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Rig count in North Dakota in first half of 2016

One small part of the legacy of Aubrey McClendon. Photo by James Ulvog.

Photo by James Ulvog.

Here is a recap of the North Dakota rig count, all from Million Dollar Way. Focus is on the first half of 2016. Some older data repeated for recent context:

  • 184 – 2/4/13
  • 190 – 2/4/14
  • 140 – 2/4/15
  • 93 – 4/17/15
  • 82 – 6/5
  • 71 – 9/15
  • 61 – 12/30/15

For 2016:

  • 45 – 1/29/16
  • 38 – 2/25
  • 35 – 3/1
  • 35 – 3/5
  • 32 – 3/11
  • 32 – 3/26 – has been at 32 for 2 weeks except for one day at 31
  • 29 – 4/3
  • 30 – 4/14
  • 28 – 4/19
  • 25 – 4/26
  • 27 – 5/9
  • 26 – 5/20
  • 28 – 5/31
  • 26 – 6/8
  • 27 – 6/9
  • 28 – 6/15
  • 27 – 6/22

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2 thoughts on “Rig count in North Dakota in first half of 2016

  1. Thank you. Much appreciated. It looks these are the three “metrics” to follow right now:

    1) 1,500 inactive wells. These are wells that have been completed (fracked) and for any number of reasons, have been taken off-line. Some of them are off-line because of neighboring activity, such as fracking. These can be brought back on line fairly quickly.

    2) 1,000 DUCs. The number of DUCs are decreasing, not so much because of increased fracking, but due to an overall decrease in drilling to depth to begin with. It will be interesting to see how fast the industry can respond with frack teams/spreads if completions are indicated.

    3) The number of active rigs. The rigs and operations are so much more efficient now, I think most agree that 60 rigs in 2016 can do what 200 rigs did in 2007 — in 2007, before we had understanding of the Bakken; before we knew where the sweet spots were; before we had big, big rigs; before we had pad drilling; before we had really, really experienced geologists, roughnecks; before we had the necessary infrastructure; etc.

    • Hi Bruce:

      Wow, thanks so much for adding your thoughts.

      I agree. Importance of the rig count has dropped dramatically, just since I started paying attention. The productivity increases are amazing.

      I’ve been tracking the DUCs (or fracklog) for a while and have posted a graph of the count occasionally. Have just started watching the inactive count.

      Will be amazing to see what happens as prices edge up. I’ll go with the observations that there will be fast response, at least compared to traditional drilling. Expect to see an effective ceiling on prices due to the quick acceleration possible in tight oil.

      Thanks again for commenting.

      Jim

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