North Dakota Bakken Production On Pace For 850,000 b/d In 2013

North Dakota Bakken Three Forks Map
North Dakota Bakken Three Forks Map

The latest director's cut from the NDIC shows oil production in North Dakota hit a record of more than 793,000 b/d in April 2013. The state is on pace to surpass 850,000 b/d by year-end.

At current levels of activity in the Bakken and Three Forks, production should grow approximately 10,000 b/d per month. That puts the state on pace to hit 760,000-780,000 b/d by year-end.

The target will be easily surpassed if operators can get the oil to market. Weather delays have been the biggest obstacle in 2013. Snow and heavy rain over the past two months has shortened the most productive time of the year (summer). April 2013 was the coldest on record and May 2013 was the wettest on record.

Lynn Helms stated, "Operators have not been able to catch a break."

The delays caused by weather have made it even harder for frac crews to keep up with the drilling rigs. It's estimated that 490 wells have been drilled and are awaiting completion. That's almost 6% of all the producing wells in the state!

There are 187 rigs working in North Dakota and Baker Hughes noted 178 of those were active in the Bakken area last week.

Other highlights from May 2013 include:

  • Gas production set a record at 860 mmcfd
  • 29% of gas production was flared
  • 211 drilling permits issued

Read the full release at

Bakken Frack Crews are in Short Supply

Bakken Shale drilling has grown to well over 200 rigs working, but the number of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) service crews has not kept pace. The number of wells waiting to be completed in North Dakota has grown to 300 more than normal. The number is holding constant, which means we're keeping up with the number of rigs working currently, but we won't elimiate the backlog without additional completion crews. If the backlog is diminished, North Dakota will continue its path of surpassing OPEC members in total daily production. The state surpassed Ecuador in November of 2011. If the state reaches 800,000 b/d it begin to challenge the ranks of the top 25 countries in the world.

North Dakota Rig Count Sets Record at 204 - November 2011

The North Dakota rig count reached an all time record on November 19, 2011, when the ND Oil & Gas Division announced there were 204 active rigs working in the state. The overwhelming majority of rigs are targeting the Bakken and Three Forks formations. With oil prices holding strong and gas prices dropping through the fall, I expect we'll potentially shoot through this record when a few gas directed rigs head our way.