Skip to main content

Bad news for the Bakken? Big oil producer says it's leaving North Dakota

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Reuters reports Occidental Petroleum is selling its land in the Bakken region – an area that's been struggling in recent months after years of booming business.

The Wall Street Journal says Occidental is one of the first and biggest companies to "turn its back on" the Bakken region since business hit a skid in recent months.

The company – the fourth-largest oil producer based in the U.S., Reuters says – will instead shift more resources from the Williston Basin to Texas, where the company sees huge possibility with the Permian Basin (in the western region of the state), according to Fuel Fix.

“We could run four rigs in the Permian Basin with this money and generate more production than we’d get out of the Bakken," Occidental’s outgoing CEO Stephen Chazen said, Fuel Fix reports. "It was a pretty easy decision.”

Occidental sold its North Dakota assets to Texas-based Lime Rock Resources, Reuters reports.

The oil boom has been an economic boon to North Dakota in recent years – but low crude oil prices in recent months have dealt heavy blows to the businesses there, and the state budget.

State lawmakers were told general fund tax revenues fell $41.7 million short of projections in July and August, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

The most recent monthly report from North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced nearly 1.19 barrels of oil a day in August – the all-time high was December of 2014, when it hit 1.23 million barrels a day. There were 74 rigs in operation that month (down from a high of 218 in May of 2012) – currently it's down to 67 rigs.

The Motley Fool, a stock analysis website that picked up its name from Shakespeare's "As You Like It," says Occidental may have struggled with their spot in North Dakota – their acreage wasn't in as oil-saturated an area as North Dakota's leading producer at the moment, Whiting Petroleum.

Overall, the Bakken is considered by many in the energy industry to be an expensive area to run an oil operation, the Wall Street Journal writes, and companies are still navigating issues over the lack of pipelines that could move crude oil across the country.

Next Up

flooding on Interstate 90

Supercharged atmosphere causing more mega-rain events

There could be a mega-rain event Saturday-Sunday in Minnesota, Wisconsin and/or Iowa.


Massive Burnsville landfill expansion nears final approvals

The City of Burnsville and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are accepting public feedback on the proposal.

Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 2.35.39 PM

Kyle Rittenhouse attorney to defend accused Apple River killer Nicolae Miu

The attorney who helped Kyle Rittenhouse be acquitted of all charges is defending the alleged Apple River mass stabber.

Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 7.55.41 AM

Minneapolis police trying to ID pair in connection to fatal shooting

Police say the two people pictured are connected to the fatal shooting of Ivan Redday last month.


17-year-old girl killed in southern Minnesota crash

The crash happened early Thursday morning near Lake Crystal.

Tim Gannon

Ex-Brooklyn Center police chief sues city over resignation

Tim Gannon alleges he was forced to resign following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

boat, boating, lake

Men injured after boat crash sends propeller spinning onto craft

The motor reportedly flew out of the water and severely injured two men on the boat.


Officials investigating possible spill near Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin

It comes as another water spill is being reported at Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.


Lightning strike outside White House kills Wisconsin couple

The bolt of lightning was captured on video by a local TV camera.


NASCAR star Kyle Busch flees Mall of America after shooting

Busch was at the megamall with his wife and son when a gunman opened fire Thursday.


Triple-fatal crash involving car full of Missourians in Minnesota

Four people from Missouri were in a vehicle that collided with a semi.