ND oil production still down slightly, gas production continues all-time high

BISMARCK – North Dakota’s daily oil production slipped sightly with 1.162 million barrels of oil a day produced in March, according to preliminary figures. In February, the state produced 1.175 million barrels of oil a day. The all-time high was 1.227 million barrels a day produced in December 2014.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources released the new figures on Tuesday. The March figures are the most recent ones available.

The state produced a new all-time high of 2.116 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in March. In February the state produced 2.106 MCF a day of natural gas.

The state also has a preliminary new all-time high of 14,457 producing wells.

On Tuesday, 60 rigs were actively working in North Dakota. The five most active counties are Divide, Dunn, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams.

On Tuesday, the North Dakota sweet crude price was $59.25 a barrel, according to Flint Resources. The all-time high was $136.29 a barrel on July 3, 2008.

West Texas Intermediate has remained above $55 a barrel for more than 90 days so the rig count is expected to continue increasing, said Lynn Helms, director of the Mineral Resources Department. 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.

He said oil price associated with competition with the out-of-state Permian and Anadarko shale oil plays continue to limit drilling rig county.

Currently, no rigs are drilling on federal surface in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands. On the Fort Berthold Reservation, 17 rigs are drilling. The reservation has 1,830 active wells, 237,526 barrels of oil producing per day and 105 wells waiting on completion. Drilling permits approved for the reservation total 437.

Helms said the oil price downside risk has diminished. “OPEC is discussing how to manage production cuts through late 2018 as Venezuela’s exports collapse and the U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran. Crude oil futures markets appear to anticipate supply and demand remaining in balance through OPEC production cuts and U.S. shale production growth. U.S. crude oil inventories are now approximately equal to the long-term average,” Helms said.