Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by One to 181

Halcon Bakken Acreage Map
Halcon Bakken Acreage Map

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by one to 181 rigs running by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 191 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 11 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent news, Halcón Resources (HK) set new company production and operations records in the Williston Basin during the first quarter of 2014. The company realized a record breaking initial production (IP) rate for a Fort Berthold well and logged two of its fastest drilling times from spud to total depth in the same operations area.


Read moreHalcón Resources Sets New Production and Operations Records in the Williston Basin

The U.S. rig count increased by 1 to 1,855 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 323 rigs were targeting natural gas (flat from the previous week) and 1,528 were targeting oil in the U.S. (1 more than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.).182 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 174 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 191 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 11 more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and 17 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 11 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased by one to 181 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices increased slightly to $100.03/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $86.69/bbl on May 9th. The WTI-Brent closed up a bit, 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$4.53/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 64 rigs running. Dunn, Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 22 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 167 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 13 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.