Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by One to 191

Bakken Oil Well
Bakken Oil Well

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by one to 191 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 193 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 19 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, North Dakota hit nearly 1.1-million b/d oil in June 2014, setting a new record, according to the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR) AugustDirector’s Cut. During the same month, North Dakota also had record monthly gas production (1,253,154 mcf/d), and the highest recorded number of producing wells (11,079).

Read more: North Dakota Hits Record Oil & Gas Production - June 2014

The U.S. rig count decreased by 17 to 1,896 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 330 rigs were targeting natural gas (nine more than the previous week) and 1,564 were targeting oil in the U.S. (25 less than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 192 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 183 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 193 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is one more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and ten more than the company reports in North Dakota. 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 19 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased by one to 191 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices stayed relatively flat from the previous week, trading at $93.57/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $80.69/bbl on Aug. 21st. The WTI-Brent opened up a bit, settling at ~$9 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 $3.85/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 25 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 175 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.