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Oil production in North Dakota fell by 13% in December to 0.92 million b/d

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CEO, ShaleProfile

Background in AI, worked on developing Supply Chain Planning & Optimization solutions for Quintiq, setting up its business in China. Focus on company direction and the technical development...

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  • Feb 17, 2023

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 17,775 horizontal wells in North Dakota that started production from 2001 onward, through December.

Total production

Oil production in North Dakota from horizontal wells fell by 13% m-o-m in December, to 0.92 million b/d, while natural gas output fell by a similar amount to 2.6 Bcf/d. The main reason behind this drop was harsh winter weather. During 2022, 696 horizontal wells came on production, compared with 600 in 2020 and 663 in 2021.

Drilling Activity

Drilling activity has quadrupled from the lows in 2020, and as of last week 41 rigs were drilling horizontal wells (according to Baker Hughes):

Drilling activity in North Dakota (pink, left hand axis) and WTI (black, right hand axis)

Well productivity

Average well productivity, as measured by the cumulative oil production during the first 6 months, has stagnated since 2019. However, within the 4 core counties of the Bakken there is some variation, as we can see in the following chart:

Well productivity in the 4 core counties of the Bakken, as measured by cum. oil during the first 6 months, versus production start date.

Note that well performance has fallen in Mountrail during the last 2 years, while Dunn has made some surprising gains and is now the county with the best results, at least on the chosen metric. The 71 horizontal wells that came online in the first 6 months in Dunn county have on average produced 132 thousand barrels of oil during their first 6 months online.

Water production

Older wells produce more water than younger wells, relative to hydrocarbon production. The following chart shows the amount of oil and water produced in North Dakota, from all horizontal wells that began production since 2007:


Oil (green) and water (blue) production in North Dakota (right hand side) and the water/oil ratio (yellow, right hand side)


At the end of 2022, the 17,200 horizontal wells that began producing since 2007 produced 1.5 barrel of water for each barrel of oil produced.

Top operators

In the final tab of the interactive presentation at the top (“Top operators”), you can find the top 15 operators in North Dakota, based on recent oil production. Continental Resources and Chord Energy (formed from the merger of Whiting and Oasis) are well ahead of their peers. EOG, at one time the largest producer, has fallen to the 14th spot.


In two weeks we’ll be back with another basin update. Let us know in the comments section if you are interested in a particular basin; the most votes win!


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.
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