press release

Re-frac market soars past 550 horizontal wells in 2018

March 22, 2019
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The horizontal re-frac market within the US onshore scene has boomed in the recent years, with the number of horizontal re-frac jobs increasing every year over the last 10 years. In 2009, fewer than 10 wells were re-fracked, but in 2018 that number ballooned to more than 550 wells.

New 2018 data is still preliminary amid some reporting delays for frac jobs in the fourth quarter of 2018. However Rystad Energy’s initial analysis reveals some interesting insights regarding the state of re-fracking. One key takeaway is that, despite an increase in the number of re-fracked wells, the relative size of the horizontal re-frac market, compared to the original completion market, peaked during the downturn in 2016 at 5.3%, and declined to 3.8% last year.

Many industry experts argue that this decline may persist, as re-frac technologies remain relatively immature, delivering less predictable results compared to infill well drilling. Because of this technological barrier, down-spacing child projects are often prioritized over parent well re-fracs. Additionally, modern wells from the more recent vintages have been completed with high intensity and dense stage spacing, making them imperfect candidates for future re-fracs due to the complexity of the original fracture network.

The most mature liquid basin in the US, the Bakken, has seen the greatest horizontal re-frac market growth in the county so far. As of 2017-2018, the Bakken accounted for between 40% and 50% of nationwide horizontal re-frac activity. The Appalachia, Eagle Ford, Permian and Haynesville basins also saw significant horizontal re-frac activity in recent years, while several successful vertical re-frac programs were executed in the Barnett Shale and Niobrara basins. (Note: vertical re-fracs were not considered in Figure 1 below).

A bar chart showing the US onshore, horizontal re-frac market evolution comparing to the number of re-frac jobs from 2009 to 2018. Source: Rystad Energy: ShaleWellCube For more indepth information please have a look at our Shale Upstream Analytics



Artem Abramov
Head of Shale Research
Phone: +47 24 00 42 00

Carsten Torbergsen
Marketing Manager
Phone: +47 24 00 42 00


About Rystad Energy

Rystad Energy is an independent energy research and business intelligence company providing data, tools, analytics and consultancy services to the global energy industry. Our products and services cover energy fundamentals and the global and regional upstream, oilfield services and renewable energy industries, tailored to analysts, managers and executives alike. Rystad Energy’s headquarters are located in Oslo, Norway with offices in London, New York, Houston, Stavanger, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Bangalore, Tokyo, Sydney and Dubai.