Oil and Gas Production Report | VideoJennifer Joas | 10/19/2012
Walking rigs and multi-well pads are responsible for the increased oil production in the Bakken. In the last four months, the rig count dropped by 25 but oil production increased by four percent to more than 700,000 barrels per day. Fracking is also becoming more efficient.
"A couple of operators I met with lately said they`re seeing some real increases in efficiency by the fracking crews. Right now a fracking crew can do 40 wells a year. But they`re anticipating by the end of next year that a crew will be able to get 60 wells in," said Lynn Helms, Department of Mineral Resources Director.
Natural gas flaring has also decreased by seven percent in the last year. But Helms says he`d like to see it drop more.
"I`m not happy with that number and our goal is certainly to decrease that number to below 10 percent. And as I`ve been stating to people lately, even at 10 percent, with the enormous amount of gas we`re producing, that`s going to be a lot of gas flared," said Helms.
But one of the challenges in the Bakken is the pipeline export capacity. As pipelines start to max out, exports by train increased dramatically by almost 300,000 barrels per day in the last year. And oil companies can actually make a larger profit if they export by rail to the east and west coasts.
"But also on a plus side, we do have these optimum markets that while the pipelines are full, the next option is actually a very good option, which is utilizing the price differentials and reaching the costal markets," said Justin Kringstad of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
Helms expects oil production to continue increasing in the Bakken, even throughout the winter months. Helms is also hearing that companies are holding off on more rigs until after the new year. He expects rigs to climb back to 200-210 during next year`s first and second quarters.