The Williston Basin | August 2023
The Williston Basin is a large sedimentary basin along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in western North Dakota, eastern Montana, and southern Saskatchewan, Can. The basin is characterized by thick sequences of sediments that underlie an area of about 110,000 square miles, and it is geologically closely related to the Alberta Basin in Canada. The first wells in the Williston were drilled in 1936, and by 1954, 80% of possible producing acreage had been leased.
State Drilling Statistics
Active Drilling Rigs in Basin – 32 (-1)
Total Rigs in North Dakota – 30 (-3)
Total Rigs in the United States- 630 (-2)
Total U.S. Rigs 17.5% YTD
Williston Top Producer
Top Producer – Continental Resources
In exchange for $500 million in cash, Crescent Point Energy Corp. has agreed to sell its North Dakotan assets to an undisclosed private operator. The assets had an annualized net operating income of about $375 million at a WTI price of $75 per barrel in the second quarter of 2023, with a gross production of about 23,500 boe/d. The company stated in a release on August 24 that production in North Dakota was anticipated to fall to 18,000 boe/d by 2027 and further decline in subsequent years due to the limited drilling inventory associated with the assets. As a result of an unspecified amount of capital that would have been invested in the North Dakota assets, the company is also lowering its development capital expenditures guidance for 2023 by about $100 million to $1.1-1.2 billion.
Positive interactions stand out significantly from those in the majority of other unconventional plays in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. Frac hits typically reduce production in parent wells that are older elsewhere, but they frequently increase it in the Bakken. Kyoung Suk Min of the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) in North Dakota elaborates: “The reason why Bakken operators have historically not seen much production loss from the parent-child effect is because their initial completion designs were small, suboptimal, and understimulated.” In a conference paper written by Min, a reservoir engineer and data scientist, and his EERC colleagues. It came to the conclusion that understimulated wells are the main cause of advantageous frac hits in the Bakken. Nearly half of the 17,000+ horizontal wells analyzed by the research team’s machine learning models were found to have been impacted by parent-child interactions.
Over a dozen newcomers have just arrived in North Dakota as part of a trade group’s pilot initiative to bring in migrants and refugees during a labor shortage through the Uniting for Ukraine humanitarian program. In accordance with the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s Bakken Global Recruitment of Oilfield Workers program, 12 more Ukrainians are expected to arrive by August 15, and there are an estimated 2,500 more open jobs. Things have been especially rough through this 10 month labor shortage as the 2015 downturn and pandemic were great incentives to push labor to their home states (especially if they were warmer).
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North Dakota Oil Production
North Dakota Natural Gas
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