Bakken Shale Rig Count Stays Flat at 197

Pipeline Construction
Pipeline Construction

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 188 rigs are active in North Dakota, but around six of those are in the process of moving in and rigging up.

In recent Bakken news, permitting problems in Minnesota are delaying Calgary-based Enbridge Energy Partners LP from building a 612-mile pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company disclosed the delay of the $2.6-billion Sandpiper pipeline in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week.

Read more: Enbridge's Sandpiper Pipeline Delayed

The U.S. rig count decreased by nine to 1,922 rigs running by the end of last week. A total of 330 rigs were targeting natural gas (eight less than the previous week) and 1,591 were targeting oil in the U.S. (1 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 188 rigs are active in North Dakota. That is ten less than Baker Hughes reports in the Bakken area, and one less 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 six 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 decreased by nearly $3 from the previous week, trading at $90.15/bbl on Friday afternoon. Williston Basin Sweet crude traded at $72.69/bbl on Oct. 2nd. The WTI-Brent closed up a bit, settling at just over $2 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 $4.02/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
  • 18 rigs are drilling directional wells
  • 1 rigs are drilling vertical wells

Bakken Oil & Gas News

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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.