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As oil prices rise, wells are reopening in the Bakken region

Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 19:48:47-05

HELENA — With oil prices surging, Montana Petroleum Association says oil wells are going back online in the Bakken oil fields in eastern Montana and North Dakota - but the lack of personnel and a shortage of supplies provides a challenge to the industry.

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia. The situation has caused a disruption in Russian exports of oil thus causing a surge in the current price of oil and gas.

Alan Olson, director of the Montana Petroleum Association, says that at around $80 a barrel the Bakken oil fields become more stable between costs and profits. With current prices, the Montana Petroleum Association is seeing a growing interest in restarting idled wells in the Bakken oil fields in eastern Montana.

However, a lack of workers and supply chain shortages getting oil flowing again has presented quite a challenge.

"We are scrambling to find good employees and at the same time we’re still on the hunt for equipment,” says Olson.

When oil prices nose-dived due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Montana Petroleum Association says their member companies were forced to let go of employees. Now that the oil price is rising rapidly, it’s been a challenge to hire new employees due to record low unemployment numbers in the state.

Additionally, items such as well casing, production tubing, workover rigs, and oil rigs are a lot harder to get their hands on because of supply shortages.

“The uptick in the economy with the downturn of the industry; it kind of turned into a perfect storm,” says Olson.