Billings County, ND and the Bakken Shale Play

Billings County, ND

Billings County (1,153 sq miles) is located in North Dakota and sits atop the Bakken and Three Forks formations. Prior to the beginning of the Bakken boom, much of western North Dakota's oil and gas activity was concentrated in Billings County. Today, the focus has shifted to northern counties, with Billings just outside of the core producing area.

According to the North Dakota Geological Survey (NDGS), oil was first discovered in the county from the Madison formation, in the Fryburg area, in 1953, and then in the Tyler formation in 1954. Monthly total oil production for Billings County hit its peak in May, 1981, at 56,255 b/d. In the late 1980s, Billings, Montana-based Meridian Oil, Inc. drilled the first successful horizontal well targeting the Bakken formation in Billings County. The Bakken Formation is productive along its southwestern depositional limit in the county and in neighboring Golden Valley County.

Medora is the only incorporated town in the county and serves as the county seat. Other towns in Billings include Fairfield, Gorham, Fryburg, and Sully Springs. County services of interest to oil and gas lease owners include the Billings County Appraisal District (tax collector) office and the Billings County Clerk (property records) office.

Billings County - Bakken Shale Employment Statistics

The following information is provided by the North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network (NDWIN) for Billings County, ND:

  • Directly related oil & gas businesses: 18 (2013)
  • Oil & Gas employment: 131 people, representing 31% of population (2013)
  • Average wage for oil & gas professionals: $81,367 (2013)

Billings County Oil & Gas Discussion Forum

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Major Operators in Billings

Whiting Petroleum Corp. is the largest operator by production volume in Billings County. Continental Resources, Inc. and Hess Corp. are also active in the area.

E&P Companies with Operations in Billings

  • Abraxas Petroleum
  • Armstrong Operating, Inc.
  • Ballard Petroleum Holdings, LLC
  • BTA Oil Producers, LLC
  • Citation Oil & Gas Corp.
  • Continental Resources, Inc.
  • Encore Energy Partners Operating
  • Hess Bakken Investments II, LLC (Hess Corp.)
  • Legacy Reserves Operating LP
  • Murex Petroleum Corporation
  • Norton Frickey
  • Oxy USA, Inc.
  • Petro-Hunt, LLC
  • Slawson Exploration Company, Inc.
  • SM Energy Company
  • Thunderbird Resources LP
  • Whiting Oil & Gas Corp. (Whiting Petroleum)
  • Williston Exploration, LLC
  • XTO Energy Inc.

Billings County Pipeline Companies

  • Bakkenlink
  • Belle Fourche
  • Four Bears
  • Little Missouri
  • Plains
  • Tesoro
  • WBI Energy