Tuesday, June 17, 2014

1,001,149 -- North Dakota Reaches The Million BOPD Milestone In April, 2014


June 18, 2014: Boomberg is reporting that production will go up this summer --
North Dakota, which yesterday became just the fourth state to record oil production above 1 million barrels a day, could see even stronger growth over the summer as improved weather makes life easier for drilling crews.
Output increased to 1,001,149 barrels a day in April, the state’s Department of Mineral Resources reported yesterday. Texas, California and Alaska have crossed the million-barrel mark. Only Texas remains above the state, at almost 3 million barrels a day.
April oilfield work was hampered by heavy rain that shut roads and strong winds that closed down operations. Crews completed 200 wells during the month, and another 600 are already drilled and just waiting on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Better weather in the summer months should allow more new wells to start gushing oil.
“As the weather improves, operators should have full utilization of all their rigs, and possibly additional completion crews to whittle down the backlog,” Jonathan Garrett, an upstream analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in Houston, said in a phone interview today. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a bit of production growth over the summer. It should be pretty impressive.”
Original Post

Director's Cut was released at 1:00 p.m. CDT, June 17, 2014.

The June Director's Cut is out.

April, 2014: 1,001,149 bopd
March, 2014: 977,178 bopd (revised) 977,051 bopd (original)
  • that's almost a difference of 24,000 bbls / day (March to April)
  • the increase represents almost a 2.45% increase
Disclaimer: this update is always done in haste; typographical errors are likely. This is for my use only. Others should go to the source

Producing wells:
April, 2014:  10,658 (new all-time high)
March, 2014: 10,457
April, 2014: 233
March, 2014: 250
All time high was 370 in 10/2012
Today, 2014: $91.71
May, 2014: $88.31 
April, 2014: $85.68
March, 2014: $86.72
February, 2014: $86.89
Rig count:
Today: 189
May, 2014: 189
April, 2014: 188
March, 2014: 193
Director's comments:
The number of well completions was unchanged at 200. The Tioga gas plant conversion transitioned from approximately 25% capacity at the beginning of the month to full capacity by the end of April. The percentage of flared natural gas dropped to 30% as the Tioga plant came back on line; the historical high was 36% in September, 2011.

In the previous report: about 635 wells waiting to be completed, a decrease of 15 from previous month. At the end of the most recent month for full reporting, April, 2014, there were about 600 wells awaiting completion.
Wells waiting to be completed: in the big scheme of things, I don't think there is any shortage of frack spreads right now. The big reason for wells waiting to be completed, I think, is due to pad drilling. Generally, operators wait until all wells on a pad are drilled to total depth before they frack all the wells. There are exceptions. 


  1. Heard today that, for first time, oil production has overtaken ag as the number 1 economic product in Nodak. Bound to happen, I suppose.

    1. Yes, I did not post/link the story. But yes, a couple days a story in "The Dickinson Press" said that oil and gas industry was #1 in North Dakota, taking over agriculture, #2. The story said this goes back and forth between the two, but I assume oil and gas will be #1 for quite some time. I personally didn't get too excited about the story. Oil impacts a lot of folks; farming impacts a lot of folks. Just an interesting story overall.

  2. Would imagine that the market price of either or both determine which is #1 or 2. Kinda like arguing over who is richest man in the world. Depends on what shares are doing at any given moment

    1. I know there is a lot of concern what the oil and gas industry is doing to "North Dakota." I am very aware of that. In reality, the industry footprint is very, very small taking up maybe less than 10% of the surface of North Dakota. Of the 100's of towns in the state, only a handful are being impacted, and they seem to be weathering the storm quite well. For all the stories written about oil and gas in "North Dakota" I bet very few really realize how little area of the entire state is impacted. Nothing east of Minot (yet).

  3. The next story line seems to be what will the maximum amount of oil be from the state of North Dakota. Based on various oil take-away capacity slides I believe we will be looking at a range of 1.5 million a day to 2.8 million a day. The variables that are still unknown are additional recovery effects and the Tyler formation potential. Maybe this could rate a poll at some point but getting to the result could be many years out. Keep up the good work. Even a slight tax change could make the returns more favorable and grab a few rigs from the texas fields. Perhaps they can reduce taxes by 2% for every well that creates infrastructure to reduce flaring or some other trigger to capture more resources.


    1. 1. I might do the poll someday, but I find that I am too obsessive-compulsive, for lack of a better word. I need to know the "actual" outcome of the question I'm asking, so I prefer short-term issues. It will still be another month or so before we get the current answer to whether we hit 200 rigs this summer (appears unlikely).

      2. With regard to potential production: there are two ways to look at this -- what is "potential" if oil industry was unfettered; and, what is maximum production the State of North Dakota prefers. If unfettered, corporate presentations and analyses from think tanks suggest 2 million bopd. However, I have a "feeling" that the folks in Bismarck are looking for slow, sustained growth, or perhaps even letting production plateau. North Dakotans by nature are conservative and there is so much activity going on and so much money in the Legacy Fund that there must be many in Bismarck saying "do we really need to keep going so fast?"

      In addition, oil companies are E&P companies -- Exploration: defining their fields, their assets; and then, Production. Except for a few "pure Bakken" operators, most operators have other basins to explore, define and must balance CAPEX in the Bakken against CAPEX in their other plays.

      All I can do is watch. But I know the roughnecks, if unfettered, could significantly increase production (again, don't forget: the flaring issue is still being addressed, and could impact production significantly).