The latest key play analysis by Wood Mackenzie Ltd. revealed that the Bakken and Three Forks plays hold nearly $118 billion in remaining value, the energy consultancy group said April 1.

The Bakken’s sub-plays also yield “positive returns,” the analysis revealed.

"We expect Bakken/Three Forks oil production to average 1.1 million barrels a day (bbl/d) in 2014, growing to 1.7 million bbl/d in 2020," said Jonathan Garrett, the Americas upstream research analyst.

More crude oil is produced in the Bakken than in any other unconventional play worldwide, Wood Mackenzie said, noting that Garret said $15 billion would be spent this year by the U.S. on the area’s drilling and completions.

The analysis showed that more than 20 billion bbl of oil reserves will be recovered from the play over its lifetime, and that infrastructure constraints are not expected to cause development delays, Wood Mackenzie said.

Analysis of 12 Bakken and Three Forks sub-plays revealed that the Nesson Anticline has the highest IP rates, averaging more than 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), Wood Mackenzie said.

EURs are the highest in the Fort Berthold sub-play, which yields nearly 700,000 boe, Wood Mackenzie added.

In the Southern Fringe sub-play, the Three Forks is “the primary drilling target,” the consultancy group said, noting that the Three Forks wells in that sub-play have outperformed wells in the Bakken, North Williston and Williams Perimeter sub-plays.

The top operator in the Bakken is Continental, which holds more than 1.2 million acres and has the largest remaining reserves and the most advanced delineation program in the deeper Three Forks benches, the consultancy group said.

On a per-acre basis, however, smaller players like WPX Energy Inc. (NYSE: WPX) hold valuable positions, Wood Mackenzie said, citing the Fort Berthold area as an example.

Regarding shipments, more than 73% of crude oil leaving the area is shipped by rail, Wood Mackenzie said, noting that total rail capacity has reached 1.2 million bbl/d.

Edinburgh, U.K.-based Wood Mackenzie Ltd. is an energy and metals industry consultancy group working internationally.