Via Seeking Alpha - When investors hear the word "Bakken," the companies that usually come to mind are Continental Resources (CLR), Whiting Petroleum (WLL), or perhaps Statoil (STO). However, Exxon Mobil (XOM) has ~570,000 acres in the tight-oil play across North Dakota and Montana. In the company's 2013 annual report, it explained the slow and steady progress it has made in the play since the 2008 acquisition of XTO energy. While production levels are a small slice of the company's total upstream output today, the Bakken represents a very large exploitable resource for Exxon.
Exxon entered the Bakken shale through its purchase of XTO back in 2008. In late 2012, the company acquired 190,000 additional acres in the play. The bolt-on acquisition increased XOM's Bakken production by 50%. In 2013, the company brought in 110 wells and production grew to 59,000 boe/day. Today the company has ~570,000 acres in the Bakken, which represent a resource base of >900 million boe.
Some investors have been impatient with XOM's lack of development in the Bakken. Early on, Exxon said that it wanted to understand the geology and technology better and didn't want to rush into the play while development costs were so high. But after several years of delineation drilling and optimizing completion techniques, Exxon is poised to go into full development mode. Read the full article.