HELENA — With oil prices surging, Montana Petroleum Association says oil wells are going back online in the Bakken oil fields. But the lack of personnel and a shortage of supplies provides a challenge to the industry.
Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Western countries have installed sanctions on Russia. The situation has caused a disruption in Russian exports of oil thus causing a surge in the current price of oil and gas.
Alan Olson, executive director of the Montana Petroleum Association, says that at around $80 a barrel the Bakken oil fields become more stable between costs and profits. So, at current prices, the Montana Petroleum Association is seeing a growing interest in restarting idled wells in the Bakken oil fields in eastern Montana.
However, a lack of workers and supply chain shortages getting oil flowing again has presented quite a challenge.
"We are scrambling to find good employees and at the same time we’re still on the hunt for equipment,” says Olson.
When oil prices nose-dived due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Montana Petroleum Association says their member companies were forced to let go of employees. Now that the oil price is rising rapidly, it’s been a challenge to hire new employees due to record low unemployment numbers in the state.
Additionally, items such as well casing, production tubing, workover rigs, and oil rigs are a lot harder to get their hands on because of supply shortages.
“The uptick in the economy with the downturn of the industry; it kind of turned into a perfect storm,” says Olson.
As oil production ramps up in the US, only time will tell how long oil prices will continue to rise and when gas prices will come back down.