WLL’s Williston Basin plans
In the first quarter, Whiting Petroleum’s (WLL) total production volume was ~127.1 Mboepd (thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day). In comparison, its production volume was 117.4 Mboepd in the first quarter of 2017. Whiting Petroleum’s production in the Williston Basin averaged 103.1 Mboepd—81.0% of the company’s total first-quarter production.
Conforming to its strategy of reorganizing its Bakken team (detailed in Part 3), WLL management noted during its first-quarter earnings conference that the company has three new Williston Basin asset teams—the Eastern team, the Northern team, and the Southern team.
Hess (HES) and Continental Resources (CLR) are among the key operators in the Bakken Shale. Other operators in the region include Marathon Oil (MRO) and Oasis Petroleum (OAS). Around 48.0% of Hess’s first-quarter production came from the Bakken region and ~56.0% of CLR’s first-quarter production came from the Bakken.
Marathon Oil’s Bakken production accounted for 18.0% of its total first-quarter production. OAS was a pure-play Bakken player until it announced its Permian Basin acquisition last year, which it closed in the first quarter.
Q1 2018 operational update
During the first quarter, Whiting Petroleum drilled 24 wells in its Williston Basin (Bakken and Three Forks) acreage and no wells in its Redtail (in the DJ Basin) acreage. The company put 19 wells into production in the Williston Basin and six wells into production in the DJ Basin (Redtail area) in the first quarter.
Whiting Petroleum has been increasing its focus on the Bakken (Williston) and might sell its Redtail assets, as we discussed previously. Based on a capex budget of $600.0 million (which we discussed in Part 4), WLL’s Williston Basin production is forecast to increase 14.0% year-over-year from the fourth quarter of 2017.
Along with an increasing focus and accelerating development in the Bakken, Whiting Petroleum has been aggressively working on reducing its costs. We’ll read about this in the next part of this series.