North Dakota - update through August 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 12702 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production since 2005, through August 2017.

Oil production in North Dakota rose 3.5% in August to 1,085 million bo/d, the highest since March 2016, with 77 new wells producing. Gas production made a new all-time high at over 1.9 Bcf/day. Gas capturing facilities are starting to become a bottleneck in certain areas.

In the “Well quality” tab, the production profiles of all these wells can be seen. The strong increases in initial productivity over the last 10 years are visible there. At around 20 months on production, the production rates of new wells have fallen again to levels similar to those of earlier wells. However, as the bottom graph shows, by then these new wells have recovered more than 50 kbo extra, compared with e.g. wells that started in 2010.

The excellent performance of the 2005 vintage is mostly explained by a good number of conventional, horizontal wells, in Bowman county. Using the County selection, you can exclude those.

The “Well status” tab shows the status of all these wells. If you select only the statuses “1. Spud” and “2. DUC”, you can see that the inventory of spud, but not yet producing wells over time. In August, it was at the lowest number since 4 years, although still far from depleted.

The last tab (“Top operators”) shows that Continental Resources increased its production with about 30% since the beginning of the year. It hasn’t drilled many new wells in recent months, and its DUC count dropped from 170 to 160 in the month to August.


The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows how all these horizontal wells are heading towards their ultimate oil or gas recovery, with wells grouped by the year in which production started. The effect of far greater proppant volumes, and somewhat longer laterals on these production profiles is clearly visible.

The The 4th tab (“Productivity ranking”), ranks the performance of all operators by the average cumulative well production over the first 2 years. If you select only the wells that started to produce in 2013-2015 (using the “Year of first flow” selection on the right-hand side), you’ll see that Enerplus has far outperformed the other operators on this metric, with the 30 horizontal wells that it started in this period doing on average 309 kbo.

I plan to have a new post on Louisiana on Friday.

For these presentations, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • DMR of North Dakota. These presentations only show the production from horizontal wells; a small amount (about 30 kbo/d)  is produced from conventional vertical wells.



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.


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