Document and Entity Information - USD ($)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Feb. 15, 2018
Jun. 30, 2017
Document and Entity Information [Abstract]      
Entity Registrant Name WHITING PETROLEUM CORP    
Entity Central Index Key 0001255474    
Document Type 10-K    
Document Period End Date Dec. 31, 2017    
Amendment Flag false    
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31    
Entity Current Reporting Status Yes    
Entity Filer Category Large Accelerated Filer    
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   90,927,193  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2017    
Document Fiscal Period Focus FY    
Entity Public Float     $ 2,002,000,000
Entity Well-known Seasoned Issuer Yes    
Entity Voluntary Filers No