US - update through December 2016

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from 67,676 horizontal wells in 8 US states, through December. Cumulative oil production from these wells reached 6.3 Gbo, while cumulative gas production topped 52.6 TCF.

Oil production from these wells started 2016 at 4 million barrels per day, and ended the year at 3.5 million barrels per day. The lower month-on-month output in December was primarily caused by North Dakota. I expect that upward revisions (from especially Texas) in the coming months will reduce this apparent drop in December.

In December 2015, the 10,500 wells that were put on production in 2015 produced just over 2 million barrels per day of new production. This compares to almost 6000 new wells in 2016, which were good for 2/3rds of that (1.34 million bo/d) one year later.

The Drilling Productivity report from the EIA has December 2016 at a low point for oil, so we may see rising output in the coming months in some of the basins.

For gas production from these wells, 2016 was better; it stayed close to 35 BCF/d the whole year.

The “Well quality” tab shows the performance of all these wells in the major oil basins over time: steady increases in average well productivity since 2010, mostly in the first 1-2 years online.

You can see in the “Top operators” overview that of the 5 largest oil producers over the last years, only EOG ended the year 2016 higher, by ramping up production in the final quarter.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview gives a more direct indication towards which ultimate recovery wells in the major oil basins (Bakken, Eagle Ford, Niobrara, Permian) are heading.

You can see that the 699 horizontal wells that started in the first quarter of 2011 are now at a production rate of just above 20 barrels of oil per day, and produced 130 thousand barrels of oil cumulatively. The chart gives some hints at where younger wells may end up, assuming that they follow a similar decline profile.

Feel free to explore the other overviews in these presentations, and I hope that you share any interesting findings in the comments section.

I expect to have a new post on North Dakota by the end of this week.

Production data is subject to, typically upward, revisions, especially for the last few months in Texas. For this presentation, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
  • Montana Board of Oil and Gas
  • New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission
  • North Dakota Department of Natural Resources
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Texas Railroad Commission. I’ve estimated individual well production from well status & lease production data, as these are otherwise not provided. Because of this, I recommend looking at larger samples (>50 wells) before drawing conclusions. About 7% of the horizontal Permian wells in Texas are excluded, as these were mixed with too many vertical wells on a lease, making reasonable well profile estimations impossible. Formation data in Texas is only available on lease level; therefore in cases where wells on the same lease are drilled into different formations, this information is not accurate.
  • Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission


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.
  • By clicking on the legend you can highlight selected items.
  • Note that filters have to be set for each tab separately.
  • The operator who currently owns the well is designated by “operator (current)”. The operator who operated a well in a past month is designated by “operator (actual)”. This distinction is useful when the ownership of a well changed over time.
  • If you have any questions on how to use the interactivity, or how to analyze specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.



  • Andrew Cullen says:

    Really slick. Thanks for rolling all this up and SHARING.

    1. Enno says:

      Andrew & Sharma,

      Great to hear that, thanks!

    2. Sharma Dronamraju says:

      very nice and innovative!

  • Brian Olmen says:

    Great information. Can the data be shown to show cumulative production per lateral foot drilled? May be good data to compare prior year completion practices to current trends considering longer laterals and propensity to use large volume, fine-mesh (40/170 and 100M) sand completions.

    1. Enno says:


      Thank you for your suggestion. I’m also interested in comparing these productivity trends in the different basins, with the changes in completions & lateral lengths. That will require more good data, and resources though, so I can’t say yet whether or when I can add these kinds of overviews, but I do hope I will be able to make progress with this in the future.

  • Stu from New Jersey says:

    Enno, in the third paragraph (about the 10,500 new wells in 2015) you state that they produced 2 million barrels per *year*. That should be per *day*, right? No big deal, but it produces a mental hiccup in the reader.
    Good work as always.

    1. Enno says:


      You’re absolutely right, thanks for the correction. I always check my articles a few times before posting, but I missed this. Appreciate it, and hope I’ll get notified for future mistakes as well (which I will try to avoid!).

  • Enno says:

    The new ND production data is out. I expect that on Saturday I can publish a new post on this.

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