Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by One to 181

Halcón Resources (HK) Sets New Company Operations Records in the Williston Basin During First Quarter 2014
Halcon Bakken Acreage Map

Halcon Bakken Acreage Map | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by one to 181 rigs running by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 191 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 11 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, Halcón Resources (HK) set new company production and operations records in the Williston Basin during the first quarter of 2014. The company realized a record breaking initial production (IP) rate for a Fort Berthold well and logged two of its fastest drilling times from spud to total depth in the same operations area.

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Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by Four to 182

Bakken Reaches 1 Billion bbls of Cumulative Light, Sweet Crude Oil Produced in the First Quarter of 2014 - Continental Resources
Continental 2013 Production

Continental Production | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by four to 182 rigs running by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 187 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 13 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, Continental Resources, a major Bakken producer, revealed the Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana reached the milestone of 1 billion bbls of cumulative light, sweet crude oil produced during first quarter of 2014. Two-thirds of the total was produced in the last three years according to Continental. The company cited IHS data in making this announcement.

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Bakken Shale Rig Count Increases by Three to 186

North Dakota Will Enact New Regulations to Combat Illegal Dumping of Radioactive Waste Beginning on June 1st
Frack Job

Frack Job | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by three to 186 rigs running by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 182 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 18 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, North Dakota will begin enforcing new regulations to combat the illegal disposal of radioactive waste beginning on June 1st, 2014, . Leak proof containers will now be required at injection well-sites to store “oil socks”, which are used to filter silt from waste water that is yielded from hydraulic fracking. The oil socks accumulate radium from the soil, rock and water present in the waste water.

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Bakken Shale Rig Count Stays Flat at 183

February 2014 Was Record Month for Most Producing Bakken Wells - NDIC
Bakken Production Chart - Goldman Sachs

Bakken Production Chart – Goldman Sachs | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count remained flat at 183 rigs running by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 185 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 16 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, the number of producing wells in North Dakota reached an all-time record high of 10,186 in February 2014. The information was released in the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s (NDIC) Director’s Cut for Aril 2014. The number of producing wells in North Dakota has risen month over month since the beginning of the year.

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Bakken Rig Count – 183 – U.S. Senators Ask for Railway Safety Funding

Bakken Rig Count Stayed Flat at 183 Last Week
Crude Oil Train Passing Mountain

Crude Oil Train | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count remained flat at 183 rigs running by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 190 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 18 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, U.S. Senators appealed to the Senate Appropriations Committee last week for railway safety funding. The requests come on the heels of several incidences, including a December 2013 train collision and derailment in Casselton, ND, that spilled ~950 bbls of Bakken crude oil.

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Bakken Rig Count – 183 – Wood Mackenzie Forecasts $15 Billion in Bakken Spending – 2014

The Bakken Rig Count Stayed Flat at 183 Rigs Running At the End of Last Week
Wood Mackenzie Bakken and Three Forks Map

Wood Mackenzie Bakken and Three Forks Map

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count remained flat at 183 rigs running at the end of last week. The NDIC notes 194 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 15 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, the oil and gas research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie expects $15 billion will be spent on drilling and completions in the Bakken in 2014, second only to the Eagle Ford Shale. This year, oil production is expected to reach the 1 million b/d mark, and grow markedly beyond that figure over the next 5 – 6 years.

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Bakken Rig Count – 183 – Magnum Hunter’s 2014 Bakken Capital Budget – $52 Million

Bakken Rig Count Decreased by 1 to 183
Magnum Hunter 2014 Cap Ex Budget

Magnum Hunter 2014 Cap Ex Budget | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by 1 to 183 rigs running over the past week. The NDIC notes around 194 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 15 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, Magnum Hunter sold off its non-core Eagle Ford assets in 2013. In 2014, the company is focusing on its core Appalachia and Williston Basin areas. $52 million of the company’s $400 million capital budget will be spent in the Williston Basin in 2013. 65% of the budget will be spent on the company’s Appalachia assets.

Read moreMagnum Hunter Bakken 2014 Capital Budget – $52 Million

The U.S. rig count increased by six to 1809 rigs running over the past week. A total of 318 rigs are targeting natural gas (8 less than last week) and 1,487 are targeting oil in the U.S. (14 more than last week). The remainder are drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.).  185 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD, decreasing by 1 rig from last week.

Not all rigs counted in our census are drilling for the Bakken, but it’s close. The NDIC estimates 95% or more of activity in this region targets the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

Note: The NDIC reports 194 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 9 more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area. The difference is likely accounted for in the number of rigs actually working, rigs that might not be serviced by Baker Hughes AND rigs in areas outside of the Bakken fairway. On any given week, a certain number of rigs are in route to the next well location or idle waiting to drill the next well. The NDIC notes that around 15 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased by 1 rig running over the past week. WTI oil prices stayed flat at  $101.55/bbl by the end of the week. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $88.44/bbl on March 29th. The WTI-Brent stayed the same from last week, settling at ~$7 by the end of the week.

The natural gas rig count in the region held flat at zero. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading$4.49/mmbtu by the end of the week. A little more than 10% of the production stream from the Bakken and Three Forks is attributable to natural gas and roughly half of that is NGLs.

McKenzie County continues to lead development with 62 rigs running. Dunn, Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 24 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 168 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 15 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 0 rigs are drilling vertical wells.

Bakken Oil & Gas News

Be sure to visit our Bakken Job Listings to search openings and come back weekly for updates or sign up for alerts – Daily or Weekly Email Alerts

Bakken Drilling by County


County Previous Week Current Week County Previous Week Current Week
MCKENZIE MT 63 62 DANIELS ND 0 0
MOUNTRAIL MT 35 36 DAWSON ND 0 0
WILLIAMS ND 30 31 FALLON ND 0 0
DUNN MT 25 24 SHERIDAN MT 0 0
DIVIDE ND 8 8 VALLEY ND 0 0
RICHLAND ND 5 4 WIBAUX ND 0 0
BURKE ND 4 4 GOLDEN VALLEY MT 1 0
STARK ND 3 4 MCLEAN MT 0 0
ROOSEVELT ND 2 3 MERCER MT 0 0
BOTTINEAU ND 4 3 WARD ND 0 0
BILLINGS MT 2 2 MCHENRY ND 0 0
RENVILLE ND 2 2

What is the Rig Count?

The Bakken Shale Rig Count is an index of the total number of oil & gas drilling rigs running across Montana and North Dakota. The rigs referred to in this article are for ALL drilling reported by Baker Hughes and not solely wells targeting the Bakken formation. All land rigs and onshore rig data shown here are based upon industry estimates provided by the Baker Hughes Rig Count and/or Smith Service Co’s (Schlumberger) Smith Rig Count.


Bakken Rig Count – 184 – Hess Begins Selling Gas from Tioga Plant

Bakken Rig Count Increased by Two to 184 Rigs Running Over the Past Week
Hess Bakken Map

Hess Bakken Shale Map | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by 2 to 184 rigs running over the past week. The NDIC notes around 198 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 12 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, Hess announced in March 2014 that it will begin selling natural gas from its Tioga, North Dakota, plant. According to the company, expansion plans for the plant have been delayed due to poor weather conditions.

Read moreHess To Begin Selling Bakken Natural Gas from Tioga Plant

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Bakken Rig Count – 182 – Emerald Oil Increases Bakken Production by 80% in 2013

Bakken Rig Count Increased by Seven to 182 Rigs
Emerald Acreage Map

Emerald Acreage Map | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by 7 to 182 rigs running over the past week. The NDIC notes around 190 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 14 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, Emerald’s total production increased by 80% in 2013 over 2012 from ~935 boe/d to ~1690 boe/d. The production increase was attributable to the addition of 10.58 net operated Bakken and Three Forks wells in 2013.

Read more: Emerald Oil Increases Bakken Production by 80% in 2013

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Bakken Rig Count – 175 – Nearly Half of Halcon Budget Targeting Bakken

Bakken Rig Count Stays Flat this Week at 175
Halcon Bakken Acreage Map

Halcon Bakken Acreage Map | Click to Enlarge

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count stayed flat at 175 rigs running over the past week. The NDIC notes around 192 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 13 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, Halcon anticipates spending approximately 49% of its total drilling and completions budget in the Williston Basin in 2014. Based on previous budget estimates, that’s about ~475 million.

Read moreNearly Half of Halcon 2014 Budget Targeting Bakken – ~$475 Million

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