Bakken Shale Rig Count Stays Flat at 191

Pipeline Construction
Pipeline Construction

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count stayed flat at 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 20 of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, Dallas, TX-based Energy Transfer Partners announced a joint venture with Houston-based Phillips 66 at the end of October, 2014, to build two pipelines that will move crude oil out of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale field.

Energy Transfer Partners will have a 75% interest in the pipelines. Phillips 66 will have a 25% interest, and will pay a proportionate cost of the construction. Both the “Dakota Access Pipeline” and “Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline” are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.

Read more: Two New Bakken Crude Oil Pipelines Online by 2016

The U.S. rig count increased by two to 1,929 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 346 rigs were targeting natural gas (fourteen more than the previous week) and 1,582 were targeting oil in the U.S. (13 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. 180 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 13 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 20 rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs stayed flat at 191 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices decreased by ~$.60 from the previous week, trading at $80.58/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $62.69bbl on Oct. 31st. The WTI-Brent closed up a bit, settling at just over $5 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 $3.88/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, Williams and Dunn 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:

  • 174 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 13 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 4 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.