Top Bakken producers this week reported record-breaking crude oil output in the third quarter and announced plans to ramp up production in the play.  Hess produced 118,000 b/d of oil equivalent in the Bakken in Q3 and plans to increase output to more than 175,000 boe/d within three years in the play, company executives said Wednesday.  Also Wednesday, Whiting announced that its production in the Bakken and Three Forks plays averaged 106,835 boe/d in Q3, up about 4,800 boe/d from Q3 2017, as it drilled 34 wells in the play and 45 new wells on production.

“By utilizing innovative wellbore planning and extended reach laterals, reserves of oil and gas are now being produced that would have been inaccessible with conventional Bakken spacing,” Whiting said in its earnings announcement.  On Tuesday, Continental Resources, the state’s largest oil producer, doubled its Bakken oil recovery estimates, claiming that as much as 40 billion barrels of crude may ultimately be produced from the play.  Continental produced 167,643 boe/d in the Bakken in Q3, up 23% from the same quarter last year and a new record for the company.

Bakken production has shattered records this year and in August North Dakota output averaged 1.29 million b/d.  In its Q3 results, Hess said that net production averaged 118,000 boe/d in Q3, up from 103,000 boe/d in Q3 2017. The company is forecasting its Bakken output to average 125,000 boe/d in Q4 when it will drill 35 wells and bring 31 new wells online, slightly up from Q3, said Greg Hill, Hess’ president and COO. For 2018, Hess plans to drill a total of 120 new Bakken wells and bring 100 new wells online, Hill said.  Hess operated five rigs in the Bakken for much of Q3, but added a sixth late in the quarter. Hill said there were no plans to add additional rigs, but plans to bring 50% more new Bakken wells online in 2019 than it added in 2018. For 2018, Hess forecasts Bakken production to average 115,000-120,000 boe/d.