Pipeline Protests Will Cost Taxpayers Millions

ND Taxpayers pay millions

ND Taxpayers pay millions

North Dakota taxpayers must foot the bill for nearly $40 million from the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Related: Dakota Access Protest Camps Evacuated

After almost a year of tension and confrontation, the construction site of the Dakota Access has emptied of protestors, but their presence will continue to be felt.

Morton County officials have reported that property damage and personnel will cost North Dakota taxpayers nearly $40 million. Additional funds will be needed to house the over 750+ people who were arrested at the site.  

Since the cleanup began, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reportedly hauled out close to 1,000 dumpsters filled with trash, personal items and old building material and spent $1.1 million

Demonstrators have been protesting the 1,172 mile  Dakota Access Pipeline for nearly a year, with some estimates numbering the crowd in the thousands. While the main focus of the protests were in Cannonball, people from all over the world joined in solidarity including protests in Los Angeles, Seattle and Dallas, home of Energy Transfer Partners

Whiting Petroleum Allocates $580 Million for Bakken

Whiting Petroleum plans to spend $580 million in the Bakken for 2017.

Related: Whiting Petroleum Sells Bakken Assets

Whiting Petroleum’s capital budget for 2017 is almost double that of last year, with the company expecting to spend $1.1 billion. $580 million is planned for activity in the Williston Basin, including running five rigs in the region.

In 2016, we worked to position the company for strong growth through balance sheet improvement and a focus on operational improvements that resulted in a 42% increase in per well productivity over 2015. In 2017, we are focused on increasing production, reserves and net asset value through a capital efficient plan that further enhances our balance sheet metrics through growth. We project a total capital budget of $1.1 billion in 2017. Based on this capital plan, we forecast that production grows 23% from first quarter to fourth quarter 2017.
— James J. Volker, Chairman, President and CEO

Data available from the North Dakota Industrial Commission shows Whiting is the top performer in the Bakken. For 2016, Whiting reported the following for its Bakken/Three Forks assets:

  • Q4 averaged 108,850 BOE/d, an increase of 3% over the third quarter. 
  • Q4 2016 Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities of $236.8 Million Exceeded Capex by $114.9 Million
  • Q4 2016 Average Production of 118,890 BOE/d Above High End of Guidance; Williston Basin Production Grew 3% Sequentially
  • Q4 2016 LOE at Low End of Guidance at $8.01 per BOE
  • Full-Year 2016 Capex on Target at $554 million
  • Williston Basin 90-Day Average Production Rate per Well in 2016 Increased 42% over 2015 and 84% over 2014
  • Large Volume Completions Continued to Exceed Expectations with a 30-Day Average Rate per Well of 1,754 BOE/d in the Fourth Quarter


Whiting projects a 2017 capital budget of $1.1 billion, with plans to invest $1,060 million of the capital budget on development activity in its core Williston Basin and DJ Basin areas. The company will run five rigs and spend $580 million on development activities in the Williston Basin and run one rig and spend $420 million on development activities in the DJ Basin.

In November, Whiting Petroleum announced its intention to sell its Bakken midstream assets to an affiliate of Tesoro Logistics Rockies for $375 million. The $375 deal included Whiting's 50% stake in the Robinson Lake natural gas–processing plant along with the associated natural gas–gathering system located in Mountrail County, North Dakota.

ND Lawmakers Side with Trump on Keystone

Keystone XL Pipeline Moves Forwards

Keystone XL Pipeline Moves Forwards

North Dakota lawmakers are on board with President Trump's support of the Keystone Pipeline.

Related: Obama Issues Keystone Pipeline Veto

Last week, President Donald Trump formally resurrected the Keystone XL Pipeline by granting a permit for construction to continue and offering help to speed the process. This marks a reversal from the previous administration, when Barak Obama worked to block the controversial pipeline.

North Dakota's Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer and Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp are lauding the president's decision to allow the project to move forward. The group supports the pipeline because it will boost job creation, economic growth and American independence.

TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long-overdue project with efficiency and with speed. It’s going to be an incredible pipeline, the greatest technology known to man or woman. And frankly, we’re very proud of it.
— President, Donald Trump

The Keystone pipeline has been the focus of a highly political debate that has been raging since 2008, when the TransCanada Corporation first applied for a permit to construct the pipeline. At issue is a proposed 1,179-mile section of the pipeline that would run through the heart of the Bakken Formation in order to deliver 800,000 barrels of petroleum to the refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Northern Oil & Gas Will Add Bakken Wells

Northern Oil and Gas will ramp up activity in the Bakken Shale in 2017.

Related: Continental Plans 26% Growth for Bakken

In a recent press release, Northern executives announced a 2017 capital budget of $102.2 million. The company will drill 12 new wells in the Bakken Shale during 2017 and expects total annual production to equal or exceed 2016.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Highlights

  • Q4 Net loss was $12.3 million ($172.3 million in Q4 2015)
  • 2016 net loss of $293.5 million ($975.4 million in 2015)
  • Average 90-day initial production rate increased 47% in 2016
  • Completed $8.9 million property acquisition in the Q4 
  • 2016 capital expenditures totaled $75.6 million (41.3% decrease over 2015)
  • Q4 production totaled 1,259,274 barrels of oil equivalent ("Boe") 
  • End of year: $212.5 million of liquidity
We continue to see an increase in deal flow kind of coming in smaller package sizes like that, so we’ll continue to stay aggressively in the market doing that. With the liquidity, I think you’ll see us pretty much ramp up with respect to the activity, I guess, in the Bakken. When you take a look at our large acreage position of over 154,000 net acres, it’s a good acreage position located in great parts of the basin.
— Tom Stoelk, Interim CEO and Chief Financial Officer

Bakken Producers Announce 2017 Plans

  • ExxonMobil Corporation said it would shift its focus to U.S. shale drilling for the remainder of 2017
  • Continental 70% of Continental’s 2017 budget will be used to complete wells in the Bakken at a cost of $550 million
  • Hess Corp will add additional rigs in the Bakken and predicts the region's net production will average between 95,000 and 105,000 boepd.

ExxonMobil Bets on U.S. Shale

ExxonMobil Corporation plans to shift its focus to U.S. shale drilling for the remainder of 2017.

Related: Marathon Announces 2017 Plan for Bakken

ExxonMobil executives announced last week they anticipate their 2017 capital spending program to be around $22 billion, an increase of 16 percent from 2016. Of that amount, they will allocate $5.5 billion for drilling in Bakken Shale and Permian basin.

More than one quarter of the planned spending this year will be made in high-value, short-cycle opportunities, including in the Permian and Bakken basins. Short-cycle investments are those expected to generate positive cash flow in less than three years after initial investment.
— Darren Woods, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

ExxonMobil's 2017 shale activity includes targeting annual output equivalent to 4 million to 4.4 million barrels of oil a day. The company is currently active with 5,500 wells in the Permian and the Bakken with total annual net production growth from these basins through 2025 could be as high as 750,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day.

2016 Performance Highlights

  • Increased its dividend for 34 consecutive years through 2016
  • The only major integrated oil company to significantly increase its dividend last year by 3.5 percent.
  • Recently completed its acquisition of InterOil to expand its acreage in Papua New Guinea and doubled its resource base in the Permian basin through another purchase.
  • Generated more than $26 billion of cash flow from operations and asset sales in 2016 including $4.3 billion from asset sales