Oil production in North Dakota increases 1.0% in November 2017; getting close to record output

Production of crude oil increased 12,110 bopd in November, or 1.02%, going from 1,182,810 (revised October) to 1,194,920 (preliminary November).

The record high production was 1,227,529 average bopd in December 2014. Production in November 2017 is 32,609 bopd below the high in December 2014. It will only take another 2.7% increase in average production to clear the previous record. I’ll guess that will happen in December 2017 or January 2018, before the winter start to cut into production. (That is not a very bold prediction since Mr. Helms thinks the record production level will easily be surpassed regularly in later 2018.)

Above is a graph of average production in the state since 2004.

Check out the following graph for production from only Bakken formations and total for the state since 2008:

The average price is moving up, which as you would expect, is encouraging drillers to pump out more production. Check out the change in the last year and a half:

The value of monthly production is rising, based on the increasing price and the growing production. Here is a view of the value of monthly production, calculated by multiplying the production for the month by the average price of sweet crude in the state as mentioned in the monthly “Director’s Cut” report:


4 thoughts on “Oil production in North Dakota increases 1.0% in November 2017; getting close to record output”

    1. Hi Jim:
      Not to worry. I don’t know the current estimates of amount of oil in place or current estimates of ultimate recovery. Back in 2015, guesses were that about 96 years of production was left at the rate of 1M bopd. Estimates of oil in place today are, I think, around 900B barrels, so maybe double that production run.

      My spreadsheet of production (drawn from state tables) shows cumulative production from the Bakken/Three Forks formations has been 2.30B barrels since 1996, when production was a mere 3k bopd from those fields. At ultimate recover of 7% of OIP of 500B/900B that would be 35B/63B production, or 15 times/27 times more oil that has yet been produced.

      At 900B OIP at 10% ultimate recovery (not an outlandish assumption with EUR nearing 1M barrels per well from articles I recall reading a while back), that would be 90B barrels ultimate recovery, or something like 39 times more oil than has yet been produced from the Bakken/Three Forks formations.

      Previous article on point from back in 2015:

      Previous comment:
      With the current estimates of total oil in place (likely understated) which excludes a couple of layers of the overall formation (that haven’t been explored which means there is an unknown amount of technically recoverable oil there) and the previously estimated ultimate recovery of around 300K barrels per well (probably higher now with some wells at 1M barrels EUR) and the current technology (which is constantly being improved, which include the possibilities of refracking which are being tested now) leading to around 7% recovery (will probably be higher eventually) at 1M bopd production, there is enough oil to produce for about 95 years.

      Adjust each of those factors up, and there is no telling how long Bakken will be producing.

      Here’s the simple math: 500B estimated original oil in place x 7% recovery = 35B barrels / 1M bopd = 35,000 days / 365.25 = 95.8 years

  1. Incredible. I had also forgotten the Green River Formation (oil shale) in Utah, Colorado, etc. Estimates there range from 1.2 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels locked away.

    1. Hi Jim:
      It is staggering how much oil is in the ground. More amazing to me is that new fields keep getting found that the energy wizards weren’t quite sure existed or hadn’t noticed before.

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