North Dakota - update through April 2018

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data through April 2018 from all 13,433 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production since 2005.

April oil production in North Dakota came in at 1,225 kbo/d, after a month-on-month increase of more than 5%. This brought output almost back to the  production record in December 2014.

Two factors were behind the surge in production;

1) After a slow January and February, the number of well completions was in March and April back to a level of about 3 per day (see the ‘first flow’ status in the ‘Well status’ tab)

2) The initial performance of wells that started producing since the 2nd half of 2017 is better than ever (see the bottom graph in the ‘Well quality’ tab, after you’ve changed ‘Show wells by’ to ‘quarter of first flow’)

But results are not divided equally; while some areas and operators are seeing record production, elsewhere production is falling. You can see this for example in the final tab (‘Top operators’), as some of the leading operators in this region are producing more than before, while others are at a multi-year production low.

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 year in which production started.

The year-over-year improvements in the past 3 years are clearly visible here. The 971 wells that started in 2017 have recovered 81 thousand barrels of oil in the first 5 months on production, vs. just 50 thousand barrels for wells that started in 2014.

One of the operators that is showing far better results is Marathon. If you select this operator in this overview (using the ‘Operator (current)’ selection), you will see that its wells in 2017 recovered even 146 thousand barrels of oil in the first 5 months. This operator has also been the most active in refracturing older wells in the Bakken, and the effect can be clearly seen in the older vintages.

Once Ohio releases Q1 production numbers, which I expect in the coming days, I will have a new post on the Appalachian basin.

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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