What Makes the Bakken the Best?

Aimee Duffy and Tyler Crowe talk about the Bakken Shale. EOG Resources CEO Mark Papa predicts that the Eagle Ford will overtake the Bakken in production in two years. Crowe begs to differ, however, citing the 225,000-barrel increase in Bakken production per day in 2012. The Eagle Ford only produces 350,000 barrels per day, so it has a ways to go to catch up to the Bakken.

Although a 2008 USGS study estimated the Bakken's recoverable reserves at 5 billion barrels, the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute recently estimated that there are 20 billion barrels in the Bakken.

Takeaway capacity and problems with low prices are limiting proven reserves in the Bakken, but the Enbridge mainline extension with a Bakken spur will provide pipeline capacity, as will the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Rail investments, such as those spearheaded by EOG Resources, are additional positive signs.

Note that reserves can only be proven when they are commercially viable. Better takeaway capacity should bump prices up and hence bump reserves up, too.

Furthermore, if Valero, Tesoro, and Phillips 66 have their way with their rail investments, Bakken oil may supplant pricier Alaskan and Brent crude in both East Coast and West Coast refineries.

In short, the Bakken is a beast.

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