Editorial

Bakken production drops with the temperature

What can we expect for Bakken production trends moving forward?

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While North Dakota gas production was only down to 1.54 bcf/d from the state all-time high of 1.76 bcf/d in November, oil production dropped a record 92,000 b/d in December to 942,000 b/d (895,000 b/d of which is from the Bakken). What caused this record-breaking drop in oil production? In our latest report, our analysts discuss the causes of this decline and their expectations for Bakken production trends moving forward.

It’s no surprise that North Dakota oil production would take a dip when average temperatures for the month ranged from 8 to 23 degrees F. What’s surprising is that this dip was not due to a drop in completions. Completions were only down slightly, falling by 3 from 84 in November to 81 in December. We believe the drop in production to be temporary, given that almost 200 wells went offline from November into December.

As for the complicated weather conditions, the North Dakota Industrial Commission recorded "three significant precipitation events, fifteen days with wind speeds in excess of 35 mph (too high for completion work), and nine days with temperatures below –10 degrees F." While these wintry conditions typically extend into January and February, we expect production to rebound once it warms up, especially as oil prices begin picking up and DUC wells begin coming online.

Optimism in the oil patch: NAPE 2017
After this year's NAPE show, host RT Dukes and US Lower 48 Research Director Robert Clarke sat down for a special edition of our Crude for Thought podcast to discuss how the optimism at the show created an unexpectedly diversified group of prospects. Robert Clarke also shared his thoughts on how discussions focusing on the Powder River Basin may suggest that the basin will take off this summer.