|Drilling rig operating in North Dakota’s Bakken region.|
Oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken region is expected to rise more than 20 percent this year just as the Dakota Access Pipeline comes online. By offering more affordable and diversifying access to key refining markets, the pipeline can help level the playing field between the Bakken and other U.S. shale plays that have benefited from better access to refineries.
Industry analysts like RBN Energy’s Rusty Braziel say the pipeline will cut shipping costs by $3 to $5 per barrel and amount to at least $540 million in annual savings for producers who previously relied on truck and rail to bring oil to market. “Economics for drilling in the Bakken will look better because of DAPL,” said Braziel.
Market players, including Hess Corporation CEO Jon Hess believe the $3.8 billion pipeline will accelerate output in the region, which reached its lowest point in almost three years last December. “We’re back to growth in the Bakken,” Hess said in a recent interview with Reuters, adding that his company this year plans to triple the number of drilling rigs operating in North Dakota.
Hess isn’t the only company beefing up operations. In fact, the drilling rig count in North Dakota has risen 40 percent since the Trump administration gave the final green light for the project and is forecast to jump another 10 percent or more by years end.
This production bump is not only a win for American energy independence, but also for the State of North Dakota which is expected to gain $100 million or more in annual tax revenue, according to a recent Associated Press report.
In the end, the pipeline won.
Dakota Access, which became a rallying point for tens of thousands of anti-fossil fuel and Native American-rights protesters, is preparing for service, a court filing on Monday showed. Now that the last segment built underneath Lake Oahe has been filled with oil, it’s only a matter of time before the line delivers crude from North Dakota’s once-booming Bakken shale region. That’ll be a boon to drillers there who’ve lost market share amid low oil prices to rivals in Texas and elsewhere with better access to Gulf Coast refineries and terminals.
“No doubt, this makes the Bakken more competitive,” said Rob Thummel, managing director at Tortoise Capital Advisors.
The filing, by Dakota Access’s developer, came just three days after the State Department issued a presidential permit approving the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which when completed would run from Canada into America’s heartland. President Donald Trump’s support of both pipeline projects represents a dramatic reversal from former President Barack Obama’s opposition to them on environmental grounds.
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Completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline is expected to fundamentally change the direction of North Dakota oil.
The “interstate highway” for Bakken crude will take barrels off the rail cars headed east-west and take them south to refineries on the Gulf Coast, where experts expect oil producers will find higher prices and lower transportation costs.
“It is going to certainly shake up the existing transportation modes,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.
The $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline will connect the state’s oil fields to a pipeline in Illinois that leads to refineries in Texas. It could ultimately carry up to 570,000 barrels a day. For months, construction stalled as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its allies filed legal challenges and protested in southern Morton County, expressing concerns that a leak may contaminate the tribe’s water supply.
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North Dakota has the No. 2 best economy of any U.S. state and is No. 1 for job growth according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best States rankings. The annual survey, which ranked North Dakota No. 4 overall, said growing energy production and robust infrastructure were key to the state’s strong performance.
The Peace Garden State has benefited greatly from being at the epicenter of the U.S. shale oil boom. In 2004, oil and gas production accounted for just 2 percent of state’s economy, but by 2014 it was almost 16 percent. Several years ago, while much of the nation was suffering from hard economic times, North Dakota was attracting billions of dollars in investments and workers from around the country.
While falling oil prices have weakened production, North Dakota is still producing over a million barrels a day and has one of the lowest employment rates in the nation. The Bakken boon may have hit slow patch in the road, but the promising opportunities and benefits derived from this remote region are far from over.
Most recently, an analysis by the Associated Press found that cost savings provided by the Dakota Access Pipeline will not only benefit producers, but also amount to a more than $110 million gain in annual tax revenue.
This staggering increase has already lead the state’s budget director to begin crafting spending plans that take the added revenue into account and perhaps leading the state to become the No. 1 economy in the years to come.
Domestic crude oil production will grow by an estimated 400,000 barrels per day (b/d) over the next two years according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In the latest edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA said that the U.S. produced averaged an estimated 8.9 million b/d in 2016 and is forecast to rise to 9.0 million b/d in 2017 and 9.3 million b/d in 2018. The upward trend is in part due to increasing tight oil productivity in areas like North Dakota’s Bakken region. According to the EIA, the growth in production is a result of more drilling activity, rig efficiency, and well-level productivity.Growth in domestic production continues to be huge asset to the U.S. economy, sending gas prices to historic lows, stimulating the manufacturing sector, and allowing American foreign policy to be conflicted by the nation’s energy needs. However, this uptick, particularly in the Bakken region, cannot be sustained without the necessary pipeline infrastructure needed to safely and efficiently move resources to critical refining markets across the country.
The state-of-the-art Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) will support American energy independence in a way that guarantees protections for both our communities and the environment.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is more than just a pipeline. It is a political hot potato. There are a lot of issues underlying the DAPL conversation, including indigenous peoples’ access to ancestral lands, environmental concerns of a potential spill, water rights, and social justice.
One false assumption is that rejecting the DAPL would result in fossil fuels staying in the ground. The lack of a pipeline has not stopped growth in oil production from the Bakken shale formation yet. This oil is currently transported by rail or road, where it has a significantly higher chance of spillage, explosion or tragedy. Higher prices will be passed on to consumers, a regressive policy that inordinately affects the poorest citizens.
Climate change activists have also entered the fray. Anti-fossil fuels advocate Bill McKibben said the pipeline couldn’t pass “a climate test” and the Center for Biological Diversity has made DAPL a touchstone of its aggressive climate campaign. Wouldn’t it be great to see the numbers behind the rhetoric?
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