Can Bakken Break Even at $30?

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.