The Roundup -

Statewide Rig Count Is Down 69% From Its High


On October 13, 2015, NDIC Department of Mineral Resources Director, Lynn Helms posted the monthly Director's Cut.

Rig counts were as follows:

• July rig count 73

• August rig count 74

• September rig count 71

Today (October 13) rig count is 67 (in November 2009 it was 63) (all-time high was 218 on 5/29/2012)

The statewide rig count is down 69% from the high and in the five most active counties rig count is down as follows:

• Divide -85% (high was 3/2013)

• Dunn -68% (high was 6/2012)

• McKenzie -63% (high was 1/2014)

• Mountrail -79% (high was 6/2011)

• Williams -79% (high was 10/2014)

Wells waiting on completion services:

At the end of August there were an estimated 993 wells waiting on completion services, 79 more than at the end of July.

Drop in oil prices:

The drop in oil price associated with anticipation of lifting sanctions on Iran and a weaker economy in China is leading to further cuts in the drilling rig count. Utilization rate for rigs capable of 20,000+ feet is about 40 percent and for shallow well rigs (7,000 feet or less) about 20 percent.

Drilling permit activity decreased sharply from July to August but stabilized from August to September as operators continued to position themselves for low 2016 price scenarios. Operators already have a significant permit inventory should a return to the drilling price point occur in the next 12 months.

To read the Director's Cut in full, log on to

Disclaimer: The number of wells waiting on completions is an estimate on the part of the director based on idle well count and a typical five year average.


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