Rock-Solid Returns

Drilling and completion advances help operators and producers make money in the west  

Second only to the Permian Basin in production, North Dakota’s Bakken shale play is brimming with potential.

Bakken production grew by roughly 10% over the last year, producing a record-breaking 1.48 million barrels of oil per day in August. The region has seen impressive gains in new well production per rig, with 30-day initial production (IP) rates reaching over 1,250 Boe/d. Thanks to these exceptionally high IPs, Bakken producers enjoy significantly lower breakeven prices than either Permian Basin or Eagle Ford players.  

New technology leads the way  

Armed with mountains of technical data from companies like Chesapeake and Devon, operators in the Bakken and Rockies are experimenting with new drilling and completions strategies. They also have begun drilling “super laterals” of up to 12,000 feet with an aim to increase productivity from new wells.  

Analysts predict the next big Bakken trend will be refracturing old wells with new technology. In 2015, operators in the region moved away from sliding sleeves, opting instead to “plug and perf”.  

“As that advance happened, we were left with a significant well population that we wish we had stimulated with the new technology,” ConocoPhillips’ Williston Basin Asset Manager Chris Malkin told the Williston Herald. This new strategy will help double production from the existing wells, adding up to 10 additional entry points and an estimated average of 370,000 barrels of recoverable oil per well.

Top decision-makers share strategies

Hart Energy’s 2020 DUG Bakken and Rockies Conference & Exhibition will shine a spotlight on technical advancements and logistical challenges affecting producers and operators across Colorado, North Dakota and Wyoming. The conference will take place February 18-19, 2020 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.  

This year’s program promises valuable insights into capital trends, maximizing well productivity, cycle-time reductions, and best drilling and completions practices. The diverse agenda will address a variety of current topics, filtered through the lens of some of the region’s top executives, analysts and decision-makers.  

Conference sessions will kick-off with an opening keynote discussion on methods for maximizing production and increasing EURs via intense asset development. Conference attendees also will have the opportunity to hear a number of spotlight presentations from companies actively operating in the Bakken and throughout the Rockies. The program is rounded out by a “well-side chat” with a leading producer about what’s working, what’s not and what’s next in drilling and completions.  

Record-breaking natural gas production  

For the first time ever, natural gas production in the Bakken has exceeded 3 billion cubic feet per day. While producers in the region continue to flare off 19% of excess gas (a number well above the state’s goal of 12%), takeaway relief is coming in the months ahead.  

Over 350 million cubic feet per day of natural gas processing infrastructure is planned to begin service by year-end, including multi-million-dollar investments by Hess, Crestwood Midstream and ONEOK. The increase in natural gas pipeline and processing capacity is expected to allow the Bakken to take an all-time high share of the Northern Border Pipeline, displacing Western Canada imports flowing into the Midwest.  

Harold Hamm - DUG Bakken & Rockies

Hear Harold Hamm, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Continental Resources on the Bakken