US – update until 2015-12

Above you’ll find another update on the oil production in the 4 major US shale oil basins.  You can see the total oil production from 31650 selected horizontal wells, in the 4 most prolific US shale oil basins, that started flowing since 2007, up until December 2015. In total, these wells have produced 3.6 giga barrels of oil so far.

I included wells from a few more counties (Colorado & New Mexico), which increased the total number, compared with my last update. In the future I aim to include more horizontal wells from the Permian in Texas, which is now only partially covered (but still > 50% of the recent horizontal wells there are included).

The data so far shows small production drops since March 2015, and a significant decline in December, although I do expect revisions, especially coming from Texas. Another thing you can see is that oil production from the wells that started before 2015 dropped from 3.2 million bo/d in Dec 2014, to 1.6 million bo/d one year later.

On the “well quality” tab, you can see the performance of all these horizontal wells, grouped by the year in which they started production.

I will repeat again my observation that, based on the data so far, it appears that recent wells have a higher initial production, but that by year 1-2, the average well follows very closely the production profile of earlier wells. Note that this effect can be seen for each of the 4 basins separately as well.

I regularly see claims that based on this better performance in the first 1-6 months, a much higher final output (UR) can be expected, but I can’t find much support in the data for these claims. Instead, it appears that the higher initial output may translate into a one-time early gain, and it remains to be seen how this gain is affected later on. If someone can substantiate a different view on this, I would like to hear it.

There are many ways to view this well productivity; I recommend playing around with the “Group wells by” option, and with the filters. E.g., by selecting “Group wells by” formation, you can see the difference between the average horizontal well in these 4 basins.

On the “well status” tab (visible if you scroll to the right), you can find the status of these wells, over time. I added 2 more statuses:

  1. Spud. This indicates that a well is spud, but not yet producing. This status is unfortunately not yet available for wells within Texas, so it only covers the other areas.
  2. Plugged. This indicates that a well has been plugged. This status is also not yet complete, so some of the inactive wells are actually already plugged. I will improve this information in the future.

For this presentation, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • DMR of North Dakota
  • Colorado OGCC
  • Texas RRC. For a discussion on the limitations of this data, see my recent comment in the latest Eagle Ford update.
  • OCD in New Mexico

Next week Thursday (May 12th), I plan another update on the Bakken.


The above presentation has 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, and include or exclude categories.
  • Note that filters have to be set for each tab separately.
  • If you have any questions on how to use the interactivity, or how to analyze specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.