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Visualizing North Dakota Oil & Gas Production (Through May 2021)

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This article contains still images from the interactive dashboards available in the original blog post. To follow the instructions in this article, please use the interactive dashboards. Furthermore, they allow you to uncover other insights as well.


Visit ShaleProfile blog to explore the full interactive dashboard


These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 16,471 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production from 2005 onward, through May.


Total production

Oil production in North Dakota from horizontal wells rose by less than 1% in May, m-o-m, to 1.09 million bo/d. Natural gas production increased to 2.94 Bcf/d. Only 44 wells were completed in May, but the inactive well count fell by over 100 to just below 1,500 (see the “Well status” tab).


Supply projection

Since our previous update last month, 2 more rigs drilling horizontal wells were added in North Dakota (source: Baker Hughes). The 17 rigs that are currently active here are unlikely to halt declines in the basin, as is seen in our Supply Projection dashboard:


Tight oil outlook in North Dakota, by county, based on the current rig count and well/rig productivity.

Interestingly, activity has shifted away from McKenzie to Dunn and Mountrail. Output in the latter will even start growing again if the number of rigs there (6) doesn’t drop.



The drilled, but uncompleted well count (DUCs) has steadily fallen since early 2016, and is with 614 now at the lowest level in over 8 years.


DUCs in North Dakota, by spud year

In the image above (taken from our Well Status dashboard) shows how the DUC count has changed in North Dakota and the location of the 614 DUCs remaining in May. The DUCs are colored by the year in which they were spud. This includes 138 DUCs that were drilled before 2019. There are likely some technical or economics issues associated with these older DUCs.


Well productivity

Although average well productivity hasn’t changed much since 2018, the small number of wells that did came online in the 2nd half of last year outperformed any earlier wells:


Ultimate recovery profiles (oil rate vs. cum.) in the four core counties, by quarter of first production

The 111 horizontal wells that began production in Q4 2020 peaked at just over 1,000 b/d and recovered 145 thousand barrels of oil in their first 6 months, on average.


Top operators

The final tab shows the production history and location of the top 10 operators in North Dakota. Continental Resources ramped up its completions earlier this year, which has translated in a 21 thousand b/d production gain since March this year. However, it is still down by 25% from its peak in October 2019 (at 205 thousand b/d).



Next week we will 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.


Visit our blog to read the full post and use the interactive dashboards to gain more insight:

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