North Dakota – update through April 2019

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 14,703 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production from 2005 onward, through April.

Oil production in North Dakota stayed flat in April m-o-m, at 1.39 million bo/d, just below the record high in January (1.4 million bo/d). Natural gas production continued to trend upward and reached 2.9 Bcf/d. Following slow winter months, 106 wells came online in April, slightly more than a year earlier (95).

About 90% of all this production in North Dakota comes from only 4 counties: McKenzie, Mountrail, Dunn and Williams. These are also the only counties where rigs were actively drilling horizontal wells in the past month.

The “Top operators” overview shows that the top 5 operators are all below their all-time highs. Note that ConocoPhillips’ production jumped, as it had shut in more wells than the other operators during the winter.

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 horizontal wells that began production in the 3rd quarter of 2017 (shown in the red curve) had the best start. They recovered on average 230 thousand barrels of oil in the first 20 months, and are still at an average production rate of 172 bo/d. If you extrapolate their production, you’ll find that they may recover another 70 thousand barrels of oil, before they’ve fallen to 50 bo/d. One important reason behind the stagnating well performance is that since that time (2017 Q3), operators have not increased proppant loadings and lateral lengths any further in this basin.

The following screenshot, taken from a dashboard in our analytics service, shows the location of all these horizontal wells in North Dakota, colored by the gas/oil ratio in April.


GOR trends in the Bakken

The bottom right plot shows the gas/oil ratio for all vintages since 2008, versus cumulative production. You can see that the curves point upward, and that some saw a recent acceleration in GOR. There are other areas where these effects are even stronger, and where they also appear to negatively impact EURs. I’ll be happy to show you that in a personal online demo if you would like to know more about this.

Finally, I wanted to share with you that we just went live with a brand-new REST API. From now on, our data subscribers can query our database on demand, instead of waiting for the weekly database update. This helps staying up-to-date, as every day we are automatically refreshing data from the many data sources we use. If you’re interested yourself in always having access to the latest production, completion and location data on horizontal shale wells, just take a look. You’ll find a sample of the data, and a description of the structure.

Early next week we will have a post on gas production in Pennsylvania, which also released April production data recently, followed by updates on the Permian and the Eagle Ford.

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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