North Dakota – update through February 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 12286 horizontal wells in North Dakota since 2005, through February 2017.

With good weather in February, and frozen roads well accessible, oil production in North Dakota rose for the 2nd consecutive month, by 53 kbo/d to over 1 million barrels per day again (1034 kbo/d).

The chart shows that even production from wells that started before 2017 rose both in January and February. This abnormal situation was caused by wells being brought back online again after winter shut-ins. In February 62 new wells started producing, the same number as in January.

Probably production will take a hit in March and April, with road restrictions in place.

From the “Top operators” tab we can see that, since September 2016, all the 5 largest operators in North Dakota increased production.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows how all these horizontal wells are heading towards their ultimate oil or gas recovery.

Only about half the number of wells started production in 2016, vs 2015, but their initial performance was clearly better as the plot reveals. An important reason why the wells here, and in the other basins, have showed higher initial productivity in recent years, is that completions have gotten bigger in volume. Where the average completion in North Dakota used 2.2 million gallons of water in 2012, this rose to 4.4 in 2015, and 6.3 in 2016. In almost all the other states that I cover, this increase was even larger.

You can see more recent and detailed results if you select “quarter” or “month of first flow”.

The 2nd overview (“Cumulative production ranking”), provides the exact cumulative production for each of these 12286 horizontal wells, as well as their location.

In the “Well status map” tab you’ll find the status of all these wells on the map. After only selecting the status “3. First flow”, you’ll notice that apart from 2 new wells in Divide county, the other 60 new wells in February were all completed in the core of North Dakota.

I plan to publish another update on Pennsylvania in about 2 weeks. Once West Virginia releases its 2016 production, I will have a post on this state as well for the first time.

For this presentation, 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 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.
  • 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.