Williston News Pulse March 2023

Posted: April 20, 2023

The Williston Basin | March 2023

Field Overview

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 – 42 (-)
Total Rigs in North Dakota – 41 (-)
Total Rigs in the United States- 748 (-1)
Total U.S. Rigs 7.8% YTD

Williston Top Producer

Top Producer – Continental Resources

Basin Highlights

Williston Basin Oil Production Back on Track

Extreme weather in late Q4 2022 and early January of 2023 caused a considerable impingement on North Dakota oil and gas production. Production across the basin averaged 957,864 bbl/d in December and averaged 1,060,708 bbl/d in January, a 10.7% increase. 96% of the state’s production was from the Bakken/Three Forks formation, much of which covers the north-western corner of the state which saw sub-zero temperatures for weeks at a time and abnormal volumes of snow this winter.

North Dakota’s Future is in Coal, But Not for the Usual Reason

John Kay, engineer at the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the North Dakota University campus in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is evaluating the commercial viability of rare earth deposits in the western part of North Dakota–very near the old coal fields and oilfields in that part of the state. Significant quantities of rare-earth metals are found in shaly benches and even within the coal seams in western North Dakota.

How Does North Dakota Tackle Oil Issues?

The 200,000 square-mile Bakken Formation makes North Dakota the second most-prolific oil producing state in the country, after Texas. Concerns are raised about the so-called “carbon bomb” that any fossil fuel deposit is, and a conversation is had about the localized inconveniences incident to intensive fossil fuel exploitation can cause (a high concentration of transient workers, destruction of roadways, localized chemical pollution, etc.).

Top Producers

RankCompanyJanuary Production (MBO)
1Continental Resources5,823
2Chord Energy4,240
4Marathon Oil2,303

Rig Count

North Dakota Oil Production

North Dakota Natural Gas

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