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North Dakota – update through September 2020

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 16,118 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production from 2005 onward, through September.


Visit ShaleProfile blog to explore the full interactive dashboard

Total production

Oil production in North Dakota recovered for the 4th consecutive month in September, but by a smaller amount than in the previous 2 months (50 kbo/d vs >100 kbo/d). The inactive well count dropped by less than 10%, from 2,440 to 2,266, a level 50% higher than seen in March. Through September this year, 480 new wells came online, compared with 949 in the same period last year.

Supply projection

Last week there were 10 rigs drilling horizontal wells in North Dakota (according to the Baker Hughes rig count). In our Supply Projection dashboard, you can simulate the effect of future rig counts on tight oil & gas supply. If the number stays at 10 and rig efficiency remains unchanged, then only about 20 wells will be drilled and completed each month in the long run (excluding the effect of DUCs) and the result would be further declines ahead:



Tight oil production in ND, based on current drilling activity and rig/well productivity.

At current levels of well productivity, our estimation is that about 60 new wells are required each month (~30 rigs) to keep production close to 1 million bo/d.

Top operators

Continental Resources, the top producer in the state, curtailed 90% of its production in June. In September, almost all its wells were back online and it produced close to 200 kbo/d  (see “Top operators”). Except Whiting, all operators in the top 5 set output records last year, but at current conditions none of them are pursuing growth.

The following screenshot, taken from ShaleProfile Analytics (Professional), shows the top-8 oil producing fields in North Dakota:


Oil production in the top-8 oil producing fields in North Dakota.


Banks and Antelope were the only 2 fields producing over 50 thousand bo/d in September.

Advanced Insights

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:


This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows how these horizontal wells are heading towards their ultimate recovery. They are grouped by the year in which production started.

It reveals that performance is down across the board, with the recent shut-ins being a major contributing factor.


Early next week we plan to have a new post on the Permian.


For these presentations, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • DMR of North Dakota. These presentations only show the production from horizontal wells; a small amount (about 40 kbo/d) is produced from conventional vertical wells.
  • FracFocus.org

Visit our blog to read the full post and use the interactive dashboards to gain more insight: https://bit.ly/36pXvPA

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