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Visualizing North Dakota Oil & Gas Production (Through September 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 16,771 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production from 2001 onward, through September.

Total production

Oil production in North Dakota from horizontal wells was flat m-o-m, at 1.07 million b/d in September. Output fell by 120 thousand b/d in the 12-month period through September, or 10%. But drilling activity has picked up, and we estimate that with the 23 rigs that are drilling horizontal wells in the state (according to Baker Hughes), current output can be maintained for a while.

Supply projection

We can see this easily in our Supply Projection dashboard:


Horizontal rig count and tight oil outlook in North Dakota, by year of first production, based on the current rig count and well/rig productivity.

The top chart displays the horizontal rig count over time, while the bottom chart plots the total oil production from existing and future horizontal wells. It reveals that at the current pace, an output of just over 1 million b/d can be maintained. The bump in production in Q4 2021 is caused by the recently high number of well completions, which has caused the DUC inventory to decline.

Well productivity

In this post I wanted to share how well productivity of the largest 3 producers has changed over time. Here you can see the performance of the wells operated by Continental Resources, Hess and Marathon, each producing above 100 thousand b/d in the state:


Well productivity in the Bakken for Continental Resources, Hess and Marathon. Horizontal wells completed since 2007 only.

In the top-right chart, the average well performance of these 3 operators is displayed, as measured by the cumulative oil production in the first 12 months, by completion date. Note how Marathon’s well results have improved in the 5 years through 2020, to about 300 thousand barrels of oil in the first year, on average.

Top operators

The final tab shows the production history and location of the top 15 operators in North Dakota. Continental Resources is still in the lead with 150 thousand b/d, but Marathon jumped ahead of Hess, due to its better well performance.


Early next week we will have a new post on the Permian, for which we already have production data through September for most wells.


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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