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A Look At Top Bakken Operators


In light of a recent Brigham operational update, in which they discuss high performing wells all across their Williston acreage, I want to write about the top Bakken operators and where they are drilling. What parts of the basin are the best wells coming from and how does production change as you traverse the Basin?

First, some Bakken history. I pulled this chart from HPDI. It takes into account all Bakken wells from 2006 to present and presents the data on a county level.


Mountrail County has produced by far and away the most Bakken oil of any other county in the state. McKenzie, Williams and Dunn are the next few highest and interestingly have higher GORs (more on GORs later).

To get a better idea of recent activity, I restricted the rest of the data to the middle of 2010 onward. What I found was somewhat surprising.




The top operators have wells scattered across the basin in a much more balanced manner than I initially thought, my initial thoughts being that Mountrail would be the overwhelming “winner”.

I also looked at how production changes as one combs the entire basin. To do this I used the ever-versatile HPDI tools. I broke the basin into 4 regions based loosely on geology. The Nesson anticline runs N-S through the middle of Baken activity and separates McKenzie and Williams County from Mountrail.

My findings are illustrated in the charts below. Although Mountrail does get a boost from the 15:1 equivalency indicating a lower GOR, it is not up up and away the hands down place to be. The Nesson-South curve is dead on with the Mountrail curve. The last chart shows Mountrail is the most oily of the four regions. And interstingly enough, there does not seem to be a sharp GOR increase in the first 9 months. If you look at some of the other unconventionals such as Wattenberg Niobrara, the GOR curve through time exhibits a sharp increase. This could be the sign of something problematic occuring in the reservoir.

Check back for more updates, as always pass on your thoughts.

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