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North Dakota Approaches Total Oil Output of 5 Billion Barrels

North Dakota is close to hitting total oil production of 5 billion barrels, local media has reported, citing the director of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources.

According to Lyn Helms, the biggest challenge for the energy industry in the state that is home to the Bakken shale play is extending the life of the play amid pipeline capacity constraints. The constraints are emerging as production moves from the center of the play outwards.

This is especially true of natural gas pipelines to take away the associated gas extracted alongside the crude oil that used to be normally flared. Yet with transition pressure mounting on the industry, new ways of dealing with the gas are being sought.

“We hope we get approval this year, but we don’t have a federal government that likes oil and gas moving around,” Helms said, as quoted by Valley News Live, referring to a new natural gas liquids pipeline project led by TC Energy that’s awaiting federal approval.

If the Bison Xpress pipeline does receive the necessary approval, it would alleviate the pipeline shortage, albeit temporarily, by about two years.

In other plans, production of crude oil from the Bakken play could be kept going with the help of enhanced oil recovery that utilizes carbon dioxide that gets injected into the wells to stimulate production. According to Helms, the Bakken’s total output could reach 30 billion barrels in several decades.

“We’ve got to overcome this NIMBY (Not in my backyard) attitude of, ‘I don’t want this CO2 coming through my backyard to get to North Dakota.’ We are going to need everything we can get from... any place that will send it if we want that extra 10 billion barrels of oil,” Helms said, as quoted by Valley News Live.

This year, oil production in North Dakota is seen rising by between 10,000 bpd and 30,000 bpd.


By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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