Bakken Weakens to WTI as North Dakota Rigs Seen Near Sufficient

Crude from the Bakken shale formation weakened after a North Dakota regulator said increased efficiency means not many more rigs are needed in the state.

Bakken’s discount to West Texas Intermediate widened 50 cents to $4.50 a barrel at 1:56 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Rigs are now so efficient that 185 to 190 can drill as many wells as crews can complete, said Lynn Helms, head of North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, on Aug. 16. There are now 183 rigs, the state’s website said today.

“The current condition of our Bakken plays is that we’ve reached our cruising altitude, so it is safe to get up and walk around,” said Helms on an Aug. 16 call announcing record production. “But you really should stay in your seat with your seatbelt fastened in case of turbulence.”

Crudes produced on the Gulf Coast were mixed. Mars Blend and Poseidon slipped 20 cents each to a discount of 25 cents and 70 cents a barrel, respectively. Bonito Sour’s premium slipped 20 cents to $2.70 a barrel against WTI.

Southern Green Canyon’s discount to WTI narrowed by 40 cents to $1.60 a barrel. The premium for Thunder Horse increased 75 cents to $3.25 a barrel.

Light Louisiana Sweet’s premium rose 5 cents to $4.80 a barrel. Heavy Louisiana Sweet slipped 40 cents to $4.10 a barrel over WTI.

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