North Dakota - update until 2016-01

Based on the latest NDIC data, total oil production in North Dakota fell to 1122 kbo/d in January, again a monthly drop of 30 kbo/d. This decline was slightly higher than I expected. The number of new wells producing dropped to 70.

I have added 2 tabs in the above presentation; one that shows the top operators, and another one that shows the gas and water production that is produced together with the oil, in North Dakota. By using the arrows you can browse through the 5 tabs.

Drilling activity has continued to drop sharply during the last months. There were 88 wells spudded in December, 61 in January, and based on preliminary data it looks like just 30 wells were spudded in February. This sharp drop surprised me, as the drop is even more steep than the drop in rigs. This indicates that the drilling efficiency has dropped again these months.

I have read several reports in the media recently (e.g. )  that operators have been able to "flatten the production curve" (lower initial production and/or higher production later in life). As I have shown in the "well quality" tab in the presentations of each of the shale oil basins, this is in contrast with what the data tells me, at least so far. Recent wells in each of the basins appear to have a higher initial production, followed by a steeper (relatively) decline.

By the end of next week I will post another update on the Niobrara.


The above presentation has many interactive features:

  • You can click through the blocks on the top to see the slides.
  • Each slide has filters that can be set, e.g. to select individual or groups of operators. You can first click “all” to deselect all items. You have to click the “apply” button at the bottom to enforce the changes. After that, click anywhere on the presentation.
  • Tooltips are shown by just hovering the mouse over parts of the presentation.
  • You can move the map around, and zoom in/out.


  • Tom says:


    Thanks for and congratulations with great info; well presented! In your production charts, would it be possible to include info about active number of rigs and active wells added per month? In order see trends for wells added / rig / month and how this have affected production and perhaps well efficiency(?).

    1. Enno says:

      Thanks Tom,

      I indeed am considering to add information regarding spudded wells, new wells producing, rig count and “SPUCs” (spudded and uncompleted wells) to a future update of this presentation. I don’t want to overload each slide with information, so probably it will be on a separate tab. If you then would like to see the impact of these on production, it is always possible to open the presentation 2 times, and analyze the 2 different tabs together. Would that work for you?

      1. Mike Shellman says:

        Oh, no, Enno; another shalesim…”SPUC’s!” I like it. This all very good data, Enno and I am elated to see it in the format you have designed. For all the self-promotion the shale oil industry engages in regarding bigger frac’s, more sand, slick water frac’s, and the “new” technology for selective perforating, etc. it is very clear that bigger IP’s result in steeper decline rates and will not result in meaningfully higher UR. CLR, for instance, is now blabbering about 800,000 BOE EUR’s due to improved frac technology; we’ll have see how that fairytale plays out. Thanks again, Enno. This is good stuff.

        1. Enno says:

          Thanks a lot Mike, I am happy that this format works for you.

          I just joined a discussion about improving well productivity. Although, looking at the “Well quality” tab, it may appear that wells have gotten better on average over the last years, we can try to at least partially correct for the geology factor.

          If you just select the most productive counties (McKenzie, Mountrail, Williams & Dunn), you will see that wells have hardly gotten any better since 2013, on average in these counties. If we then also consider that 30% fewer wells started production in these counties in 2015, compared with 2014 (you can see the well count in the tooltips above the graphs), and if we assume, which to me seems very likely, that within these counties there also has been at least some focus on sweeter spots, then I have to conclude: so far there isn’t a clear improvement in well productivity (when trying to correct for the geology factor) visible, on average, since 2013.

          I would be happy if someone could point me to evidence that I may be wrong about this.

  • Nony says:

    I still think the “tool” conflicts with the blog post. What people want to see is individual charts (analyses) to illustrate the insights. Just putting the newest copy of the filterable database on top and then having a long discussion (without even the examples run explicitly shown) is not clear communication.

    That’s why the guy asked to see the charts. Just telling him to run the filters himself is not helpful. It reminds me of the physicist who wants help from a mathematician and the mathematician says, here is the relationship for all dimensions. And the physicist says, I don’t care about n dimensions, show me it in 3, like how we live. And the mathematician says “just plug in n=3”.

    The other thing is just screen size-wise, the tool takes up more than a whole screen. Very hard to look at the two panels, let alone go back and forth with the text. For that matter, if there is a discussion that requires me to look at different tabs or filters, I can’t do that conveniently while reading the text. [Unless I physically print the different tabs!] Consider how a screenshot of the relevant charts is easier to scroll back and forth to.

    It’s a good tool. It’s good analysis. But the synthesis is

    1. Enno says:


      I realize the current design does not work for everybody, nor is it intended to. But I think for those who are willing to click a few times to find the information they need, it is quite helpful, compared with the currently available alternatives. I’m pretty happy with the feedback I am getting, and I use the site myself very regularly to answer my own questions. I will not make big changes to this design (I may still add more visualizations), nor add much more elaborate writings myself. There are other places where you can find those.

  • Daniel says:

    Enno. Great charts. The only minor problem I have is with the well quality chart, since all the years are over-lying each other. Would it make snese/be possible to add a “year” filter there?

    1. Enno says:



      Do I understand correctly that you mean that it is difficult to distinguish the different years, because they are too much overlapping?
      If so, the way I deal with this myself is twofold:
      1) You can select a year that you are interested in, in the legend (by clicking on it). This will highlight the selected year in both graphs.
      2) By clicking on the years in the legend, you also have the option to either “keep only”, or “exclude” that year, which means you can easily filter down to the years that you are interested in.

      Does that help you?

      For those who are interested in doing more indepth analysis of the different operators, counties, fields & formations, I added a tab at the end of the presentation, called “Advanced analysis”. Here , by changing the “grouping”, you can quickly see what are the counties/operators etc. For example, by selecting the grouping “formation”, you can easily see the the difference in average well profile of a well in the Middle Bakken, vs a Three Forks well. You can use the filters on the right side to drill down further into different subsets. The data in this tab is until end of 2013. I would like to hear whether people think this is useful.

      1. Nony says:

        When did the advanced analysis sneak in there? Was it always there and I missed it?

        P.s. I hesitate to comment more on the ergonomics, but “ich kann nicht anders”:

        I have a larger than normal sized laptop screen but the controls for the tool are still hard to use with it being embedded in a blog post. If you could somehow make it standalone that would mean it could use all the screen and easier to see the various tabs and filters and panels and such. You could still choose not to do analytical posts discussing the results, but the tool would be easier to use! 😉

        1. Enno says:


          I just added that tab yesterday, as a test. It is probably too advanced for the casual reader, but I think it can be really powerful and interesting to those who don’t mind to select a few filters, and are interested in much more details. I am still experimenting with it.

          I am mostly making sure it the presentation works well on tablets and laptops/desktops. For phones it does work, but it may be cumbersome to do more than just a few checks. I am surprised you have issues with it on a laptop. Could you describe a little more what the issue is you are having, or perhaps upload a screenshot where you show what goes wrong? That would be really helpful to me, thanks. Which resolution are you using?

  • Nony says:

    I did print screen and saved the image on my desktop. How do I upload it?

    I can get to all the stuff by slidering around. But the space on the right is wasted (for tool use) because it is all just blog strip side stuff. Also, you definitely have to scroll down to see the two different panels for well quality. There’s also something getting cut off above the tabs (see like a very thin slice of text).

    I have IE, 100% size, normal resolution. I do have text at “larger”.

    OK, I just checked it at text at “medium”. No change in the size of the tool window, etc. Strip on the side the same size, but text smaller within it (doesn’t matter). The funny slice of text above the tabs went away, with nothing replacing it.

    1. Enno says:


      I would like to see the screenshot. You can upload it in a comment (see the browse button above the comment), or you can send it to me by email: my full name, with a dot between the names, and using this domain name.

      I myself most enjoy using the presentation on a tablet, and turning it 90 degrees (portrait), so that the full presentation is visible.

      1. Enno says:


        thanks for the screenshot. The strange dots at the top should be gone now, please let me know if that is not the case.

        Regarding your other remarks: I may be able to change the size of the presentation dynamically in the future, but that will require quite some work. I first would like to see this site taking off more. Your screenshot looks pretty much like I have on my laptop as well. It’s not ideal, but it works as designed, and in this way it supports many other screen resolutions as well, esp. on tablets. Most other devices have much more screen height, relatively.

        If you want to do a lot of analyzing, and have to scroll constantly, a bit of a work around is to open the presentation two times, and put them next to each other. That way your very wide screen can be optimally filled. I know it’s not optimal, but I can see cases where this may help (I’ve done this myself as well).

        I can’t do anything more about this in the short term.

        1. Nony says:

          No worries, big guy. Looks nice.

  • Toolpush says:

    Continental’s well quality, shows some interesting results. 2012, 2013 and 2014, shows a rapid rise in production over the last few months. As all these wells would be on pump at this stage of their life. It will be interesting to watch and see whether we see a slow orderly decline in the future, indicating Coffee’s theory of the “halo effect” is correct, or we see a rapid decline, indicating the wells were over produced by just turning up the pump?

  • Enno says:


    Indeed an interesting development. But also here, it’s easy to “wag the tails” as few wells have passed that point yet. If just 1 well in each of those vintages got re-completed (or a pump installed), it can cause an out-sized effect on the graph. I therefore typically ignore the last 3-6 or so data points of each vintage (which means that I want to see the results of at least 25-50% of the total population in that vintage), although a general movement in several tails can give some clues on what happened in the last few months.

    1. Gerard McHale says:


      Coffee guy here.
      As the data continues to accumulate (and a muted acknowledgement from some inside the industry), the effects of increased production from older wells via hydraulic pressure from new completions is soon to be more widely recognized.
      The more recent completions are using high water volume slickwater in the core areas, with the ongoing down spacing putting new wells in closer proximity to the older ones.
      The precise physical mechanism does not yet seem to be understood, but the increase in output is undeniable.

      1. Enno says:


        If you have more sources/data you can publicize, I’m interested to have a look at it.

      2. Nony says:

        Do a google search on halo effect fracking. There’s no “there” there. Just some blabla from Bruce Oskol which isn’t even new. You can cheer all you want, CG, but there’s no growing groundswell of halo effect advocates.

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