Bakken Shale Rig Count Decreases by Four to 193

Occidental Bakken Acreage
Occidental Bakken Acreage

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count decreased by four to 193 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 190 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 18 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) appears to be on the verge of divesting its acreage in the Williston Basin, according to a Bloomberg report, which cited “people with knowledge of the matter.”

Currently, OXY has ~500,000 gross acres (~335,000 net) in the Williston Basin, and is working with investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. to sell the assets.

Read more: Occidental's Bakken Assets on the Table

The U.S. rig count increased by eight to 1,930 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 320 rigs were targeting natural gas (ten less than the previous week) and 1,609 were targeting oil in the U.S. (18 more than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 194 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 182 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 190 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is four less than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and eight 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 18 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs decreased  by four to 193 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices decreased by nearly $5 from the previous week, trading at $84.72/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $67.44/bbl on Oct. 2nd. The WTI-Brent opened up a bit, settling at just over $4 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 $3.86/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 62 rigs running. Mountrail, and Williams counties are the only other counties with more than 30 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 172 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 16 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 5 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.