Bakken Rig Count - 184 - Hess Begins Selling Gas from Tioga Plant

Hess Bakken Map
Hess Bakken Map

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by 2 to 184 rigs running over the past week. The NDIC notes around 198 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 12 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, Hess announced in March 2014 that it will begin selling natural gas from its Tioga, North Dakota, plant. According to the company, expansion plans for the plant have been delayed due to poor weather conditions.



Read moreHess To Begin Selling Bakken Natural Gas from Tioga Plant

The U.S. rig count decreased by six to 1803 rigs running over the past week. A total of 326 rigs are targeting natural gas (18 less than last week) and 1,473 are targeting oil in the U.S. (12 more than last week). The remainder are drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.).  186 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD, increasing by two rigs from last week.

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

Note: The NDIC reports 198 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 rigs in 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 around 14 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs increased by 2 rigs running over the past week. WTI oil prices stayed flat at  $99.56/bbl by the end of the week. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $86.19/bbl on March 21st. The WTI-Brent closed up from last week, settling at ~$7 by the end of the week.

The natural gas rig count in the region held flat at zero. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading$4.31/mmbtu by the end of the week. A little more than 10% of the production stream from the Bakken and Three Forks is attributable to natural gas and roughly half of that is NGLs.

McKenzie County continues to lead development with 63 rigs running. Dunn, Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 25 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 168 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 16 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 0 rigs are drilling vertical wells.

Bakken Oil & Gas News

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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.