Marathon Oil Corp. has been operating in the Bakken Shale for over a decade and, in that time, has successfully navigated several cycles in the basin since the start of the shale boom.

“We have a continual improvement mindset within the team, both in the Bakken and really across the organization, and that has helped us navigate through the highs and lows of the business,” said Martin Stuart, vice president of operations with responsibility for Marathon Oil’s Bakken business, during Hart Energy’s recently held DUG Bakken and Rockies virtual conference.

Marathon Oil’s entry into the Bakken in 2006 was the U.S. independent E&P company’s first foray into shale, according to Stuart. Since then, the company has produced over 100 million barrels of oil in the region “and counting.”

Looking back though, Stuart said it was really the downturn in 2014-16 that was pivotal to its Bakken asset. At the time, Marathon paused all activity in the basin so the team could reevaluate what it would take to be competitive in that space in terms of well productivity and cost structure.

“By the end of 2016, we were back to business and actually delivering peer-leading results and that pretty much still remains to today,” he said.

Stuart also discussed innovations in the field that are driving value for the Marathon Bakken team. An example during the discussion included a monobore well design, which he said creates a larger bore downhole and ultimately allows the producer to deliver greater rates by leveraging its stimulations differently.

“Those wells have just been drilled,” he said. “We will complete them at the end of the year so we’re looking forward to what those results look like.”

Jump to a topic:

  • Marathon’s Bakken success (1:15)
  • Integrated Performance Organization (2:45)
  • Innovation in the field (3:45)
  • North Dakota event (5:30)
  • Gas capture and GHG intensity goals (7:10)
  • Carbon sequestration in North Dakota (8:45)
  • Key ESG focus (10:15)
  • Produced water (11:20)
  • Data analytics (13)
  • Energy transition (15:20)
  • Forecast for 2H 2021 (16:50)
  • Shareholder demands (17:55)
  • Future of the Bakken (19:35)
  • Marathon’s fiscal focus (20:50)