Background on Bakken and Harold Hamm

Forbes has a superb article on the shale revolution in North Dakota and one of the drivers of said revolution: Harold Hamm: The Billionaire Oilman Fueling America’s Recovery.

For some great background why the Bakken field is producing nine times more oil than five years ago, check out the article.

There is great discussion of Harold Hamm and his role in creating the oil boom.

What has the shale boom done for the US?

Check out the benefits to the US of the shale oil boom:

Domestic oil output has surged by 50% since 2010, creating more than 1 million jobs while slashing some 800 million barrels off of annual imports.

…resulting in $100 billion a year in petrodollars that now stay in the U.S. instead of accruing to the likes of OPEC and Russia.

How about shale gas?

Shale gas production has risen to more than 10 trillion cubic feet per year from nothing 15 years ago.

Natural gas prices, meanwhile, have halved since 2008 to about $4.50 per thousand cubic feet. A Yale study figures the direct savings to America amounts to roughly $125 billion. … the oil and gas boom is contributing $300 billion a year, or more than 1.7% of GDP.

Bakken predictions

Here is a roundup of three predictions for Bakken production:

[Mr. Hamm] says North Dakota’s Bakken field alone will “absolutely” double output to 2 million barrels per day, a bullish prediction no other industry leader will touch.

… Mark Papa, the former CEO of EOG Resources … [predicts the]… forecast tops out at 1.3 million barrels.

…Wood Mackenzie analyst Jonathan Garrett, won’t go past 1.7 million by 2020.

Amount of drilling yet to do.

The article does not directly attribute the source for an estimate of how many wells will ultimately be drilled in Bakken. The estimate is about 100,000. There are around 7,000 currently in the ground.

By my math, that indicates about 97,000 left to go. Drilling 2,000 to 2,500 a year would leave a 39 to 48 year inventory of drilling before the Bakken is fully drilled out.

If the ultimate number of wells is “only” 50,000, that would be another 20 or 25 years of drilling.

Proven reserves around the world

An infographic gives a visual on where the shale is in the US and visual on the size. Here’s ranked list the proved reserves of oil in the world:

  • 270B – Saudi Arabia
  • 211B – Venezuela
  • 174B – Canada
  • 151B – Iran
  • 143B – Iraq
  • 100B – Kuwait
  • 98B – U.A.E.
  • 60B – Russia
  • 47B – Libya
  • 37B – Nigeria
  • 30B – Kazakhstan
  • 27B – U.S.

As you might image, I heartily recommend you check out the full article. It is superb.

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