WPP it Good: A Short Analysis of Wells Per Pad

LinkedIn is filled with photos of multiple well pads taken by folks rightly proud of their hard work.  Nothing prettier than a line of bright blue frac trees kissed by the setting sun. And if those photos were your survey sample, you’d think the average pad had 8-12 wells on it, because, well, nothing looks sadder than a one-well pad.  Looks old-school. A photo of a one-well pad has never in the history of time been posted on LinkedIn. 

So what is the average number of wells per pad?  We had one of our brilliant young analysts, Lauren, map all the wells drilled last year to the surface of the US… and then build a histogram (distribution) of those pads that had one well, two wells, three wells,… 25 wells.  Here’s the Permian, for example: 


In the Permian, 19% of all pads drilled in 2018 had a single well, 22% had 2 wells, 16% had 3 wells…  In Wyoming, the distribution was extremely wide: 8% of all pads had a single well, 12% had 2 wells and 6% had 24 wells!  Oklahoma’s distribution was narrowest: 26% of pads had a single well, 35% had 2 wells, 24% had 3.

So even though LinkedIn photos typically show about 8 wells per pad, the nation’s average is actually 3-4 wells.  The range is 1 to 25, but the average is 3-4. 

Three to four wells per pad represents about a month’s worth of work for a drilling rig and a month’s worth of work for a frac spread.

PS.  I double dog dare somebody to post a photo of a lonely single frac tree.