Focusing On Frack

By Luke Geiver | May 13, 2015

If you’ve never seen Kathy Neset demonstrate how directional drilling works using a bendable straw, add it to your to-do list. Founder of Neset Consulting Service Inc., Neset has become a prominent participant in the massive growth and evolution of the Bakken shale play. On any given day, she’ll be found in a small community explaining myths of the Bakken, or in Houston, discussing well results with executivesfrom many of the Bakken’s largest oil producers. One of the most recognizable participants linked to the play, Neset can, with her bendable-straw demonstration, communicate the complexities of the Williston Basin to a wide audience. The progression of her NCS operation epitomizes the life-changing opportunity present in the Bakken.

For the better part of a sunny spring day, Patrick Miller, staff writer for The Bakken magazine, was fortunate enough to join Neset at her Tioga, North Dakota, headquarters before riding with her to various oilfield locations. Our plan was for his story to provide a unique perspective on the evolution of hydraulic fracturing in the Williston Basin over the past few years, and who better to speak with for the story than Neset, we thought.  As you’ll see in “A Geologist To The Core” on page 34, we got much more of a story than we had hoped for. I wish I could have been with Miller that day.

The same can be said for “Frack Fluid Focus,” Emily Aasand’s page-24 feature on several frack-based technologies or applications new to the Bakken market. An assignment of this type can be difficult because most new tech or service providers we talk with throughout the year are heavy on the hype and light on real-world results. Aasand found three companies willing to share more than just their new-product-offering excitement, however, and she writes that innovation is in action in the play and why, in the case of fracking, processes in use today will be done differently tomorrow

Technology was a hot topic at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Regina, Saskatchewan, but not as hot as oil prices. The WBPC, now in its 23rd year, is a mainstay industry event and, depending on the year and the price of oil, attendance and company participation is massive, attracting several thousand attendees and an expo hall filled wall-to-wall with every type of energy-related company. We noted several themes at this year’s event, one perhaps a bit surprising. Being in the midst of low oil prices, one might expect the mood of the WBPC majority to be suppressed, however, while the prices are down for most producers, we found all are optimistic on Bakken, for a different reason: The rebound.

Luke Geiver
The Bakken magazine