Bakken Regional Rig Count 180 - Record Williston Basin Well Spuds - Oct 18, 2013

Williston Basin Well Spuds Q3 2013
Williston Basin Well Spuds Q3 2013

The Bakken rig count increased by one to settle at 180 rigs running over the past week.

Even though the rig count is off its highs, the Williston Basin set a record for quarterly well starts in the third quarter. Baker Hughes released its most recent data and almost 750 wells were spud during the quarter. That's up from fewer than 700 in the second quarter.

Read the full story: Bakken & Three Forks Well Spuds Set Record in the Williston

The U.S. rig count decreased four rigs from 1,743 to 1,739 running over the past week. A total of 372 rigs are targeting natural gas (3 more than last week) and 1,361 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.

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

Note: The NDIC reports 184 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 14 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 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 more than 10 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs running increased by one to 180 in the region. WTI oil prices were trading near $101/bbl on Friday. The commodity has held above $100/bbl for 15 weeks. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $85.44/bbl on Oct 17th.

The natural gas rig count in the region held flat at zero. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading near $3.77/mmbtu on Friday. Natural gas delivered to the Northern Border pipeline in Watford City is trading near $3.30/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 59 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: 156 rigs are drilling horizontal wells, 20 rigs are drilling directional wells, and four 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.