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Oil - Feb 5

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Bakken Oil Output Fell in November for First Time in 18 Months

Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg
Oil output from North Dakota’s portion of the Bakken shale formation slipped in November for the first time in 20 months after producers began pulling rigs out of the state.

Production declined 2.2 percent from October to 669,000 barrels a day, according to the North Dakota Industrial Commission. It was the first month-to-month drop since April 2011. The decline closely followed a decline in rig counts in the state, from 210 on Oct. 19 to 181 on Nov. 30, according to data compiled by Smith Bits, a drilling products and services provider owned by Houston- and Paris-based Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB)

Bakken wells tend to have steep decline rates because they’re created with directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, James Williams, president of WTRG Economics in London, Arkansas, said by telephone.

“The question is, are you drilling enough new wells to make up for the decline?” he said. “With a little decline in the rig count, and the very fast depletion rate of the wells, it’s not terribly surprising that the Bakken production leveled off.”...
(2 February 2013)


Arctic nations' oil spill plans too vague, say environmentalists

Reuters via The Guardian
Arctic nations' plans to start co-operating over oil spills are vague and fail to define companies' liability for any accidents in an icy region opening up due to global warming, environmentalists said on Monday.

A 21-page document by the eight-nation Arctic Council, seen by Reuters and due to be approved in May, says countries in the region "shall maintain a national system for responding promptly and effectively to oil pollution incidents."

It does not say what that means in terms of staff, ships, clean-up equipment or corporate liability in a remote region that the US Geological Survey estimates has 13% of the world's undiscovered oil and 30% of its undiscovered gas...
(4 February 2013)


Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach, and Battle Heats Up

Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times
Secure in this state’s history and mythology, the venerable Midway-Sunset oil field near here keeps producing crude more than a century after Southern California’s oil boom. Many of its bobbing pump jacks are relatively short, a telltale sign of the shallowness of the wells and the ease of extracting their prize

But away from this forest of pump jacks on a flat, brown landscape, a road snakes up into nearby hills that are largely untouched — save for a handful of exploratory wells pumping oil from depths many times those of Midway-Sunset’s. These wells are tapping crude directly from what is called the Monterey Shale, which could represent the future of California’s oil industry — and a potential arena for conflict between drillers and the state’s powerful environmental interests...

Comprising two-thirds of the United States’s total estimated shale oil reserves and covering 1,750 square miles from Southern to Central California, the Monterey Shale could turn California into the nation’s top oil-producing state and yield the kind of riches that far smaller shale oil deposits have showered on North Dakota and Texas...

While oil is found less than 2,000 feet below the surface in fields like Midway-Sunset, companies must pump down to between 6,000 and 15,000 to tap shale oil in the Monterey...
(4 February 2013)

Oil well pump jacks - Richard Masoner/flickr

 

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