Dry holes in Bakken? Oh, wait. Look at the completion dates.

I read most of the posts from Million Dollar Way but just browse the production reports. Check out this one: Random Updates on Privratsky Wells: Different Fields; Different Operators

I dropped my jaw on first glance. Dry holes!

In my minimal understanding, historically getting a dry hole when looking for oil is a serious risk. You pour a bunch of time and money into drilling a spot and you get……nothing. I’ve read that in Bakken over the last five years there aren’t any dry holes.

Imagine my shock when I browsed the linked article glancing at the initial production rates in barrels per day and saw DRY.

The bottom half of the list is

  • 279
  • 2,908
  • DRY
  • pa/20
  • pa/20
  • DRY
  • DRY

Three dry wells and one that has total lifetime production of 824 barrels, which is essentially dry.


Then I looked again. Check out the dates of completion for those four wells: 1993, 1984, 1979, 1955.


They were drilled between 20 and 60 years ago. No horizontal drilling. No hydraulic fracturing. That shows the risk of drilling before the revolution.

Check out the IPs of wells drilled in the last five years from this same area: 1,236,  1,144,  19.

Two great. One not so good. The poor well has 70K barrels in 25 months. That is somewhere around $6M. It recovered drilling costs in two years. Not bad for the poorest performing of this very small sample.

What’s a poor result? Today it would be return of capital in two years compared. Twenty or 30 years ago a poor result was a complete loss.

That one page is a great illustration of the radical change from fracking.

Very cool.

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