Bakken Shale Rig Count Increases by Two to 193

Continental Resources Bakken Three Forks Map
Continental Resources Bakken Three Forks Map

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count increased by two to 193 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 199 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around 14 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, the Bakken’s second largest producer, Continental Resources, Inc., announced last week that President and COO W.F. “Rick” Bott, 54, has resigned to “pursue other opportunities.”

According to company officials, his duties will be absorbed by senior management. Bott joined Continental in 2012, and worked previously at Cairn India Ltd and in Devon Energy Corp’s international division.

Read more: Major Bakken Producer - Continental Resources - President Quits

The U.S. rig count increased by six to 1,931 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 338 rigs were targeting natural gas (two more than the previous week) and 1,592 were targeting oil in the U.S. (8 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. 185 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 199 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is five more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and 14 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 14 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs increased by two to 193 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices decreased slightly from the previous week, trading at $92.34/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $73.94/bbl on Aug. 29th. The WTI-Brent opened up a bit, settling at just under $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 $3.94/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 66 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:

  • 177 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.