North Dakota – update through March 2019

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 14,597 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production since 2005, through March.

Oil production in North Dakota rose by 4% in March m-o-m to 1.39 million bo/d, just below the record high in January (1.4 million bo/d). Natural gas production was even up by 6.5%, reaching 2.8 Bcf/d, a new all-time high.

As is shown in the chart above, the 13 thousand horizontal wells that started production before 2018 contributed only half of the oil production in March (everything below the light blue area).

Five to six years ago it used to take a well about 5 years to recover 200 thousand barrels of oil, as you’ll find in the bottom chart in the ‘Well quality’ overview. New wells are capable of reaching this level in just 15 months. However, initial declines are steeper nowadays. After about 2 years on production, these new wells decline to production rates not far above those of older vintages, on average (see the top chart in that dashboard).

The final tab reveals the production and location of the 5 leading operators. Hess just surpassed Whiting as the 2nd largest producer, far behind Continental Resources.

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.

Also here it is easy to see that initial well productivity has improved almost every year since 2010. However, as noted last time, older vintages (2008-2011) appear to hold up a little better than later wells. This holds true even after excluding wells that have been refrac’ed (which is possible in our subscription services).

The following screenshot, taken from our analytics service, shows the output from the 7 largest fields in North Dakota. On the map the locations of the wells in these fields are plotted.


Top 7 fields in North Dakota

Recently, production in Banks and Reunion Bay has jumped higher, surpassing the record output of the 2 fields where unconventional production really started in North Dakota; the Sanish and Parshall fields.

Early next week we will have a post on gas production in Pennsylvania, which also released March production data recently.

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.


  • Mark Kornhaus says:

    Are you also capturing flared gas data as a product and using your suite or reporting tools to report on and visualize flaring?

  • Enno says:


    Many states do not offer data on gas flaring, but some do, like North Dakota. We already capture this data, and it would be a minor effort to visualize this in our analytics service.

    Flared gas is indeed part of the gas production numbers as well.

    If this is important data for you, I can make sure that we will make a dashboard for this available, once you’ve decided to sign up with us.

    1. John S says:


      A flared gas dashboard would be an amazing tool to have.


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