Bakken Shale Rig Count Increases by Three to 176

Pipeline Construction
Pipeline Construction

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by three to 176 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 192 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 11 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, Enterprise Products Partners announced at a pipeline summit in North Dakota in late June of 2014 it plans to build a 1,200 mile oil pipeline from the Bakken to Cushing, Oklahoma, a major gathering and distribution hub.The pipeline is planned to be 30 inches in diameter and would originate in Stanley, ND. Company officials said it will have a capacity of 340,000 bbls of oil and should be online by the end of 2016. The pipeline would be Enterprise’s first in North Dakota.

Read more: Enterprise Products Partners North Dakota Pipeline to Cushing

The U.S. rig count increased by 15 to 1,873 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 314 rigs were targeting natural gas (three more than the previous week) and 1,545 were targeting oil in the U.S. (13 more than 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. 171 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 192 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is 14 more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and 21 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 increased  by three to 176 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices decreased by ~$2 from the previous week, trading at $105.62/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $92.44/bbl on June 27th. The WTI-Brent opened up slightly, 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 at $4.39/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 23 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 161 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 15 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 and/or Smith Service Co's (Schlumberger) Smith Rig Count.