Enerplus Now Believes the Bakken Is 50% Bigger Than Previously Thought

Photo credit: Enerplus. 

Enerplus (NYSE: ERF  ) recently held an investor presentation that took a deeper look into its assets in the Williston Basin. What the company shared was its discoveries from its own deeper look into its Bakken assets. The biggest discovery was that the company now estimates that there's 50% more original oil in place than it previously thought. In doing so, it's joining peers like Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG  ) and Oasis Petroleum (NYSE: OAS  ) in realizing that the Bakken is a lot bigger than previously thought.

Drilling down into the data
What Enerplus found was that as it evaluated well data and core data across its average, there was more oil saturating the rocks beneath its acreage. Not only was there more oil in the Bakken Shale and the first bench of the Three Forks formation than estimated, but Enerplus is finding that there's also oil in the second bench of the Three Forks formation. As the following slide notes, by adding up this data, the company came to the conclusion that its position in the Williston Basin is 50% more saturated with oil than previously thought.

Source: Enerplus Investor Presentation.

What's worth noting on that slide is that the company still might have some upside, as it's only counting on some contributions from the second bench of the Three Forks, while completely excluding any oil from the third and fourth benches of the Three Forks as well as both the Upper and Lower Bakken Shale. However, both Kodiak Oil & Gas and Oasis Petroleum are testing wells in the second and third benches of the Three Forks formation. In fact, Oasis Petroleum plans to complete 30 wells into those formations this year alone. So, while it's still early in its development, there remains the potential for these two formations to be productive and provide more upside to Enerplus.

What this means to investors
In discovering that there is more oil saturating the rocks underneath its acreage, while at the same time discovering how to access this oil, Enerplus is now seeing a significant increase in its resource potential. As the following slide notes, the company now estimates it should be able to extract another 97 million barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE, from its land position in the Williston Basin.

Source: Enerplus Investor Presentation.

As that slide points out, the company is boosting its contingent resource potential from 39 million BOE to 136 million BOE. That's a 250% surge in contingent resources and a big potential value boost to the company in the future. Over time, some or all of these contingent resources will become proved reserves, and when that happens, it will provide a big boost to the company's value.

We've seen this at both Kodiak Oil & Gas and Oasis Petroleum. Since 2009, Kodiak Oil & Gas' proved reserves have grown by a 147% compound annual growth rate as the company has converted its resources into reserves. Meanwhile, Oasis Petroleum's proved reserves surged 53% last year alone as the company's drilling program continues to prove up its acreage. As a result, both stocks have surged more than 200% over the past five years. Because of this, we should expect to see continued reserve growth at Enerplus, too, as the company turns resources into reserves.

Investor takeaway
The rocks underneath Enerplus' acreage in the Williston Basin are more saturated with oil than the company thought. That's really great news for investors, as it makes the company's land position all that more valuable. Further, there's still plenty of upside left as Enerplus isn't even expecting to see any oil from some of the lower benches of the Three Forks formation, which are places that peers like Kodiak Oil & Gas and Oasis Petroleum are seeing some solid results. Bottom line here, Enerplus' position in the Williston Basin is better than it thought, and it might still have upside. 

Do you know this energy tax "loophole"?
Enerplus hands a big dividend to its investors each month. However, as a Canadian company it's payout isn't as big as it could be. That's because it can't take advantage of a special IRS tax loophole that's really juicing the payout of many American energy companies. You can learn how to take advantage of this profitable opportunity by grabbing your brand-new special report, "The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment Now!," and you'll learn about the simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Don't miss out on advice that could help you cut taxes for decades to come. Click here to learn more.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 3004708, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/28/2015 10:55:56 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Matt DiLallo

Matthew is a Senior Energy and Materials Specialist with The Motley Fool. He graduated from the Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Studies and a Masters of Business Administration. You can follow him on Twitter for the latest news and analysis of the energy and materials industries:

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,602.45 -52.32 -0.31%
S&P 500 1,984.85 -2.81 -0.14%
NASD 4,804.36 -8.35 -0.17%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

8/28/2015 10:39 AM
ERF $6.02 Up +0.37 +6.55%
Enerplus Resources… CAPS Rating: ****
KOG $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Kodiak Oil & Gas C… CAPS Rating: *****
OAS $10.30 Up +0.83 +8.76%
Oasis Petroleum CAPS Rating: ***