• Unconventional Oil & Gas

    Shale plays first come to mind when one considers unconventional resources. These unconventional resource plays may yield natural gas, gas condensates, and crude oil. Some of the more noteworthy shale plays in North America include the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus, Fayetteville, Woodford, Niobrara, Haynesville, Horn River, and Utica formations. Tight gas, coalbed methane, oil sands, and heavy oil are non-shale unconventional resources.


    Eagle Ford | Marcellus | Cline | Permian | Utica | Bakken | Woodbine & Eaglebine

    Bakken Shale

    Bakken Shale ImageThe Bakken shale is primarily an oil play. It straddles the US border with Canada and runs through two states – North Dakota and Montana – and two Canadian provinces – Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The US Geological Survey estimates there are 3.65 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil in the Bakken, which would make it the largest oil field in the US outside Alaska. The Bakken is located in the Williston Basin, but not all of the basin includes the Bakken.

    Bakken Shale Map

    The Sanish-Three Forks area is located below the Bakken shale zone and is potentially another new oil reservoir. Brigham Exploration Co. has been active in this area. Natural gas is also found in some parts of the Bakken. The USGS estimates there is about 2.0 trillion cubic feet of gas and another 150 million barrels of natural gas liquids. Major players in the Bakken include EOG Resources, Continental Resources, and Enerplus Resources.

    Bakken Shale News

    American Midstream launches open season for Bakken gathering system

    May 26, 2015

    American Midstream Partners LP confirms that American Midstream Bakken LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Partnership, is conducting a binding open season for a proposed 50-mile Bakken crude oil gathering and transportation system in the core of McKenzie County, North Dakota (the Bakken System), to transport up to 40,000 barrels per day (Bbl/d) of crude oil for delivery to major intrastate and interstate pipeline systems beginning in June.

    Enable Midstream completes initial phase of gathering system in Bakken

    May 22, 2015

    Enable Midstream Partners LP says that the first phase of its Nesson Crude & Produced Water Gathering System is operational. The pipeline serves wells located in Williams and Mountrail counties of North Dakota, in the Bakken shale play.

    GlobalData: Core Bakken assets remain economical despite low oil prices

    May 21, 2015

    While the 12 counties with Bakken production between North Dakota and Montana have lost the majority of their horizontal rigs over the last eight months, core areas of the shale play remain attractive, especially as oil prices creep toward $70 per barrel, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

    Summit Midstream Partners closes acquisitions in Williston Basin

    May 19, 2015

    Summit Midstream Partners LP’s wholly owned subsidiary, Bison Midstream LLC, has closed its acquisition of 100% of the equity interests of certain subsidiaries of Summit Midstream Partners LLC for total cash consideration of $255 million.

    DW comments on US oilfield services rebalancing act

    May 18, 2015

    In Douglas-Westwood’s May 18 DW Monday, the company discusses its expectations for the oilfield services market.

    T-Rex intends to purchase acreage in Williston Basin

    May 18, 2015

    T-Rex Oil Inc., which focuses on the Rocky Mountain region, has entered into a letter of intent to purchase 16,100 net mineral acres in the Williston Basin with access to the Madison, Bakken, Three Forks, and Red River formations. 

    Will North Dakota tax incentives boost crude output?

    May 8, 2015

    Data from the North Dakota Industrial Commission indicate that production in January 2015 slowed by 37 Mb/d from record levels over 1.2 MMb/d in December. The number of new well completions also slowed in January – leading to a large backlog of wells drilled and waiting to start producing. Lower production and completions are in part due to producer caution following the crude price crash last year but producers waiting for a North Dakota state tax break and the usual impact of winter weather could also be responsible. Here, commentary on how new state tax incentives could boost summer output back to record levels.

    Sunoco Logistics to participate in Bakken Pipeline project

    May 7, 2015

    Sunoco Logistics Partners LP has reached agreement with ETP to participate in the Bakken Pipeline project, which is jointly owned by ETP and Phillips 66.

    Summit updates on $255M drop-down acquisition and public offering

    May 7, 2015

    Summit Midstream Partners LP’s wholly owned subsidiary, Bison Midstream LLC, will acquire the equity interests of certain subsidiaries of Summit Midstream Partners LLC for total cash consideration of $255 million. Additionally, Summit Midstream Partners has begun an underwritten public offering of 6,500,000 common units.

    Abraxas adds to Bakken/Three Forks interest, reaffirms borrowing base

    May 1, 2015

    Abraxas Petroleum Corp. has acquired an additional Bakken/Three Forks interest and has reaffirmed its borrowing base.

    East Valley Industrial Park to construct Bakken unit train logistics hub

    May 1, 2015

    East Valley Industrial Park LLC has received first round funding for the East Valley Rail Terminal located east of Williston, North Dakota. Contracts have been let for mainline turnout installation and site construction, beginning this summer. Initial operations are scheduled for December.

    Statoil awards Ferus with CO2 service contract in North Dakota

    Apr 23, 2015

    Statoil has awarded a carbon-dioxide (CO2) supply and service agreement to Denver, Colorado-based Ferus LP, which provides energized fluids (liquid CO2 and liquid nitrogen) to the North American oil and gas industry.

    Enable Midstream completes Bakken crude oil gathering system

    Apr 21, 2015

    Enable Midstream Partners LP’s first crude oil and produced water gathering system in North Dakota became fully operational on April 20.

    Production in Bakken, Eagle Ford rose 1% in March

    Apr 21, 2015

    Oil production from shale formations in North Dakota and Texas increased by 17,000 barrels per day (b/d), or 1%, in March vs. February, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics and forecasting unit of Platts.

    EIA: US shale production set to record first drop in four years

    Apr 14, 2015

    The US Energy Information Administration’s monthly drilling report, released April 13, says that oil production from US shale plays is expected to decline 45,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 4.98 million bpd in May from 5.02 million bpd in April – marking this as the first such monthly decline seen in over four years.

    ConocoPhillips CEO on shale boom: We've only scratched the surface

    Technology innovation has expanded the world’s energy resource base and the oil and gas industry will continue to working to supply that growth, said ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) chairman and CEO Ryan Lance.

    ©2014 Michael Stravato. Provided courtesy of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University.

    Read the full article here. 

    US tight oil production averaged 3.22 day MMbbl/d in 4Q13, according to US EIA estimates. This level was enough to push overall crude oil production in the US to an average of 7.84 MMbbl/d, more than 10% of total world production, up from 9% in the fourth quarter of 2012. Read more here

    Can the shale gas rBart Willigers, Palantir Solutions Ltd. evolution currently taking place in the US be repeated elsewhere? Although significant volumes of unconventional gas deposits are present in Poland, France, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK, shale gas developments are running many years behind their counterparts in the US. Skeptics have pointed out that differences in geology, taxes, public acceptance, environmental regulations and other factors in Europe vs. the US make for a tougher environment in which to develop unconventional resources. 

    Read the article by Bart J. A. Willigers of Palantir Solutions Ltd. here

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