Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by Seven to 180

Bakken Producers Slash 2015 Budgets
Bakken Producers Slash 2015 Budgets

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by seven t0 180 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 178 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 13 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, as the free-fall in crude prices continues, major Bakken operators are expressing their caution by slashing their budgets for 2015.

Marathon Oil is the latest giant to announce that its projected budget will curb exploration spending by a whopping 20% for 2015. Though the company still forecasts spending in upwards of $4.4 billion, the decrease is another sign that the spiraling oil prices are casting a dark shadow over the incredible growth that is taking place in the shale regions.

Read moreBakken Operators Slash Budgets for 2015

The U.S. rig count decreased by 18 to 1,875 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 338 rigs were targeting natural gas (down 8 from the previous week) and 1,536 were targeting oil in the U.S. (ten less than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 181rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 172 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 178 rigs are active in North Dakota. That figure is three less than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and six 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 13 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased by seven to 179 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices decreased by ~$2.00 from the previous week, trading at $55.99/bbl on Monday morning. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $40.19/bbl on December 19th. The WTI-Brent opened up a bit, settling at just under $5 by the end of last week.

One natural gas rig was recorded in the region. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading at $3.14/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. Mountrail, Williams and Dunn counties are the only other counties with more than 26 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
  • 10 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 3 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.