Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by One to 176

North Dakota flaring
North Dakota flaring

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by one to 176 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 194 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 12 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) began implementing its first in a series of policy changes aimed at reducing flaring in the Bakken on June 1st. The NDIC’s new “gas capture plan” (GCP) rule will require E&P companies to submit a document with their application for a permit to the commission specifying how they plan to capture gas produced from their drilling operations.

Read more: NDIC Implements New Bakken Flaring Rule - June 1, 2014

The U.S. rig count increased by nine to 1,860 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 320 rigs were targeting natural gas (six less than the previous week) and 1,536 were targeting oil in the U.S. (flat from the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 178 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 194 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 16 more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and 25 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 12 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased  by one to 176 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices stayed relatively flat from the previous week, trading at 102.85/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $89.44/bbl on June 6th. The WTI-Brent closed up slightly, settling at ~$6 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 $4.72/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 60 rigs running. Dunn, Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 24 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 158 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 17 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.