Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by Four to 172

Pipeline Construction
Pipeline Construction

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by four to 172 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 185 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 20 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, Summit Midstream Partners announced in June of 2014 that it will spend $300 million on four new development projects involving oil, water and natural gas gathering in the Bakken Shale play. The new projects will further expand the companies footprint in Williams and Divide counties.

Read more: Summit Midstream Expanding Bakken System - $300 Million

The U.S. rig count decreased by six to 1,854 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 310 rigs were targeting natural gas (ten less than the previous week) and 1,542 were targeting oil in the U.S. (four more than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 174 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 169 are in ND alone.

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 185 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 11 more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and 16 more than the company reports in North Dakota. 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 20 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased  by four to 172 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices increased by ~$4 from the previous week, trading at $106.91/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $93.44/bbl on June 13th. The WTI-Brent opened up slightly, settling at ~$7 by the end of last week.

The natural gas rig count in the region held flat at zero. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading at $4.74/mmbtu by the end of last 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 62 rigs running. Dunn, Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 23 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 156 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.