Bruce Oksol, who blogs about the Bakken oil boom, says it’s “worth a thousand words.”
Here’s a link to the original tweet.
North Dakota’s sustained oil production, even amid a dramatic drop-off in drilling activity, has been nothing short of remarkable as this graph I’ve used in the past shows (oil production numbers through July, the latest data available, and the rig count is from yesterday):
The drop in the rig count seems to have mostly leveled off, but oil production has remained steady at near record levels. This is largely because the industry has concentrated their activities in the most lucrative areas. Basically, they’re picking the low hanging fruit right now to keep costs low amid low oil prices.
But that doesn’t explain why North Dakota is the only state where this has been the case. You’d think the oil plays in most other states would also have “sweet spots” too.
Regardless, this does demonstrate how unpredictable this all can be. I think most people were expecting North Dakota to see a serious drop off in oil production. And, clearly, that’s been the case in some other states, but things have proven resilient in the Bakken.