Bakken Update: Brigham's 2012 Well Results

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It is almost half way through 2012, and Bakken operators have announced some very good results. I will try to keep the investor informed of not only the results, but the variables that are driving these improvements. Brigham (NYSE:STO) did a very good job (and still does) of creating very good results in Bakken/Three Forks wells. It set the trend for well production in the Williston Basin. Brigham was the first to implement a large number of stages, and provided good results in pad drilling. This allowed for walking rigs and zipper fracs to save time in drilling and completion. Here are Brigham's 2012 well results:

Brigham 2012 Well Results
Well Name IP rate 30-day IP Rate 60-day IP Rate Number of Stages Choke PSI
MARGARET 5-8 1H 3219 Bo/d 947 Bo/d 712 Bo/d      
PATENT GATE 7-6 #1H 3201 Bo/d     31 181/64 353
HEINZ 18-19 #1H 4378 Bo/d     39 181/64 510
BUGS 27-22 1H 3499 Bo/d 1035 Bo/d   40 176/64 411
LLOYD 34-3 2H 3473 Bo/d 1080 Bo/d (19 day IP)   36 128/64 453
L E 9-4 #1-H 1966 Bo/d     33 181/64 300
HELLING 16-21 #1-H 2289 Bo/d 741 Bo/d (28 day IP)   35 163/64 360
STALLION 33-28 1H 2199 Bo/d 668 Bo/d (29 day IP)   39 150/64 400
ABELMANN STATE 21-16 #2H 2466 Bo/d 805 Bo/d   39 176/64 360
FOREST 26-35 #1H 3571 Bo/d 962 Bo/d   32 176/64 230
DOMINEK 13-24 1-H 2327 Bo/d 690 Bo/d   33 163/64 480
HARVEY 15-22 #1H 1156 Bo/d 352 Bo/d (25 day IP)   39 96/64 450
KARI 10-3 #1H 1624 Bo/d 437 Bo/d   41 179/64 220
KALIL 25-36 2H 1654 Bo/d 487 Bo/d 373 Bo/d 37 192/64 193
KLT 24-13 1-H 1574 Bo/d 474 Bo/d   40 182/64 212
LYLE 21-16 #1-H 2581 Bo/d          
SAFELY TRUST 28-33 #1-H 2317 Bo/d          
CLIFFORD BAKKE 26-35 #2H 3863 Bo/d 1400 Bo/d 1150 Bo/d 38 128/64 450
CLIFFORD BAKKE 26-35 #3H 2462 Bo/d 1140 Bo/d 927 Bo/d 39 179/64 250
Average 2622 838 791 36.9    

These results are significant. Brigham has some of the best IP rates in the Williston Basin. These high 24-hour IP rates, are created by Brigham's decreased choking back of production. The choke it is currently using will tend to lose pressure in a shorter period of time. Brigham opens up these wells and obtains more resource in a shorter period of time. Companies that choke back production more, allow the well to produce for a longer period of time before being placed on artificial lift. I am unsure which way is more productive. Some think releasing well pressure too fast will decrease recovery over the life of the well. But when compared to other producers to date, this has not been the case as Brigham still outperforms much of its competition, although an argument can be made for Kodiak (NYSE:KOG) in the Koala and Polar prospects.

There are some large differences in Brigham's results above. The IP rates exceeding 2000+ Bo/d are wells located in north McKenzie and south Williams counties. The lower producing wells were located in western Williams county near the Montana border. Western Williams wells are characterized by lower pressure, and is why initial production numbers are lower. These wells in north McKenzie and south Williams counties have EURs in the 700 MBoe to 900 MBoe. The western Williams wells are closer to 500 MBoe.

In summary, Brigham continues to have excellent results. The north McKenzie County wells are the most impressive and rival other top producers like Kodiak and Newfield (NYSE:NFX). It should also be noted that Whiting (NYSE:WLL) has the top IP rate in the basin, to the east of Brigham's recent completions. Tarpon Federal 21-4H produced 4815 barrels of oil and 13163 Mcf of natural gas in the first 24 hours. Its 90-day IP rate was 1260 Bo/d. Whiting used a 30 stage frac with a 52/64 choke. The flowing casing pressure was 1300 PSI. EURs for this well are well over 1000 MBoe, and are better than Kodiak's best Koala wells. It is results like this that prove this area may be better than Alger of Sanish fields. Brigham is still one of the best operators in the Williston Basin and should continue to be a Bakken leader. It will be interesting to see how choke size will effect its longer term production.

Disclosure: I am long KOG.

Additional disclosure: This is not a buy recommendation.