Bakken Rig Count 179 - August 2, 2013

Bakken Well Count Q2 2013
Bakken Well Count Q2 2013

The Bakken rig count fell one rig this past week to settle at 179 running in the region. The rig count has fallen the past five weeks in a row even though worldwide oil prices have rallied and held above $100/bbl during that time.

The U.S. rig count is up six to 1,782, of which 181 are running in the Williston Basin. A total of 388 rigs are targeting natural gas and 1,388 are targeting oil in the U.S. The remainder are drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.).

While it is surprising to see even minor declines in the rig count with oil prices over $100/bbl, it should not come as a surprise. Earlier in the week, we discussed stats showing the rig count is down 20% from the peak, but the total number of wells being drilled each quarter is up almost 20% from the beginning of 2012. 

Note: The NDIC reports 179 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 9 more than Baker Hughes reports. The difference is likely accounted for in the number of rigs actually working. 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. Those rigs are not counted in the Baker Hughes census.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs running fell by one to 179 in the region. WTI prices have held well above $100 per barrel over the past four weeks and the benchmark was trading at almost $107/bbl on Friday. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $97.94/bbl on August 1st.

The natural gas rig count in the region held flat at zero. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading near $3.35/mmbtu on Friday afternoon.

McKenzie County led development with 67 rigs running. Dunn, Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 18 rigs running. View the full list below.

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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.