Dunn County now has lowest Bakken breakeven prices

The cost of doing business in the Bakken is getting lower. According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, the oil prices at which an operator will breakeven have dropped between $5/b and $13/b.
By The Bakken Magazine Staff | December 20, 2016

The cost of doing business in the Bakken is getting lower. According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, the oil prices at which an operator will breakeven have dropped between $5/barrel and $13/barrel for the major oil producing counties in North Dakota. In Dunn County, breakeven prices currently in the mid-teens rival those seen in the Middle East, said Lynn Helms, director of the NDDMR during his November industry update. 

The breakeven prices now in play throughout the Bakken are vastly different than those seen in January 2015 when the core counties of the Bakken required $30/b prices and fringe counties such as McLean or Divide needed oil in the mid-$70/b range. “What we’re seeing are the industry efforts to increase efficiency and move to lower and lower breakeven prices,” Helms said. 

The addition of gas-capture and takeaway infrastructure combined with new well completion designs that are yielding greater production volumes has played a major role in lowering the breakeven prices required in the Bakken. Dunn County, always considered one of the main four counties for oil production in North Dakota, appears to have overtaken McKenzie County as the most attractive place for operators, based on breakeven prices. 

Slickwater completion designs that include 50-frack stages minimum per well are pushing up production volumes in Dunn County. “The wells are coming in 200 to 300 barrels per day better than McKenzie County wells, and they have a lower gas-oil ratio,” Helms said. “When looking at breakeven values below $20/b, it’s as good a place to drill as any place in the world,” he said.