Bakken News Pulse December 2021

Posted: January 27, 2022

The Bakken Shale | December 2021

Field Overview

Named after Henry Bakken, the farmer who owned the land where oil was originally discovered, the Bakken Shale is located in North Dakota, Montana, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The USGS estimated in 2013 that this basin has an expected ultimate recovery of 7.4 billion barrels. North Dakota Department of Natural Resources put the break-even point at US$46/bbl (2020). The top formations within the region are the Three Forks and the Spanish formations.

State Drilling Statistics

Total Rigs in North Dakota- 27 (-)
Total Rigs in United States- 586 (+17)
Total U.S. Rigs 53% YTD

Bakken Top Producer

Top Producer By BOE – Continental Resources

Basin Highlights

Federal Estimate of Bakken’s Future Oil Potential Lowered

In 2013, the US Geological Survey predicted there were around 7 billion barrels of untapped and recoverable oil in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations. A new report suggests the updated number is closer to 4.3 billion barrels. This huge decline is the direct result of drilling 11,000 wells in that 8-year time span between reports. State Mineral Resource Director Lynn Helms noted that nobody was surprised by the fact that it went down, but were rather surprised by the magnitude. Helms mentions that around 80% of premier Bakken acreage has been drilled, so companies will have to get creative and start innovating to get whatever else is left in the ground.

The Bakken is Now in Compliance

In past years, North Dakota flared a decent amount of gas away and had no plans to stop. These days, increased takeaway capacity has brought the entire state (the Bakken especially) much closer to its goals. In 2019, 19% of natural gas in upstream operations was being flared. That number plummets to 7.5% for 2021 through September. Tohis means 92.5% of produced natural gas is being captured over a population of 16,000 producing wells. Gas processing in the state was merely 1 billion cubic feet per day in 2013. It is now sitting in the realm of 4 billion.

Top Producers By BOE

ChangeRankCompanyMMBOE Production (8/21)
1Continental Resources42.8
+14 Whiting Petroleum25.8
Hyperlinks to available Q3 2021 Reports

Rig Count

North Dakota Oil Production

North Dakota Natural Gas

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