US - update through January 2018

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data through January, from 83,534 horizontal wells in 10 US states. Cumulative oil and gas production from these wells reached 8.2 Gbo and 85.4 Tcf.

Oil production set a new record of 5 million barrels of oil per day near the end of last year, which was about half of US oil production. Although the above graph shows a dip in the last 2 months, due to incomplete data from some states (especially Texas) take caution when interpreting these figures.

Still, there are some interesting findings. For example, we can see that in December 2017 about 2.6 million barrels of oil per day came from wells that started in 2017. This was a very similar volume that was produced in Dec 2014, from wells that started in that year. However, the number of wells responsible for this volume now is far smaller (~8.7 thousand vs 15 thousand in 2014, see the tooltips).

In the ‘Well quality’ tab, with only the oily basins selected, this difference can be explained: initial well productivity last year was quite a bit higher. Wells starting in 2017 recovered on average 124 thousand barrels of oil in the first year on production, versus 78 thousand barrels of oil for the 2014 wells.


The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows the 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.

Data points are only shown once all wells in the group have reached a particular age (e.g. 2 calendar months for the 2017 group). Therefore, more recent data can be seen if you change the ‘Show wells by’ selection to ‘quarter’ or ‘month of first flow’. If you do that, you’ll note that there was quite a step change for the wells that started in Q4 2016, but that average performance hasn’t markedly improved since then.

In the ‘Productivity ranking’ overview, operators are ranked according to the average oil recovery in the first 2 years from their operated wells. Of the large operators (>100 operated wells), WPX, which is a Bakken-only player, is showing the best results with 188 thousand barrels of oil.

In the middle of next week I will have a new post on March production for North Dakota.

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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.