North Dakota - update through September 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 12832 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production since 2005, through September 2017.

Oil production in North Dakota rose 1.6% in September, after the 3.5% increase in August, to 1.107 million bo/d, with 89 new wells producing. Gas production dropped to 1.94 Bcf/d, after setting an all-time high in the previous month at 1.95 Bcf/d.

Through September, 700 wells started production in 2017, vs. 522 in the same period last year. The average initial productivity of these new wells was again higher, as you can see in the “Well quality” tab.

Of the top 5 operators, Continental Resources made the largest production gains in 2017, and is now again in the lead. It is completing wells at a faster pace than drilling new ones, thereby depleting its DUC count, which in September was about 25% lower than at the start of the year.


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 quarter in which production started. You can see that the wells that started since Q2 2016 are on a higher trajectory than earlier wells. Improvements since then appear to be limited thus far.

The 5th tab (“Productivity over time”), provides an overview of how much oil wells have historically produced on average in their first 2 years online. Due to improvements in initial productivity, this metric has continued to move higher since early 2007. Wells that started in the 2nd half of 2015 have recovered more than 160 kbo in their first 2 years.

I plan to have a new post on the Niobrara region at the end of this week, followed by updates on Texas next week.

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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