Bakken Rig Count Unchanged - Williston Basin Flat at 182 Rigs - Sept 6, 2013

Oasis Petroleum Bakken Acreage Map - Acquisition Included
Oasis Petroleum Bakken Acreage Map - Acquisition Included

The Bakken rig count held flat at 180 rigs running for the fifth week. In a similar fashion, the Williston Basin rig count has held flat at 182 rigs during the same period.

The U.S. rig count fell nine rigs to 1,767 and more rigs moved to drilling natural gas. A total of 394 rigs are targeting natural gas and 1,365 are targeting oil in the U.S. The remainder are drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 182 rigs are running in the Williston Basin.

News this week was highlighted by the announcement that Oasis Petroleum acquired 161,000 acres in four transaction for $1.515 billion. The deal increases the company's acreage position by almost 50%. Read more in the article Oasis Petroleum's Bakken Deal Grows Acreage Position 50%

Note: The NDIC reports 185 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 15 more than Baker Hughes reports. The difference is likely accounted for in the number of rigs actually working and rigs that might not be serviced by Baker Hughes. 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 more than 10 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

[ic-l]The number of oil rigs running held flat at 180 in the region. WTI oil prices were trading above $110/bbl and the benchmark has been above $100 for nine weeks running. Watch for operators to begin reacting to higher oil prices. It's common to see a 60-90 day lag before companies increase or decrease activity in response to commodity price changes. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $95.94/bbl on Sept 5th.

The natural gas rig count in the region held flat at zero. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading near $3.50/mmbtu on Friday. Natural gas delivered to the Northern Border pipeline in Watford City is trading below $3/mmbtu. A little more than 10% of the production stream from the Bakken and Three Forks is attributable to natural gas.

McKenzie County led development with 64 rigs running. Dunn, Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 20 rigs running. View the full list below.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling: 157 rigs are drilling horizontal wells, 15 rigs are drilling directional wells, and five rigs are drilling vertical wells.

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Bakken Drilling by County

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.