Bakken to surpass record output despite gas bottlenecks

By ESAI Energy | June 25, 2019

ESAI Energy reports crude and condensate production from the Bakken shale basin will surpass current record output into 2020. In the company’s recently published North America Watch, ESAI Energy points to increasing rig productivity and efficiency gains in areas outside of the Bakken core that are translating into high growth rates for the basin as a whole. Bakken production growth will add almost 250,000 barrels per day to total U.S. crude production over the next two years. 

Along with record oil output, the Bakken’s associated gas production is rising at an even faster pace, according to the ESAI Energy report. While crude oil production has increased by 19 percent over this time last year, natural gas volumes have climbed by 29 percent. The large increase in natural gas production is continuing to strain gas processing capabilities, resulting in North Dakota failing to meet its gas capture goals. Although processing capacity is being added by the end of this year, constraints on NGL takeaway will last into 2020 when a new long-haul NGL pipeline will be completed. Despite these infrastructure bottlenecks, ESAI projects Bakken crude oil to reach 1.5 million b/d by the end of 2019 and continue to grow into 2020. 

“Unlike the other major shale basins, the Bakken is still showing large gains in rig productivity,” ESAI analyst Elisabeth Murphy explains. “If this productivity is sustained, it will create better economics for production outside of the core, giving producers more confidence to drill and complete more wells during a volatile oil price environment”.