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.
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.