The Bakken shale play has been the toast of the North American oil industry. In a previous article, I touched upon three companies operating in this region whose wells showed fantastic outputs. I also mentioned that the best way to ascertain well-flow rates is to calculate the average daily production over a period of three to six months.

However, at times, this data is not readily available. Instead, company filings mention growth in production and production guidance for the next fiscal period. These values can be safely used to ascertain whether the wells have been performing well. Today we'll take a look at some more companies operating in the Bakken.

The major deal that took place in 2011 was undoubtedly the acquisition of Brigham Exploration by Statoil (NYSE: STO). Is it any wonder that the Norwegian oil major entered the Bakken reserves through its acquisition of Brigham Exploration? Brigham's wells are located on the sweetest spots of the Bakken. The Sorenson 29-32 #2H and the Cvancara 20-17 #1H in Mountrail County have a 30-day average of 1,815 and 1,577 BOE/d, respectively. The Lloyd 34-3 #1H in McKenzie County clocked a corresponding 1,456 BOE/d. While the average flow rates are unavailable, the initial production (IP) rates have been the highest for Brigham's wells. Average IP rates stood at 2,906 BOE/d while average 30-day production rates stood at a fantastic 1,174 BOE/d.

Whiting Petroleum's (NYSE: WLL) wells in Stark County have been impressive. The Pronghorn Federal 34-11TFH and the Pronghorn Federal 21-14TFH saw IP rates of 1,645 and 1,849 BOE/d, respectively. The 60-day production average stood at 404 BOE/d. Whiting's operations look solid so far, with the third quarter witnessing a 10% growth in production over the second quarter.

Still, it must be noted that every well drilled in the Bakken hasn't been as productive. McKenzie County's Rose 147-99-28-2H, operated by ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) with a participating interest by Northern Oil & Gas (NYSE: NOG), had an IP rate of 628 BOE/d. The Lynn 5502 11-10H, operated by Oasis Petroleum in Williams County, had an IP rate of just 669 BOE/d. The 60-day daily average production will be much less -- typically around 25% of the initial rates. Another participation by Northern is in Mountrail County, with Hess as the operator. The En-Jorstad 157-94-0904-1 had an IP rate of 1,558 BOE/d. Quite impressive.

Northern has progressed substantially in 2011, adding production from 98 gross wells in the fourth quarter. Net production in the first nine months of 2011 rose a phenomenal 135% compared to the corresponding period in 2010. The Bakken has indeed proved its mettle.

However, the biggest player in the Bakken, Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR), takes the cake. For a $12 billion company, the third quarter saw production go up by a phenomenal 27% when compared to the second quarter. At the end of September, production exited at a solid 70,000 BOE/d. The Hawkinson -Whitman ECO-Pad project in Dunn County averaged initial production rates of 1,800 BOE/d. The Whitman 2-34H needs special mention, clocking 2,888 BOE/d. Dunn County has definitely been generous to the company. IP rates for the Colter 2-14H at 1,844 BOE/d, the Rutledge 1-32H at 1,425 BOE/d, and the Fuller 1-2H at 1,401 BOE/d ensured the solid growth.

Continental also completed the Lawrence-Omar ECO-Pad project in Williams County, where IP rates averaged 1,129 BOE/d. Other notable wells here are the Rennerfeldt 1-30H and the McCoy 2-18H, which clocked IP rates of 1,346 BOE/d and 1,249 BOE/d, respectively.

Foolish bottom line
All in all, the Bakken looked impressive in 2011. The coming year should continue seeing further growth as more undeveloped property gets converted into developed reserves. However, if you're looking for more ideas, The Motley Fool has created a new special oil report titled "3 Stocks for $100 Oil," which you can download today, absolutely free. In this report, Fool analysts cover three outstanding oil companies. To get instant access to the names of the three oil stocks, click here -- it's free.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.