“Bakken Assembly Line” – drilling will continue for 3 more years at the current pace

Bruce Oksol provides a voice of calm in response to an alarmist editorial in the Bismarck Tribune. The editorial mentions that the state government expects 6,000 wells to come on-line in the next three years. That will lead to huge increases in drilling, truck traffic, and overall activity. At least according to the paper: Prepare for a “big surge” in Bakken.

Actually, that would be a continuation of the pace of drilling that is going on now. Today. More Details on the Coming Surge in The Bakken: 6,000 Additional Bakken Wells Over The Next Three Years reminds us that the current production rate is already 2,000 new wells a year.

If the current production continues, the truck traffic, number of workers, and strain on infrastructure would be the same as it has been for 18 months.

My quick calc shows that the monthly increase in producing wells has translated into an annualized increase in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 wells a year since July 2011.

Mr. Oksol points out that much of that drilling will be on pads that are already in place. Thus, the roads are in place, the pads have already been set up, disposal wells are drilled, and pipelines to take away gas are in place or being built.

That means the infrastructure is maturing. Mr. Oksol introduces the idea of the “Bakken Assembly Line” and says it is about in place.

There will be a surge in pad drilling.  The article gives this info:

  • (the state regulators have) recently signed authorization for 530 multi-well pads (repeat: multi-well pads, not individual wells)

  • another 334 are nearing completion, ready for his signature/approval

That’s not 864 wells. It’s 864 pads – more like 3,500 or 8,000 wells.

That continued drilling at the current pace is probably going to be done with less truck travel and less days of drilling.

Impact on North Dakota is likely to decrease with the same level of drilling.

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