Bakken Shale Rig Count Stays Flat at 197

ND Pump Jack Photo
ND Pump Jack Photo

The Bakken-Three Forks rig count stayed flat at 197 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 190 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around ten of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, crude oil production in North Dakota’s section of the Bakken Shale averaged nearly 1.2 million b/d in August, according to consultancy Bentek Energy, a unit of Platts. That’s a 227,000 b/d increase over August 2013.

Combined oil production from the Bakken and South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale rose by more than 78,000 b/d in August 2014. That’s a 3.1% increase over July.

Read more: Bentek Energy: ND Bakken Hit 1.2 Million b/d - Aug. 2014

The U.S. rig count stayed flat at 1,931 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 338 rigs were targeting natural gas (nine more than the previous week) and 1,592 were targeting oil in the U.S. (9 less than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.). 198 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 189 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 eight more than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and one 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 ten rigs are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

Bakken Oil & Gas Rigs

The number of oil rigs stayed flat at 197 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices were up slightly from the previous week, trading at $93.47/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $74.19/bbl on Sept. 26th. The WTI-Brent closed up a bit, settling at just under $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 $3.99/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:

  • 178 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 19 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.