Hohn Engineering, PLLC

Federal 0870-3, Bowdoin Dome Field, Phillips Co, MT

First Nitrogen Foam Frac in Montana shallow gas well
May 17, 1990

This well was drilled and completed in May, 1990. It is located in the very North End of Montana’s Bowdoin Dome Field. It is noteworthy because it was the first well to be fraced with a new frac design, Halliburton’s “Enhanced N2 Foam System“. The system was designed by Monte Besler, a Halliburton engineer based in Williston, ND. Hohn was managing field operations for the operator and supervised the pumping this historic frac job.

The low permeability reservoir was very sensitive to fluids, in situ clay swelling proved to be a severe problem and hampered production in early development of the field. The new water based, non damaging and environmentally friendly fluid system coupled with the energy from the nitrogen allowed frac placement with reduced water volumes and energy to aid flowback and cleanup after frac. The process quickly became the standard frac design for shallow gas wells that is still used today, 25 years later.

During the following years, Hohn and Besler worked with the frac companies to refine the procedure and equipment requirements to reduce costs, overcome logistical problems, reduce surface impacts and improve well performance results.  In the early days, the crews were pumping two jobs per day, in later years, 5 to 7 jobs per day were common. Fluid volumes were reduced and optimized to half of what they were initially. Sand concentrations were increased over time, from 4 pounds per gallon in early jobs to 10 to 12 pounds per gallon in later years. The innovation resulted from the organizational skills, data collection and analysis, and problem solving skills of Hohn in concert with service company personnel.

The improved well performance and economics lead to a drilling boom for the next 15 years where hundreds of gas wells were drilled and completed throughout the Northern Rockies.

The knowledge and experience gained through these projects has impacted frac fluid chemistry and design through out the Rocky Mountain Region, including the recent Bakken development boom.

Hohn and Besler continue to work together today to solve well completion problems and develop new ideas for improvement in well performance and project economics..