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Bakken rebranded as "mature"

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Oil companies have rebranded the Bakken as “mature.”

What does that mean for North Dakota’s oil patch?

"We're looking at very low rates of growth," said North Dakota Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms. "Some companies will just hold production flat."

Helms said the action is now in the Permian Basin, in Texas and New Mexico. And he said the Bakken is now seen as a “cash cow.”

"The Bakken has very good economics," Helms said. "Every well that they generate or produce here produces a lot of cash. But they're not reinvesting all of that revenue back in as capital expenditures."

Helms said that reinvestment remains fairly flat.

And this comes at a time when oil prices are high. They’re above $90 per barrel.

"One would have expected activity to really pick up, with those kind of oil prices," Helms said. "But in the rebranding of us as 'mature,' that's not the plan."

Helms said drilling will likely drop off in 10 to 15 years. He said to keep oil production where it is, the Bakken will have to transition into enhanced oil recovery.

"Because it's far enough out, there isn't a huge amount of excitement and money going that way right now," Helms said. "But there's interest, and there are technology tests going on."

Two of those tests are in North Dakota.

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