How do you define your well type?

States typically report a well type, but the definition of that type will vary from state to state. This is why we define our own status based on the data we have on the well.

Well types seem like they should be easy. Unfortunately, they're not. States define well types differently and operators routinely change the well types when there are tax or other advantages. Due to this, we have created a mechanism for defining a standard well type. This will allow you to create better insights by ensuring you are comparing wells of the same type. As always, we are dedicated to transparency in our data, so here is exactly how we define the well type.

Is the well active?

Determining the type of well has different paths for wells that are active producers, injectors, or disposals. Determining if a well is active is defined by a well that has reported volumes in one of those three places at least once in the past 3 reporting periods. With states reporting data at different frequencies, this is a variable calculation based on the state we are working with.

For Active Wells

Active wells become pretty straight-forward. Since an active well means it has volumes reported recently, we will base much of our process around those volumes.

Injectors & Disposals

Injection and disposal wells are nearly identical in every way. Therefore, we rely on the type specification from the regulatory agency to determine if it is and Injection or Disposal well.

From there, we go through the previous 3 periods of injection/disposal data to understand what the primary injected fluid is. Most injection wells are permitted for multiple injection types, so doing this is required for any additional information. The options are then determined to be:

  • Water
  • Gas
  • CO2
  • Other

So the final type for these wells will be Injection or Disposal + the type. For example, Injection CO2 or Disposal Water.


Now the vast majority of our wells will be producers. The method for defining the type came directly from feedback our users gave. One outlier that is tested first is Coalbed Methane wells. While they may have producing information, we attempt to identify those from regulatory filings and identify those as they are a special case. 

From here on, we use the max producing month GOR. There was a time where we used the latest month for this calculation, but we found it to be too variable for reliable analysis. Using the max month better allows for users to compare wells with similar production profiles. Here are the types and the GOR thresholds used for each:

  • Dry Gas - GOR greater than 200 or wells with any gas and no oil production
  • Wet Gas - GOR greater than 30 and less than or equal to 200
  • Condensate - GOR greater than 7 and less than or equal to 30
  • Volatile Oil - GOR greater than 2 and less than or equal to 2
  • Black Oil - GOR of 2 or less or wells with any oil and no gas production

It is rare, but if a well is considered active and does not fall into one of the categories above, it will be labeled as Unknown. This typically only happens when there is conflicting data from the regulatory agencies.

Inactive Wells

Wells can be marked as inactive for many reasons. These reasons need to be evaluated before we determine the type of a well. Here are the possible types and how they are defined:

  • Water - Water production well permitted as water or brine well.
  • Dry Hole - A sad, sad well type only used if the regulatory agency has labeled the well as a dry hole.
  • Test - Specific well type defined by some regulatory agencies.
  • Gas Storage - Well permitted for gas storage. Typically will not have volume information.
  • Storage - Well permitted for storage of any kind.
  • Observation - Specific well type defined by some regulatory agencies.
  • Sulfur - Specific well type defined by some regulatory agencies.
  • CO2 - Specific well type defined by some regulatory agencies.

If a well does not match any of the conditions above, and has historical production, injection, or disposal data, we will use the method defined above for active wells. If that is not the case, then odds are we are working with a new permit that has very little information to work off of. To that point, we will define the well type by the type permitted. The only additional options in this case are a more simple Oil Well or Gas Well.