US - update through August 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from 79,164 horizontal wells in 10 US states, through August. Cumulative oil and gas production from these wells reached 7.5 Gbo and 78.2 Tcf.

Shale oil production has grown strongly in 2017, and I belief that in August it surpassed the previous high in March 2015. This is not yet visible in the above graph, as the production data reported through August is fairly incomplete for recent months, most notably for New Mexico.

If you switch to gas (using the ‘Product’ selection) you’ll see that the graph looks rather different: the annual growth rate has been lower in recent years, but the decline rates as well. Wells that started before 2015 still contributed about half of total gas output in August (versus < 30% for oil).

In the “Well quality” tab the production curves are shown for all these horizontal wells. As you can see in the bottom graph, the wells that started in 2008 (in the Bakken) have now reached on average 250 kbo. Newer wells have higher initial production rates, but also decline more steeply, on average.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows the clear relationship between cumulative production, and production rates, over time. I’ve preselected the major oil basins, and the wells are grouped by the year in which production started.

These curves show that higher initial production rates in recent years have caused a larger initial recovery. There is not much indication that these early gains are extended later on, but neither is it apparent that they are given back later. By changing the ‘chart type’ to normal, instead of logarithmic, you may get a better feel of the magnitude of these improvements.

To see more granular and recent data, you can change the ‘Show wells by’ selection to “Quarter” or “Month of first flow”.

On the Get the Data the latest well and production data is again available, both in Excel, and database formats.

You can follow me on twitter here.

[Update: I expected to see Ohio Q3 production in this week, but it has not yet been posted. I therefore plan to post only an update on North Dakota coming Friday afternoon, and hope for the Ohio data next week]

Production data is subject to revisions. For these presentations, I used data gathered from the sources listed below.

  • Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
  • Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Similar as in Texas, lease/unit production is allocated over wells in order to estimate their individual production histories.
  • 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. Individual well production is estimated through the allocation of lease production data over the wells in a lease, and from pending lease production data.
  • West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
  • West Virginia Geological & Economical Survey
  • 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.



  • Enno says:


    I would like to respond here to your comment.

    My goal with this website is to provide an easy way to view actual data on shale wells. I do not have any particular message with it.

    I hope that people use the tools here to form their own views, and I welcome anybody who wishes to share these views as long as they are informed, relevant, and civil. That some of the comments here are conflicting is something that I value a lot, as it offers opportunities to learn something.

    Although I think that the data here offers a quite complete and accurate picture about the historical performance and trends in this industry, I would caution anybody on using it to make strong predictions about the future. I do not think there is enough information here to be highly certain about what we can expect from this industry years, or decades from now. How future wells will perform and how many there will be, is not something the data here, or I, can answer with a high degree of certainty. Most of the time I will therefore not even attempt to do so, and just stick with the facts.

    Thank you for sharing your own informed and responsible views here.

  • Brendan says:

    Do you estimate your data covers close to 100% of horizontal production in the US? I was trying to use this to estimate trends in conventional production.

    Using this data in conjunction with the EIA data found at this link (, it looks like total US production averaged 7.5m per day in 2013. Estimating from your chart, shale contributed an average of 2.5m, implying conventional at 5.0m.

    In 2017, EIA has the US at an average of 9.2m per day in 2017. Estimating from your chart, it looks like shale contributed 4.0m, implying conventional at 5.2m.

    I’m surprised that this analysis suggests conventional is still growing. I had expected conventional to be in decline, especially with the decline in oil prices. Am I missing something? or is it too hard to compare the different data sets?


    1. tita says:

      Federal offshore production increased by 400kb/d between 2013 and 2017. So, production from conventional onshore production decreased by 200kb/d. It’s not a surprise to see an increase of production from conventional reservoirs as several offshore projects were completed between 2014-2016.

    2. Enno says:


      That’s an interesting comparison, thank you for sharing.

      I estimate that my data here covers close to 90% of oil & gas production from horizontal tight oil/gas wells in the US. Most of the missing 10% is in Oklahoma, on which I’m working. Production there has also grown over the past year, so if you would subtract that as well, growth in conventional would be lower.

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