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The Coming Oil Price Crash

We have been hearing a…

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 Halts Production Crash


North Dakota has just come out with their oil production numbers for July 2016. Bakken production was up by 3,046 barrels per day while all North Dakota production was up 2,376 barrels per day.

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The EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report missed it for July. They will make the correction next month.

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Barrels per day per well held steady in July, 91 for the Bakken and 79 for all North Dakota.

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The trend is down in spite of the slight increase in July.

From the Director’s Cut

Oil Production

June 30,813,924 barrels = 1,027,131 barrels/day

July 31,914,711 barrels = 1,029,507 barrels/day (preliminary)(all time high was Dec 2014 at 1,227,483 barrels/day)

977,342 barrels per day or 95 percent from Bakken and Three Forks

52,165 barrels per day or 5 percent from legacy conventional pools

Producing Wells

June 13,248

July 13,255 (preliminary)(all time high)

11,168 wells or 84 percent are now unconventional Bakken and Three Forks wells

2,087 wells or 16 percent produce from legacy conventional pools


June 65 drilling and 0 seismic

July 86 drilling and 0 seismic

August 99 drilling and 1 seismic (all time high was 370 in 10/2012)

ND Sweet Crude Price

June $38.75/barrel

July $35.57/barrel

August $33.73/barrel

Today $32.00/barrel (all time high was $136.29 7/3/2008)

Rig Count

June 28

July 31

August 32

Today’s rig count is 33 (all time high was 218 on 5/29/2012)


The drilling rig count increased three from June to July, then increased one from July to August, and increased one more from August to today. Operators remain committed to running the minimum number of rigs while oil prices remain below $60/barrel WTI. The number of well completions dropped from 45(final) in June to 41(preliminary) in July. Oil price weakness is the primary reason for the slow down and is now anticipated to last into at least the fourth quarter of this year and perhaps into the second quarter of 2017. There was one significant precipitation event, 12 days with wind speeds in excess of 35 mph (too high for completion work), and no days with temperatures below 10F.

Over 98 percent of drilling now targets the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

Estimated wells waiting on completion is 912, up 25 from the end of June to the end of July.

Estimated inactive well count is 1,472, down 14 from the end of June to the end of July.

Crude oil take away capacity remains dependent on rail deliveries to coastal refineries to remain adequate.

Low oil price associated with lifting of sanctions on Iran, a weak economy in China, and the Brexit are expected to lead to continued low drilling rig count. Utilization rate for rigs capable of 20,000+ feet is 25-30 percent and for shallow well rigs (7,000 feet or less) 15-20 percent.

Related: Long Term Consequences Of The Oil Price Crash

The eight charts below were created with data from the EIA’s latest Drilling Productivity Report. A DUC is “Drilled but Uncompleted”. That is, the well has not yet been fracked.

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Related: Oil Under Fire As OPEC Head Sees No Deal

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And I just had to add this one even though it has nothing to do with the Bakken or shale. It comes to us via Seeking Alpha:

China’s crude oil production fell ~10 percent in August to 3.87 million b/d, or the lowest since December 2009. This doesn’t come as a surprise to us as China’s oil producers signaled an output drop earlier this year when it gave capex guidance. Low oil prices are creating the inevitable effect it has on producers, and capex drop is leading to lower production.

Sinopec is one of China’s major state-owned petroleum and chemicals companies. Guidance figures out of Sinopec and PetroChina signal the overall direction of where China’s crude output is headed. For the second half of this year, Sinopec forecasts that its crude output will drop by 16 percent from the same period last year. We expect to see a material year-over-year decrease as we approach 2016 year-end. China’s crude output should end the year around 3.7 million b/d.

The chart below is in thousand barrels per day. The data through May 2016 is from the EIA. The rest was gleaned from the Seeking Alpha article.

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By Ron Patterson via Peakoilbarrel.com

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Leave a comment
  • Joe on September 21 2016 said:
    Good article. Notice that ND is $38.75 which reflects it's transportation cost, mainly by rail. The Texas Permian sweet oil price is probably better (anyone know what it is?) Pipelines and markets are closer in the Permian basin.
  • Alfred on September 21 2016 said:
    Actually, I prefer to believe this version:



    That tiny little jolt at the end of the graph may be because that months had more days - or something like that. The trend is unmistakable.

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