February 10, 2012

Land, water, royalties, jobs

Land, water, royalties, jobs
Energy summit probes oil patch impacts
By Jerry W. Kram

The oil boom in the Bakken has just begun, according to industry experts who made presentations at the International Energy Oil and Gas Summit held in New Town Feb. 1-2.
Although nearly 200 wells have been drilled on tribal fee land, Jeff Hunt, a petroleum engineer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said that many wells will likely be drilled in 2012 and for two or three years after that. After the initial rush of 600 or so wells is over, another 400 to 500 oil wells could be drilled in the following 20 years as the industry fills in spots that were missed.
“We’ve only seen about 10 percent, maybe 15 percent of the potential of the Bakken,” Hunt said. “We’ve just got started. We’re expecting something between 200 and 300 wells drilled in 2012 and the same in 2013. So that could mean 600 new wells in just two years.”
Hunt said part of the rush is that many oil leases are set to expire in the next two years so energy companies want to protect their investment by putting in wells. Hunt said the pace of development will mean that the communities of Fort Berthold will continue to suffer from impacts of oil development.
“We’re trying to mitigate the impacts as quickly as we can,” Hunt said. “But the pace of continued development keeps things at the status quo. We fix one thing and something else is going wrong.”

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