Is the mighty Bakken Shale Oil Field finally peaking? Well, according to the data from the folks at the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, oil production in the Bakken has been flat for the past six months. And, to make matters worse, production has been flat even though oil prices increased from a low of $42 in January to the mid $60’s in April.
So, something seriously wrong is going on in North Dakota. What a difference in the Bakken’s recent oil supply compared to the field’s heyday when production surged from 300,000 barrels per day in 2011 to over 1.1 million barrels per day in 2014. Furthermore, the oil price the shale companies in the Bakken are receiving is now $48 a barrel versus the West Texas Intermediate price of $57.
If we look at the past seven months, the North Dakota Bakken has only added 36,000 barrels per day (bd) of new oil production compared to 114,000 bd during the same period last year:
As we can see in the chart above, the output from Sep 2017 to Apr 2018 enjoyed an upward trend, while the Sep 2018-Apr 2019 has been flat. You can see this better in Enno Peters chart from ShaleProfile.com. I highly recommend followers check out his site as he provides updates on the top shale oil and gas fields in the United States using state data from over 100,000 wells.
These charts from ShaleProfile.com show the annual change production by different colors. Here we can see that Bakken oil production increased steadily from 2011 to 2014, plateaued in late 2014 and 2015, declined in 2016, raised in 2017-2018, and has plateaued once again in 2019. The likely culprit for the plateau in Bakken oil production has to do with the lower oil price and the reduction of investment funds available to the shale companies that continue to spend more money than they make.
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