North Dakota – update through February 2019

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 14,527 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production since 2005, through February.

Oil production in North Dakota fell in February by 5% m-o-m to 1.34 million bo/d. As is common in the winter months, few new wells started production (64), and more wells were shut-in. Gas production also saw a drop, but the gas oil ratio continued to rise; now 2 Mcf of natural gas is produced with every barrel of oil. Seven years ago this was only 1 Mcf per barrel.

Initial well performance increased again in 2018, on average, but by a smaller amount than in the previous three years (see the “Well quality” tab).

All 5 leading operators in North Dakota saw a decline in production m-o-m (“Top operators”), but they were still up y-o-y, with the exception of ConocoPhillips. This operator reduced output by 20% in February.


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.

So far the 271 wells that started in Q3 2017, represented by the light green curve, had the best initial performance. These wells peaked at 719 bo/d, and after 1.5 years on production they recovered 219 thousand barrels of oil, on average. Currently they are producing at a rate of 175 bo/d.

Although the wells that began production between 2008 and 2011 had a less impressive start than more recent wells, on average, they also had a smaller decline rate. It appears that they will beat at least some of the later vintages in ultimate recovery, even if you correct for the fact that some of these wells have been refractured.

Early next week we will have a post on gas production in Pennsylvania, which has also released February production data some time ago. Of course, this data has already been available in our subscription services a day after it was published.

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 40 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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