The Bakken Shale | March 2022
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- 35 (+2)
Total Rigs in United States- 698 (+48)
Total U.S. Rigs 16% YTD
Bakken Top Producer
Top Producer By BOE – Marathon Oil
Oil and gas producers across the country are coming up with creative ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the face of tightening regulations. One of the worst offending gasses is methane, typically burned off as a byproduct to create CO2 instead when it is uneconomical to collect. Exxon’s latest plan to find a use for the gas is to use it as fuel for their joint venture with Crusoe Energy Systems to mine bitcoin. Not only does burning the gas cause environmental damage, but it also accounts for lost revenue. Exxon hopes to turn what is otherwise a cost into a revenue stream, while also reaching climate goals.
Proposed changes to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s federal regulations aimed at greatly reducing methane emissions by the oil and gas sector has sparked opposition in North Dakota. Environmentalists argue for more frequent emissions inspections, while the North Dakota Petroleum Council argues for more flexibility within states to decide how the inspections are designed. The Three Affiliated Tribes simply don’t want new regulations to hinder production of tribal trust minerals. Nothing is final yet, however, the EPA, under Biden’s direction, will soon make a decision on the matter.
What lawyer Derrick Braaten has described as “some of the most complicated law I have ever encountered” is becoming a hot topic in North Dakota. ‘Pore space’ or the small cavities within rock is becoming increasingly useful. Current uses of pore space include salt water injection, CO2 injection and natural gas injection/storage. Now that the utility of pore space has been realized, landowners who lease their land to oil and gas producers want in on what may become a growing market space. Law surrounding the topic will decide whether landowners have to fight lessees themselves or if there will be law to help back them up in court.
Top Producers By BOE
|Change||Rank||Company||MMBOE Production (2/22)|
North Dakota Oil Production
North Dakota Natural Gas
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