Friday, December 13, 2013

Helms Updates Legislators on Bakken Trends

In a presentation to the North Dakota Legislature's interim Government Finance Committee this week, Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms outlined several trends in oil production and transportation in the Bakken play...

Rig Activity Trends.  A total 1,552 drilling permits have been issued for 2014, with 736 permits pending approval. The state has approved 1,012 orders for 5,247 more wells to be drilled from 2015 to 2019. The western part of the state had 6,447 wells in the Bakken and Three Forks formations as of the end of October. According to Helms, another 60,000 wells will need to be completed over the next 20 years before the play is fully developed. 

Shipping Trends. Helms predicted up to 90% of the crude produced in the Bakken could be transported by railcar in 2014 as falling prices force producers to reduce transportation costs. Shipping crude by rail to specific markets such as Philadelphia and St. James Parish, La. enables producers to earn $24 per barrel more than transporting it by pipeline, Helms said. 

Production Trends. Helms predicted overall oil production will level off within the next few years and begin to decline as the high initial output from new wells drops off. 

According to a Legislative Council report released last week, state oil tax collections totaled nearly $1.07 billion from August to November, roughly $226 million more than previously projected. A total of $5.28 billion in oil taxes is expected to be collected during the 2013-2015 biennium. 

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