Eventual Bakken production – 1.6M barrels a day. Current number of rigs could be in place for 20 years

That’s the forecast from Lynn Helms, Director of the Department of Mineral Resources while addressing the North Dakota Petroleum Council meeting.

The projections for production are to eventually hit a level of 1,600,000 barrels a day. That is with the rapid decline rate in Bakken wells.  July ’13 production for the state was 874,681 BOPD.

The Dickinson Press article, ND mineral resources director say Bakken in for some “turbulence” has this comment which needs explanation:

The drilling rig count in North Dakota has stabilized at 185. Helms expects those rigs to continue drilling new wells for the next 20 years, adding 2,000 to 3,000 permanent jobs each year.

Four points:

  • The rig count has declined recently and has apparently settled at about 185.
  • Those rigs are becoming more efficient, with a smaller number of rigs drilling yet showing an increasing number of wells completed. The rig count is no longer a predictor of the number of wells drilled.
  • The drilling is expected to continue at current levels for 20 years. Two decades more of the level of activity the state is seeing today. Twenty more years of the activity level seen in the last two years.
  • Each new well requires maintenance and service. The rough ratio Mr Helms implies is each new well will require one permanent employee.  As a very rough picture, a decade of drilling could create something in the range of new permanent jobs as there are new people working in Williston today. Those jobs will taper off over time but will run for another couple of decades.

Mr. Helms uses a flying analogy to describe the possible rough times in the future. Potentially suppressive federal regulations and constraints on refining capacity could slow down development.

Article discusses everyone’s desire to reduce flaring.  That gas flared off is money burned.  I can’t imagine there is any producer that likes burning money. Until there are ways to physically transport that gas to market, it will have to be flared.


Go Bakken! Go Eagle Ford! Go Permian!

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