Number of producing wells reaches preliminary all-time high

BISMARCK – North Dakota has reached a preliminary new all-time high of 15,698 producing wells.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources released the state’s newest production numbers on Tuesday. The May numbers are the most recent numbers available.

The number of producing wells jumped from 15,503 in April to the May number of 15,698. Eighty-nine percent or 14,043 wells are now unconventional Bakken-Three Forks wells and 11% or 1,655 wells are from legacy conventional pools.

The state produced 1.393 million barrels of oil a day in May, an increase of 799 barrels compared to the April figure.

The state also produced 87.471 MCF of natural gas in May. In April the state produced 84.993 MCF of natural gas.

On Tuesday, the crude price was $48.75 a barrel – North Dakota light sweet and $145.29 a barrel – West Texas Intermediate, according to Flint Hills Resources.

Fifty-eight rigs were actively working in the oil patch on Tuesday. The statewide rig count is down 73% from the high and in the five most active counties rig count is down as follows, according to the report:

– Divide: -85%

– Dunn: -74%

– McKenzie: -64%

– Mountrail: -76%

– Williams: -81%

The Fort Berthold Reservation is producing 315,155 barrels of oil a day. Fourteen rigs are actively drilling and there are 2,157 active wells. The reservation has a potential of 4,395 future wells, according to the report.

One rig is actively drilling on federal surface in the Dakota Prairie Grasslands.

Lower crude oil price, gas capture, workforce and competition with the Permian and Anadarko shale oil plays for capital continue to limit drilling rig count, according to Lynn Helms, director of the Mineral Resources Department.

He said the drilling rig count was very stable in the mid-60s for the first half of the year. Operators have implemented plans to use two to five fewer rigs in the second half of 2019 based on oil price, capital availability and infrastructure constraints, Helms also reported.