Oilprice.com recently reported Bakken oil production was up 3,046 barrels per day in July, despite an overall down trend. The report shows a preliminary total of 13,255 producing wells and a current (September) rig count of 33. This compares to an all-time high of 218 in May 2012. The rig count continues to slowly increase. Oilprice noted that over 98 percent of drilling now targets the Bakken and Three Forks formations, with little activity in other areas of North Dakota.
The price of WTI benchmark crude oil today sits at $48.94, inching back up towards that magic $50 mark when some companies say they can begin to increase drilling. Low prices, as we know, have forced producers to cut back. The low price environment can be attributed to a number of factors, including lifting Iran sanctions, a weak Chinese economy, Brexit and production both domestically and by OPEC producers. United States production has nearly doubled in the last few years, and OPEC producers have been slow to cut production, too, leaving the market flooded with oil. OPEC came to a tentative agreement to slowly cut back on production later in the year, although the terms of the agreement are somewhat vague.