Also, we get an explanation for the incredibly low prices for North Dakota light sweet oil (Bakken) this past autumn. And we were correct in our guesses why prices were so low.
From Platts: after months of record Bakken oil production, a dip is expected next month.
A combination of winter weather and sluggish upstream investment in the Williston Basin because of declining oil prices will likely cause output growth to plateau or slow in early 2019, potentially until May, Lynn Helms, North Dakota's top oil and gas regulator, said.
Helms added that investments in drilling, fracking and well completions all are slowing down because of the decline in Bakken oil prices.
Bakken crude oil price differentials saw pressure in October and November as growing production in the Williston Basin began to outpace available pipeline takeaway capacity.
Other factors that put pressure on prices was prolonged seasonal maintenance at Midwest refineries this fall and record-low prices for competing Canadian crude as oil there faced issues with takeaway constraints as well. Bakken crude in the Williston basin was assessed at a multi-year low November 1 at a $20.50/bbl discount to the NYMEX WTI calendar-month average.
The differential averaged WTI CMA minus $12.75/bbl in October and November. At their strongest level this year in June, Bakken Williston was trading at WTI CMA plus $1.75/bbl.
Prices quickly rebounded in December, however, after refinery maintenance was complete and there was an announcement that the Alberta government ordered a 325,000 b/d curtailment of Canadian crude production, starting January 1. Differentials spiked in December and Williston basin crude reached WTI CMA minus $3.50/bbl before leveling off at the end of the trade cycle for February. A few trades for January Bakken continue to get done and it was heard bid Thursday at WTI CMA minus $3.25/bbl.By the way, Bakken companies might have actually made money when prices dropped this past autumn. Counterintuitive but very possible.