The Bakken oil play has changed the face of oil production in the nation and the world - and it's far from over.
That's the message the head of Continental Resources had for hundreds of members of the North Dakota Petroleum Council today.
The council's annual meeting is being held in Minot today and tomorrow.
Continental President Jack Stark says it's hard to overstate the impact of the Bakken on world oil markets.
(Jack Stark, Continental Resources President) "It really kicked off the energy renaissance. And took the United States to a position where we could be looking at energy independence. It's also played a role in really dissolving OPEC and putting the United States in the role as swing producer. So the impact of the Bakken discovery is huge and it's had an impact globally."
Stark says the current price swoon continues to cause uncertainty about investments in oil exploration.
Still, he says there are several decades of development ahead for the Bakken region - and that's being made more likely by the build-out of infrastructure such as major oil pipelines.
He says the 'dapple' - or the Dakota Access Pipeline - that is currently under protest, will be a key to making Bakken crude more competitive with oil produced closer to refineries along the gulf coast.
(Jack Stark, Continental Resources President) "Now with the DAPL pipeline, there's a delay obviously, but as it works through this process and we end up getting the DAPL pipeline in place it will allow us to have enough pipeline takeaway capacity to be able to allow the Bakken crude much more head to head with deliveries that are being made on the gulf coast."
As an example of the price difference caused by transportation costs, today's price for North Dakota sweet crude is about ten dollars less per barrel than the West Texas Intermediate price.
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