts strongly suggest that oil has been displaced by hydrodynamic flow. Eastward flow of formation water is at an oblique angle to the pinch-out of the major producing zones, and the oil accumulations are displaced to the northeast along the pinch-outs. This relationship suggests that the flow of formation water is locally diverted along the pinch-outs to a northeastward direction of flow and at an angle to the regional flow. The potentiometric gradients are low and cannot be accurately depicted by the distribution of heads. For example, in the Billings Nose, there is little apparent change in head along the pinch-out of the lower Sherwood A zone (Figure 10B). Therefore, the local potentiometric gradients along the oil accumulations could be on the order of only 2 m/km (10 ft/mi). Even this low gradient would have a significant effect on oil. According to Hubbert (1953), the oilwater tilt depends on the hydraulic gradient multiplied by an amplification factor that is proportional to the quantity of water density divided by the density difference between the oil and water. For reservoir conditions in the Billings Nose area, the density of brackish water is 1.0 g/cm 3, the density of saline water with an average of 100,000 ppm NaCl is 1.03 g/cm 3 , and the density of the oil is 0.625 g/cm 3 . Thus, the amplification factor is 2.67 in reservoirs with brackish water and 2.54 in reservoirs with saline water. If the hydraulic gradient is 2 m/km (10 ft/mi), the oilwater tilt should be about 5.3 m/km (28 ft/mi), which is the same as observed tilts based on field studies. These tilts, however, are approximately equal to the regional structural dip, which indicates that oil can not be trapped on regional dip but will be moved in the direction of flow. Only a slight increase in dip locally is required to form a trap, as in the Lower Sherwood zone at Elkhorn Ranch (Figure 12A). In some areas to the west, the regional hydraulic gradients appear to be as high as 5 m/km (25 ft/mi) (see Figure 7). Then the tilts of oilwater contacts could be about 12 m/km (64 ft/mi), much greater than the average structural dip. It can be concluded that oil in such areas has been flushed unless local structural dip exceeds the tilt. In the Billings Nose area, there are three types of traps that can contain oil: stratigraphic, stratigraphichydrodynamic, and hydrodynamic (Figure 13). These types are named according to the principal mechanism that controls closure on the oil accumulation. The simple stratigraphic trap would be formed where the northeast trend of a capillary pressure barrier turns locally toward the northwest and prevents oil from being flushed downdip (Figure 13A). This type of trap is suspected in limited areas, but has not yet been identified as a major trap. For


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota

Figure 13Diagrams of Mission Canyon traps in the Billings Nose area. (A) Stratigraphic trap with downdip pinch-out. (B) Hydrodynamicstratigraphic trap in which oil is displaced along a porosity pinch-out. (C) Simple hydrodynamic trap with oil displaced downdip against a slight increase in dip.

Figure 14Sequence of oil migration and accumulation in the Billings Nose fields illustrated by diagrammatic cross sections. (A) Oil migration upward along fractures from the underlying Bakken shale source under nearly static conditions and oil accumulation in low-relief, structural noses. (B) Brackish water tongue reached the area during the Pliocene, increasing the potentiometric gradient and tilting oil accumulations down structural dip.

example, the one-well accumulation in the Bluell zone northeast of Elkhorn Ranch appears to be of this type (Figure 11B; Sec. 13, T144N, R101W). In addition, two wells in the south part of the Knutson field (Bogle and Hansen, 1987) are located in a small reentrant along the northeast trend of the porosity limit. More of these simple stratigraphic traps can be expected in the area. In the stratigraphichydrodynamic trap, the oil is displaced downdip along the capillary pressure barrier by water flow (Figure 13B). This type of trap is readily identified in the area (see Figures 8B, 9A). In the simple hydrodynamic trap, the oil is displaced by flow and its location is not associated with a capillary pressure barrier but only with a slight increase in structural dip in the direction of flow (Figure 13C). This type was first recognized in the Elkhorn Ranch field (DeMis, 1987) (see Figure 12A) and also occurs in the Big Stick and Four Eyes fields (Figure 8A). Structure plays a minor role in all of these types of traps, but there are no known structural traps in which the present accumulation is determined solely by structure.

The Mississippian Bakken shale is the most likely source rock for Mission Canyon oil (Dow, 1974; Williams, 1974; Meissner, 1984; Webster, 1984), and

the Billings Nose area is near the southern boundary of mature Bakken source rock. The highly organic shales lie about 301 m (1000 ft) below the reservoirs and are separated from them by the dense, micritic limestone of the Lodgepole formation. Oil generation began in the central basin about 80 Ma, according to the burial history (Webster, 1984), and reached peak generation in the Billings Nose area during the late Eocene (40 Ma) (Dembecki and Pirkle, 1985). Migration of the Bakken oil to overlying reservoirs took place through fractures in the Lodgepole formation (Figure 14A). Extensive fracturing occurs in a trend that extends through the Billings Nose area to the northwest where oil production from fractured Mission Canyon Limestone is found in the Mondak field (Parker and Hess, 1980). The origin of fracturing is believed to be from solution collapse over the edge of the deeper Devonian Elk Point evaporites (Parker, 1967; Kearns and Traut, 1979). Fractures occur in the Mission Canyon at Little Knife field and are believed to have formed before migration (Narr and Burruss, 1984). Fractures that assist production are suspected in other fields (Petty, 1988). All of these indications of fractures tend to support the idea of fracture migration. After oil migration upward to the Mission Canyon,

Berg et al.


Figure 15Hypothetical Mission Canyon prospect in the Billings Nose area. (A) Structure on top of Mission Canyon porosity confirmed by discovery (well 1), which is offset by dry holes (wells 2 and 3). Well 2 has a show of oil in a thin column of about 2 m (7 ft). (B) Possible reservoir limits (dotted line) defined by reduced porosity to the southeast ( < 12%) and tilt of oilwater contact to the northeast at 5.7 m/km (30 ft/mi). Arrows point to intersections of the plane of the oilwater contact with structure contours. Proposed location is predicted to encounter about 5 m (15 ft) of pay.

there were at least four periods during which hydrodynamic flow could have affected further migration and accumulation: Laramide, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene. The present structure of the basin was established during the Laramide orogeny from Late Cretaceous (80 Ma) to early Eocene (52 Ma) when uplift of mountains to the south and west exposed Paleozoic aquifers to recharge and downdip flow. Hydrodynamic conditions at this time could have assisted oil migration. However, the uplifts were reduced by erosion to near sea level during the Eocene, and flow was similarly reduced. At peak generation in the late Eocene (40 Ma), hydrodynamic gradients were probably low and aquifer conditions were essentially static (Figure 14A). Regional uplift of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains to their present elevations took place during the late Pliocene (2 Ma) (Love et al., 1963). At this time, the entire stratigraphic section was exposed again around the margins of the Black Hills and the mountain ranges to the west and southwest. The Mis-

sion Canyon and other aquifers were recharged by meteoric water at high elevations, and hydrodynamic flow across the area was initiated (Downey, 1984). Freshwater from the outcrop invaded the deep subsurface and diluted the existing brines. The oil potentiometric surface was locally tilted and oil accumulations were displaced downdip (Figure 14B). Pleistocene glaciation occurred over the northeast part of the basin and provided a temporary source of recharge over what is now the discharge area. Simulations suggest that aquifer flow may now be readjusting to the earlier pattern established during the Pliocene (Downey et al., 1987). The present hydraulic gradients are gentle, but the oil potential gradients are nearly equal to, or in some places greater than, the regional structural dip. This relationship means that the oil accumulations are not in equilibrium with the present hydrodynamic regime but instead are moving in a downdip direction, giving further support to the idea that readjustment of oil accumulations is now taking place.


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota



The Mission Canyon formation has been extensively drilled in the Billings Nose area, but the significant oil reserves and the dominance of hydrodynamic effects indicate that abundant prospects may have been overlooked by traditional mapping techniques. Previous exploration has relied largely on locating structural closures and on stratigraphic mapping to define porosity limits using cutoffs of 6 to 8% porosity. However, some zones have unusually high cutoffs of 12 to 15% for water-free oil production (DeMis, 1987; Petty, 1988). Future success in the area depends on understanding the hydrodynamic effects as well as the capillary properties of the porous zones. Predicting the occurrence of oil will be least hazardous for those accumulations related to stratigraphic changes. A hypothetical example is a onewell field, typical of several in the area (Figure 15A). The discovery, well 1, found 3.6 m (12 ft) of oil productive section above water and was offset to the west and south by dry holes, wells 2 and 3, which found the pay section to be porous but water productive. No reasonable explanation for stratigraphic trapping can be found to explain the dry holes using low porosity cutoffs (for example, see Longman, 1981). The pay section in well 3, however, had an average porosity of less than the cutoff value of 12% for water-free production (DeMis, 1987). Thus, a capillary pressure barrier is suspected that trends northeast, parallel to the regional pinch-outs (see Figure 3). Furthermore, a show of oil in well 2 suggests that the pay section there might be on the oilwater contact. It can be assumed that the oilwater contact is tilted at the rate of 5.7 m/km (30 ft/mi) to the northeast, similar to tilts observed in nearby fields. The plane of the oilwater contact is overlain on the structural map, and its intersections with structural contours defines the limits of the reservoir (Figure 15B). According to this construction, a location northeast of the discovery well and downdip should encounter about the same thickness of reservoir section. In this example (Figure 15), the reservoir is limited on the northeast by increased structural dip to about 15 m/km (80 ft/mi), which is significantly greater than the tilt of the oilwater contact. In the absence of greater structural dip, the oil accumulation could be expected to extend farther north and northeast, similar to the displacements of producible oil in the nearby fields. Where evidence for a capillary pressure barrier is missing, a favorable offset to a discovery well is still in a northeastward direction, parallel to observed tilts. Essential to any interpretation is knowledge of the reservoir structure, which will determine the extent and thickness of the accumulation.

Oil accumulations in the Billings Nose area are tilted to the northeast by the flow of formation waters. The gradients of tilt are about 5 m/km (25 ft/mi), approximately the same as the regional structural gradient. This relationship means that oil might be flushed downdip and that some accumulations are unstable under the present conditions of flow. Small dip changes in local areas would increase or decrease the probability of trapping. It is likely that the major oil accumulations were originally in stratigraphic traps along the northeast trend of the porosity pinch-outs and that the accumulations were later modified by hydrodynamic flow. Some accumulations in the area are not controlled by stratigraphic change and appear to owe their locations entirely to flow. The prediction of traps in exploration is complicated by the fact that the present oil accumulations are not in equilibrium with the flow of formation water. Wildcat drilling on small structural closures assuming hydrostatic conditions, however, is not a correct exploration method. Displaced oil accumulations can occur along porosity pinch-outs or as isolated pools without closure. Therefore, exploration can be guided by a careful evaluation of oil shows, by detailed mapping of reservoir properties of thin porous zones, and by a willingness to drill downdip from indications of oil in water-wet zones. Effects of hydrodynamic flow on oil accumulations can be expected in other basins where aquifers are charged by meteoric water through outcrops at high elevations. Flow of formation water can be detected with relatively few pressure measurements in an early stage of exploration. Where hydraulic gradients are low, as in the Billings Nose area, flow can be suspected whenever there are distinct changes in the salinity of formation water. Then the effect of flow can be anticipated in exploratory drilling as well as in field development.
Altschuld, N., and S. D. Kerr, Jr., 1982, Mission Canyon and Duperow reservoirs of the Billings Nose, Billings County, North Dakota, in J. E. Christopher and J. Kaldi, eds., Fourth International Williston Basin Symposium, Regina, Saskatchewan, p. 103112. Berg, R. R., 1975, Capillary pressures in stratigraphic traps: AAPG Bulletin, v. 59, p. 939956. Bogle, R. W., and W. B. Hansen, 1987, Knutson field and its relationship to the Mission Canyon oil play, south-central Williston basin, in C. G. Carlson and J. E. Christopher, eds., Fifth International Williston Basin Symposium, Saskatchewan Geological Society Special Publication 9, p. 242252. Breig, J. J., 1988, Mississippian Mission Canyon reservoirs of the Billings Nose, Billings County, North Dakota, in S. M. Goolsby and M. W. Longman, eds., Occurrence and petrophysical properties of carbonate reservoirs in the Rocky Mountain Region: Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, p. 357370.

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Carlson, C. G., and J. A. LeFever, 1987, The Madison, a nomenclature review with a look to the future, in C. G. Carlson and J. E. Christopher, eds., Fifth International Williston Basin Symposium: Saskatchewan Geological Society Special Publication 9, p. 7782. Dembecki, H., Jr., and F. L. Pirkle, 1985, Regional source rock mapping using a source potential rating index: AAPG Bulletin, v. 69, p. 567581. DeMis, W. D., 1987, Hydrodynamic trapping in Mission Canyon reservoirs, Elkhorn Ranch field, North Dakota, in C. G. Carlson and J. E. Christopher, eds., Fifth International Williston Basin Symposium: Saskatchewan Geological Society Special Publication 9, p. 217225. DeMis, W. D., 1990, Depositional facies, textural characteristics, and reservoir properties of dolomites in FrobisherAlida interval in southwest North Dakota: Discussion: AAPG Bulletin, v. 74, p. 564565. DeMis, W. D., 1992, Elkhorn Ranch fieldU.S.A., Williston Basin, North Dakota, in N. H. Foster and E. A. Beaumont, eds., Stratigraphic traps III: AAPG Treatise Atlas of Oil and Gas Fields, p. 369388. Dow, W. G., 1974, Application of oil correlation and source-rock data to exploration in Williston basin: AAPG Bulletin, v. 58, p. 12531262. Downey, J. S., 1984, Geology and hydrology of the Madison Limestone and associated rocks in parts of Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming: U.S.G.S. Professional Paper 1273-G, 152 p. Downey, J. S., J. F. Busby, and G. A. Dinwiddie, 1987, Regional aquifers and petroleum in the Williston basin region of United States, in M. W. Longman, ed., Williston basin: anatomy of a cratonic oil province: Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, p. 299312. Hansen, A. R., 1972, The Williston basin, in W. W. Mallory, ed., Geologic atlas of the Rocky Mountain region: Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, p. 265269. Horner, D. R., 1951, Pressure buildup in wells, in Third World Petroleum Congress Proceedings Section II: Leiden, E. J. Brill, p. 503521. Hubbert, M. K., 1953, Entrapment of petroleum under hydrodynamic conditions: AAPG Bulletin, v. 37, p. 19542026. Kearns, J. R., and J. D. Traut, 1979, Mississippian discoveries revive the Williston basin: World Oil, May, p. 5257. Kupecz, J. A., 1984, Depositional environments, diagenetic history, and petroleum entrapment in the Mississippian FrobisherAlida interval, Billings anticline, North Dakota: Colorado School of Mines Quarterly, v. 79, no. 3, 53 p. Lindsay, R. F., 1987, Carbonate and evaporite facies, dolomitization, and reservoir distribution of the Mission Canyon formation, Little Knife field, North Dakota, in M. W. Longman, ed., Williston basin, anatomy of a cratonic oil province: Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, p. 355383. Lindsay, R. F., 1988, Mission Canyon formation reservoir characteristics in North Dakota, in S. M. Goolsby and M. W. Longman, eds., Occurrence and petrophysical properties of carbonate reservoirs in the Rocky Mountain Region: Denver, Colorado, Rocky Moun-

tain Association of Geologists, p. 317346. Lindsay, R. F., and C. G. St. C. Kendall, 1985, Depositional facies, diagenesis, and reservoir character of the Mississippian cyclic carbonates in the Mission Canyon formation, Little Knife field, Williston basin, North Dakota, in P. O. Roehl and P. E. Choquette, eds., Carbonate petroleum reservoirs: New York, Springer-Verlag, p. 175190. Lindsay, R. F., and M. S. Roth, 1982, Carbonate and evaporite facies, diagenesis, and reservoir distribution of the Mission Canyon formation, Little Knife field, in J. E. Christopher and J. Valdi, eds., Fourth International Williston Basin Symposium, Regina, Saskatchewan, p. 153179. Longman, M. W., 1981, Carbonate diagenesis as a control on stratigraphic traps (with examples from the Williston basin): AAPG Fall Education Conference, Calgary, Canada, 159 p. Love, J. D., P. O. McGrew, and H. D. Thomas, 1963, Relationship of latest Cretaceous and Tertiary deposition and deformation to oil and gas in Wyoming: AAPG Memoir 2, p. 196208. Meissner, F. F., 1984, Petroleum geology of the Bakken Formation Williston basin, North Dakota and Montana, in G. Demaison and R. J. Murris, eds., Petroleum geochemistry and basin evaluation: AAPG Memoir 35, p. 159179. Mitsdarffer, A. R., 1985, Hydrodynamics of the Mission Canyon formation in the Billings Nose area, North Dakota: Masters thesis, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, 162 p. Murray, G. H., 1959, Examples of hydrodynamics in the Williston basin at Poplar and North Tioga fields, in Geological Record, AAPG Rocky Mountain Section: Denver, Colorado, Petroleum Information, p. 5559. Narr, W., and R. C. Burruss, 1984, Origin of fractures in Little Knife field, North Dakota: AAPG Bulletin, v. 68, p. 10871100. Parker, J. M., 1967, Salt solution and subsidence structures, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana: AAPG Bulletin, v. 51, p. 19291947. Parker, J. M., and P. D. Hess, 1980, The Mondak Mississippian oil field, Williston basin, U.S.A.: Oil and Gas Journal, October 13, p. 210217. Petty, D. M., 1988, Depositional facies, textural characteristics, and reservoir properties of dolomites in FrobisherAlida interval in southwest North Dakota: AAPG Bulletin, v. 72, p. 12291253. Pickett, G. R., 1966, A review of current techniques for determination of water saturation from logs: Journal of Petroleum Technology, v. 18, p. 14251433. Webster, R. L., 1984, Petroleum source rocks and stratigraphy of the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, in J. Woodward, F. F. Meissner, and J. L. Clayton, eds., Hydrocarbon source rocks of the greater Rocky Mountain region: Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, p. 5781. Williams, J. A., 1974, Characterization of oil types in the Williston basin: AAPG Bulletin, v. 58, p. 12431252. Wittstrom, M. D., Jr., and M. E. Hagemeier, 1978, A review of Little Knife field development, North Dakota, in D. Rehrig, ed., Williston Basin Symposium: Montana Geological Society, p. 361368.


Mission Canyon Fields, North Dakota


Robert R. Berg Robert R. Berg is a professor at Texas A&M University and holds the Michel T. Halbouty Chair in Geology. His teaching experience of 27 years was preceded by 16 years of practice as an exploration geologist and geophysicist. His research has concentrated on sandstone reservoir characterization, capillary trapping, and hydrodynamic effects on oil accumulations. William D. DeMis William D. DeMis is a geologist with Marathon Oil Company in Houston, Texas, and works in a worldwide basin analysis team. He received an M.A. degree (1983) from the University of Texas at Austin with an emphasis on structure and tectonics. Prior to joining Marathon in 1987, he worked the Williston basin while employed by Pennzoil Company. With Marathon, his recent work included exploration of the Smackover Formation of north Louisiana, and studies of basins in China and New Guinea. Alan R. Mitsdarffer Alan R. Mitsdarffer is a geologist for Dupont Environmental Remediation Services and is currently working on environmental projects ranging from injection wells to RCRA investigations. He has a B.S. degree (1976) from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. degree (1985) from Texas A&M University. His geologic experience includes minerals exploration (uranium and coal), oil and gas development, and environmental work with an emphasis on hydrogeology.