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Ron Patterson

Ron Patterson

Ron Patterson is a retired computer engineer. He worked in Saudi Arabia for five years, two years at the Ghazlan Power Plant near Ras Tanura…

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Bakken Data Continues To Confound

The North Dakota Industrial Commission is out with the Bakken November Production Data and the North Dakota Production Data.


Bakken production was up 5,293 BP/D while total North Dakota was up 3,691 BP/D. Total North Dakota oil production is up 901 barrels per day from two months ago, October production.


Total wells producing was up by 110 in the Bakken but only up by 63 in North Dakota. That means a lot of conventional wells were shut down.

Related: Are The Bakken’s Sweet Spots Past Their Prime?

From the Director’s Cut:

Oct Sweet Crude Price = $68.94/barrel

Nov Sweet Crude Price = $60.61/barrel

Dec Sweet Crude Price = $40.74/barrel

Today Sweet Crude Price = $29.25/barrel (lowest since December 2008) (all-time high was $136.29 7/3/2008)

Oct rig count 191

Nov rig count 188

Dec rig count 181

Today’s rig count is 156 (lowest since Oct 2010)(all-time high was 218 on 5/29/2012)

The statewide rig count is down 28% from the high and in the five most active counties rig count is down as follows:

Divide -62% (high was 3/2013)

Dunn -39% (high was 6/2012)

McKenzie -23% (high was 1/2014)

Mountrail -32% (high was 6/2011)

Williams -28% (high was 10/2014)

The drilling rig count dropped 3 from October to November, 7 more from November to December, and has since fallen 25 more from December to today. The number of well completions decreased from 145(final) in October to 39(preliminary) in November.

Oil price is by far the biggest driver behind the slow-down. Operators report postponing completion work to avoid high initial oil production at very low prices and achieve NDIC gas capture goals. There were no major precipitation events, but there were 11 days with wind speeds in excess of 35 mph (too high for completion work) and 7 days with temperatures below -10F.

The drillers far outpaced completion crews in November. At the end of November there were about 775 wells waiting on completion services, an increase of 125.

Crude oil take away capacity is expected to remain adequate as long as rail deliveries to coastal refineries keep growing.

Rig count in the Williston Basin is falling rapidly. Utilization rate for rigs capable of 20,000+ feet is currently about 80%, and for shallow well rigs (7,000 feet or less) about 50%.

Related: Low Oil Prices Drive US Rig Count Down

145 well completions in October led to a decline of 2,790 barrels per day, (revised) while 39 completions in November led to an increase of 3,691 barrels per day. That math makes no sense. But Bakken “wells producing” increased by 110. How did that happen? Bakken “wells producing” increased by 118 in October.

There are now 775 wells awaiting fracking crews, an increase of 125 in one month. What will happen to North Dakota production in the next few months becomes a real guessing game. Nothing can be predicted by the number of active drilling rigs and we have no idea what the fracking crews will be doing.


One thing for sure is production growth has dramatically slowed in the last couple of months, (circled above). I expect that slowdown to continue to get even slower. But because of the huge inventory of uncompleted wells the immediate future of Bakken production becomes a real mystery.

That’s it folks, a very short but I believe a very important post. I will have a post on North Dakota production by county sometime in the next two weeks.

By Ron Patterson

Source - http://peakoilbarrel.com/ 

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Leave a comment
  • Doug Stetzer on January 23 2015 said:
    While production is sure to continue is slowing trend in the coming months, the region continues to be an important part of the big picture.

    Future potential was displayed this week when Kinder Morgan scooped up troubled Harold Hamm's Hiland Partners. The midstream assets will continue to be important and have been unfairly battered by investors who don't understand the difference between transportation and E&P.
  • William Kandravi on January 28 2015 said:
    I am concerned with the misleading facts on Pipelines and the Rail Road. First to me there has been a terrible job of showing all the power the Rail Roads have from just the start of Govt. paper work and jobs etc that say if you worked for the RR you fill this paper work out weather it is retirement or ins. etc.
    Then start off with the Alliance pipeline from Canada to Obama's old back yard in Ill. you never hear him say anything about that pipeline which is a major line to his old home state . Plus just the amount of Rail to the amount of Pipelines , lets see a mileage and safety comparison compare everything from cost to the Rail Road Commission which is the law maker for a lot of transportation rates. Talk about monopolies from the wild west to the modern era. Show some similarities, we need to pull our head out of the ground and look around like the rest of the world has. We might as well build a rail road bridge to all the continents and get rid if ships.
    Where is one good reporter to report the whole truth and that 's it the whole truth.

    Thank YOU

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