MENAFN - Arab News
Montana, the other Bakken
(MENAFN - Arab News) The Bakken oil revolution has become synonymous with North Dakota. But the heart of most productive part of the formation is located on the far western boundary of the state and extends across the border into Montana.
In the early stages of Bakken exploration, drilling was split fairly evenly between the two states. But from about 2006 the focus shifted squarely onto North Dakota and Montana's Bakken was largely forgotten. Now there are signs of a modest revival.
Drilling equipment and crews are moving across the state line from North Dakota into the north-eastern part of the state. Twenty-two rigs were active in the state at the start of November 2012, up from just eight last year, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes.
Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has issued a record 356 drilling permits for oil in the first ten months of this year, easily beating the previous record of 313 set in 2005, as the boom spreads across the state boundary.
Despite its vast land area, Montana remains a minnow as an oil producer.
The state produced 24 million barrels in 2012 (an average of 17 barrels per well per day) just one-sixth of the 153 million barrels produced in North Dakota (64 barrels per well per day).
Production has actually declined by 30 percent over the last five years after peaking briefly at 34 million barrels in 2007.
But many of the same innovative companies that helped make North Dakota the fastest-growing oil play in the United States are also active in Montana, including Continental Resources, XTO (now owned by Exxon Mobil) and Burlington Resources (owned by Conoco Phillips).
In Richland county, right up against the border with North Dakota, the Elm Coulee field produced 10.4 million barrels of oil last year, nearly half the state total, from wells drilled into the Bakken formation.
Elm Coulee wells have been among the most productive drilled into the Bakken across the entire Williston Basin.
After an initial burst of drilling, which saw more than 500 wells sunk into Elm Coulee's Bakken between 2002 and 2007, and production surge from less than 1 million barrels in 2002 to almost 19 million in 2006, the area was comparatively quiet from 2008 to 2010 as the focus of drilling shifted to North Dakota. Output from the Elm Coulee, and Montana generally, stagnated and then fell. But activity is picking up again.
"As people drill up their prospects in North Dakota, we'll see a few more rigs coming into Montana," Tom Richmond, the administrator of the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, predicted in an interview with the Associated Press in July.
Continental has extended drilling eight miles north and east of Elm Coulee in the hope of elongating the existing field, according to the company's most recent investor presentation.
The extension is thought to contain 130 million barrels of gross reserves in 97,000 gross acres of reservoir. Continental is testing another 157,000 gross acres with the potential to contain another 211 million barrels.
The extra drilling and exploration activity across the eastern part of the state is starting to pay off.
Montana's oil production has begun to rise again for the first time in six years, reversing the previous downtrend.
Total oil production was 5 percent (600,000 barrels) higher in the first six months of this year compared with the corresponding period in 2011, according to the Board of Oil and Gas Conservation.
As the number of wells continues to grow, this largely forgotten "other Bakken" is set to see more output.
- John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.
MENA News Headlines
|Mar 7 2014||Cement demand to grow on infrastructure projects in Oman ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Infrastructure projects in Oman is expected to reflect a high growth on the cement sector, according to Oman Observer.
Omani government plans to launch developing transport and social ...|
|Mar 7 2014||Aviation sector to register highest growth in ME ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Traffic in air passenger and air cargo is expected to outperform in the Middle East by 2032 compared to all other regions, according to Oman Observer.
Air passenger traffic in the Middle ...|
|Mar 7 2014||UAE's Danube revenue up 17 percent in H2 ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Sales revenue of Danube Group, a leading construction and home interior company in the UAE, was estimated at USD 544 million in 2013, according to Khaleej Times.
Revenue rose by up to 17 ...|
|Mar 7 2014||UAE, Serbia sign USD1 b loan deal ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE's Department of Finance has signed a USD1 billion loan deal with Serbian Finance Minister in a visit to Abu Dhabi, according to Khaleej Times.
The loan deal aims to strengthen ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Cement demand in Oman to grow 6 percent annually ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Cement demand in Sultanate of Oman is expected to grow in the upcoming few years, Times of Oman reported.
Huge infrastructure and tourism projects in the Gulf nation will push cement ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Gulf investors to invest in Moroccan private sector ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) A partnership between Saudi Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Morocco-based Al Ajial Funds has been signed to invest jointly in Morocco's private ...|
|Mar 6 2014||UAE top importer of Swiss watches in region ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said that the UAE ranked first as the primary Middle Eastern country in the Top Ten list of importers of Swiss watches, Saudi Gazette ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Bahrain oil, gas, water projects at USD14b ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Bahrain has re-asserted itself as a regional powerhouse in the oil & gas as well as power & water sectors, Saudi Gazette reported.
The country has USD14 billion worth of oil, gas power ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Jacobs wins BP contract in Oman ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Jacobs Engineering has been awarded with contract by BP for process and infrastructure work on the greenfield Khazzan project in Oman, Times of Oman reported.
Vice president of Jacobs ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Al Futtaim Carillion wins USD250m contract in Dubai ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Al Futtaim Carillion announced that it has won a contract by Meraas in the UAE, Arabian Business reported.
The USD250.66 million contract is for the construction of the Avenue Phase 2 ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Hilton plans Qatar expansion ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Hilton Worldwide is planning to expand in Qatar with the signing of a management agreement with First Qatar Real Estate Development Company, The Peninsula Qatar.
The management agreement ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Saudi MERS death toll rises to 62 ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi health authorities said Thursday a man has died from the MERS coronavirus, bringing the death toll from the respiratory disease in the worst-hit country to 62.
The 55-year-old ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Olsen writes off England's World Cup chances ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game with a header eight minutes from time after England had looked set to fail to win at Wembley for a third consecutive game - following ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Sabella blames tiredness for dour showing ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Sabella's team were nowhere near their best in Bucharest on Wednesday, with captain Lionel Messi particularly underwhelming as he appeared to struggle with illness.
|Mar 6 2014||'Happy' Keane to stay with Galaxy ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) The Ireland international, 33, has made 55 league appearances for the Galaxy, scoring 31 goals and helping them to two MLS Cup titles, while also bagging the club's MVP award last ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Del Bosque predicts bright future for Costa ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Costa, who represented Brazil in two friendlies before pledging his international loyalty to Spain, where he plays for Atletico Madrid, started against Italy on Wednesday as his new ...|
|Mar 6 2014||International Friendly: Mexico 0 Nigeria 0 ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora)
It was a chance-filled affair at the Georgia Dome, with all three participating goalkeepers - Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico), Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide (Nigeria) - all producing ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Flyers soar over Washington in NHL ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) The Flyers and Capitals are among the backlog of teams vying for play-off spots in Metropolitan, with the Flyers sitting second on 72 points, just five clear of the sixth-placed New ...|
|Mar 6 2014||NATO Steps Up Cooperation with Ukraine ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) NATO is stepping up its cooperation with Ukraine while reviewing cooperation with Russia, the NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Speaking after talks ...|
|Mar 6 2014||Libya: Niger Extradites Gaddafi's Son Saadi ,Qatar News Agency|
|(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The Libyan government announced today that former leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saadi, has been extradited from Niger and is now in custody in Tripoli.
Saadi Gaddafi ...|