Skip to comments.Bakken Shale happiness, oodles of oil and help wanted, please
Posted on 05/27/2014 5:20:30 AM PDT by thackney
If there was one trait that characterized this years Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, it was unabashed pride.
Mostly the pride stemmed from North Dakotas achievement in the last decade after moving from a relatively low amount of oil production (79,000 b/d in early 2004) to approaching 1 million b/d currently, making it the second-largest producing state behind Texas.
The oilLynn Helms, director of North Dakotas Oil and Gas Division, claimed the resource could be as much as 300 billion barrelshas brought an unimaginable bounty to the state: low unemployment (averaging 3% state-wide), hordes of job openings (Governor Jack Dalrymple claimed 25,000 positions are available) and pots of oil-derived money in a legacy fund not quite three years old (it is reported to be on the verge of $2 billion).
Some of the pride didnt even directly relate to oil production.
In addressing the conference, a beaming Dalrymple said recent surveys have found North Dakota is the happiest state in the nation.
We finally surpassed Hawaii, Dalrymple said. And marijuana has not been legalized here, he added, an obvious reference to nearby Colorado where the sale and use of cannibis was recently legalized. Were happiest even without that, he said.
Dalrymples and other speakers remarks spread the gospel of innovation as the key to economic prosperity. It didnt hurt that Nature placed a giant cache of oil underneath North Dakotas fertile soil.
But the conference boosters described the Bakken Shalethe US first major oil field to benefit from unconventional production techniquesas a sort of prosperity machine that drops seeds far and wide. For example, the guvnah noted that the city of Fargo, in the eastern part of his state, 300 miles away from the nearest oil well, has 2.5% unemployment.
We have 25,000 jobs openings right now, Dalrymple said. Talk about STEM job growth(in science, technology, engineering and mathematics); were number one in the nation in job growth in those areas.
Jobs keep people coming. Fargo and also Bismarck, North Dakotas state capital, are not themselves oil-producing regions, but they each gained 3,000-4,000 people between 2010 and 2012, according to the US Census Bureau. Dickinson, located near the Bakken with an estimated 20,000 people, grew by about 2,000 or nearly 11% in the same period, while Williston, a town of about 18,500 and the namesake of the oil basin, grew by nearly 4,000 people or 26% in the same two years.
Dalrymple claims North Dakotas population was at an all-time high last year, after 80 years of losing residents; although he didnt specify a figure, Wikipedia, citing the US Census Bureau, lists the states population as 723,393 on July 1, 2013.
Also on display at the conference was some good-natured ribbing of Texas, the number one oil producing state in the US with 2.9 million b/d as of February, the most recent month reported to the US Energy Information Administration. Last year, we had to snuff out Texas in economic growth, but someone has to be second, Dalrymple said. They have a nice growth rate tooa third of ours.
But he acknowledged there are problems that accompany mounting oil wealth and even dark sides, although Dalrymple sidestepped the specifics. The state is grappling with issues such as gas flaring, critical needs for better roads to accommodate mega-increases in truck and other traffic in and out of the Bakken, a need for more midstream oil and gas infrastructure, and more low-income housing.
Alongside that, crime and drugs, which often accompany expanding population and rising affluence, are unwanted by-products of Bakken growth, well-documented in multiple news accounts.
One sheriff in Williams Countya large oil producing county, accounting for about 141,000 b/dwas cited by an Associated Press article last month as saying he rated the problem of meth, heroin and other drugs that have invaded the county as 7 on a scale of 10. The article added that the number of police calls for service in Watford City, about 30 miles south of Williston, was 41 in 2006; in 2011 it was nearly 4,000. Calls in Williston itself quadrupled from 2005 to 2011 to almost 16,000. Dalrymple said the state is sending out 15 new highway officers this month alone, mostly to western oil-producing areas.
Its not easy to be the fastest-growing state in the US, he said. Many challenges we have arent faced by any other state.
I read that California has untapped reserves estimated to hold about three times as much oil as the Bakken, but so much of it is on government land that the eco-idiots will not allow commercial drilling.
Back in the 1970’s, Exxon drilled several exploration wells off the coast of Santa Barbara. They found huge deposits. The state of California ordered them to cap them and move on. The oil is still there and be accessed with old technology. No telling how much they could extract with directional drilling.
For someone who works occasionally in western ND the single most important factor, Ok maybe there are two or three, is how fast the by-pass around Watford City can be built, enabling passage through the two stoplight bottleneck that Watford city is now, for traffic going North.
Going South through WC is almost easy, but North you could be facing an hour or more of crawling truck traffic with side roads thrown in for good measure, to get past the two stop lights. Rocks are number two on the list. Don’t take your brand new windshield to ND.
Don’t plan on spending the night in the oil patch, it is expensive and frustrating. If you overnight, you are better off rounding up a motel fifty to a hundred miles away. Just my impression of things having spent four years of travels in the oil patch.
The Monterey Shale in California has proved very difficult to produce with the multitude of fractures and twisting of the ground. The initial overstated recoverable reserves are now 4% of that estimate.
They shut down the drilling but they didn’t shut down the wells already drilled.
There are several offshore platforms off the California coast still producing.
I am a diesel mechanic. I have been out in western ND with plenty of work to do for the past 3 years. I can command 30-50$ per hour. Alas, my home is in Fargo and I was able to get 30$ a hour position with other benefits to make up for the hourly shortcomings so that I could stay with my family.
If you have a skill such as car, diesel, electrician, plumber, construction, etc , you can get a job quite easily in ND.
It varies by what you want to do. If you offer to be a roaming mechanic — fixing generators at sites, versus working in a shop, you will get paid more for working on the road, but you will have to cover y our own miles, meals, etc. shop pays less, but is less costly , so to speak.
“They shut down the drilling but they didnt shut down the wells already drilled.”
Actually, they shut down drilling other than from existing platforms.
As an example, Exxon drilled this well a few years ago.
No one would consider this and the attendant risk unless there was sizable amounts of oil still there.
Thanks for the correction.
If most of you check your latest mechanic's bill, you'll find shop rates at $70 to $80 per hour. The actual mechanic doing the work, of course, will make less than half of that with the balance going to the shop owner and overhead.
The oilLynn Helms, director of North Dakotas Oil and Gas Division, claimed the resource could be as much as 300 billion barrels
here again is the off the charts number. are they getting this from continental’s recent successes? or is this guy just making happy music. and what the hey.
I would like to see the quote.
If that was discussing oil in place, I believe the number.
I doubt he was discussing technically recoverable reserves based upon today’s prices and technology.
Here we go:
The original oil in place in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations within the thermally mature portion of the State of North Dakota is estimated by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources to be over 300 billion barrels
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
August 2, 2012
2123 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC
Summary of Testimony by Lynn D. Helms, Director
North Dakota Industrial Commission
Department of Mineral Resources
I would like to see the quote.
Its in the middle of the article you posted above. I just copied and pasted.
The original quote from Lynn Helms they were citing. I believe I found it and posted it in post #15.
Oil in place is not recoverable oil. And in tight formation like shale it can be less than 5% of oil in place.
The original oil in place in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations within the thermally mature portion of the State of North Dakota is estimated by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources to be over 300 billion barrels,
Ok this is the same guy saying the same thing...
Now on the face of it —this looks like oil in place. Where most of it is unrecoverable. But he makes a caveat in the statement. He says the there’s over 300 billion (and I’ve seen higher numbers in the last year) in the “thermally mature portion” of the state.
Now does “thermally mature portion” mean that the recovery rates are higher than 3.5%, 10%, 30% 50%? — of the oil in place.
Awesome reading this...and Ca. government are criminals who care only about growing their own jobs, not private industry. Most of them belong in jail for chasing businesses right out of the state. Period.
Continue reading the document I linked. It is 2.5~5.0% recoverable.
Thermally mature is talking about where the oil is that has already been cooked out of the shale by time and geological heat. This is the oil that can be produced by drilling, rather than retorting the shale to get it to release the hydrocarbons, typically kerogen.
The Green River formation is mostly not thermally mature enough to produce much by drilling. The Bakken, Eagle Ford, etc are more thermally mature.
Continue reading the document I linked. It is 2.5~5.0% recoverable.
Yeah I get that much. What I’m trying to do figure out is how that relates to bestintxas point below. (That comes from the last thread.)
You miss my underlying point on all this: There is no other place like the Bakken in this country.
No other place has as large a % of its extent truly commercial. Maybe up to 50%.
I believe that is a reference to the acreage, but bestintxas would need to explain.
“No other place has as large a % of its extent truly commercial. Maybe up to 50%.”
Easy to explain.
The definition of what constitutes “unconventional” resource varies dependent upon who you ask. My definition is that in unconventional oil, in contrast to conventional oil, it is virtually impossible to drill a dry hole.
The target of most fields in the US has been conventional and, as a result, operators drill lots and lots of dry holes where there exists no oil.
An unconventional has oil, or at least hydrocarbons as that is where hydrocarbons originate, by and large.
The real issue is where are the so-called “sweet spots”. That is where the unconventional resource is prolific enough to make a commercial well.
The industry recognizes hundreds of unconventional plays at this point. In most, only tiny amounts of the acreage in which the play exists one can drill a well which is profitable.
The Bakken is unique in that large amounts of its acreage is considered commercial. Other plays, for various reasons including thermal maturity(conditions under which a bitumen becomes oil or gas), thickness, depth, transport, brittleness, etc. there is limited amount of area in which the conditions exist which a commercial well can be drilled.
Now onto technology: the Bakken until 10 years ago was one of those plays that had extremely small % of acreage which held commercial potential. The rock did not change to make it commercial, but the technology did.
This means that as technology, and prices, change, so does the % of the play that is truly commercial. As an example, gas is now out of favor compared to liquids. When gas goes back up to higher prices, so does the amount of area that will be attractive enough to exploit.
Take-away: Resource plays are not the same. They vary and be careful extrapolating one for another. The Bakken is truly unique but may have hit its upward climb.
So up to 50% of the acreage in the Baaken has commercial quantities of oil. By your estimate what percentage of the oil from that acreage can be extracted given Continental’s new techniques and current prices. Are we still talking about 3.5% or is the percentage higher.
So for example there may be something like 300 billion barrels of oil in place in the Baaken. You say that up to half of that is on acreage with commercial quantities/concentrations representing some 150 billion barrels. So what percentage of that 150 billion barrels can be extracted at current prices technologies.