ND’s oil and natural gas production declines

Eloise Ogden/MDN North Dakota’s oil and natural gas production shows a decrease. This pumping unit is in the Medora area.

BISMARCK – North Dakota’s oil and natural gas productions took a dip in June, according to preliminary numbers released by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources on Friday.

The state produced 1.03 million barrels of oil per day in June compared to 1.040 million bpd in May.

Natural gas production dropped to 1.849 billion cubic feet per day in June compared to 1.853 in May.

The figures are the most recent available.

While production declined, North Dakota’s number of producing wells continues to rise. In June the state had a preliminary figure and a new all-time high of 13,915 producing wells. In May the state had 13,885 producing wells.

On Friday, 57 rigs were actively working in the North Dakota oil fields. The statewide rig count is down 74 percent from the high. The all-time high was 218 rigs on May 29, 2012.

One rig is actively drilling on federal surface in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, according to Lynn Helms, director of the Mineral Resources Department.

He said 14 rigs are actively drilling on the Fort Berthold Reservation and the reservation is producing 216,017 barrels of oil per day. The reservation has 1,688 active wells.

Helms said operators have shifted from running the minimum number of rigs to incremental increases and decreases throughout 2017, as West Texas Intermediate oil price moves between $40 and $50 a barrel. If WTI drops below $45 a barrel for more than 30 days, he said rig count is expected to drop.

“Oil price weakness is now anticipated to last through calendar year 2017,” Helms said. “OPEC met the last week of June and decided to extend production cuts for nine months, but compliance has been less than 100 percent. The markets are watching to see if U.S. shale production offsets OPEC cuts. U.S. crude oil inventories have been dropping rapidly.”