US - update through January 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from 68,164 horizontal wells in 8 US states, through January. Cumulative oil production from these wells reached 6.4 Gbo, while cumulative gas production topped 53.6 TCF.

With production in North Dakota recovering from a bad December, total oil production from all these horizontal wells rose in January, even before (typically upward) revisions are in. In January, more than 1/3rd of total oil production came from wells that started production since the beginning of 2016. If you change the “Product” selection to gas, you’ll see that for gas this was just below 1/3rd. This difference is mainly caused by the slower decline nature of gas.

The “Well quality” tab gives an overview of the production profiles of all these wells, by year in which they started. I have pre-selected the major oil basins in this view. The (Bakken) wells that started in 2007 did on average 169 bo/d in their first full calendar month on production (month 2). In 2016, this has more than tripled, as new wells produced on average more than 520 bo/d in their 2nd calendar month.

This capacity to boost production in the early months of a well has made the total oil & gas production from these unconventional wells far more sensitive to current activity levels. That is probably an important reason why the EIA already sees production increasing in these basins, after the recent ramp-up in drilling and completion. But given that the longer term performance of these newer wells appears to have improved far less, the number of wells needed to maintain a certain production level has, relatively, not changed by much.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



In this “Ultimate recovery” overview you can see how all the horizontal wells in the major shale oil basins increase their cumulative production, while their production rates slow down over time. The wells are grouped by the quarter in which they started production. As you can see, the 2011 wells are now producing on average below 30 bo/d, while the new 2016 wells just started declining from an average peak rate of around 500 bo/d.

In the “Cumulative production ranking” overview, I have ranked the counties in which these wells are located, by cumulative oil production. The two top spots are taken by counties in North Dakota (McKenzie and Mountrail), followed by Karnes in the Eagle Ford.

I expect to have a new post on North Dakota by the end of this week or early next week. After that, I might be able to make a post on a state that I haven’t covered before.

Production data is subject to, typically upward, revisions, especially for the last few months in Texas. For these presentations, 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 presentations have 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.



  • Larry Albert says:

    Great data set and presentation. I use this a lot.

    1. Enno says:

      Very nice to hear that Larry, thank you for commenting.

  • Alex says:

    Thanks for a new update Enno.

    In 2014, US shale added approx 2.6 mb/d. Do you have an estimate for 2017? Will we see 3.0 mb/d?

    1. Che says:

      2.7 to 4 is not 2.6

      1. Enno says:


        What I belief Alex is referring to is the new production capacity added over 2014, not the net increase in total production. If you hover your mouse over (or tap on) the December 2014 production of the 2014 production vintage, you’ll see that the 13837 wells that started production in 2014 added 2.6 million bo/d by the end of 2014.

    2. Enno says:

      Thanks Alex,

      I typically refrain from estimating new production. It’s too tough, and I hate being wrong. I also don’t have any special insights in this regard, so it would not add any value.

      It’s easier to estimate what already producing wells are going to do, so those projections I’ve been willing to make in the past. Besides that, I prefer to stick with actual production numbers, which I already find fascinating.

  • jim brooker says:

    Just an illustration below regarding Enno’s astute comments about the evolution of IP and decline over time. Total US (albeit Bakken only in 2008) 2016 wells overlain on 2008 wells.


  • Lee James says:

    I know we’re mostly talking visualization tool here, but on the application side it’s a little sobering to see production over time without including the Permian formations. We often read about “all” in the general news.

    1. Enno says:

      That is why I made these presentations interactive. You can explore all of the production here in any depth you like, e.g. by basin, formation, field, county, operator, up until individual wells.

      For example, if you like to see the production by formation in the Permian (in the “Total production” overview), you can:
      1. Set the “basin” filter to only include the Permian basins (NM & TX)
      2. Set the “Show production by” selection to “Formation”

      Now you will see the total production over time in the Permian, with different colors for the formations.

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