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U.S. Rig Count Climbs As Shale Prepares For Takeoff

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Refracking Extracts 200,000-250,000 Additional Barrels In Bakken

New fracking techniques for Bakken wells are allowing industry leaders to recover more oil without damaging surrounding lands, according to a new report by The Bismarck Tribune.

Drilled but Uncompleted (DUC) wells dug between 2008 and 2010 are the sites of the experimentation surrounding the technique.

“On average, they’re getting better performance from the wells,” Justin Kringstad, head of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said after analyzing the fracked wells.

After refracking 140 wells in the Bakken, producers saw 200,000 to 250,000 barrels of additional output. Engineers flooded the wells with larger volumes of fluid focused on small segments of the well.

“We are only getting a small, small amount of the total potential reserve down there,” Republican Senator Kelly Armstrong said. Usually oil producers only ever recover between 5 to 15 percent of total oil available. “Everybody would benefit if we could figure out a way to recover more.”

Lynn Helms, who directs the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, says the additional fracturing does not cause additional damage to the environment, and the area already has pipelines installed nearby.

Related: Saudis Cut Back Oil Supply To Asia, Slash Exports To U.S.

Crude oil production in North Dakota exceeded 1 million barrels daily in February for the first time in three months, but the increase was expected to be temporary, with the thaw season prompting strict weight restrictions on trucks servicing the oil patch. Production was expected to rebound later in the year, most likely in the last quarter, according to Helms’ department.

According to Platts analytical data, breakeven prices in the Bakken shale play fell to $33.53 a barrel in April, from $37.91 a barrel in the same month last year, while spot prices for the crude produced there increased, providing additional motivation to producers to ramp up output.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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