North Dakota – update through October 2018

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 14,162 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production since 2005, through October.

Oil production in North Dakota climbed to 1,392 kbo/d in October, a month-on-month increase of more than 2%, and again a new record for the state. In the first 10 months this year 1,045 wells were brought online, which was more than in each of the two years before.

The 2nd tab (“Well quality”), shows that recent wells are performing slightly better than those from 2017, which recovered on average 160 thousand barrels of oil in the first year on production.

In the “Well status” tab you can find the status of all these wells. By selecting the status ‘First flow’, you’ll find that 112 wells started producing in October (vs. 153 in September).

All leading operators have grown production in 2018 (“Top operators” tab). ConocoPhillips has almost taken over the 2nd spot from Whiting.


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.

It reveals that the wells that started in Q3 2017, marked by the dark green curve at the top, have shown so far the best performance, although the wells from 2018 are closely tracking a similar path.

The 2nd tab (‘Cumulative production ranking’), ranks all wells (from unconventional reservoirs) by cumulative production. The top 2 wells have produced each more than 1.6 million barrels of oil, and each of them still produces at a decent rate (>100 bo/d). Five more wells have also produced more than 1 million barrels of oil so far. The median well has produced a little below 200 thousand barrels of oil.

The ‘Productivity over time’ dashboard shows clearly how well productivity (as measured by the cumulative oil or gas production in the first x months), has increased in the past few years. We have a similar dashboard in our online analytics service, which allows you to normalize production, and which also shows the trends in well design (lateral length & proppant loading). It offers the possibility to quickly compare the performance of operators over time, in relation with how each has changed its completion practices.

We will have a new post on the Marcellus just after Christmas.

In our chat on enelyst, tomorrow (Dec 18th) at 10:30 am EST, we will take a closer look at the Bakken.

If you are not yet an enelyst member, you can sign up for free at:, using the code: “Shale18”.

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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