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REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN—North Dakota’s increasing oil activity is well documented in America, but a state official outlined just how much more growth could be in store earlier this week at the 19th Williston Basin Petroleum Conference.

“We’re going to give Texas and Alaska a run for their money,” North Dakota Oil and Gas Division Director Lynn Helms told the crowd of approximately 1,700 at Evraz Place.

Helms noted that the success of the Bakken in the current boom is well-known and other formations could eventually add substantially to the growth.

“The Three Forks was starting to really come into its own in 2010,” Helms said.

He said a third formation, the Tyler Formation, is in its early stages, with the first well planned for later this year. Helms told the crowd that the first phase of drilling in the Bakken could lead to approximately 28,000 Bakken wells. So far, he said only 2,200 have been drilled, most in the past few years.

“It’s really an amazing and productive play,” Helms said.

So much so that total pipeline capacity is expected to be reached by 2015.

“We are expecting $3.5 billion to be spent in 2011 for natural gas and pipeline investment. We already are looking for the next big thing,” Helms said.

He added that the oil activity is expected to last for decades, with the average well having a 28-year life span.

Each well produces an average of 575,000 barrels of oil, resulting in an average of $6.9 million paid out in royalties to those owning mineral rights.

About $4.25 million in tax revenue is collected off of each well, each of which now costs more than $6.6 million to drill and complete.

“There is a very bright future ahead,” Helms said.

Source: Williston Herald Online

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