Thursday, December 11, 2014

Breaking Down The Bakken Based On Break-Even Costs -- December 11, 2014


December 27, 2014: see also this "heat map."

Later, 5:59 p.m. CT: I provided a map of the areas mentioned at another source with regard to break-even areas in the Bakken. It was my rough guess. It turns out another recent source, and a very good source, is an article by Michael Filloon over at SeekingAlpha. The biggest help was the "West Nesson" area. My map is still a good first approximation, especially if you overlay Filloon's map on mine with regard to the "West Nesson" which is a pretty vague term to begin with. A big "thank you" to a reader for pointing this article out to me; I had seen it; can't remember if I linked it. But now you have it.

Original Post
I assume there are factual and typographical errors in this post. Feedback is welcome.

In an earlier post, a source broke the North Dakota/Montana Bakken into several areas based on break-even prices. A reader asked if I would provide a map of the various areas. I might do a map later on if I get some feedback on my "definitions" of the areas mentioned. There are as many "areas" as there are analysts, operators, mapmakers, geologists, and people like me trying to delineate the Bakken.

The blog has any number of stand-alone posts and any number of links to presentations with various maps delineating the Bakken. One such post, as an example, might be the Hess prospects.

With regard to the Bakken broken down by break-even costs, these are my initial impressions. Again, I am looking for feedback to correct big errors and feedback to further refine areas that are generally correct. 

In bold are the areas of the Bakken that the source at the linked post named. The sites are listed in the order they were provided at the linked site. My comments follow each named area, but I need help on a couple of the areas (see below):

2. Parshall - 1. Sanish: see the Parshall oil field (EOG) and the Sanish oil field (Whiting) on the GIS map server (which, if clicked on, might open a new window in your browser)

3. Nesson Anticline: a vertical rectangle, six miles on either side of the city of Tioga, extending south to the river and north towards Canada, but probably not including most of Divide or Burke counties; Hess and many other operators

4. Fort Berthold: see the GIS map server; it's that big, grey rectangular area with that huge body of water running through it; KOG, WPX, SHD and several other operators

5. West Nesson: in this post, the West Nesson was described as the northeast corner of McKenzie County, south of the river; many operators;

6. Northern Mountrail: Mountrail County northwest of the Parshall oil field, west and southwest of Stanley

7. Williams County, core: east and southeast of Williams County, extending east to Mountrail County, and south to the river

8. Dunn County: see the GIS map server; also, see Bakken, southern fringe, below

9. Elm Coulee: Richland County, Montana; directly west of Watford City

10. Williams County perimeter: I assume they mean northern Williams County and Divide County/Williams county line; CLR, other operators

11. McKenzie County: see GIS map server; it's interesting they split Williams County into about three or four pieces but lump all of McKenzie County into one county; this confuses me a bit; if one divides McKenzie County into four quadrants, the bulk of activity is in the northeast quadrant, around Watford City, extending west to Indian Hill

12. North Williston: wow, they are really splitting hairs; that area between the Williams County perimeter and north of Williston

13. Bakken southern fringe: go to the GIS map server and look for such fields as the Cabernet, Fayette, and Manning which are in Dunn County, but since Dunn County is already mentioned, the southern fringe may apply to the area around Dickinson and Belfield; when I think Bakken southern fringe, I think Whiting

Preliminary map based on reader's request : 


  1. South of #3 box, what is that considered?

    1. The boxes are all "approximate." The boxes 3, 5, 6, and 7 all come together in this area; I assume the Nesson Anticline extends this far south, but I don't know.

  2. Greetings, Mr. Oksol. A visual description of what you have just posted/described may be had by viewing slide/page 13 from the ND DMR's Aug. 'Spotlight on the Bakken' presentation.
    The Bakken's IP's are presented in color code corresponding to their IP 60 output. It is EXTREMELY informative to the discerning observer. As an aside, the minimal white lines/wells in the Parshall should provide a quick, proof-positive confirmation that this sweetest of sweet spots has not BEGUN to be developed.

    Additionally, pages/slides 11 and 12 are Vern Whitten's photos that clearly depict the enormous capex deployed these past few years thus enabling the 'harvesting' of this resource with greatly reduced additional spending.
    (The entire DMR PDF is absolutely must reading for any serious student/observer of The Bakken.
    As always, I thank you for your time and efforts.

    1. Thank you for bringing that presentation to my attention. I had not seen it. I've seen so many NDIC presentations over the years I get "numb" and forget to check new ones periodically.

      You are absolutely correct about the Parshall oil field; EOG is managing their assets very, very well.

      It's going to be a very, very rocky couple of years for the Bakken if prices remain this low, but the Bakken oil isn't going to go anywhere; if they drill less now, it will still be there two years from now.

      Thank you for your kind words; I've learned a lot from the readers.