Bakken Rig Count Down To 179 - ND Production Up To 875,000 b/d - Sept 13, 2013

Continental Resources Bakken Three Forks Map
Continental Resources Bakken Three Forks Map

The Bakken rig count fell one rig to 179 rigs running in the area. The Williston Basin rig count fell one as well to settle at 181 rigs running.

News this week was highlighted by Continental's plans to spend $2.5 billion in the Bakken in 2014 and the NDIC's report that oil production in North Dakota jumped over 50,000 b/d to 874,476 b/d in July. Natural gas production is approaching 1 Bcf/d with 970 mmcfd reported in July.

The U.S. rig count increased 1 rig to 1,768 running this past week. A total of 401 rigs are targeting natural gas and 1,361 are targeting oil in the U.S. The remainder are drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). This week marks the first time the natural gas rig count has been above 400 since March. 181 rigs are running in the Williston Basin.

Note: The NDIC reports 180 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 13 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

The number of oil rigs running fell one to 179 in the region. WTI oil prices fell a few dollars on news of Syria potentially turning over chemical weapons to the UN. Oil was trading near $108/bbl on Friday and has held above $100/bbl for ten weeks. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $96.19/bbl on Sept 12th.

The natural gas rig count in the region held flat at zero. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading near $3.70/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: 156 rigs are drilling horizontal wells, 15 rigs are drilling directional wells, and eight 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.