We've been hearing for months about declining oil production in the Bakken, along with layoffs and state budget shortfalls because of reduced tax revenues.
What you might not have heard is that some companies are finding ways to survive and maintain operations while waiting for crude prices to go back up.
Last week Energy Reporter Allyssa Dickert was able to go on a Hess Corporation rig that's still drilling.
Oil companies are adjusting to a weak market and plan to use the efficiencies they've now implemented to come back, even stronger, when prices recover.
These roughnecks continue to work through tough economic times in the Bakken. This rig is one of three drilling rigs still operating for Hess. Two years ago that number was 17.
To make those numbers work, Hess has tightened production budgets and found ways to supplement income.
"We've been here a long time we intend to be here for the long run. We are looking to sustain our capabilities through this knowing the prices will go up eventually," said Vice President of Bakken Operations for Hess Corporation, David McKay.
McKay says one of the ways Hess is riding out the current economic challenges is by tapping into other sources of energy that go up in flames.
"We got more and more of our gas out of flaring and into pipeline and that's been a big boom for us and the wells we've drilled are really productive wells," said McKay.
Even with the reduced rig count in the Bakken, Hess has had no layoffs in their production operations.
"As a whole we've maintained a base and the production operations we actually now have a very large base of wells we need to maintain and operate so I actually have a couple vacancies in my staff we are looking to fill," said McKay.
McKay says the company has a total of 1,400 wells producing approximately 140,000 barrels of oil per day.
Efficiency due to advanced technology has also played a role in maintaining current output. Back in 2011 it use to take about 35 days to drill one horizontal hole, which is two miles deep and two miles out. Now it only takes up to 15.
"We absolutely intend to maintain that core capacity so that when we come back up it's an orderly, safe, and economical ramp back up," said McKay.
No one knows when the recovery will begin, but Hess is confident that day will come. Because of the increases in productivity they've had to implement when prices rebound.
When oil prices come back McKay expects Hess Corporation's Bakken wells will be even more profitable than before.
Hess has maintained steady production despite the slowdown. McKay says oil prices will have to rebound to $60 a barrel before they consider adding more rigs in the Bakken.http://www.kfyrtv.com/home/headlines/Hess-Corporation-Avoids-Layoffs-Maintains-Operations-Despite-Downturn-380188081.html