Working Paper

Supply Flexibility in the Shale Patch: Evidence from North Dakota

Author: Hilde C. Bjørnland, Frode Martin Nordvik and Maximilian Rohrer
Series: Working Paper
Number: 9/2017

Working Paper 9/2017 (PDF 736.7 Kb)


We analyse if supply exibility in oil production depends on the extraction technology. In particular, we ask to what extent shale oil producers respond to price incentives by changing completion of new wells as well as oil production from completed wells. Using a novel well-level monthly production data set covering more than 15,000 crude oil wells in North Dakota, we find large differences in response between conventional and unconventional (shale) extraction technology: While shale oil wells respond significantly to spot future spreads by changing both well completion and crude oil production, conventional wells do not. Our results suggest that firms using shale oil technology are more exible in allocating output intertemporally. We interpret such output pattern of shale oil wells to be consistent with the Hotelling theory of optimal extraction.

Published 31 May 2017 11:05