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North Dakota – update through November 2020

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 16,189 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production from 2005 onward, through November.


Visit ShaleProfile blog to explore the full interactive dashboard

Total production

Oil production in North Dakota fell by less than 1% in November at just below 1.18 million bo/d. This was a tad lower than the first peak in December 2014 (1.19 million b/d). Although more than 2,100 wells are still shut-in (up from 1,500 before the pandemic started and down from the 4,300 in May), I don’t expect this number to fall by much anymore, as it hasn’t over the last month. Through November 2020, 551 wells started production, which was less than half compared with the same period in the year before (1,176).

Supply projection

Last week there were 11 rigs drilling horizontal wells in North Dakota (according to the Baker Hughes rig count). These would be able to drill only about half the wells that were completed in 2020, and output will continue to fall if drilling activity is not significantly increased in the coming months/years:


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

This simple scenario assumes that the rig count would stay at 11 and that well productivity will not change. Output in North Dakota would then fall to just half a million b/d by the end of the decade.

The graph was taken from our Supply Projection dashboard, which is an interactive dashboard that allows you to simulate future tight oil & gas supply using your own rig count & well productivity assumptions.

Permit activity

From our new Permit Activity dashboard (available in the Professional version of ShaleProfile Analytics), we can see that the following operators have been most active in applying for new permits:


Ranking of operators based on # of approved permits in the 2nd half of 2020

ConocoPhillips is in the lead with 54 approved permits for new horizontal wells in the 2nd half of 2020. The map on the left side shows the exact location of these permits. Of course, in the interactive version of the dashboard you can zoom in and find more information about each permit.

Top operators

The final tab shows the top 5 operators in the basin. WPX, which was just acquired by Devon Energy, is the only operator in this list that set a new production record in November.

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 quarter in which production started.

The impact of the recent shut-ins is clearly visible. You can also see that the 90 wells that came online in Q3 had the best initial start so far, as they peaked at over 900 b/d, on average.


Our next post will be on the Permian, followed by one on the Eagle Ford.


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/3bxUrp2

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