Ernest's Feed
Jun 25, 2015

In bet on oil prices, WPX plans to add Bakken rigs

By Ernest Scheyder

WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) – Drilling rigs are coming back to North Dakota. WPX Energy Inc, a small oil producer in the No. 2 U.S. crude state, said on Thursday it will add two rigs this year, becoming the first since the crude price downturn to announce concrete steps to boost output.

Though only the 11th-largest North Dakota oil producer, trailing Whiting Petroleum Corp and others, WPX has effectively staked out a leadership position in the state’s Bakken shale formation by saying it will add rigs, slash well completion costs and target a 20 percent boost in output by 2016.

Jun 23, 2015

North Dakota’s oil rig count appears to have hit bottom

By Ernest Scheyder

WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) – The drilling rig count in North Dakota’s oil patch, a closely watched metric through which many attempt to divine future crude production, appears to have hit a bottom.

For the past three weeks the count has hovered between 76 and 79, after sliding only slightly from 80 at the end of May. On June 12, the count hit 76, the lowest level since 2009. The count bobbed slightly in the ensuing days, hitting 77 on Tuesday.

Jun 19, 2015

North Dakota governor sees OPEC ceding global swing status

, June 19 (Reuters) – OPEC’s decision this
month to maintain existing oil output will fail to push rival
producers out of the market because rising global crude demand
should soon lift prices and boost drilling activity, North
Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said.

Since November, the Saudi Arabian-led cartel has held to a
policy of unconstrained output, an approach many suspect is
designed to flood global markets with more crude, push prices
lower and punish rivals, including North Dakota, the
second-largest U.S. oil producer.

Jun 17, 2015

North Dakota’s workers comp claims rise less than expected

, June 17 (Reuters) – The number of workers
compensation filings in North Dakota’s oil patch rose less than
forecast from January through March, leading state officials to
curb projections for total fiscal year filings, data released on
Wednesday showed.

The projected decrease in filings surprised officials and
industry executives across the No. 2 U.S. oil producing state as
expectations for an increase were high with the recent slide in
crude prices.

Jun 11, 2015

Buoy breaches and current eyed in Chevron platform woes -source

, June 11 (Reuters) – Engineers
examining why nine giant tendons sank at Chevron Corp’s
Big Foot deepwater oil project are considering whether buoys
taking on water, combined with a strong current that prevented
vessels from repairing them, caused the costly setback, a source
familiar with the matter said.

Though it will be months before the investigation is
complete, the sinking of the tendons 225 miles south of New
Orleans has delayed the project indefinitely, harming Chevron’s
plans to produce 75,000 barrels of oil and 25 million cubic feet
of natural gas per day by year’s end.

Jun 5, 2015

North Dakota refuses to flinch as OPEC keeps output high

By Ernest Scheyder

WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) – Oil executives in North Dakota, a center of the U.S. shale revolution, say OPEC made a questionable bet when it decided on Friday to stick with a policy that aims to push higher cost American producers out of the market by keeping output high.

Here, in the top U.S. oil state after Texas, oil companies have slashed costs over the last seven months to reach fighting weight – one that will allow them to profit despite the more-than 40 percent drop in prices over the past year and solidify the new American role as the world’s swing supplier.

Jun 3, 2015

North Dakota orders oil wells shut in on flooding concerns

By Ernest Scheyder

WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) – North Dakota oil regulators ordered small, privately held Zavanna LLC to shut in oil wells near the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers on Wednesday after more than 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) of rainfall sparked flooding concerns.

The state’s Department of Mineral Resources said it is concerned the confluence, located near the state oil capital of Williston, could exceed flood stage levels of 22 feet (6.7 meters) by this weekend after Tuesday’s rainfall, which easily surpassed the record of 0.9 inch (2.3 cm) set in 2002.

Jun 2, 2015

After oil, ex-North Dakota Indian leader forms marijuana firm

By Ernest Scheyder

WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) – The former chairman of a North Dakota Indian nation that controls one-third of the state’s oil output has formed a marijuana company to help tribes around the United States produce and distribute the drug.

Tex “Red-Tipped Arrow” Hall, who until last fall led the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation, has formed Native American Organics LLC with California-based Wright Family Organics LLC, a medical marijuana company, the companies said in a statement.

May 28, 2015

To see why Amtrak’s losses mount, hop on the Empire Builder train

ABOARD THE EMPIRE BUILDER, May 28 (Reuters) – Its passengers
are mostly silver-haired retirees, oil-field workers and a few
young families gazing out the windows of Amtrak’s
least-profitable and third-longest line, rumbling from Chicago
through eight states and on to the American West Coast.

As the Empire Builder snakes along 2,230 miles (3,590 km) on
a 46-hour journey, it offers insights into the financial
problems plaguing America’s passenger railroad at a time of
intensifying scrutiny over its aging infrastructure and safety

May 15, 2015

Exclusive: WPX Energy would add North Dakota rigs with $65 per barrel oil

By Ernest Scheyder

WILLISTON, N.D. (Reuters) – Oil and gas producer WPX Energy Inc would add one or two drilling rigs in North Dakota if WTI oil prices stabilized around $65 per barrel, Chief Executive Rick Muncrief told Reuters on Friday.

The forecast falls in line with U.S. shale peers, several of whom have pointed to $65 to $70 per barrel as the range in which they would add rigs and ramp up production.