Low oil prices attract new players to Bakken

By The Bakken Magazine Staff | January 18, 2016

The low oil price environment is opening the door for new Bakken entities. From the wellsite to the refinery, new-to-the-Bakken companies are working to become a long-term staple of the Williston Basin.

Backed with $100 million in funding from Post Oak Energy Capital, a team of former Houston oil executives has announced their efforts to acquire acreage, wells or assets in the Bakken. The UpCurve team is led by Denis Pone who is responsible for ConocoPhillips’ horizontal refracturing program. According to the UpCurve team, the Bakken and other main unconventional basins “not only harbor thousands of refract opportunities due to the presence of older, less advanced completions, but also possess equally attractive undeveloped opportunities.”

Angelus Private Equity Group may not have the same type of experience as the UpCurve team, but that hasn’t stopped the recently formed equity group from entering the Bakken. In late December, the company announced it had acquired 9,750 net acres including undeveloped leaseholds in Montana and North Dakota from Emerald Oil Inc. for roughly $10 million.

Not every new entrant into the Bakken is focused on extracting oil from the ground. A team from Texas and California has announced its plans to build a diesel refinery near Belfield, N.D. Meridian Energy Group Inc. intends to break ground on a facility this summer. The proposed location offers several advantages, the team believes, including its proximity to transportation infrastructure, low-cost natural gas in the region that can be used to fuel the plant and favorable policies and procedures with local permitting authorities. And, according to Frederick Bloom, business development vice president, the downturn in oil prices has created a golden age for refineries. Lower prices can potentially increase profit margins for refineries, he said.