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EOG has lion’s share of 900 North Dakota wells awaiting fracking

Oil producer EOG Resources Inc has the lion’s share of an estimated 900 North Dakota wells waiting to be fracked, according to state data, showing that even major oil titans are mothballing operations while they hope for a rebound in oil prices.

For months the conventional wisdom in North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation had been that smaller producers with weak cash flow comprised the bulk of that estimate.

While the estimate had been published monthly, it was not clear until a Tuesday update from the state’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) who was dominating the list. Oilfield service companies have aggressively sought the information, hoping to drum up new business.

By late May, the number of wells waiting to be fracked is expected to breach 1,000, DMR officials said, fueled largely by cheap oil and a $5.3 billion industry tax break expected to hit in June.

Oil producers have up to a year to frack the wells before they must ask state officials to label them “temporarily abandoned.”

The fact that industry stalwarts like EOG are having to hold off on fracking new wells shows how much low prices make the remote Bakken far less economical compared to other U.S. shale plays.

Related: Oil prices rise after signs of U.S. production dip

Prices to transport oil from North Dakota to the U.S. Gulf Coast or coastal refineries add in some cases nearly $10 per barrel to the cost of crude, a steep price not faced for transport from Texas wells, which also are connected to a much-larger pipeline network.

One of the most-respected U.S. shale oil producers, Houston-based EOG said in February that it would pare back North Dakota production this year and focus more on Texas, also partly born from efforts to force oilfield service companies to cut their own costs.

Indeed, EOG has kept three North Dakota drilling rigs operating since January, though it has not fracked any of the wells that it has drilled. Most of the uncompleted wells are in the Bakken’s Parshall Field.

“These are tremendously productive wells,” said the DMR’s Lynn Helms. EOG is “able to drill a lot of wells and maintain production and still bank a lot of wells for future price increases.”

At the same time, EOG plans to make the Eagle Ford and Permian shale fields in Texas a core focus this year, aiming to increase the number of Permian wells this year by 53 percent.

EOG declined to comment beyond the information provided by Lynn Helms.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

This article was from Reuters and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

61 comments

  1. So same crap different day. Nothing to do.

  2. What are the numbers of wells to frack by company?

  3. Why and the hell did they stop fracking, I got laid off because they stopped Nabors fracking their wells

  4. That darn oasis, and North Dakota, and the wells still to be fracked… WHO REALLY GIVES A HOOT!!

  5. Eog is doing the same in wyoming as well.

  6. They’ve laid off the best frac crews. Be interesting when they want to get these wells up and running. Not going to be so easy then is it?!?!?

  7. Well come on then, let’s Frac that hole…

  8. Terry Swaay-Osby you see this????

  9. Bring it on ….. This dawg is ready

  10. So ,,,,,,, who do I haul sand for?

  11. That’s a sweet reciprocating donkey pumper head in this photo Jesse Raines

    • Nathan – since this is such a vast industry, many individuals use different terminologies. This article was written by Rueters and because of copyright laws, we legally can not change the headline.

  12. So EOG has somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 years of wells that need fracked? Don’t make much sense as that would mean they have been putting all their wells on temporary abandoned while oil was over $100/bbl?

  13. FTS International… best Frac company…hands down

  14. America is positioned to be able to make tremendous profit when the oil price comes back. There will be a large deficit in supply and just like Saudi Arabia, America will have plenty of spare production. These (DUC) drilled but uncompleted wells, are a wonderful thing. America has approximately 2,400 aces in their back pocket

  15. Eog better get their poop together.

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