Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by Four to 182

Continental 2013 Production
Continental 2013 Production

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by four to 182 rigs running by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 187 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 13 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, Continental Resources, a major Bakken producer, revealed the Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana reached the milestone of 1 billion bbls of cumulative light, sweet crude oil produced during first quarter of 2014. Two-thirds of the total was produced in the last three years according to Continental. The company cited IHS data in making this announcement.

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The U.S. rig count decreased by 7 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 323 rigs were targeting natural gas (flat from the previous week) and 1,527 were targeting oil in the U.S. (7 less than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 183 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 176 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 187 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 11 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 13 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased by four to 182 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices decreased to $99.65/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $86.44/bbl on May 2nd. The WTI-Brent closed up a bit, settling at ~$8 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$4.71/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 67 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:

  • 169 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 12 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 1 rig is drilling a vertical well

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.