Bakken Shale Rig Stays Flat at 192


The Bakken-Three Forks rig count stayed flat at 192 rigs running across our coverage area by the end of last week. The NDIC notes 184 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 Federal Aviation Administration and six other states, including Texas, home of the Eagle Ford Shale, have recently been selected as test sites for integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAV) or drones into the general population, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

With the green light from the FAA for testing in North Dakota, which for now is limited to agricultural applications, the next step could be in the Bakken oil patch.

Read more: Drones Coming to the Bakken Oil Patch?

The U.S. rig count increased by three to 1,928 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 350 rigs were targeting natural gas (six less than the previous week) and 1,578 were targeting oil in the U.S. (10 more than the previous week). The remainder were drilling service wells (e.g. disposal wells, injection wells, etc.).193 rigs are running in the Williston Basin across MT, ND, and SD. 181 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 184 rigs are active in North Dakota. That figure is nine less than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, but 3 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 stayed flat at 192 rigs running by the end of the week . WTI oil prices decreased by ~$3 from the previous week, trading at $75.97/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $59.44/bbl on Nov. 14th. The WTI-Brent closed up a bit, settling at just over $3.50 by the end of last week.

One natural gas rig was recorded in the region. Natural gas futures (Henry Hub) were trading at $4.06/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 61 rigs running. Mountrail, Williams and Dunn counties are the only other counties with more than 28 rigs running each. View the full list below under the Bakken Drilling by County section.

Activity is dominated by horizontal drilling:

  • 248 rigs are drilling horizontal wells
  • 9 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 8 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.