Bakken Shale wells improve steadily as Newfield Exploration picks up pace in Williston Basin

By Oil & Gas Financial Journal staff

Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE: NFX) has released its latest Williston Basin activities showing an aggressive pace and a steady improvement in Bakken Shale well performance.

The most recent Aquarium completion, the Malm 23-1h, is the fourth long-lateral Aquarium completion for the Houston-based company. It showed an initial production of 4,005 boe/d (71% oil), while the previous three wells posted an average initial production of 3,315 boe/d.

The crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company is currently running five rigs in the oil-rich basin, with average production of 5,000 boe/d, representing 4% of total production.

In its recent 1Q11 financial and operating results report, the company detailed the expected increase in activity and production in the area as dedicated fracture stimulation services arrived in the field in April. A total of 35 wells have been completed in the region and another 10 are awaiting completion (average lateral length of roughly 8,600’). Initial volumes from the new wells expected late in 2Q11.

A recent note by Jefferies & Co. Inc. noted that, despite the aggressive pace, acreage declined 7.5% in the quarter to 161,000 net acres, of which roughly one-third is in legacy Elm Coulee Field. Newfield’s recent well results are a definite positive, but, noted Jefferies, the market awaits economic results from the 'Big Valley' area spanning 35,000 net acres in Sheridan/Divide County.

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