Schweigert, Klemin & McBride, P.C.

Steady growth in the Bakken comeback

It has been a good year for the return of the Bakken oil fields, and 2018 promises to be even better. More importantly, the growth that is coming to North Dakota is a bit slower and steadier, suggesting it will be more broad-based and permanent.

This also means that new employees coming to the region may have more time for proper training in safety and operations, meaning that accidents may not be as common. We are always hoping for a safe and sustainable growth for North Dakota as the Bakken comes back as a key part of the nation's energy future.

A record year in the works?

Reports are calling for a new record in production from the Bakken. Last December the production hit 1.23 million barrels per day, and that rate is expected to be sustained through 2018. At that rate, production would hit a record this year. It's all due to the price rebound to $65 per barrel, which is expected to last.

While this rebound is significant, it is coming on more slowly and gradually than the first boom from 2011-2015. Much of the production is coming from new wells, which are benefitting from new technology. More workers are needed all the time, but the increase has been relatively slow and steady, according to Bloomberg.

Steady as she goes in Minot

The last boom saw a lot of activity in Minot, despite being far from the center of the Bakken. This time, Minot is seeing slow but steady growth that is considered much more manageable, according to US News and World Report.

Much of the increase is coming from warehouses and support industry, rather than the oil fields themselves. But investors are still coming in from out of state and the growth, while slower, is seen as steady.

What does this mean?

Steady growth is much easier for the state to manage in many ways. Gone is the boomtime, but we all know it had its downside.

Steady growth is good for the oil industry as well as the state. It means that workers arriving here will have time to acclimate and be true North Dakotans as well as to be well trained in safe operations. There may not be as sharp of a rise in oil field injuries in this expansion of Bakken output.

That's good news all around for North Dakota. We are looking forward to a good year for everyone.

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Schweigert, Klemin & McBride, P.C.
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Bismarck, ND 58501

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