Lauren Collette mapped all the wells drilled in the US since 2016 and then sampled each of the regions for two trends:  Average number of wells per pad and maximum number of wells per pad. 

Lauren’s job at Spears & Associates is the analysis of minutia… because in the minutia are seen the early signs of potentially big trends.

The charts below plot these trends in South Texas, commonly referred to as the Eagle Ford, and in North Dakota:


We see here that regions are so different.  One size does not fit all. South Texas has two wells per pad going to 3 (average), while the Bakken has 3 wells per pad going to 4.  South Texas has an 8 wells per pad maximum while the Bakken is 17. (By the way, we’ve heard of more, but the data doesn’t yet show it.)

The other regions show a more stable average, which is generally 2-3.  
The big change is this, however:  Those big pads with lots of wells?  Most regions are seeing those big 10-20 well pads shrinking.  

We think that oil companies are finding that a 25 well pad that takes a year to drill and then frac and then bring on line ties up too much capital for shareholders to be happy.  With cash flow as king, we are looking for oil companies to hurry up the time from spud to first oil on each pad… and that probably means 3-4 wells per pad. 

This impacts drilling rig contracts, directional contracts, frac contracts, water contracts, sand contracts, coiled tubing…