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June 2015 Archives

Is North Dakota's Economy Really Oil-Rigged?

After staging a significant rally since U.S. crude tested the low $40s earlier this year, WTI crude has traded in a narrow range, and there is potential for more downside-Saudi Arabia recently said it plans to raise output to new highs. On Wednesday, U.S. crude settled at $60.27. 

Judge Blocks Onset Of New Fracking Rules On Federal Public Land

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Bureau of Land Management from putting into effect the government's new rules for fracking on federal public land.U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of Wyoming granted a request by oil-producing states Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming to temporarily delay the rules until the court has a chance to review whether they are legal.Read more in The Denver Post. 


Contango Oil & Gas Company announced today the discovery and successful completion of the Elliott #1H well in the Muddy Sandstone formation in Weston County, Wyoming. The well tested at a maximum 24 hour rate of 907 Boepd (98% Oil, 39 degree API) from a 6,601 foot completed lateral section using 25 stages of fracture stimulation. Total measured depth was 13,116 feet (6,235 feet true vertical depth). The Elliott #1H is Contango's initial well in the N. Cheyenne Prospect and is located between two legacy vertical Muddy Sandstone oil fields, being the Fiddler Creek Field to the north and the Clareton Field to the south. Both fields were discovered in the 1940's and have a combined cumulative production in excess of 50 million barrels of oil.Read more at PennEnergy

Bakken's Bottom Line: Monetizing Midstream Assets

The Bakken shale will not go quietly. That's what we've begun to gather, at least in terms of the news cycle. Hess Corp. continued a trend of producers shedding noncore assets to build up liquidity. Hess, though, might have done so in one of the more shareholder-friendly ways by creating a joint venture with its Bakken-area midstream assets.Also out of the Bakken, the spread between oil prices in the region and those earmarked as West Texas Intermediate has narrowed to a range not seen in some time. What gives?And, in case you missed it, the United States has surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the top oil producer in the world. It seems that we simply can't stop increasing our production. Is this a good or bad thing over the long term?Read more and watch the video at The Motley Fool. 

Hess, Global Infrastructure Partners To Form Joint Venture

Hess Corporation has agreed to farm out a stake of 50% in its Bakken midstream assets to Global Infrastructure Partners. The transaction is valued at $2.675 billion.Hess and Global Infrastructure Partners will join hands to form a premier midstream joint venture, which will be named Hess Infrastructure Partners.On completion of the transaction, the joint venture will assume a debt of $600 million through a five-year Term Loan A facility. The proceeds will be divided equally among both the partners. This will result in total after-tax cash proceeds, net to Hess, of $3.0 billion. Moreover, the joint venture will gain independent access to capital comprising a $400 million five-year Senior Revolving Credit Facility, which is fully committed. Post completion, the joint venture intends to continue with a planned initial public offering (IPO) of Hess Midstream Partners LP common units.Read more at Zacks and other energy related market news on Nasdaq. 

North Dakota's Oil Production Has Peaked: Kemp

North Dakota's crude oil output has peaked, according to the latest production data published by the state government, as the slump in prices takes its toll.The state produced 1.17 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, down from a peak of 1.23 million in December, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) reported on Friday.

Deep In The Heart Of Texas: County Attorney Not To Pursue DWI Charges Against Judge

Travis County Attorney David Escamilla said Monday he will not pursue a drunken driving case against a district judge arrested in March and will reduce her charges to a class C speeding misdemeanor ticket after test results show she was below the legal limit for intoxication.
Austin police arrested Judge Gisela Triana on March 20 near Barton Springs Road and Mopac Boulevard (Loop 1). An affidavit said she told the arresting officer that she had consumed four drinks that night, including two during a taping of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" at the Long Center. 

Minnesota Sex Offender Program Is Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled Wednesday morning that Minnesota's controversial system of confining convicted sex offenders violates the U.S. Constitution.U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled that the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) is unconstitutional because it fails to provide adequate protections for civilly committed offenders, including regular assessments of their risk level and access to less-restrictive treatment alternatives in the community. 


Oil remained king in North Dakota as the largest economic sector and the engine that powered the state's impressive growth last year despite a drop in petroleum prices. The mining sector, dominated by oil and gas extraction, contributed $9 billion toward the state's $55 billion economy last year, as measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis' gauge of the state's gross domestic product. North Dakota's economy grew 8 percent from 2013 to 2014-6.3 percent when adjusted for inflation-topping the state growth rate for the sixth year in a row. That was a bit cooler than the 9.7 percent growth rate for 2013. Read more in Prairie Business Magazine. 


Successful bidders, including Houston-based Schlumberger, in a 2007 auction of Bakken Shale oil and gas rights conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and related to tribal land, recently won in an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The law firm of Baker Botts represented the leaseholders in the appeal. 

State Files Motion To Dismiss Knodel Case

FARGO - A state prosecutor has filed a motion to dismiss the case against Aaron Knodel, the 2014 North Dakota Teacher of the Year accused of having sex with a student.The case was headed toward a second trial later this month after Knodel's first trial in April ended with a judgment of not guilty on three felony counts and a mistrial on another two counts. 


While operators in other plays have been jogging toward the sweet spots over the past 6 months, Bakken operators have been on a mad dash from fringe to core. This makes sense as Bakken production economics can be more challenging than the Texas oil plays due in part to the additional transportation costs to move product from well-head to refinery. In fact, we estimate the Bakken fringe break-even oil price requirement is about 15% higher than the Permian average and 30% above the Eagle Ford. High grading is an absolute necessity in the Bakken in this oil price tape. The rig count in smaller, fringe areas has gone to zero. And in the larger, more important county markets, a shift to wells with advantaged economics is evident, favoring the McKenzie county area first and Williams and Mountrail counties secondarily. In fact, McKenzie county now accounts for half of all rigs drilling in the Bakken (up from just 30% last November). Of the major areas, Dunn county towards the south of the core has been the underperformer. Absent a return to $75+ oil, it's fair to say that Bakken location experimentation is a largely thing of the past and drilling activity will continue to concentrate in the McKenzie sweet spot. Read the full article on OilPro.