ND regulators update Bakken forecasts for production, oil price

By Luke Geiver | January 21, 2020

For revenue project forecasting purposes, the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources believes the North Dakota portion of the Williston Basin can be counted on in the months ahead to produce roughly 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.

Most, if not all, of the oil produced in the state is retrieved from the Bakken and Three Forks formations. Despite oil price estimates that show a range, the state also believes the price of oil that can be used in revenue forecasts is $48.50.

North Dakota’s rig count has steadied at 55 after showing consecutive months in the mid-60 count range. Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said the forecasts reflect the current state of the Bakken and Three Forks plays. Operators have now dropped a handful of rigs due to weather, oil price, capital availability and gas capture issues.

The Permian and Anadarko plays are the top competitors for the Bakken, according to Helms.

For the next year, drilling permit activity reveals operators are prepared for a number of oil price scenarios.

North Dakota has 16,090 producing wells; 919 wells are awaiting completion; and as of December, another 67 wells were in the drilling stage.

Fort Berthold, a portion of the Bakken that accounts for nearly one-third of production, has 14 active drilling rigs, 90 wells awaiting completion and roughly 400 approved and active drilling permits.