Year in Review: Record Production

Bakken has a great 2014
Bakken has a great 2014

2014 was one for the record books as exploding production elevated the Bakken region to major-player status amongst the world's energy leaders.

January began as North Dakota set several all-time highs including having over 10,000 producing wells averaging 973,045 b/d and natural gas at 1,086,571 MCF/day.

By June, the NDIC announced it had hit the 1 million b/d in production. This long anticipated goal was slowed a bit by difficult weather in the winter but by the time it happened, the U/S. was positioned as the worlds largest oil producer. Even as oil prices began to decline throughout the fall, production continued to break records and by September, production averaged 1.2 million b/d.

The latest numbers from the NDIC show that at the end of the year, the Bakken and Three Forks regions alone averaged 1,118,010 barrels per day and boasted two more all time high records for producing wells (11,892) and gas (44,317,381 MCF = 1,429,593 MCF/day).

Whether this volume of prodcution can be maintained with current price declines is unclear, but the EIA predicts that drilling will slow for 2015 due the uncertainty.


North Dakota Hits the 1-Million b/d Mark

Bakken Oil Production Forecast - NDPA
Bakken Oil Production Forecast - NDPA

The State of North Dakota has surpassed the 1-million b/d oil mark according to the North Dakota Industrial Commission's (NDIC) Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), thanks mostly to the Bakken Shale and Three Forks formation.

The preliminary data, released in the monthly Director's Cut in June of 2014, revealed April oil production was 1,001,149 b/d. North Dakota is second only to Texas for oil production.

It's certain poor weather conditions at the end of 2013 and the beginning of this year prevented the production milestone from being hit sooner. According to North Dakota officials, in the month of February, there were 18 days with temperatures five or more degrees below normal. Four days were recorded where wind gusts were too high for completion work. Despite the poor weather, the state set a new record for the number of producing wells (10,186) in February. In April, North Dakota broke that record again, with 10,658 producing wells. By contrast, at the onset of the shale revolution in 2008, the state only had ~3,600 producing wells.

Read more: Bakken Production Sets Another Record for Producing Wells - Feb

The Bakken region, which includes portions of western Montana, exceeded the 1-million b/d mark at end of last year according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). It is the fourth region, along with the Gulf of Mexico, Eagle Ford, and Permian basins, producing more than 1 million b/d in the nation.

In April of 2014, Continental Resources, the Bakken's largest producer, cited IHS data revealing the Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana reached another milestone of 1 billion bbls of cumulative light, sweet crude oil produced during first quarter of 2014. According to Continental officials, two-thirds of the oil has been produced since 2011.

Read more: Continental Resources: Bakken Hits 1-Billion Barrel Mark

Highlights from June 2014 Director's Cut

  • Mar Oil - 977,178
  • Apr Oil - 1,001,149 b/d
  • Mar Gas - 1,085,631 mcf/d
  • Apr Gas - 1,133,742 mcf/d
  • Mar Producing Wells - 10,472
  • Apr Producing Wells - 10,658
  • ND leasing activity is low consisting mostly of renewals and top leases in the Bakken - Three Forks area