It was a busy week in the Bakken, but probably not for the reasons the industry had hoped for.
While the market fluctuated, investors applauded companies such as Whiting Petroleum and Chesapeake Energy when assets were sold and budgets were cut. Whiting, for example, announced it will suspend all new fracking and well completions the coming year and market shares jumped in after hours trading.
Meanwhile, a new Bakken refinery is making headway. And despite the widespread downturn, some people are determined to stay put in North Dakota. Read these stories and catch up on what you may have missed with the Top 5 Bakken stories of the week for February 21-27. Enjoy!
5. New rules aimed at North Dakota’s oil industry
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators are proposing new rules aimed at the oil industry.
A slate of proposed rules were unveiled Tuesday, including a requirement that would require bonding for all crude and saltwater pipelines. Another new rule would require berms of at least a foot high to be built around a well site.
4. As oil slides, many determined to stay put in North Dakota
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Kennedy Mugemuzi is done moving. After leaving Congo to live in Nashville for a few years and then coming to North Dakota for the opportunities of the oil boom, he is among the many staying put in Williston — even though depressed crude prices have spurred an exodus of thousands of drillers and others seeking new prospects elsewhere.
The epicenter of western North Dakota’s oil patch still teems with newcomers like Mugemuzi, who are opting to remain where they are in a still-strong economy instead of starting over somewhere else, or returning to the areas they left behind where jobs and financial stability are harder to come by.
3. Bakken asset sales require background check – regulators
Last week North Dakota’s top energy regulator admitted he was concerned about investment groups such as hedge funds buying oil assets in the state.
According to Reuters media, this concern is prompting Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms to run background checks on potential buyers. During a monthly conference call Helms said he is worried that some buyers will lack experience managing oil and gas facility operations. “It is a big concern,” he said, due to such facilities’ inherent safety risks.
2. Bakken crude – Davis refinery update
California-based Meridian Energy Group provided the public with an update to how its new North Dakota Bakken crude refinery is progressing.
According to a news release, progress on the Davis Refinery in Belfield is making headway. Meridian has contracted engineering firm Vepica USA to provide preliminary studies of the proposed refinery, including the process simulation modeling of the proposed 55,000 barrel per day refinery. The laboratory models are currently evaluating different types of crude feedstocks and air emissions analysis.
1. Whiting suspends fracking, cuts budget 80 percent – investors cheer
Whiting Petroleum, North Dakota’s largest oil producer, announced it will freeze all new fracking and well completions as of April 1 and will cut its budget by 80 percent this year.
Whiting’s announcement marks the single largest cutback made by a major U.S. shale producer to date. In North Dakota, a state already facing a billion dollar budget shortfall and far-reaching spending cuts, the change will likely “reverberate in the economy of North Dakota,“ reports Reuters.