Oil Giants Pour Billions Into Bakken Shale
Judging from the huge amount of explorative drilling and infrastructure building going on and witnessed in a tour of the region, most of the world's leading oil industry firms are here to stay, given estimates there's at least a 30-year window of prosperity.
A big lure is that it is a "can't miss" oil field, as the odds are that an explorative well will be productive are 98%. Local experts say this oil play is more like "mining" rather than "wildcatting" where historically the odds were one-in-three that a well would come in.
A completed Bakken well, which has an average life of 29 years, generates $22 million in net profit over its lifetime, according to the North Dakota Industrial Commission's Oil and Gas Division.
The wells here, which use the hydraulic fracturing or "hydro-fracking" technology, cost about $8.5 million on average to drill and complete, with break-even pricing linked to market prices at $55 to $70 per barrel.