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 Barnett, Haynesville, Marcellus, Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, Woodford, Bakken, Niobrara, 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.

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 Map

Bakken Shale News

Welch appointed EVP, CFO of JP Energy Partners

Apr 3, 2014

JP Energy Partners LP has appointed Patrick Welch as the company’s executive vice president and CFO. Welch has been serving as the interim CFO for the company since November of last year.

Northern Oil and Gas increases borrowing base

Apr 3, 2014

Northern Oil and Gas Inc. reports an increase from $450 million to $500 million to the borrowing base under its revolving credit facility agreement with its bank syndicate. 

Wood Mackenzie: Bakken drilling and completion capex to top $15 B in 2014

Apr 2, 2014

The Bakken and Three Forks plays hold close to $118 billion in remaining value and, unlike other key plays, every single Bakken sub-play generates positive returns, according to Wood Mackenzie's latest key play analysis.

Mexco acquires additional interests in JV

Mar 26, 2014

Mexco Energy Corp. has acquired additional working interests in a joint venture.

Tight oil production pushes US crude supply to over 10% of world total

Mar 26, 2014

US tight oil production averaged 3.22 MMbbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2013, 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.

Marathon Oil CEO provides update on strategic priorities for 2014

Mar 26, 2014

Marathon Oil Corp. President and CEO Lee M. Tillman, at the 2014 Howard Weil conference in New Orleans, provided the status of three key priorities for the company's 2014 plans, which were announced at its December 2013 Analyst Day meeting.

Northern Oil and Gas executes share repurchase

Mar 26, 2014

Northern Oil and Gas Inc. has executed on the repurchase of approximately 5% of its outstanding stock since beginning repurchases in August 2013 under its stock repurchase program.  

Midstates Petroleum makes changes in company leadership

Mar 20, 2014

Midstates Petroleum Co. Inc. says that John A. Crum will step down from his positions as president, CEO, and chairman of the board, effective March 31, and that, pending the appointment of a new CEO, Dr. Peter J. Hill will serve as interim president and CEO.  

The Dakota Access Bakken Crude Gateway to the Gulf

Mar 20, 2014

No sooner had we finished up our analysis of the divergent fates of two North Dakota crude oil pipeline projects - the Enbridge Sandpiper (going ahead after a successful second open season) and the Koch Dakota Express (cancelled in January) – then we learned that competitor Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) had launched a binding open season for a third pipeline proposal following basically the same route.

Enable Midstream Partners signs new agreement with XTO

Mar 18, 2014

Enable Midstream Partners LP’s crude services subsidiary has entered into a long-term agreement with XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp., to gather XTO’s crude oil production through a new system to be constructed in North Dakota’s Bakken shale.

Energy Transfer holds pipeline open season

Mar 10, 2014

Energy Transfer Partners LP has launched a binding open season to assess interest in committed service under local and joint tariffs for crude oil pipeline transportation from multiple points of receipt in North Dakota to various Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries and terminals, including Sunoco Logistics Partners LP’s crude oil terminal in Nederland, Texas.

Crude pipeline wars in the Bakken

Feb 25, 2014

Since the start of 2014 two competing pipeline projects designed to provide crude producers in North Dakota with additional takeaway capacity have met with very different fates. The first proposal – the Sandpiper project launched by Enbridge in late 2012 has completed a successful Open Season and petitioned federal regulators for approval of its tariff structure. Sponsor Koch Industries quietly canceled the second competing proposal – the Dakota Express pipeline first proposed in July 2013. Looking at rail and pipeline takeaway capacity versus crude production in North Dakota, both these pipelines are “nice to have” not “need to have”. Here, part one of a two part analysis of these competing projects.

Resolute Energy appoints Hultquist to board of directors

Feb 11, 2014

Resolute Energy Corp. has appointed Gary L. Hultquist to the company’s board of directors. He has also been designated to serve on the Compensation Committee and the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee.  

TETRA acquires WIT, makes deal with Dragon Products

Feb 11, 2014

TETRA Technologies Inc. has acquired the assets of WIT Water Transfer LLC, and, in connection with this transaction, has entered into an agreement with Dragon Products.

Itsa Energy acquired by Flow Data ownership group

Feb 7, 2014

Itsa Energy has been acquired by the ownership group of Flow Data, strategically positioning Itsa and Flow Data to support expansion of upstream and midstream service and solutions capabilities in the Texas oil and gas market.

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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