Is Bakken shale oil heading for a crash, Bernstein asks.

Bob Brackett, an analyst with Bernstein Research, finds a steep oil production increase in the Bakken of Montana through 2006 — surpassing 100,000 barrels a day — ¬†followed by a fast, 40 percent decline to about 60,000 barrels a day today. “Resource plays,” Brackett writes, “have limited/finite drilling locations. The best locations get drilled early, the less economic ones later, and once they are drilled, operators move on. …..industry drilled the low hanging fruit first, and now can’t find the same quality of opportunity.” So is the entire Bakken formation, including North Dakota — on which so many North American projections centrally rely — in trouble, too? “In the case of North Dakota, that is a long time — years — off (6, the data suggest), but even that too will suffer the same fate” as Montana. “There is an emerging view of a wave of oil production (from shale and otherwise) coming.¬† I just want to point out the difficulties in an exuberant view.”