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Oil production in North Dakota has trended down in the last few years, and also fell in July, to 1.02 million b/d (Hz. wells only)

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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 the blog to explore the full interactive dashboard

These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from all 17,375 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production from 2001 onward, through July.

Total production

Oil production in North Dakota from horizontal wells fell m-o-m by about 2.5% in July, to 1.02 million b/d, while natural gas output increased to over 3 Bcf/d. Through July, 331 horizontal wells began production this year, only 4 more than in the same time frame last year (327). These numbers are not enough to sustain current output, which is why total oil production is now below where it was 8 years ago, when North Dakota first crossed the 1 million bbl/d milestone.

Supply projection

As of last week, 37 rigs are drilling horizontal wells (according to Baker Hughes). Assuming that well productivity can be maintained, this should be a sufficiently high level for some growth in output in the coming months. From our Supply Projection dashboard:


Horizontal rig count (top) and tight oil outlook (bottom) in North Dakota, by county, based on the current rig count and well/rig productivity.
Well productivity

But can well productivity be maintained?

In the “Well quality” tab, the performance of all horizontal wells can be viewed. The bottom chart there already reveals that results have stagnated in the last few years. You can also see this in the following dashboard, where we take a closer look at how well returns, as measured by the cumulative oil recovered in the 1st year, has changed in each of the 4 core counties of the Bakken:


Well productivity over time in the 4 core counties of the Bakken, as measured by cum. oil during the 1st 12 months.


As you can see in the red circle, results in the last 4 years are in general between 150 and 200 thousand barrels of oil during the 1st year. Completion designs also have not changed much during this time (see the bottom 2 charts for the average lateral length and proppant loading in the same time frame).

Lease maps

One of the recent data items we have added in the past year to our data platform, besides vertical well data, landing zones and subsurface rock properties are detailed lease maps, which we gather and extract from public documents such as investor presentations. Here you can see our current coverage within the Bakken:


Lease positions in the Bakken.
Permit activity

One other dimension we can look at when analyzing activity levels is how many permits for new horizontal wells have been approved. Here we can also see that activity is slowly ramping up again:


The number of approved permits in North Dakota, since 2020, by quarter and colored by permit status.

Our next post will probably be about the Haynesville again, and is expected in 2 weeks.


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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