2020 Conference Highlights

Bakken, Rockies Shale: Business Is Different, But Still Viable

At DUG Bakken and Rockies, shale executives acknowledged the headwinds, but remained optimistic about the opportunities in the Powder River Basin, the Bakken and, yes, even Colorado.

It was 20 years ago when Big Sky Country started its journey into Big Oil country. It was a small group of determined dreamers who applied an entrepreneurial spirit to horizontally drill Burning Tree State 36-2H in Richland County, Mont. The Bakken was suddenly at the center of the American oil revolution.

Among them was a prospector, who told Hart Energy he was asking for just one more chance in the Middle Bakken, a young Halliburton engineer with a lot of creativity, and two partner operators with a lot of patience. Two of those men, and the son of another, were on hand to tell their story and receive commemorative awards at Hart Energy’s DUG Bakken and Rockies Conference and Exhibition at the Colorado Convention Center on Feb. 19.

Two decades later, nearly 800 oil and gas professionals gathered to look at the future of the Bakken Shale in Montana and North Dakota as well as Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and Colorado’s Niobrara. It’s hard to say if they’d all have been here without the efforts of Dick Findley, Kumar Ramurthy and Bob Robinson, among others, but the frack job they did on May 26, 2000, showed that oil molecules weren’t too big to flow through a horizontal well. The rest, as they say, is history. History, that is, still in the making.



Another company using innovative drilling technology in the Bakken is Hess Corp. Dougie McMichael, director, Bakken Well Factory for Hess Corp., told Hart Energy the company is having great success with its plug-and-perf completion design. “We’ve increased IP180 production rates by 15% by doing that,” he said.




Another operator on hand to talk about the Williston Basin was Jay Knaebel, vice president of Oasis Petroleum, who said his company is focused on moderate growth, significant cash flow and a strong balance sheet in the play.

Meanwhile, back in the exhibit hall service companies with interests in both the Bakken and the Rockies were still getting business done despite the tough market conditions.

“The show’s been great. All of our customers and prospects are speaking.  We’re getting a few leads out of our poly-pipe offering,” said Jeff Jumonville, vice president of sales for production equipment at Dragon Products PES Inc., a Beaumont, Texas-based maker of production equipment with a significant footprint in the Rockies due to its 2018 acquisition of Casper, Wyo.-based FabTech from Nalco Champion.

Jumonville said business has been good in the Rockies and Bakken. The company maintains three of its six facilities in the region. “Maybe Wyoming’s been a brighter spot over the last couple of years,” he said. “We’re getting more business on the midstream side in the Bakken.”

With the Powder River Basin seeing a surge in interest and the buildout of infrastructure in the Bakken, the better business environment in those two areas stands to reason.


Congratulations to our 2020 BINGO Winners


DUG Rockies BINGO Winners


Grand Prize: Brian Harmon, BCR

2nd Place Prize: Barney Lee, Shell Global Solutions

3rd Place Prize: Len Mize, Tallgrass Energy