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Diminishing Returns In The Bakken

North Dakota publishes their Historical Barrels of Oil Production by County which gives county by county production back to 1951. The data here does not include confidential wells but they publish the last couple of months’ production data that does include confidential wells here: Oil and Gas Production Report. Looking over this data I found something very strange. In October Bakken production was down by 1,598 barrels per day and all North Dakota was down by 5,4054 barrels per day.

All data is in barrels per day with the last data point October 2014.

McKenzie County

McKenzie County was up 19,609 barrels per day or 4.88 percent. In October McKenzie was up even more than it was in September when the Bakken was up 52.5 thousand barrels per day.

Mountrail County

Mountrail County was down 18,728 barrels per day or 6.42 percent. There is more on this story below.

Related: Latest Numbers Reveal The Bakken Is Close To Peaking

Dunn County

Dunn County was down 3,527 barrels per day or 1.83 percent.

Williams County

Williams County was down 4,593 barrels per day or 2.79 percent.

Divide County

Divide County was up 2,597 barrels per day or 6.36 Percent.

Rest Of North Dakota

The rest of North Dakota was up 589 barrels per day or .62 percent.

Major producing Counties In ND

All four major producing counties along with Divide County and the rest of North Dakota, zero based so you can get a better idea of the contribution from each county.

But the real story here is Mountrail County. Normally we would expect such a drop, 6.42 percent, if there were no new wells at all. But I collected data from 30 completed wells in Mountrail County in October and Enno Peters’ data listed 31 completed wells in October. And neither of these two lists included confidential wells or even all the non-confidential wells. Some of the non-confidential wells listed did not give production numbers and were therefore not listed in the data base. So somewhere between 35 and 45 wells were completed in Mountrail county in October and production there still fell 6.42 percent.

Related: Texas Railroad Commission October Oil & Gas Report

But there was a noticeable difference in the quality of the wells that came on line in October.

Bakken Data Analysis

Measuring actual first month’s barrels, McKenzie not only had over twice as many wells but the average production from McKenzie’s wells was over 36 percent better than the average of Mountrail’s wells. Also this is further confirmation that the 1st 24 hour production from a well is a valid indicator of future production from that well.

The take away from all this is that McKenzie County is still very productive and will likely continue to increase in production. However the Mountrail County is over drilled and likely to go into decline, if it has not already. Drilling is very likely to be curtailed in Mountrail and other counties. The decline in these other counties will very likely be much greater than any increase in McKenzie County. After all if production fell 6.4% with 35 or so new wells, imagine what it might be if that number of new wells dropped by 50% or more.

By Ron Patterson

Source - http://peakoilbarrel.com/ 

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