Thursday, July 24, 2014

North Dakota Oil Boom

Here is a short article worth reading from the Fivethirtyeight blog.  It discusses the boom in North Dakota's oil production, primarily in the Bakken Shale formation.  Besides the two startling graphs imbedded in article, this passage stood out:
The issue isn’t whether North Dakota will run out of oil. There’s little doubt that the Bakken Shale, North Dakota’s main oil-producing reservoir, contains billions of barrels of crude. The question is about getting it out. A well’s production rate — how much oil it pumps in a given amount of time — falls quickly, and wells drilled into shale rock like the Bakken decline especially fast, as much as 70 percent in the first year. That means oil production is a treadmill: Companies have to keep drilling just to keep production flat. The more they produce, the more they have to drill to keep up.
The 70% first year decline is incredible.  To help some of the depletion, drillers, through technological advances, have increased well productivity.   Wells on line for at least a month produced 116 barrels a month in 2007, now produce over 500 barrels a month.  

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