The fracking boom in North Dakota has just a few years left

Energy independence won’t be coming to the United States, since the rate of decline for unconventional wells is so rapid, says Oswald Clint, senior analyst at Bernstein Research.

“In North Dakota if you fizz up a bottle of Coke and you tap into the top of it you get this instant flow rate—very, very quickly—and then after 12 months you are really down to 30% of the initial production. It is just a characteristic of unconventional production,” said Clint in an interview with Bloomberg.

Clint says the rate of decline for wells in North Dakota, the epicenter for the boom in hydraulic fracturing in the US, is 70% after 12 months. Clint believes the oil and gas boom the state’s experiencing will only last a few years.

“There’s a very big important factor about US production, ” said Client.

“Twenty percent of it … is stripper wells. These are little wells putting out just 10 barrels a day. One of the interesting things, North Dakota, those wells after five years become stripper wells doing less than 10 barrels a day such that when oil prices drop these are wells that the operating costs start to take over and people lose money.

Clint believes these wells will be switched off and not contributing to overall gas supply.

Clint also notes that some of the larger, conventional oil fields, like Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, have not responded well to demand upticks, and he expects oil prices to rise.

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