Breaking Bakken: What Prices Will it Take to Awake the Sleeping Giant? (published July 7, 2016)


After being idled by the crude oil price collapse, Bakken Shale oil & gas producers are ready to get back to work now that commodity prices are creeping higher, but questions remain. What are the magic prices to bring shut-ins, DUCs and new development online? What is the outlook for the 80% of the huge Bakken shale oil and gas field that is still undeveloped? What will it take to revive operations in this more distant resource?

This 15-page report includes projections from producers, analysts and Bakken gurus such as: Lynn Helms, Director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources; Ron Ness, President, North Dakota Petroleum Council; Jim Volker, CEO of Whiting Petroleum; Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources; Gerbert Schoonman, Vice President for Bakken assets for Hess; as well as encouragement from presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Referenced in the report:
ConocoPhillips | Continental Resources | Energy Transfer Partners | Hess
RKI Exploration & Production | TransCanada | Whiting Petroleum | WPX Energy

The Report Includes:

  • Downturn brings a wave of efficiency improvements
  • Is $60/bbl oil the new $100/bbl price?
  • Price levels necessary to get shut-ins moving, DUCs flying and new wells drilled
  • Hess, with 1,200 wells and 3,000 drilling locations, cutting drilling time, cost
  • Presidential hopeful Trump promises Bakken producers fossil fuel support
  • Dealing with the high cost of water handling
  • Abundant ethane prompts search for backers for a major polyethylene plant in the Bakken
  • Progress update on Dakota Access oil pipeline to the Midwest and Gulf

"We like where we are in the Bakken and we would love to have more acreage there,
we're going to continue to be active here in the Williston; our biggest challenge now
is getting ready to get back to work."
- Rick Moncrief, CEO, WPX

"The bottom line is that going forward we're going to need additional NGL capacity as our gas volumes continue to grow. Currently, today's infrastructure would not be able to meet the long-term needs of the industry, and the build-out of NGL infrastructure is much more complex than adding it on the oil side." - Justin Kringstad, Director, North Dakota Pipeline Authority

"One of the surprising things to hear from operators is the core area of the Bakken has a lower decline rate than other major shale plays. So some of the things that [operators] learned in the process of surviving and cutting costs have actually made the wells better."
- Lynn Helms, Director, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources

"That's one of the things that the state is struggling with, trying to determine where and how to help operators ramp up operations again in places where there is minimal activity now."
- Ron Ness, President, North Dakota Petroleum Council

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