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What You Need To Know About The Alberta Bakken

Introduction

Everyone has heard of the Bakken. The Bakken is the reason why North Dakota has emerged as the second largest oil producing state in the U.S., jumping from just 310,000 barrels per day in 2010 to nearly 1.1 million barrels per day in 2014.

Upstream oil and gas companies have flocked to the Bakken, gobbling up acreage and drilling at a torrid pace in order to cash in on the basin. Drilling has certainly slowed down as oil prices have collapsed, but the Bakken still has long-term potential. Companies are putting much of their plans on hold, but will almost certainly spring back to life when oil prices rise.

The Alberta Bakken

However, there is a basin to the west of the Bakken that garners a lot less media attention, even though there is also a tremendous amount of potential. The Alberta Basin, which stretches across the border between northern Montana and southern Alberta, shares a lot of similarities to the North Dakota Bakken, located in the Williston Basin. Due to these similar features, the Alberta Basin has been dubbed the “Alberta Bakken.”

The Alberta Bakken could hold 2 to 3 billion barrels of light to medium, recoverable oil. It has good porosity and permeability, and is thought to be “less tight” than other tight oils.


The Alberta Bakken has been on the radar of some companies, but has been quiet in recent years as North Dakota has taken all the attention. Newfield Exploration (NYSE: NFX) was one of the earliest and largest players in the Alberta Bakken. As of 2011, it drilled seven vertical wells and two horizontal wells. Newfield has been relatively quiet about the results but has said that all of its wells have encountered oil, as have other drillers in the area.

In fact, there have been several companies that have spudded wells but have been cagey about the results. Information is hard to come by, fueling speculation. Perhaps the drilling was a bust, or maybe the companies are just moving slowly and not wanting to reveal information.

Crescent Point Energy (TSE: CPG) is upping the ante on its investments in the Alberta Bakken. At the end of June it acquired Legacy Oil & Gas Inc., a junior player in southern Alberta. The acquisition adds 20,000 boe/d of production to Crescent’s portfolio, 82 percent of which is liquids. It also took hold of 110,000 net acres over 220 gross sections. Crescent Point has other assets in North Dakota’s…




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