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ND oil, gas production drops considerably

Eloise Ogden/MDN Oil production in North Dakota dropped below a million barrels of oil, according to the most recently released information from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources. Natural gas production also declined.

BISMARCK – North Dakota oil production numbers have plummeted below a million barrels of oil per day.

In May, the state’s oil production dropped to 858,395 barrels of oil per day, the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources announced on Friday. The previous month the state produced more than 1.2 million barrels of oil a day.

Natural gas production also declined. The state produced 59 billion cubic feet of natural gas in April. The gas capture rate was 88% (53 billion cubic feet per day) in May. In April the state produced 81 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The gas capture rate also was 88% (71 billion cubic feet per day).

Production numbers are normally about two months behind.

The lower crude oil prices has put extreme downward pressure on rig and completion crew counts in the state, according Lynn Helms, director of the Mineral Resources Department.

He said drilling permit activity is slower but has held up through the oil price collapse. Operators are still attempting to maintain a permit inventory of about 12 months and some experienced drilling rig and completion crews, Helms said.

Unemployment claims indicate about 10,250 layoffs as of July 11, with thousands of more jobs at risk as the Payment Protection Program expires, according to Helms.

On Friday, the price of North Dakota Light Sweet was $31.75 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was $40.75. The all-time high was $136.29 a barrel on July 3, 2008, for N.D. Light Sweet and $145.29 a barrel also on July 3, 2008, for WTI.

Ten rigs were actively working in North Dakota on Friday. The all-time high was 218 rigs on May 29, 2012.

The state’s producing wells numbered 12,809 (preliminary). The all-time high was 16,169 in October 2019. There were 952 wells waiting on completion in May.

Fort Berthold Reservation produced 200,322 barrels of oil. Four rigs were drilling on the reservation and 2,454 wells were active.

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