The Bakken is a sequence of sand and shale layers in the Williston Basin, which stretches across portions of eastern Montana, western North Dakota, and Canada. At year-end 2020, we had approximately 610,000 net acres in the Bakken, which includes about 426,000 net mineral acres and approximately 184,000 net leasehold acres.
During 2020, net production averaged 78 MBOED. There were 29 operated wells brought online during 2020, bringing the total to more than 840 operated wells online at year-end. Bakken employees have led the way in engaging with stakeholders at all levels — from township to federal. They have developed authentic relationships in the community where they live and work by demonstrating their commitment to being good neighbors. Whether it’s how they work to ensure safe and responsible operations or their commitment to environmental stewardship, the company’s SPIRIT Values guide our people’s actions every day.
North Dakota currently ranks third in the nation in oil production volume. This production stimulates economic activity and provides jobs across the state and throughout the country.
Continued natural gas and oil development will be a key driver of the post-pandemic recovery in North Dakota. The industry supported over 87,000 North Dakota jobs, provided over $6.6 billion in wages, and contributed more than $13.4 billion to the state’s economy in 2019, according to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers that compiles the latest available government data.i
The industry’s total gross business volume in North Dakota, including direct sales in the oil and gas industry and business generated from indirect and induced economic activity, was estimated at $40.2 billion. This volume represents an increase of $7.5 billion over 2017 and more than a quarter of the state’s overall business volume.ii
More than half of North Dakota’s taxes come from our industry.
Industry revenues supported $8.2 billion for local communities and infrastructure, nearly $1.6 billion for K-12 education, over $1.2 billion for water and flood control projects, $879 million for local transportation projects, $440 million for property tax relief, and $29 million for outdoor heritage projects across the state.iii
We contribute to the well-being of North Dakotans through charitable giving, employee volunteerism, and civic leadership. In 2020, we awarded more than $175,000 in philanthropic grants to organizations in the Bakken.
We take pride in being a great neighbor and a responsible corporate citizen in the communities where we operate. And we work diligently to build inclusive, honest, and respectful relationships with our stakeholders by engaging with them openly and transparently to promote understanding of our activities, learn more about local concerns, and collaboratively seek solutions. Through community meetings, updates to local governments, and one-on-one conversations with community members, we create open lines of communication.
Across all types of wells and reservoirs in the U.S., less than 1%iv of natural gas is flared. However, newer unconventional shale plays like the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana have higher rates of flaring due to the high rate of growth in gas production and a lack of pipeline infrastructure.v
The North Dakota Petroleum Council flaring task force worked with the state to develop a plan to reduce flaring in the Bakken with the goal of capturing 91% of associated gas by 2020. That goal was achieved, and ConocoPhillips significantly exceeded it. We are on track to capture 96% of associated gas in 2021, representing top-quartile basin performance. We plan to improve our flaring performance further through the application of gas capture technologies and voluntarily deferring production to avoid flaring due to gas offtake infrastructure constraints. In addition to these efforts to reduce flaring, more than $11 billion has been spent in the last 10 years to build natural gas gathering and processing infrastructure in the state.
ii Studies highlight impact of oil and gas industry on North Dakota’s economy, counties | North Dakota State Government – ND Portal
iii Studies highlight impact of oil and gas industry on North Dakota’s economy, counties | North Dakota State Government – ND Portal
v North Dakota Flaring and Venting Regulations Fact Sheet_V2.pdf (energy.gov)