Monday, October 17, 2011

Update Hess Prospects in the Bakken -- The Bakken, North Dakota, USA

Bottom Line

With this update (see below), it looks like Hess is moving into McKenzie County next summer. Hess has some incredibly nice prospects in the south Bakken/TF area. Activity in Little Knife, Murphy Creek, and Russian Creek prospects helps explain the new CBR oil-loading facilites at Zap, Dickinson, and Fryburg.

Original Post

At FAQs, one can link to prospects, net acreage, drilling program for the players in the Bakken. Periodically I update them. Today I updated BEXP following the Statoil announcement.

In the process it looked like a good time up update Hess.

I don't date the updates, but since the last update, it appears that Hess has added some net acreage,or at least it's been clarified. Earlier this year, Hess net acreage was recorded at 750,000 acres, although in a BEXP presentation, Hess was said to have 900,000 net acres. In the most recent corporate presentation, Hess says it has 900,000 net acres in the North Dakota Bakken.

The prospects previously reported:
  • East Nesson (EN) -- great area; Stanley area
  • Impact -- northeast of Stanley
  • Red Sky (RS) -- east of Stanley
  • Passport -- farther east of Stanley
  • Stampede -- south of Passport
  • Avalanche (AV) -- north near Canadian border; north of East Nesson
  • American Oil and Gas -- Goliath Prospect (GO) -- Ray area; great area
  • Nesson Anticline (Tioga, Beaver Lodge, Capa, Hawkeye, Antelope, Blue Buttes)
Since the last presentation, the following prospects have been added:
  • Stony Creek: east of Williston; SSN's area
  • West Nessen: northeast corner of McKenzie County, just south of the river
  • Buffalo Wallow: east, central McKenzie County
  • Little Knife: west, central Dunn County (if I remember correctly, huge CHK presence)
  • Murphy Creek: south, central Dunn County
  • Russian Creek: west Stark County, small prospect

Stony Creek seems to be a very good play; SSN  had a lot of success in this area. Most exciting are the two prospects in McKenzie County. It is clear that the Bakken oil activity is moving to McKenzie County this next year (2012): West Nessen and Buffalo Wallow have had some very, very good wells.

Murphy Creek and Little Knife in Dunn County are also very exciting. I do believe this is where CHK is focused, and, of course, Whiting's "southern ops" are in these areas, along with Stark County. I forget, but either WLL or CHK is also interested in Russian Creek.

In the last presentation, Hess also had these two prospects listed: Newburg in Bottineau (far north; probably Spearfish formation; I don't see that prospect this time). Likewise, I don't see "Fryburg" prospect in the Hess presentation this time, although it could have been replaced by Russian Creek.

Fryburg is in south Billings County, west of Russian Creek in Stark County.

Fryburg was recently in the news; it's outside the national part; it's east of Medora; it is where one of three new CBR oil-loading facilities will be built in this area (Zap, Dickinson, Fryburg).


  1. I am not sure of the definition of Prospect vs. Fields and the link for prospects doesn't seem to work. Do you include Ellsworth Field in the Buffalo Wallow prospect? Hess pretty much dominates Ellsworth Field. Thanks

    1. Fields are administrative, legally-defined areas within the state of North Dakota; there are different fields/rules for different formations.

      Prospects are geographical areas defined by operators and distinct/unique for the operator that defines them. They are not recognized by the state as a legal entity to the best of my knowledge.

      The reader is correct; fields and prospects are different entities. With regard to a specifically named location, I was most confused by "West Nesson."

      It's not a matter of whether "I" include Ellsworth oil field in the Buffalo Prospect or not; the Buffalo Wallow prospect is is defined by Hess. Based on the description and the fact that the West Nesson (another Hess prospect) is to the northeast, I would think Ellsworth is in Buffalo Wallow, but a Hess presentation would be the definitive answer. If I run across the answer I will post it; sometimes a file report will mention which prospect a well is being drilled in.

      The neat thing is that in the big scheme of things, the general areas on the map seem to work pretty well, for a first approximation.