[Report] The Major US tight Oil Basins October 2020

The Permian, Williston, Eagle Ford and the DJ-Niobrara.

In this monthly article we will analyze the latest developments in the major US tight oil basins, including the Permian, Williston, Eagle Ford and the DJ-Niobrara.

This article will cover the following topics:
- Current drilling activity
- Total oil production & outlook
- The top oil producers
- Productivity and completion designs over time
- Operator ranking

  1. Current drilling activity
    After the 70%+ drop in Q2, drilling activity has slowly picked up again in recent weeks within these 4 tight oil basins:

It is now even more concentrated in the Permian than before, with 128 out of 152 horizontal rigs in this basin (83%).

2. Total oil production & outlook

How much oil is produced from horizontal wells in these basins?

This chart shows the historical tight oil production in these basins, peaking at just over 7.5 million bo/d in November 2019. In May this year, production fell by 2 million bo/d from that earlier level, as oil prices cratered. Since then, there has been a temporary recovery with the return of curtailed production.

But our projection shows a significant decline ahead, assuming 154 rigs going forward and productivity also unchanged. Already early next year production may be below the May level with a further loss of almost 1 million bo/d for the remainder of the year.

3. The top oil producers

The following dashboard gives an overview of the top-12 oil producers within these basins.

All these producers were off their recent production highs. Some responded dramatically to the oil price crash (EOG, Exxon, ConocoPhillips and Continental Resources), while others kept business as usual (Pioneer, Concho, WPX & Chevron).

4. Productivity and completion designs over time

How has well productivity changed over time within these basins?

The top chart shows this by basin, as measured by the average cumulative oil recovered in the first year on production (hz. oil wells only). It appears that the Bakken and the Eagle Ford has peaked based on this metric, but the recent shut-ins are also part of the cause.

In the bottom 2 charts, you will find how lateral lenghts and proppant loadings have changed in the same period.

5. Operator ranking

Finally, we share here a ranking of all the major operators in these basins based on well results:

The ranking is based on average cumulative oil recovered in the first year on production. We’ve only included horizontal oil wells that started producion since 2015 and operators with at least 500 such wells.

WPX is the number one on this metric, as its 588 wells recovered on average 178 thousand barrels of oil in the first year. It just announced a merger with Devon, the number 4 on this list.

Several of the operators ranked lowest on this list have announced restructurings in recent months.

All the graphs shown today come from our ShaleProfile Analytics service, which is an online analytics platform filled with interactive dashboards that allow you to explore the most recent shale oil & gas related data

You can directly request a free trial via shaleprofile.com/trial to try out ShaleProfile Analytics for 10 days.

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