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Bakken Shale - Bakken Formation - Bakken Oil Field

The Bakken Shale is one of the most active oil fields in the United States of America.  Drilling in the Bakken formation has caused a huge economic boom to North Dakota and Montana.  Just in the North Dakota portion alone, the Bakken is producing over 800,000 barrels of oil per day in 2013

The Bakken Shale Oil field, which stretches down from Canada into North Dakota and Montana, could hold over 5 billion barrels of oil reserves. This would make the Bakken formation the largest oil discovery in the U.S next to the Oil fields in Alaska.  Located in the Williston Basin, the Bakken Formation is a rich oil deposit that the U.S. Geological Survey calls the largest continuous oil accumulation it has ever assessed.  On top of this, landowners are striking it rich as they sell their drilling rights ( mineral rights ) to drilling companies.  Looking for an Oil field Job in Bakken Formation?  Some truck drivers is getting paid six figures in certain areas.  Check out my Bakken Jobs Section.

In 1995, the USGS surveyed the Bakken area in which they found roughly 151 million barrels of recoverable oil.  Since then, drilling technology has improved causing reserve estimates to spike up between 6 - 24  billion barrels of recoverable oil.  The largest current oil field, which is located at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska (
ANWAR ), could potentially hold up to 10 billion barrels of oil.  However, the ANWAR presently has a drilling ban on it due to environmental issues.

The Bakken Shale Play, also referred to as the North Dakota Shale, was deposited in the more central and deeper portion of the Williston Basin.  In addition to North Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan, a small part of Manitoba and Alberta are involved in Canada.  The Williston Basin extends down into South Dakota as well but is not considered part of the Bakken Oil Shale Play.  The South Dakota portion is considered the Red River Play.  However, In 2011, a new pool of oil has been found in Montana and up towards Alberta Canada.  This play is being called the Alberta Bakken Shale.

Bakken Production - Oil production has now reached over 800,000 barrels per day as we head into 2013.  Daily production will go over 1 million Bpd in early 2013.  The companies listed below continue to work around the clock as improved drilling times and well costs improve the bottom line.

Where is Oil in Bakken Shale Formation being drilled?  There have been a record number of oil drilling rigs grinding away at the land.  There are now over 8.000 active oil wells in the Bakken Shale Field ( most in North Dakota & Montana ) and that estimate is expected to rise as more and more oil is extracted.  Some of the sweet spots in Baken Shale Oil Field by City are: Sidney, MT - Terry, MT - Williston, ND - Parshall, ND.  Bakken Shale Oil Field Counties: Williams County, ND - Divide County, ND - McKenzie County, ND - Mountrail County, ND - Dunn County, ND - Mercer County, ND - Billings County, ND - Stark County, ND - Morton County, ND - Burke County, ND - Richland County, MT - Dawson County, MT - Wibaux County, MT - Roosevelt Co, MT - Prairie County, MT .  If you own land in these areas, you've probably been approached by some of the companies below in regard to selling your
mineral rights.  Some of you might even work on an oil rig in the bakken formation.

Bakken Shale Alberta Canada - The Bakken Shale has moved up into Canada, specifically, Alberta Canada.  A company called Murphy Oil (MUR) has been drilling in the Exshaw Shale in 2012 and they hit oil in the Three Forks zone of the Alberta Bakken Shale.  More news to come....

Oil companies are using Horizontal Drilling under the town of Parshall, which is home to less then 1,000 in population.  Williams County and McKenzie County, North Dakota are the most active areas of exploration in the Bakken Shale.   Another big hot spot in the Bakken Shale right now is an area called the 
Three Forks - Sanish area.  A company called Brigham Exploration Co. (BEXP) has one of the best wells drilled in the Sanish/Three Forks.  This wellt has produced over 5,000 BOEPD in a 24 hour period.  The Sanish Three Forks has been very exciting for companies such as Whiting Petroleum and Continental Resources also.  See Below!  The Sanish - Three Forks region is located in Montrail, McKenzie, and Dunn County in North Dakota as well as several other nearby counties. The three forks area is located below the upper Bakken Shale zone and is most likely a seperate oil reservoir.  This would open up a whole new opportunity for companies that have a position in the Sanish/Three Forks region in the Bakken Shale.  As of 2013, it has been said that the Three Forks zone has been proven to be a whole new oil reservoir.  The Bakken Shale continues to expand and areas like the Sanish/Three Forks are causing total bakken oil reserve estimates to go up.

Natural Gas - Natural Gas has also been found deep down in Bakken Shale Field.  The USGS estimated that there could be over 2 Trillion cubic feet in this area.  The Bakken Shale could emerge one day as a natural gas discovery as well.

The Bakken Shale will end up being the largest oil discovery the world has seen in 30-40 years.  The Bakken Shale lifespan will extend well beyond 2020.   Back in 2008, when the Bakken Shale started heating up, nobody imagined we had so much oil in North Dakota and Montana.  Each day, new wells are being drilled, more counties are being added into the prospective area, and jobs are being created.  North Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country with the bakken shale creating high paying jobs. I expect one day surrounding cities such as Bismarck, ND could get into the mix.

Bakken Shale Formation 2013:  Drilling continues to see growth in the Bakken Shale into 2013.  Oil prices are around $88 as we head into 2013.  The prospects for the Bakken Shale look bright in 2013.  I am expecting oil to hit the $90-$100 zone again at some point but with a possible recession looming, we could see the price of oil to hit $70 a barrel.   As long as the price of oil stays above $70, companies will continue to contract huge multi-billion dollar joint ventures.  The Bakken Shale is by far the most productive oil field in the United States right now!  Production will rise to over 1 million barrels of oil per day in early 2013

Energy companies located in the U.S. are turning to shale formations, where hydrocarbons are trapped in layers of rock to extract oil and gas.  Don't forget to check out these other shale plays just as hot as Bakken.  Eagle Ford Shale - Niobrara Shale - Permian BasinHaynesville Shale -  Marcellus Shale -  Horn River Shale - Fayetteville Shale - Brazil Oil Field - Woodford ShaleBarnett Shale - Chattanooga Shale - Utica Shale


Which Companies are Drilling at Bakken Shale Oil Field?  Bakken Shale Stocks Below

Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG) - Kodiak Oil & Gas KOG - Bakken Shale/Three Forks Development Update - Kodiak has 155,000 Net Acres in the Bakken Shale.  Check out my Top Oil Stocks.

As of April 30, 2012, Kodiak operated, or had an interest in, a total of 160 gross (65.9 net) producing wells, owned 157,000 net leasehold acres, operated six drilling rigs, with a seventh scheduled to be in the field by late May 2012 and six workover rigs and has contracted one full-time, 24-hour dedicated completion spread with a second, 24-hour crew scheduled to commence completion activities in mid-May and to continue as needed. Additionally, the Company continues to participate in several non-operated wells. Average production for March 2012 was approximately 12,500 BOE/d.

"Last week, we disclosed our first quarter production and provided specific details regarding production and operations. Most importantly, we believe the Company is well-positioned for significant growth in production and cash flow in the second quarter and into the second half of 2012. We previously announced the factors that affected our first quarter 2012 production. Due to the impact of those issues, we are revising the lower end of the range of our guidance to 17,000 BOE/d average for the year, with the upper end remaining at the previously announced 21,000 BOE/d. This broadening of our range is not reflective of the quality of our acreage or our wells, but instead reflects timing uncertainties associated with bringing our wells on to production. Accordingly, we are not altering our projected 2012 exit rate of 27,000 BOE/d. We have 14 gross (12.6 net) operated wells that we anticipate completing in the second quarter. Two of the wells are already completed and are flowing back. Completion work with our dedicated frac crew is underway on our second two-well pad. Both of these wells have cemented liners, and we are utilizing the zipper frac technique for operational efficiency. Given the heightened activity levels, we believe we can deliver meaningful growth in oil and gas sales, adjusted EBITDA and net income for the remainder of the year."

- Whiting Petroleum Corporation WLL  - Whiting Petroleum (WLL) Bakken Shale, Three Forks Formation 2012 Update - We plan to step up our drilling activity at Big Tex and Redtail as well as the Bakken and Three Forks in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana. In the Williston Basin, we currently plan to increase to a total of 24 rigs by September 2012."

Bakken and Three Forks Development

Sanish Field. During the first quarter of 2012, Whiting completed 15 gross operated wells at Sanish, bringing the total number of producing wells in the field to 233.

Lewis & Clark/Pronghorn Prospects. Whiting's net production from the Lewis & Clark/Pronghorn prospects averaged 9,055 BOE per day in the first quarter of 2012. We currently have five drilling rigs operating in the Pronghorn prospect and one drilling rig running in the Lewis & Clark prospect. We own 380,434 gross (259,773 net) acres in the Lewis & Clark/Pronghorn prospects, which is three and a half times the area of Sanish field.

Hidden Bench/Tarpon Prospects. Whiting's net production from the Hidden Bench/Tarpon prospects averaged 2,240 BOE per day in the first quarter of 2012. We currently hold 49,941 gross (30,036 net) acres in the Hidden Bench prospect, which is located in McKenzie County, North Dakota. Of note at Hidden Bench is the recent completion of the Tifft 21-18H. This well was completed in the Middle Bakken formation on February 3, 2012 flowing 1,872 BOE per day. Whiting holds a 92% working interest and a 73% net revenue interest in the well. Also of note is Whiting's first test of the Lower Bench of the Three Forks formation in the Williston Basin. The Chitwood 44-36TFH well, which is located on the south-central side of Hidden Bench, is expected to be completed in May 2012.

Whiting holds 8,187 gross (6,359 net) acres at the Tarpon prospect, which is located in McKenzie County, North Dakota. We have the potential to drill a total of 12 Middle Bakken and eight Three Forks wells on this prospect. We expect to resume drilling at Tarpon in the third quarter of 2012.

Missouri Breaks Prospect. On March 22, 2012, we acquired an additional 13,300 net undeveloped acres and now hold 96,836 gross (57,762 net) acres in the Missouri Breaks prospect. We have majority interests in 44 1,280-acre spacing units. Missouri Breaks is located in Richland County, Montana. We continue to add acreage to the play and plan to release initial drilling results once we have reached our leasehold target.

Continental Resources CLR - Continental Resources (CLR) is the largest leaseholder in the Bakken Shale - CLR is targeting the Three Forks - Sanish zone in North Dakota as well.  More..........

Bakken production of 48,024 Boepd accounted for 56 percent of total Continental production, compared with 49 percent of total production in the first quarter last year.

The Company participated in completing 103 gross wells in the Bakken in the first quarter of 2012.

In terms of Company-operated wells, Continental completed 54 gross (36 net) operated wells during the first quarter of 2012, with 47 gross (30 net) in North Dakota and 7 gross (6 net) in Montana. Initial one-day test production rates for Company-operated wells in North Dakota averaged approximately 947 Boepd.

The Company currently has 24 operated drilling rigs in the Bakken, with 21 in North Dakota and three in Montana. Four of Continental's operated rigs are drilling multi-well ECO-Pad® projects in North Dakota, and that total is expected to increase throughout the remainder of the year.

Continental completed three ECO-Pad projects in late December 2011, and consequently did not complete a multi-well project during the first quarter ended March 31, 2012. The ECO-Pad design involves drilling four wells on two adjoining 1,280-acre spacing units from a single drilling pad. This approach reduces well costs, as well as reducing the surface impact of each well.

In April 2012, the Company completed the Candee-Kukla ECO-Pad project, which was comprised of the Candee 2-9H and 3-9H (56% WI) wells and the Kukla 2-16H and 3-16H (56% WI) wells in Dunn County, ND. The four wells produced a total 5,913 Boepd in their initial one-day test periods, for an average of 1,478 Boepd per well. Continental expects to complete at least two more ECO-Pad projects by the end of the second quarter of 2012.

At March 31, 2012, Continental's acreage position in the Bakken totaled 938,940 net acres, with 684,109 net acres leased in the North Dakota portion of the play and 254,831 net acres in the Montana Bakken.

Oasis Petroleum (OAS) - Oasis Petroleum (OAS) Bakken Shale Update - Oasis Petroleum Inc. (NYSE: OAS) ("Oasis" or the "Company") today provided an update on its operations in the Williston Basin. Oasis increased average daily production to 17,633 barrels of oil equivalent per day ("Boepd") in the first quarter of 2012, up from 15,243 Boepd in the fourth quarter of 2011 for an increase of 16%. During the first quarter of 2012, Oasis grew production by 118% compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Oasis completed and brought on production 26 gross (19.9 net) operated wells in the Williston Basin during the first quarter of 2012, compared to 17 gross operated wells during the fourth quarter of 2011 and 22 gross operated wells during the third quarter of 2011. During the tough winter conditions of the first quarter of 2011, Oasis completed and brought on production eight gross operated wells. At March 31, 2012, Oasis had 26 gross (20.6 net) operated wells awaiting completion and 7 gross (5.0 net) operated wells in the process of being drilled (two additional rigs were moving to their next location). The first of three rigs that Oasis has contracted to arrive in 2012 was moving to its first drill site on March 31, 2012, and is currently drilling.

By rapidly connecting additional wells in the Williston Basin to third-party gas infrastructure, Oasis has increased its net gas production from 6.3 million cubic feet per day ("MMcfpd") in December 2011 to 10.0 MMcfpd in March of 2012. In the first quarter of 2012, Oasis had net natural gas production of 8.6 MMcfpd. At the end of March 2012, the Company had 97 of the 117 operated wells that it began drilling into the Bakken and Three Forks starting in late 2009 connected to third-party gas infrastructure, representing 83% of these producing wells.

Oasis has been actively increasing the number of operated wells that it has connected to a third-party oil gathering system in West Williston. At the end of March 2012, the Company had 91 operated wells connected, up from only three operated wells that were connected at the beginning of 2012. Oasis currently flows approximately 60% of its gross operated oil production on the third-party oil gathering system.

- Questar STR -  Questar STR has been drillling in Bakken Shale Formation - The other thing facing us is just the delineation of our leasehold. By that time we should have a couple of three more wells down, which will help us understand two things: One is the distribution of the middle Bakken fairway which we believe covers most of our acreage although the eastern edge of our acreage still remains to be tested and you can see on our latest investor update or operations on slide nine, the Bakken and you can see, some wells overrun the extreme eastern portion, to the east of our actual leasehold block that are colored blue.

Those wells are 500 barrels a day or less, so they’re starting to define the eastern limit of the fairway. we’re seeing our wells close to a 1000 barrels a day, the first several wells and so, we know that the fairway sort of threads along the eastern edge of our block to the middle Bakken.

Right now, we are currently drilling our Three Forks test and we believe that a portion of our acreage maybe up to half of it is prospective for the Three Forks. We need to sort of understand the distribution of the Three Forks and the middle Bakken fairways so that when we go in for full field development, we basically set up a rig on a pad. We build a horizontal lateral in the middle Bakken and then we skid the rig over just like we do at Pinedale and drill a basically parallel, but deeper Three Forks well

EOG Resources (EOG) - EOG Resources (EOG) Bakken Shale Update - Consistent with its game plan to increase recovery rates in existing fields, during 2011 EOG continued infill drilling on its core acreage in the North Dakota Bakken Parshall Field, which it discovered in 2006. Although originally developed on 640-acre spacing, EOG has successfully tested 320-acre down-spacing in various areas and around the perimeters of the field. A recent well in Mountrail County, the Fertile 48-0905H, in which EOG has a 96 percent working interest, was completed at an initial rate of 1,324 Bopd. Also in Mountrail County, the Liberty 24-2531H and Liberty LR 20-26H were drilled on 320-acre spacing. The wells, in which EOG has 82 and 95 percent working interest, respectively, were turned to sales at initial crude oil rates of 1,507 and 1,165 Bopd, respectively. Over the course of 2012, EOG will continue its efforts to increase recovery of the oil-in-place on its Bakken acreage through further down-spacing tests and the initiation of a secondary recovery pilot project.

Brigham Exploration BEXP - Brigham Exploration (BEXP) was the best Bakken Stock to buy until the StatOil (STO) buyout -  Brigham Exploration Company (NASDAQ: BEXP) announced the successful completion of additional infill wells in the Williston Basin, including the Brad Olson 9-16 #3H and the Erickson 8-17 #3H, bringing the total number of infill wells completed by the company to date to four at an average early 24-hour peak rate of approximately 3,378 barrels of oil equivalent. To date, Brigham has completed 59 consecutive long lateral high frac stage wells in North Dakota at an average early 24-hour peak rate of approximately 2,860 barrels of oil equivalent. Brigham also announced that it has completed two acreage transactions and has grown its Williston Basin acreage position to approximately 371,200 net acres. As a result of the acreage transactions and the positive results of the Johnson 30-19 #1H well in Montana, Brigham's core acreage position has grown 6% to approximately 217,900 net acres. Brigham also provided an update on its drilling and completion activities in theWilliston Basin.

Infill Well Success

Brigham announced the successful completion of the Brad Olson 9-16 #3H and the Erickson 8-17 #3H, both of which are located in Brigham's Rough Rider project area in Williams County, North Dakota. The Brad Olson 9-16 #3H is the third well completed in the spacing unit, and is located, on average, approximately 1,390 feet from the Brad Olson 9-16 #2H, which was completed inNovember 2010. Based on production to date, all three wells in the Brad Olson spacing unit are performing comparably. The Erickson 8-17 #3H is the second well completed in the spacing unit, and is located, on average, approximately 1,790 feet from the Erickson 8-17 #1H. Similar to the Brad Olson wells, no interference was noted in the early production performance of the two wells. Overall, infill drilling results continue to support Brigham's view that at least four wells should be completed per spacing unit per producing horizon in the Williston Basin.

Williston Basin Acreage Acquisitions

Brigham has completed two acreage transactions during 2011, and currently has approximately 371,200 net acres in the Williston Basin. The majority of the acreage additions are located in McKenzie County, North Dakota and Richland County, Montana. In total, Brigham now believes that is has 217,900 net core de-risked acres, which reflects the aforementioned acreage transactions and the acreage added to the core de-risked position in Montana based on the success of its Johnson 30-19 #1H well announced last month. Brigham now believes that its remaining core de-risked drilling inventory is comprised of 763 net locations, which represents a 5% increase from year-end.

Williston Basin Operated Drilling and Completion Update

Brigham's accelerated development of its acreage in North Dakota and Montana is proceeding with four operated rigs drilling in Rough Rider, two operated rigs drilling in Ross and one operated rig drilling in Montana. Brigham's eighth dedicated operated rig is expected to arrive this month and is anticipated to drill wells in Rough Rider.

In North Dakota, Brigham is currently drilling two Three Forks wells, one in its Rough Rider project area in Williams County and the other in its Ross project area in Mountrail County. Two additional Three Forks wells are anticipated to spud in Rough Rider by mid-summer, both of which are in McKenzie County.

In Montana, Brigham recently completed drilling operations on the Gobbs 17-8 #1H, which is located in Roosevelt County, and will drill two consecutive additional wells in Montana, one of which is located in Roosevelt County and the other in Richland County.

Brigham currently has three wells flowing back, three wells fracing, two of which are being simultaneously fracture stimulated, and 15 wells waiting on completion. One of the wells currently flowing back is the Voss 21-11H, which is located in Richland County, Montana.

Brigham has added its additional fracture stimulation capacity and is now running two fully dedicated frac crews focused on completing Brigham operated horizontal wells in the basin. Brigham estimates that it will be capable of fracture stimulating and bringing on line to production a minimum of eight wells per month due to the efficiencies gained by simultaneous fracture 

Hess HES - Hess ( HES ) is really adding Bakken Shale acreage in the Williston Basin North Dakota.  Hess is now one of the largest operators in the Bakken Shale oil field.  In 2011, we plan to invest about $1.8 billion in the Bakken oil shale play in North Dakota, where we currently hold more than 900,000 net acres. Hess Bakken 2012 Update - In the Bakken oil shale play in North Dakota, we generated strong growth throughout the second half of the year and exited 2011 at a peak net rate of approximately 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. We maintain our 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day forecast for the Bakken in 2012.  We will also continue to invest in infrastructure projects, including the Tioga Gas Plant expansion and our crude oil rail loading and storage facility, which will become operational in February. Net production from the Bakken in 2012 is forecast to average 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day or double the 2011 average of 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. We expect net Bakken production to further increase to 120,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2015.  On the well rates, we've got 113, 34-plus stage systems installed in the Bakken with 76 on production now. And those wells have 30-day IPs that are continuing to average 1,000 barrels a day. So we're very pleased by those results. And as we continue to improve our subsurface understanding, of course, we'll optimize those frac stages and designs to maximize profitability. So areas with very good rock, we may reduce the number of frac stages from 38 to something smaller as a way to maximize profitability. Well costs while we're in HBP mode, still about $10 million per well. One thing that I think people sometimes don't remember is that first well that you're drilling in this HBP mode carries a lot of the costs because we build the pad for 6 to 8 wells, we bring all the infrastructure up to the well pad, getting ready for that pad drilling. So $10 million is still a pretty good HBP well cost. Regarding EURs, we're still sticking with the 550 for now. We're just waiting to get enough statistical data to have confidence to increase those EURs.

- Marathon Oil Corp MRO - Marathon Oil (MRO) Bakken Shale - BAKKEN: Marathon Oil averaged 25,500 net boed during the first quarter compared to 22,500 net boed in the previous quarter. The Company achieved strong results from the Ajax and Hector areas with average 24-hour IP rates of 1,500 boed, a 30 percent increase over previous averages for those areas, and at Myrmidon, Company record 24-hour IP rates of 2,100 and 2,400 boed for Middle Bakken and Threeforks, respectively. Marathon Oil has eight drilling rigs and three hydraulic fracturing crews working in the play. Additionally, the Company's drilling pace has exceeded expectations this year with improved "spud-to-spud" drilling times averaging 30 days compared to the previous 38 days planned. The Company's Bakken production averages approximately 95 percent crude oil. As of the end of April, there were 14 gross operated wells awaiting completion.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Exxon Mobil (XOM) Bakken Shale Update - Let me start with the Bakken and back up a little bit because that is an area where we have been, over the last many months, increasing rigs, and we have continued to increase our rigs. We're now -- we've now got 8 operated rigs running in the Bakken. And that is progressing very well, and we are encouraged by that

Northern Oil & Gas  NOG - Northern Oil & Gas NOG Bakken Shale Update -As of March 31, 2012, Northern Oil controlled approximately 173,000 net acres in the Williston Basin Bakken and Three Forks plays. During the first quarter of 2012, Northern Oil acquired leasehold interests covering an aggregate of approximately 10,278 net mineral acres in its key prospect areas, for an average cost of $1,672 per net acre and an aggregate cost of $17.2 million.

As of March 31, 2012, Northern Oil controlled approximately 90,700 net acres that were either developed, held by production or held by operations, which represented approximately 52% of Northern Oil's total Bakken and Three Forks acreage position. Northern Oil controls approximately 101,000 net acres that are developed, held by production, held by operations or permitted, which represents approximately 58% of Northern Oil's total Bakken and Three Forks position.

During the first quarter of 2012, Northern Oil had leases expire covering approximately 4,345 net acres. Northern Oil currently has approximately 1,978 undeveloped net acres that are prospective for the Bakken and Three Forks and could potentially expire in the remainder of 2012, representing approximately 1% of Northern Oil's overall Williston Basin position.

Newfield Exploration  NFX -  Newfield Exploration NFX is drilling for Oil in the Bakken Shale formation -  Our acreage position has prospective targets that include the Bakken Shale, as well as the Madison, Red River and Three Forks/Sanish.  The Jorgenson 1-15H, was our first Sanish/Three Forks horizontal well.

Williston Basin - The Company expects to run 2-4 operated rigs in the Bakken throughout 2012. Since the beginning of the year, Newfield has completed eight Bakken wells with average initial gross production (24-hour rates) of approximately 2,600 BOEPD. The Company continues to improve drilling efficiencies and recently drilled an 11,000' lateral well in 24 days. Approximately two-thirds of the planned 25 wells in 2012 will be drilled from multi-well pads and additional efficiency gains are anticipated. Newfield owns approximately 100,000 net acres in the Williston Basin (includes 40,000 acres in Elm Coulee) where current net production is approximately 8,000 BOEPD. Full-year 2012 production from the Williston Basin is expected to increase about 35% over 2011 levels.

Chesapeake Energy CHK - Chesapeake Energy (CHK) Bakken Shale Update -  We are on the southern side of the Williston Basin. We probably 10 or 15 years ago had assets in the central part of the basin and drilling for more conventional targets and, frankly, just missed the Bakken, and we regret that, of course. But Williston Basin is a big basin, and we -- I think we announced either one quarter -- I guess -- I think it was in the January conference call, that we were building a position there. At the time, we had around 100,000 acres. I think we're up to 320,000 or so now, and probably we'll push 400,000. As you correctly point out, we have permitted some wells. We haven't started to drill them yet.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) - Occidental Petroleum (OXY) recently bought into the Bakken Shale - In the Williston, we have increased our acreage in 2011 from 204,000 acres to 277,000 acres. We expect that our rig count will be about 6 at the end of 2012. Additional capital that could reasonably be deployed here has been shifted to higher-return opportunities in California and the Permian. This may also encourage Bakken well costs to decline

Denbury Resources DNR - Denbury Resources DNR Bakken Shale -  Improved drilling and completion activity in the Bakken continued during the third quarter as we ramped up from 5 drilling rigs to 7 working rigs during the period. The drilling activity resulted in improved production rates and additional proved reserves during the fourth quarter for our Bakken production.

Our Bakken team continues to introduce improvements in the drilling and completion process as well as overall well operation. Operational advancements are evident in several areas. Drilling times, the number of completions and initial and sustainable production rates continue to see improvement. Improvement, of course, are measures to results. We saw Bakken production rates increase during the third quarter, with production average 9,976 net BOEs quarter-to-quarter. That's a 31% increase over the second quarter Bakken production rates. Drilling time measures from spud dates to spud release also improved from the first quarter to the second quarter and again, from the second quarter to the third quarter. We saw an average of 59 days for the long laterals during the winter months during the first quarter. That reduced to an average rate, day rate of 40 drilling days during the second quarter, dropping again to an average of 33 days during the third quarter.

We drilled a test well in the Almond area during October. After logging, we found the Almond area's new Bakken had oil saturations lower than other productive Bakken areas. This logging and petrophysical analysis indicated a noncommercial completion. This is coupled with the poor result of other Bakken -- Almond area wells. We decided to cancel that second well in the Almond. So our Almond area consists of about 65,000 acres, which means we hold an excess of approximately 200,000 acres when you exclude that Almond acreage. Adjusting the Almond area possible and probable reserves, Denbury's total Bakken 3P reserves will still be in excess of approximately 300 million barrels of oil.

ConocoPhillips COP -   ConocoPhillips (COP) Bakken Shale Update - In the Bakken, COP is going from 10 to 15 rigs and production is about 18,000 barrels of oik per day.  ConocoPhillips (COP) holds their leases in the Bakken on a long-term basis and don't need to do drilling there in order to maintain our acreage position. So we're taking a very measured approach there. We don't want to get ahead of infrastructure in the Bakken. So you'll see us continue to ramp up our activities there. They're good strong return projects

Occidental Petroleum OXY - Occidental is active in the Bakken Shale Oil Field - Two years ago, we went into North Dakota with a modest amount of acreage in the oil-rich Bakken and Three Forks Formations of the Williston Basin. Now we have expanded our position in the area to over 200,000 acres by purchasing about 180,000 net contiguous acres from a private seller for about $1.4 billion. We expect to grow our production in the Williston Basin from these properties to about 30,000 BOE per day over the next five years.

- SM Energy  SM - SM Energy (SM) Bakken Shale Update - SM Energy is currently operating four drilling rigs in the Williston Basin with a focus on horizontal development of the Bakken and Three Forks formations. The Company has allocated between $160 million to $185 million to drilling and completion activities in its operated Bakken/Three Forks program. The Company will focus its drilling program in its Raven and Gooseneck prospects and will begin drilling infill locations in its Bear Den prospect.

Murphy Oil (MUR) - Murphy Oil (MUR) Bakken Shale Update - In Southern Alberta, our actual Bakken appraisal program continues, with 4 wells drilled and the fifth expected to spud shortly. Two wells are now producing in line with expectations, a third well is under evaluation and the fourth well is awaiting completion. For us, certainly, identification of the sweet spots, where we can expect a tight well to produce 200 barrels of oil a day with an EUR [ph] somewhere in the 200,000 to 250,000 barrels is key, and our program is focused to that end. We now plan to drill up to 8 wells this year.

Samson Oil & Gas SSN -  Samson Oil & Gas SSN Bakken Shale 2012 Update.  ROOSEVELT PROJECT, ROOSEVELT COUNTY, MONTANA

Gretel II 12KA 3 #1-30H, (SSN 100%, subject to a 33.34% backin right)
Gretel II has been drilled to a total measured depth of 15,555 feet and the liner completion has
been successfully run.
The completion liner utilizes the sliding sleeve and drop ball method which will allow for a 20 stage
hydraulic fracture treatment. We anticipate the hydraulic fracture operations will commence mid-
Australia II 12KA 6, #1-29H, (SSN 100%, subject to a 33.34% back-in right)
The hydraulic fracture stimulation operations have been concluded with a total of 1.1 million
pounds of proppant being pumped. During one wire line run, the frac plug and perforating tools
were separated from the wire line and left in the well.
A coil tubing unit was utilized to drill the last seven frac plugs; however, due to early sand
production, the well was shut in for two days to allow the fracture to heal, and the flow rate has
been reduced to ensure excessive sand does not come out of the fractures. The well will be flowed
back until such time as we feel it appropriate to recover the wire line “fish” and drill out the
remaining frac plugs.
Abercrombie 1-10H (SSN 0.75%)
Samson and its partner FPEC have elected into a well being drilled by Continental Resources to
the extent of a combined 1.125% equity. Of this, Samson would have a 2/3rds interest or
0.75%.The interest derives from leases that FPEC and Samson owns at the northern extent of
Continental Resources’ spacing unit.
The surface location is 4 miles south of the Gretel II surface location and the bottom hole location
is approximately 1 mile south of the Gretel II bottom hole location. Therefore, this will be an
important data point in the evaluation of the western part of the Roosevelt Project area. The well is
being drilled as a 10,000 ft. middle Bakken horizontal and it spudded on February 19th.

GeoResources GEOI - GeoResources (GEOI) Bakken Shale Update 2012 - Williams County Project Area (Northwest Williams County, ND) - In its Williams County project area the Company currently has approximately 28,000 net acres, most of which is operated by the Company. The Company has one drilling rig running in this project area and a new-build rig will begin drilling in this area later in May. The Company plans to maintain a two-rig program in this project area for the remainder of 2012. Year to date 2012 the Company has completed eight gross wells in its Williams County project area. The Company also has four additional wells that are waiting on completion in addition to one well currently being drilled. The Company plans to spud between 20 and 24 gross wells in this project area in 2012.

Eastern Montana Project Area (Roosevelt and Richland Counties, MT) - In its eastern Montana project area the Company currently has approximately 13,000 net acres, 9,400 of which are operated by the Company. The Company recently began drilling operations in this area and plans to utilize one of its three operated drilling rigs in this project area for the remainder of 2012. In addition to Bakken drilling in eastern Montana, this rig will also be used to drill conventional prospects in eastern Montana in addition to potentially being used to farm into third party operated Bakken wells in the region. The Company plans to spud three to five gross Bakken wells in this project area in 2012.

Mountrail County Project Area (Primarily Mountrail County, ND) - In its Mountrail County project area the Company currently has approximately 9,700 net non-operated acres. This area continues to be actively developed by Slawson Exploration Company, Inc. who is currently running three rigs in this project area. The Company plans to participate in 36 to 46 gross wells in this project area in 2012 with Slawson and 10 to 14 wells with other operators.

McKenzie Line Project Area (McKenzie and Southern Williams Counties, ND) – The Company currently holds approximately 4,300 primarily non-operated net acres in this project area. One well was recently completed in this project area with one well currently being completed. The Company expects six to eight gross wells to be spud in this project area in 2012.

Triangle Petroleum (TPLM)  - Triangle Petroleum Corporation (AMEX:TPLM) is a growth-oriented oil and gas exploration and development company with approximately 83,500 net acres in the Williston Basin targeting the Bakken Shale and Three Forks formations. 

North Dakota

In North Dakota, Triangle has acquired approximately 29,000 net acres and is currently directing capital towards its operated program in the Rough Rider area of McKenzie and Williams counties. The development program encompasses a de-risked area of the play with industry activity taking place within adjacent drilling units. In 2012 the company expects to drill 12-15 gross (6-7 net) operated wells with batch completions set to begin mid-2012, marking the first production volumes from the operated program. The non-operated program is expected to generate 3-4 net wells over the course of the year. Given the company's emphasis on efficiency and cost, drilling locations are being developed on multi-well pads which condenses drilling, completion and production operations while maximizing recovery of oil in place.


In Montana, Triangle has acquired approximately 54,500 net acres in Roosevelt and Sheridan counties. The position is largely contiguous and lies on the northwestern flank of the Williston Basin, adjacent to the Elm Coulee Field. Driven by geologic modeling and control from vintage producing wells, the company was an early mover in the region which allowed it to secure attractive leasehold terms.

While this region of the basin is primarily undeveloped, permitting and drilling activity by the industry continues to converge on Triangle's acreage position. Benefiting from protracted leasehold terms, the company does not plan on deploying capital to this area over the near term, preferring other operators de-risk the area before committing resources.

Rosetta Resources  ROSE - Rosetta Resources (ROSE) Alberta Basin Bakken Oil Program - During the year, Rosetta drilled four wells in its current seven-well horizontal program in the Southern Alberta Basin exploration play. The three remaining wells are scheduled to be drilled in 2012. Of the wells drilled to date, two have been completed and initial results reported in December. The third well was completed in the Middle Bakken and tested at a stabilized rate of 220 Bopd and 1.1 MMcf/d for a total of 403 Boe/d. The remaining four horizontal completions will be tested during the second half of 2012 as part of the Company's ongoing evaluation of its position in the exploratory play.

American Oil & Gas AEZ - American Oil & Gas Inc. (NYSE Amex: AEZ) announces that the Bergstrom 15-23H well, located in T156N-R98W Sections 14 and 23 in Williams County, ND produced 3,049 barrels of oil equivalent (2,395 barrels of oil and 3.9 MMCF of natural gas) from the Bakken formation during an early 24 hour flow back period. The approximate 9,410 foot lateral in the Bakken formation was fracture stimulated with 36 stages. American owns a 95% working interest in this well.

Unit Corp UNT - In the Bakken play in North Dakota, Unit owns a 25% working interest in the Marty #1-20 which is currently flowing back after fracture stimulation at rates of approximately 1,500 barrels of oil per day and 1.6 MMcf per day. The well was drilled with a 5,736’ lateral and fracture stimulated in 15 stages. This is the second high volume oil well in the Williams County, ND Stockyard Creek Prospect where Unit owns approximately 11,500 gross (2,700 net) acres and expects to have one drilling rig operating during the remainder of 2010. In McKenzie County, ND, Unit owns a 16% working interest in the Dodge #4-6/7 HR which was recently completed at rates of approximately 2,465 barrels of oil per day and 1.6 MMcf per day. The well was drilled with an 8,846’ lateral and fracture stimulated in 24 stages. Unit owns approximately 27,000 gross (5,400 net) acres in the Antelope Prospect and anticipates one rig drilling for the rest of this year.

US Energy Corp  USEG - U.S. Energy Corp. (Nasdaq:USEG) ("USE" or the "Company"), a natural resources exploration and development company with interests in molybdenum, oil and gas, geothermal, and real estate assets, today announced that it has entered into a Drilling Participation Agreement (DPA) with Brigham Exploration Company (Nasdaq:BEXP) ("Brigham") to earn working interests in up to fifteen 1,280 acre spacing units in Brigham's Rough Rider project area located in Williams and McKenzie Counties of North Dakota. The terms of the DPA call for the drilling of up to 15 initial Bakken wells in 15 separate 1,280 acre spacing units. The ultimate number of wells to be drilled in the units could reach 90.

Concho Resources CXO - Concho Resources (CXO) Bakken Shale - In March 2011, the Company closed on its previously announced divestiture of its non-operated Bakken assets for $196 million. Proved reserves associated with the Bakken assets as of December 31, 2010 were approximately 8 MMBoe. First quarter 2011 production associated with the Bakken assets was approximately 1,400 Boepd. Excluding this divested production, first quarter 2011 total Company production would have been approximately 5.1 MMBoe.

Quicksilver Resources KWK - In the Southern Alberta Bakken Basin of northern Montana, the company also has rights to approximately 160,000 gross (119,000 net) acres in Glacier and Toole counties that are primarily held by production from the Cutbank field. The company believes that this acreage is also prospective for oil from the Bakken formation.

Williams Company WMB - Williams Company WMB Bakken Shale -  Williams is currently operating three rigs in the Bakken shale and expects to double its level of drilling activity to six rigs by early 2012. Second-quarter 2011 production in the Bakken more than tripled over the first-quarter 2011, from approximately 1,800 to 5,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Linn Energy (LINE) - Linn Energy LINE Bakken Shale Oil Play Update - LINN built its acreage position to 17,000 net acres in the Williston Basin through three acquisitions that closed mid-year 2011. Since then, the company has participated in 65 Bakken wells with working interests averaging 6 percent for a total net cost of approximately $40 million in 2011.

LINN's net production from the Bakken averaged 3,500 Boe/d for the fourth quarter 2011, up 40 percent over production of approximately 2,500 Boe/d at the time of the acquisitions. In 2012, the company plans to spend approximately $54 million in the Bakken to participate in about 100 gross horizontal wells, with an average working interest of 7 percent.

Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS) - Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS) Bakken Shale Operations Update - In Dunn, McKenzie and Sheridan Counties, North Dakota and Richland County, Montana, eight non-operated horizontal wells, targeting the Bakken or Three Forks formation, in which Abraxas owns a working interest are currently in progress. Four wells are waiting on completion and four are flowing back after each well was completed with a 24 stage fracture stimulation. Abraxas' working interest ranges from 1.8% to 36.2% in each of these wells. Since January 2010, Abraxas has elected to participate in 16 gross (0.97 net) non-operated wells in the Bakken / Three Forks play, three of which have yet to spud.

GMX Resources (GMXR) - GMX Resources (GMXR) Bakken Shale - The Company's three wells in McKenzie County, North Dakota had an average of 1,973 IP BOE/d, and the Company's seven Bakken/Three Forks wells have an average IP of 1,420 BOE/d. Initial Production ("IP") rates reported is either peak one hour rates multiplied times 24 or full 24 hour volumes depending upon the operator.


The Company expects to reduce completed well costs for the Williston Basin with a near term goal of $8.5 million per well. Costs savings have been achieved on our last two wells as a result of utilizing a new directional drilling company together with other efficiencies as we high grade the services needed in drilling and completing Williston Basin wells. Fracture stimulation services have become more readily available. As a result, our new estimate for spud to oil sales cycle has been reduced from 90 days to 70 days and our estimated spud to gas sales is 90 days. We expect our spud-to-spud cycle to be 45 days. In a review of the total costs for fracture stimulation including horsepower, equipment, proppant and fluids, we have seen an approximate $1 million or 50% decrease from our first operated well to the most recent completed operated well.


The Company's fourth operated well, the Lange 11-30-1H, in which the Company has an approximate 89% working interest, located in Sections 30&31, Township 147N, Range 99W in McKenzie County, North Dakota, was drilled to a measured depth of 20,519' with a lateral length of 9,348'. The well was completed as a 32-stage frac Middle Bakken producer achieving a peak rate of 2,549 BOE/d @1,500 psi flowing casing pressure.


The Company's fifth operated well, the Akovenko 24-34-1H, in which the Company has an approximate 66% working interest, located in Sections 3&10, Township 145N, Range 95W in McKenzie County, North Dakota, has been successfully drilled with a measured depth of 19,927' with a lateral length of 8,305' in the Middle Bakken. The well is expected to be fracture stimulated with a 31-stage sliding sleeve completion in May 2012.


The Company's sixth operated well, the Johnston 31-4-1H, was spud on April 5, 2012. GMXR currently projects a 38% working interest in the well. GMXR working interest may increase upon receipt of final elections. The Johnston 31-4-1H is located in Sections 4&9, Township 146N, Range 99W in McKenzie County, North Dakota. This well, a Middle Bakken target, has been successfully drilled to a measured depth of 21,219' with a lateral length of 9,300'. The Company expects to fracture stimulate the well in June 2012.

Continental Resources Photo CLR
Bakken Shale Map

Talisman Energy TLM - In the Bakken core, Talisman drilled 43 gross (36 net) wells, achieving top tier performance in drilling costs and production rates. However, the Company has decided to exit southeast Saskatchewan to focus on more material assets in North America. Yesterday, Talisman entered into an agreement to sell these assets for proceeds of approximately $720 million. Current production is approximately 8,500 boe/d (net).

- Tetron Energy - TEC -Tetron Energy is drilling in the Bakken Shale - Williston Basin. Teton holds a non-operated interest in eight wells, including seven Bakken wells and one Red River well. The Company has received a permit to drill a Red River well in its Goliath project in Williams County, North Dakota. The location is built, a rig has been acquired and the well is expected to spud in November, 2008.

Stone Energy SGY - Three vertical pilot holes have been drilled in northern Montana this year by Stone (35% W.I.) and operator Newfield in the Alberta Bakken play.  A horizontal lateral has been drilled from one of the pilot holes, and is currently being fractured and tested.  Horizontal drilling in the other two pilot holes is scheduled to commence during the fourth quarter.   Additionally, an exploratory oil well was spud this month in the Paradox Basin where Stone has 30,000 net acres.  A second well is scheduled to be drilled in early 2011.

Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) - Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) has acreage in the Bakken Shale -


  • 69,299 net acres in the Williston Basin
    • 36,355 net acres in North Dakota
    • 32,944 net acres in Tableland
  • 46,749 net acres located in Alberta

Drilling Opportunities:

  • Over 486 net locations identified in the Williston Basin
    • Drilling locations targeting the Middle Bakken / Three Forks Sanish
  • 5-6 drilling rigs currently running in the Williston Basin
  • Net Unrisked Net Resources Potential of ~114 MMboe

Petroleum Development  PETD - We currently own an interest in 13 gross, 3.7 net oil and natural gas wells. Our leasehold encompasses two project areas in Burke County of approximately 75,100 gross acres with approximately 46,300 net undeveloped acres remaining for development as of December 31, 2008. The eastern area acreage is prospective for development of oil and gas reserves in the Nesson Formation. Nesson development wells are approximately 6,000 feet in depth with single or multiple horizontal legs to 4,000 feet or more in length for a measured length of 10,000 feet or more per leg. The westernmost acreage block is undeveloped and includes approximately 23,600 gross, 16,200 net acres. The western project targets exploratory horizontal drilling to the Midale/Nesson/Bakken Formation at depths of approximately 6,800 feet with a lateral leg component of up to 6,100 feet. In 2009, pursuant to a third party arrangement, we plan to drill up to four exploratory Bakken wells on our acreage with minimal capital obligation on our part in exchange for an interest in the acreage position.

Shale News

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Grey Wolf  GW - We're pleased to announce that we have recently signed a term contract for a rig that has mobilized and is drilling in the Bakken shale play in North Dakota. Grey Wolf targeted this significant resource play in 2007 as a priority for expanding our geographic footprint in the Lower 48. We expect additional demand for rigs in this resource play in the near term.

- Penn Virginia PVA - ( seeking alpha ) PVA announces that it has established a postion in the Bakken Shale - Penn Virginia drilled or participated in three Horizontal Bakken Wells in Dunn County in North Dakota. Those wells have – two of the three have performed very well, the first one is only making about 50 barrels a day of oil. That really is not commercial, but it’s a data point. And importantly, the second operated well is making about a little over 650 barrels a day, which is a very good well and we got another one in which we have very small working interest, but again data – this is making 545 barrels a day - We’ve got about 57,000 acres in the Bakken

- MDU Resources MDU -  MDU is active in the Bakken Shale, mostly in the Three Forks area zone.   Bakken Area
  • The company owns a total of approximately 124,000 net acres of leaseholds.
  • Capital expenditures are expected to total approximately $160 million this year; approximately $60 million higher than the capital spent for 2011.
  • Mountrail County, North Dakota
    • The company owns approximately 16,000 net acres of leaseholds targeting the middle Bakken and Three Forks formations.
    • The drilling of 17 operated wells and participation in various non-operated wells is expected for this year with approximately $75 million of capital expenditures.
    • Over 50 future gross well sites have been identified. Estimated gross ultimate recovery per well is 250,000 to 500,000 Bbls.
  • Stark County, North Dakota
    • The company holds approximately 51,000 net exploratory leasehold acres, targeting the Three Forks formation.
    • The drilling of 7 operated wells and participation in various non-operated wells is expected for this year with approximately $60 million of capital expenditures.
    • Based on 640-acre spacing, approximately 140 potential gross well sites have been identified. Estimated gross ultimate recovery rates per well are 250,000 to 400,000 Bbls.
  • Richland County, Montana
    • The company has increased its acreage to approximately 57,000 net exploratory leasehold acres, targeting the Three Forks formation.
    • The drilling of 5 operated wells is planned for this year with approximately $25 million of capital expenditures.
    • Approximately 100 potential gross well sites have been identified. Estimated gross ultimate recovery rates per well are 250,000 to 400,000 Bbls.

Voyager Oil & Gas VOG - As of March 31, 2012, Voyager held 32,823 net acres of mineral right leases in the Williston Basin. During the first quarter 2012, Voyager increased its leasehold interests in the Williston Basin by 899 net mineral acres at an average cost of $2,048 per acre. 100% of the acreage acquired during the quarter either had an authorization for expenditure ("AFE") attached to the lease, or the Company subsequently received an AFE. Therefore, all of the mineral right leaseholds purchased during the quarter are expected to be held by production ("HBP") and to add to production and cash flow over the next several months.

There are currently over 215 rigs drilling in the Williston Basin with 210 rigs drilling in North Dakota and from 5 to 10 rigs drilling in northeastern Montana. The Company expects that the strong level of drilling activity will help to convert its mineral right leases into producing wells at an accelerating pace. Approximately 29% of Voyager's current acreage is HBP, either by producing wells or wells that are in the process of being drilled or awaiting completion. The Company estimates that it will have approximately 50% of its current acreage to be HBP by the end of 2012. Voyager did not experience any lease expirations during first quarter 2012. Approximately 1,735 net acres or 5% of the Company's total leasehold interests have expiration dates in 2012. Considering the pace of drilling, Voyager believes this acreage could be HBP before expiration.

Voyager's leasehold interests in the Williston Basin are primarily minority or non-operator interests that represent less than controlling interests, and the Company participates in the development of wells in these interests as a non-operator. The Company also holds about 7,500 net acres in which it has controlling interest or could have controlling interest based on the size of its interests. The Company has a majority working interest in at least four 1,280-acre units and one 640-acre unit and holds interests of at least 40% in sixteen 640-acre sections. This acreage is in the path of development and Voyager has the option to control development or trade acreage with operators that want controlling interests.