Bakken Shale News

Former Bakken Operator Pleads Not-Guilty

Charges Include Violating Safe Drinking Water Act
Saltwater Waste

Saltwater Waste

A Southlake, Texas man charged with illegally injecting saltwater into a disposal well in North Dakota pled not guilty to federal charges last week in federal court.

Related:EPA Finds Little Risk to Drinking Water from Fracking

Jason Halek, a former operator of a saltwater well in southwest North Dakota, was indicted on 13 federal counts and fined a record $1.5 million in 2013 for putting drinking water at risk by illegally dumping more than 800,000 gallons of salty, oilfield wastewater into a former oil well in Stark County. He entered not guilty pleas to all charges including violating the Safe Drinking Water Act, making false statements and obstructing grand jury proceedings.

The indictment claims Halik conspired to hinder by “craft, trickery, deceit, and dishonest means the lawful and legitimate functions of the EPA, in enforcing federal laws relating to the requirements of the North Dakota underground injection control program.”

Saltwater is considered an environmental hazard that can easily kill vegetation. Companies commonly dispose of the oil production byproducts by injecting them into an approved underground facility.

The EPA has been working for years to analyze the available scientific data to determine whether fracturing for oil and gas changes the quality or quantity of drinking water resources. New findings, released June 6th, reveal  there are certain fracking activities that have the potential to impact drinking water resources including,

  1. Water withdrawals in times of, or in areas with, low water availability
  2. Spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water
  3. Fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources
  4. Below ground migration of liquids and gases
  5. Inadequate treatment and discharge of wastewater

Bakken Rig Count Stays Flat

Volatile Week Sees Crude Rebound
akken Rigs

Bakken Rigs

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count remained at 71 rigs running across our coverage area by end of the week on Friday.

In recent Bakken news, Bentek Energy reported a slight increase in oil production for North Dakota in July, saying that the Bakken formation follows closely behind the Eagle Ford Basin in terms of efficiency gains and internal rates of return. Drill times in the Bakken dropped from about 15 days per well in late 2014 to about 13 days per well during the second quarter of this year.

Read more: Bakken Oil Production Up Slightly

The U.S. rig count decreased by eight, ending with 877 rigs running by midday Friday.  A total of 202 rigs were targeting natural gas (nine less than the previous week) and 675 were targeting oil in the U.S. (one more than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.)  72 are in ND alone.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The Bakken oil rigs were at 71 rigs this week with Bloomberg reporting WTI oil prices trading at $44.99/bbl on Friday afternoon, a $4.54 increase from the previous week. WTI-Brent increased $4.56 landing to $50.02. The Bakken has zero natural active gas rig in the area this week with futures increasing slightly to $2.71/mmbtu by midday.

McKenzie County continues to lead development though falling to 22 rigs this week, while Williams (14) and Dunn (13) followed behind. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity continues to be dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 68 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 1 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 2 rigs are drilling vertical wells

Be sure to visit our Bakken Job Listings to search openings and come back weekly for updates or sign up for alerts – Daily or Weekly Email Alerts

Bakken Drilling by County

COUNTY ST Previous Wk Current Wk County State Previous Week Current Week
MCKENZIE ND 26 22 RICHLAND MT 0 0
WILLIAMS ND 15 14 ROOSEVELT MT 0 0
DUNN ND 10 13 SHERIDAN MT 0 0
MOUNTRAIL ND 12 13 VALLEY MT 0 0
DIVIDE ND 3 3 WIBAUX MT 0 0
BOTTINEAU ND 2 2 BILLINGS ND 0 0
DAWSON MT 1 1 GOLDEN VALLEY ND 0 0
BURKE ND 0 1 MERCER ND 0 0
MCLEAN ND 1 1 RENVILLE ND 0 0
STARK ND 1 1 WARD ND 0 0
DANIELS MT 0 0 MCHENRY ND 0 0
FALLON MT 0 0

Bakken Oil & Gas News

Montana Delays Decision on Drilling Buffers

Montana Mineral Owners Receive Low-Ball Offers from Federal Government

What is the Rig Count?

The Bakken Shale Rig Count is an index of the total number of oil & gas drilling rigs running across Montana and North Dakota. The rigs referred to in this article are for ALL drilling reported by Baker Hughes and not solely wells targeting the Bakken formation. All land rigs and onshore rig data shown here are based upon industry estimates provided by the Baker Hughes Rig Count.

Read more at bakerhughes.com


Bakken Oil Production Up Slightly

Companies Enter Survival Mode
Bakken Production

Bakken Production

North Dakota saw increased production in July after slipping for two months.

Related: Bakken Production Expected to Decline

In April, the EIA predicted that production had peaked across the U.S. at 9.7 million barrels per day, the highest level since 1971. This proved to be true as production fell in May by 50,000 barrels per day and in June, Bakken shale month-over-month crude oil production dipped 1.3%.

This week, Bentek Energy reported a slight increase in oil production for North Dakota in July, saying that the Bakken formation follows closely behind the Eagle Ford Basin in terms of efficiency gains and internal rates of return. Drill times in the Bakken dropped from about 15 days per well in late 2014 to about 13 days per well during the second quarter of this year.

Bentek analyst, Sami Yahya, explained “Substantial cost savings protocols alongside reduced drill times have kept internal rates of return in the Bakken shale formation among the best in the country. Current rates of return in the Bakken shale formation are around 15%, which is comparable to the 18% found in the Eagle Ford Basin.”

Crude oil dropped below $40 this week, adding strain to a difficult situation. Second quarter earnings for many companies showed signs that they are shifting their priorities from growth to survival.

  • Shell: Profits fell sharply, resulting in cuts to company’s capital investment and an elimination 6,500 jobs
  • Chevron: Its upstream businesses were particularly hard hit and they will lay off roughly 2% of its global workforce
  • ExxonMobil: Profits fell 52% and company announced it is taking steps to mitigate the harsh climate for oil and gas majors and capital expenditures were cut 16% last quarter
  • BP: Revenue and profits were all lower than expected and company announced it is positioning itself for a period of weaker prices

Bakken Rig Count at 71

Analyst Speculate on Profit Point

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased to 71 rigs running across our coverage area by end of the week on Friday.

In recent Bakken news, crude oil has fallen to a six year low in recent weeks, but even at the current price of around $43, analysts speculate the Bakken will remain strong.  

Read more: Can Bakken Break Even at $30?

The U.S. rig count increased by one, ending with 885 rigs running by midday Friday.  A total of 211 rigs were targeting natural gas (the same as the previous week) and 674 were targeting oil in the U.S. (two more than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.)  72 are in ND alone.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The Bakken oil rigs were at 71 rigs this week with Bloomberg reporting WTI oil prices trading at $40.45/bbl on Friday afternoon, a $1.68 decrease from the previous week. WTI-Brent decreased $3.57 landing to $45.46. The Bakken has zero natural active gas rig in the area this week with futures decreasing to $2.68/mmbtu by midday.

McKenzie County continues to lead development and is running 26 running this week, while Williams (15) and Mountrail (12) followed behind. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity continues to be dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 61 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 1 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 2 rigs are drilling vertical wells

Be sure to visit our Bakken Job Listings to search openings and come back weekly for updates or sign up for alerts – Daily or Weekly Email Alerts

Bakken Drilling by County

COUNTY ST Previous Wk Current Wk County State Previous Week Current Week
MCKENZIE ND 26 26 ROOSEVELT MT 0 0
WILLIAMS ND 15 15 SHERIDAN MT 0 0
MOUNTRAIL ND 11 12 VALLEY MT 0 0
DUNN ND 9 10 WIBAUX MT 0 0
DIVIDE ND 3 3 BILLINGS ND 0 0
BOTTINEAU ND 1 2 BURKE ND 0 0
DAWSON MT 1 1 GOLDEN VALLEY ND 0 0
MCLEAN ND 1 1 MERCER ND 0 0
STARK ND 1 1 RENVILLE ND 0 0
DANIELS MT 0 0 WARD ND 0 0
FALLON MT 0 0 MCHENRY ND 0 0
RICHLAND MT 0 0

Bakken Oil & Gas News

New Ruling to Slash Methane Emissions

Montana Mineral Owners Receive Low-Ball Offers from Federal Government

 

What is the Rig Count?

The Bakken Shale Rig Count is an index of the total number of oil & gas drilling rigs running across Montana and North Dakota. The rigs referred to in this article are for ALL drilling reported by Baker Hughes and not solely wells targeting the Bakken formation. All land rigs and onshore rig data shown here are based upon industry estimates provided by the Baker Hughes Rig Count.

Read more at bakerhughes.com


Can Bakken Break Even at $30?

Record Low Crude Prices Test Profitability
Crude Plunges to Six Year Low

Crude Plunges to Six Year Low

Crude oil has fallen to a six year low in recent weeks, but even at the current price of around $43, analysts speculate the Bakken will remain strong.  

Related: Oil Plunges to Six Year Low

West Texas Intermediate crude is now down more than 30% in just the last few months after a 50% rebound earlier this spring. Bloomberg reported this week that a lower profitability point from producers has allowed U.S. oil production to remain near a 40-year high.

Bloomberg Analyst, William Foile said, “A single break-even price doesn’t actually exist. Rather, what the model indicates is that at a realized oil price of $29.42, half of wells will generate returns exceeding 10%. This price is considerably lower than the $70 breakeven estimated by industry watchers at the start of the oil price slump.”

In McKenzie County, North Dakota, one estimate is that the median breakeven price is a little more than $29 a barrel. Producers are verifying this low price point including EOG Resources Inc., who says it can make a 30 percent after-tax return on $50 oil and Whiting Petroleum Corp., the largest Bakken producer, said it’s preparing to be able to grow production at $40 to $50 prices.

The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that it had lowered its 2016 forecast price for U.S. benchmark oil (Brent) by $8 to $54 per barrel in 2016 and its 2015 forecast by $6 to $49 per barrel. The agency said it expects Brent to average about $59 per barrel in 2016 and about $54 per barrel in 2015.


Bakken Rigs Fall Back to 68

Crude Plunges to Lowest Price in Six Years
akken Rigs

Bakken Rigs

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count fell to 68 rigs running across our coverage area by end of the week on Friday.

In recent Bakken news, on Tuesday China made the move to devalue its currency, sending shockwaves around the globe and contributing to U.S. crude oil falling to its lowest levels in six years.

Read more: Crude Hits Six Year Low

The U.S. rig count remained flat, ending with 884 rigs running by midday Friday.  A total of 211 rigs were targeting natural gas (two less than the previous week) and 672 were targeting oil in the U.S. (two more than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.)  69 are in ND alone.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The Bakken oil rigs fell back to 68 rigs this week with Bloomberg reporting WTI oil prices trading at $42.13/bbl on Friday afternoon, a $4.78 decrease from the previous week. WTI-Brent decreased $2.95 landing to $49.03. The Bakken has zero natural active gas rig in the area this week with futures increasing to $2.81/mmbtu by midday.

McKenzie County continues to lead development and is running 26 running this week, while Williams (15) and Mountrail (11) followed behind. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity continues to be dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 65 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 0 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 3 rigs are drilling vertical wells

Be sure to visit our Bakken Job Listings to search openings and come back weekly for updates or sign up for alerts – Daily or Weekly Email Alerts

Bakken Drilling by County

Bakken Oil & Gas News

Continental Resources: Excellent Q2

Investors Lose Millions in Oil Well Scheme

What is the Rig Count?

The Bakken Shale Rig Count is an index of the total number of oil & gas drilling rigs running across Montana and North Dakota. The rigs referred to in this article are for ALL drilling reported by Baker Hughes and not solely wells targeting the Bakken formation. All land rigs and onshore rig data shown here are based upon industry estimates provided by the Baker Hughes Rig Count.

Read more at bakerhughes.com


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