Eighty year prediction of North Dakota oil production

Eleven more years with more than 1 million barrels every day. Production at 100,000 bopd in 2100.

That’s the prediction from Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, speaking at the Bakken Rocks CookFest on July 17, 2014.

Two things could cause a breakout on the upside, according to Mr. Helms.

First, large amounts of oil could be found in some of the six oil-rich layers of rock below the Bakken layer that aren’t productive today.

Second, the wizards might find a way to improve recovery rates.

Two factors I’ll throw in could slam the door closed on production.

First, the federal government could take action to shut down production.

Second, the world-wide price of oil drops 30% or 50% for a sustained period of time. (Keep in mind that will only happen if that is the market clearing price for a long time. If the price collapses because of a surge in supply, that would be a good thing. If because demand craters, that would be a bad thing because it would mean the world-wide economy cratered.)

I am making note of long-term predictions of N.D. oil production. You can find them on the tag Bakken forecast

Million Dollar Way made the 2100 prediction 3 years ago

Bruce Oksol points out recently, on 7/17, that he made that point about production running strong through 2100 back on 1/21/11.

I’ve noticed that predictions for Bakken routinely underestimate what will happen. Take a look at the 1/21/11 article above. That is 3 1/2 years ago. Mr. Oksol assumed the Bakken production would top out at 750,000 bopd. May production passed the 1,032,000 point and the summer will see strong growth.

The 7/17 post tracks the estimates of recoverable oil in Bakken. Here’s the comment:

It was also said that a 1% increase in production equates to another billion bbls. One percent of what = one billion bbls. Answer: 100 billion bbls. I believe we were once told that recoverable oil was about 3 billion bbls; then 7 billion bbls. I think the wildest estimates a couple of years ago was 24 billion bbls. Somewhere I’ve seen 45 billion bbls. But unless I’m misinterpreting what I read, 1% of 100 billion bbls = 1 billion bbls.

Recoverable oil, meaning how much is potentially be pulled out of the ground? Watch the number explode:  3 billion, 7B, 24B, 45B, now maybe 100B.

Only a percentage of the original oil in place will actually be recovered. Each 1% increase in actual recovery from a rapidly increasing estimate of total recoverable is a huge increase in lifetime production in the state.

A contrast to ponder

Please contrast the above forecasts with the discussions of the last three days. Notice the difference between the we-are-going-to-run-out-of-oil-any-day-now and the 80 year forecast. What is behind those starkly different views of the future?

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