The North Dakota comments that sometimes, although oil wells are drilled they remain uncompleted for many reasons, either economic or operational.

Drilling and production process of an oil wells starts with the initial drilling. When the oil well is drilled, the well has to be completed before it is able to produce hydrocarbons. The completion process includes casing, cementing, perforating, hydraulic fracturing, and other procedures.

-Some oil wells are completed shortly after drilling is completed, but other wells remain drilled but uncompleted (DUC) for several months or years.-

The process of drilling is accomplished via multiyear contracts between producers and drilling contractors.


During the drilling process, oil wells are spudded and drilled in sequence with single or multiple rigs to maximize the number of wells drilled and minimize the idle transfer time between well locations.

The completion is achieved with short, batch-like contracts to complete a number of wells at the same time.

EIA adds that aggregate DUC counts rise due to the fact that some producers postpone completion of their wells for economic reasons.

#1 From June 2014 to February 2016 US crude oil benchmark prices decreased from more than $107 per barrel to less than $27/b.

In the meantime, because of the lower crude oil prices, the newly completed wells in North Dakota decreased.

In spite of the lower prices, the average time to drill a new well remained less than two months.

#2 From 2014 to 2017, delayed oil well completion in North Dakota led to 842 oil wells being uncompleted for at least one year. In the second half of 2016, as the crude oil prices started recovering, 84% of these wells were completed and began producing. Whereas, 135 oil wells that were spudded during those three years still remain in DUC status awaiting completion, as of the end of June 2019. Only 7 oil wells that were spudded between 2014 through 2017 have remained in DUC status for more than five years.