North Dakota - update through March 2018

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 13,341 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production since 2005, through March 2018.

March oil production in North Dakota came in at 1,162 kbo/d, after a month-on-month drop of 1%.

The wells that started in 2018 show so far a similar production profile as the ones from the year before (see the ‘Well quality’ tab. You can click on the 2018 vintage in the color legend to highlight the related curves).

In the final tab the performance of the 5 leading operators is shown. EOG, the largest US shale oil operator, hasn’t completed any new wells in North Dakota since October last year , and produced just 43 kbo/d in March, vs 70 kbo/d in June 2017.


The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows how all these horizontal wells are heading towards their ultimate recovery, with wells grouped by the quarter in which production started.

The far better early-life well productivity in newer wells is also visible in this basin.

But as the 9th tab shows (‘Gas oil ratio’), the gas/oil ratio is rising faster for wells than it used to be. There are concerns emerging that this leads to a loss in formation pressure, and therefore may steepen declines.

There are already spots where this is visible. For example, in the 2 largest fields, Sanish & Parshall (see the 2nd tab ‘Cumulative production ranking’, where these 2 fields are at the top), well performance has steadily declined since 2007/2008, even though more recent wells started at rates pretty similar as before.

You can see this by choosing just these 2 fields in the ‘Fields’ selection (tip: click on ‘All’ to deselect all fields, and then search for these 2 fields), and selecting to show wells by the year, instead of the quarter in which production started; wells that started in these 2 fields in 2007/2008 recovered on average around 450 kbo before dropping to 50 bo/d, while this is just around 200 kbo for wells starting since 2014.

Next week I plan to have new posts on the Haynesville, and the Marcellus.

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.


  • Roger Andrews says:

    Enno: I’ve been using your graphs to evaluate US data, but all I can get today is the Bakken Shale. Could you tell me how I get back to the US data? Thanks

    And thanks for making all your data publically available.

    1. Enno says:


      There are a couple of ways, but let me describe the easy ones:
      1) On the top right of this page, you can see a header “Recent posts”, if you click there on the 2nd one, “US, update through..”, then it will bring you right to that post.
      2) At the bottom of the page, you can easily select the next page, which will also bring you there.

      Finally, here is the direct link as well:


      1. Roger Andrews says:

        Your link works. Thanks!

  • Aldon Taylor says:

    Where are all those million barrel wells Ham was talking about. I don’t see any average well that will get close to that number.

    1. Mike Shellman says:

      The E in EUR stands for excessively estimated. Those EUR’s you refer to are now safe and secure within the confines of the Security and Exchange Commission, a host of lending institutions, bond holders, banks and in the hearts and minds of shareholders across America. The money against those imaginary reserves was borrowed, spent and compensations paid to management accordingly. Whether UR and EUR ever meet in the after-life was never the point to begin with.

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