[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the June 2018 edition of Oil and Gas Investor. Subscribe to the magazine here.]

Not long ago, the atmosphere encircling Rockies’ oil and gas had many in the industry and its many followers feeling as if their “metaphorical” oxygen—economic oil—was in short supply. The Bakken Shale appeared written off by many, Wattenberg Field was good but only good for select operators, and the Powder River Basin was expensive. However, that has all changed with the revival of oil prices since mid-2017.

Today, the Bakken resembles a modern manufacturer with gleaming structures and mountains of promise. Today’s Bakken is a true manufacturing model in shale. Stable, predictable capital spending, leading to steady and predictable production and reliable cash flow. The Bakken is the “steady Eddie” of the industry. Importantly, the Bakken thrives with oil prices in the $60s as a majority of Bakken wells turned on in the last two years enjoy breakeven economics below $55 per barrel (bbl) West Texas Intermediate (WTI). The best wells have breakeven prices in the low to mid-$30/bbl WTI.

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