Bakken News: North Dakota may dethrone Alaska as the largest oil producer in the US

By Phaedra Friend Troy

By implementing horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracturing in the Bakken Shale, North Dakota may well surpass Alaska in crude oil production by 2017, reported Bloomberg.

According to separate reports from both the North Dakota Pipeline Authority and the US Department of Energy, if the current trends in production continue, North Dakota may overtake Alaska as the No. 1 producer in the US by 2017.

Should the increase in drilling and production in North Dakota continue, the output in North Dakota may rise to between 450,000 and 700,000 barrels of oil a day within the next five to seven years, reported the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.

On the other hand, the production coming out of Alaska is slated to drop to 450,000 barrels a day by 2017, the DOE reported.

The Bakken Shale has sparked a drilling frenzy in North Dakota, with drilling rig counts at the highest they have ever reached. According to the Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI) weekly rig report, there were 151 active drilling rigs in the state last week, despite the winter weather. All of the rigs are drilling for oil in the Williston Basin of North Dakota, and 93 percent of them are drilling horizontally.

Resources and infrastructure have threatened to slow the drilling and production in North Dakota, which boasts a plethora of jobs but lacks housing for the employees and their families. Nonetheless, the bumper sticker campaign across the state reads: “If not for the Bakken, you’d be walkin’” and the state in general supports the burgeoning economy.

According to the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, there are several large projects ongoing to connect North Dakota production to US markets, including the Enbridge Bakken Expansion Program, Keystone XL Marketlink, True Co’s Baker 300, Plains Bakken North and Unit Train Development.

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