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Bakken Monitor – March 2019 Majors Make Move Into LTO As Independents Weaken; Frac Hits, Child Wells Threaten Long Term Growth

  • North Dakota's December 2018 output set a new record of 1.401 million b/d (+25,000 b/d), in line with our 1.396 million b/d (+20,000 b/d) forecast. Wells returned to production after poor weather in November.
  • For January, we see North Dakota production at 1.428 million b/d (+27,000 b/d m-o-m). We see North Dakota production averaging 1.411 million b/d in 2019 (+136,000 b/d), though December to December production growth is just 77,000 b/d.
  • Two papers in the Journal of Petroleum Technology warn that Permian well performance is declining and that optimal spacing means fewer wells should be drilled, potentially impacting long-term production.
  • Exxon and Chevron are making US LTO production growth a priority, each targeting c. 1 million boe/d (i.e. both oil and gas) production from US LTO by 2024.
  • This contrasts with a poor 4Q18 performance from the independents, giving further support to our “two-speed industry” thesis.

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