The number of rigs correlates best with amount of activity in the state; the number of rigs is not a good indicator of production.
During the boom, even with 200+ rigs, total ND crude oil production was often below 1 million bopd. Now, with 50 rigs, many wells choked back, 800 DUCs, upwards of 1,200 inactive wells at any one time, the state is producing over one million bopd.
During the early days of the boom, it took 40+ days from spud to completion, and then there was the problem with takeaway capacity. Now, two weeks from spud to completion is the norm (others argue even less than two weeks) and with the DAPL, takeaway is no long an issue.
Early in the boom, EURs were in the 375,000 range; now it is obvious that EURs of one million bbls will be the new floor for "expensive" wells with "$50-oil."
For newbies: any time a new well is fracked (or in many cases when several wells on the same pad are fracked), neighboring wells are taken off-line. Sometimes it's just one neighboring well, but as the infill becomes more dense, more and more neighboring wells need to come off-line when new wells are being fracked. They can be off-line for as little as three weeks, but it seems that the norm is about 1.5 months to three months. The longer time period probably equates to several wells on one pad being fracked.
What interests me now, more than rig counts:
- new completion solutions in the Bakken
- strategies of various operators regarding re-fracking: where to re-frack; when to re-frack
- status of existing and new pipelines (there are still court cases pending re: the DAPL, for example)
- consolidation in the Bakken; new oil service companies coming in
- companies like Kaiser-Francis that have been in North Dakota for decades, but were "quiet" during the boom and are now back in the game
- how the Bakken will do in comparison to the Permian (I think that story is yet to be told; see graph below)
Note: for 1.5 million bopd (in 2014), the Permian had 500 active rigs. In 2014, North Dakota had around 190 rigs, and produced 1 million bopd for the first time in 2014: