You just can’t keep a good boom down. Oil production from North Dakota’s Bakken formation has quintupled over the past five years as drillers employ the dual technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well drilling to tap previously inaccessible hydrocarbons trapped in shale. This summer, it looks as if Gaia will cooperate, offering mild weather to spur what one official is predicting will be a “big surge” in output. Bloomberg reports:
Better summer weather will lead to production growth in the region of 5 to 6 percent a month in June, July and August, said Lynn Helms, director of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources.“We still expect the big surge to come in June, July and August in terms of completions and some really rapid production increases,” Helms said on a conference call with reporters yesterday.
The shale boom has been so sudden, and so unexpected, that we still lack the transportation infrastructure to deliver shale-sourced crude to refineries. Without pipelines to link North Dakota’s Bakken formation to Gulf Coast refineries, that crude is riding our nation’s rails and being transported by truck—more expensive and more dangerous options. Building new pipelines will cut down on bottlenecks, save money, and potentially save lives. This is a challenge, but it’s the kind we’d like to see more of: one of abundance, not scarcity.