Bakken News Pulse December 2020

Posted: January 12, 2021

The Bakken Shale| December 2020

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 (End of December)

Total Rigs in North Dakota- 11
Total Rigs in United States- 351
Total U.S. Rigs down 56% YTD

Bakken Top Producers

Top Gas Producer- Continental Resources, INC.
Top Oil Producer- Continental Resources, INC.

Basin Highlights

Foul Play or Accident?

On December 22nd, a train transporting oil from the Bakken region to the Northwest derailed 100 miles North of Seattle near the Canadian border. Of the seven derailed cars, five caught fire, but fortunately officials were able to control the situation and prevent any injuries. While this could have been a simple accident, 2 people were arrested near this site about a month ago for fixing shunts to the track. Shunts are simply wire strung across a track that mimics the electrical signal of a train which can cause automatic braking and disable crossing guards for through traffic. The two arrested were charged with terrorism because it was determined that the motives revolved around the opposition to a natural gas pipeline across British Columbia into Washington state. This was only one of dozens of cases that have occurred in 2020 as the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has identified an anarchist website where people had earlier posted responsibility. The anti-gas sentiment is strong in these regions as Washington state is home to 5 oil refineries.

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“A Pretty Terrible Year for Oil & Gas”

North Dakota’s State Mineral Resources Director, Lynn Helms, put it succinctly when he said, “All in all, it was a pretty terrible year for oil and gas.” Even so, he followed up with the fact that this was not the worst downturn he had experienced, but two outranked it. The first was the bust in 2000 brought on by overproduction and a rather poor economy. The second was the oil embargo from the 80s. Either way, Helms predicts that things will get better no sooner than a year from now. These statements were released when oil was at $48 a barrel, so hopefully this accelerates the timeline. As it stands, North Dakota continues to work through a new program of water acquisition and disposal that it funded with CARES Act money before the end of the year. It also plans to use some extra stimulus money to provide local jobs in plugging and abandoning. Like many states also dependent on oil and gas revenues, North Dakota continues to find work to stay afloat and is excited for better days.

Article Link

Top Gas Producers (2020 cum)

Hyperlinks to available Q3 2020 Reports

Top Oil Producers (2020 through)

Hyperlinks to available Q3 2020 Reports


North Dakota Production

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