North Dakota oil, gas production

Operators plan to add rigs in 2nd, 3rd quarters of 2018

BISMARCK – Oil production in North Dakota took another dip with 1.174 million barrels of oil a day produced in February, the most recent figures available, state officials reported Friday.

In January, the state produced 1.179 million barrels of oil a day, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

The February number is a preliminary number and the January number is the final number.

The state’s natural gas production reached a new all-time high of 2.102 billion cubic feet a day.

North Dakota has 14,327 producing wells.

As of Friday, N.D. sweet crude was at $55.75 a barrel, according to Flint Hills Resources.

Sixty rigs were actively working in the North Dakota oil fields. No rigs were working on federal surface in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands. Thirteen rigs were actively drilling on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The 1,799 active wells on the reservation were producing 214,783 barrels of oil a day. Wells waiting on completion there numbered 431.

Lynn Helms, director of the N.D. Department of Mineral Resources, said the West Texas Intermediate price has remained above $55 a barrel for more than 90 days so rig count is expected to continue increasing. He said current operator plans are to add five to 10 rigs in the second and third quarters of 2018 depending on workforce and infrastructure constraints.

Helms said the oil price downside risk is anticipated to last through 2018. He said OPEC met the last week of March and decided to extend production cuts to year end 2018.

Crude oil futures markets appear to anticipate OPEC production cuts maintaining prices through June 2018 with U.S. shale production resulting in slight overproduction mid-2018 through mid-2019. U.S. crude oil inventories are now approximately equal to the long-term average,” Helms said.