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With oil prices still hovering at multi-year lows, companies are choosing to store, rather than sell their oil. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports for Inside Energy, it’s being stored in tanks and tankers... but also in the ground.

Modern drilling is a two step process: first, companies drill a horizontal well, then they frack that well by shooting fluids down it. Without that second step, the oil stays in the ground.  And right now, analysts estimate are 3000 wells in the US waiting to be fracked. More than 800 of those are in North Dakota, where Lynn Helms is the director of the Department of Mineral Resources.

“Companies are making the $4 million investment to drill the wells, but they’re holding off on the $4-5 million investment for the completion.”

Those drilled but unfracked wells could add as much as 3 million barrels a day of oil to US production, which could hold down prices in the long-run.


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