How long to hit a million barrels a day in North Dakota oil production?

I’ll make a wild guess when production of oil in North Dakota will hit one million barrels a day.  I’ll put my estimate on the table.

Before September 30, 2013.

I’ve not seen any projections on Bakken production that were not extremely understated in light of what happened since the estimates were made.

Here’s some stats:

  • 575,490 bopd in March 2012 in North Dakota
  • 443,425 bopd in November 2011 from 3,118 Bakken wells
  • 132,065 bopd difference, which for roughness of calculation and difference in time let’s assume is all the other wells in N.D.

Here is the calculation for my point estimate

  • 1,000,000 bopd – target
  • 575,490 bopd – production in North Dakota in March 2012
  • 424,510 – additional production needed to hit 1M bopd
  • 443,425  – production from Bakken wells only in November 2011

If the number of producing wells doubled at the current productivity, there would be 1M bopd.

So here’s the rest of my calculation:

  • 3,118 – number of Bakken wells in 3-11
  • 215 – rig count in June 2012
  • 200 – round down
  • 15.59 months – straight line estimate of time to double number of wells in Bakken
  • 3/31/12 – date of well count above
  • 7/11/13 – my guess to hit 6,236 wells in Bakken
  • 6/30/13 – round off date to nearest month-end
  • 9/30/13 – add 90 day allowance for temporary slowdowns or just a general cushion

So, my guess is North Dakota oil production will hit 1M bopd by 9-30-13.

Here is a simple projection as a backup calculation to the above calc.

  • 1,000,000 – target
  • 424,510 – additional production to reach 1m bopd
  • 575,490 – 3-12 production
  • 360,186 – 3-11 production
  • 215,304 – 1 year increase
  • 2.05 – number of years to increase production to 1m bopd at rate of increase realized during the last 12 month

So if production continues to increase at the rate of the increase from the last year, it will take two years to hit 1M bopd. That would be March 2014.

I’ll stick with 9-30-13.

My only two qualifiers are first, that the price of oil doesn’t fall through the floor and shut down production.  Second, that our politicians or regulators don’t do something that slams the door on the industry.  I’ll absorb in my estimate the risks of making a straight-line projection. I know my estimate includes a long string of assumptions, probably even more than I’m aware of.

Update 9-16-13: I missed. By 7%, or about 2 or 3 months.

3 thoughts on “How long to hit a million barrels a day in North Dakota oil production?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *