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ND oil production showing slight improvement

BISMARCK – North Dakota’s oil production made a small climb to 1.164 million barrels of oil a day in August, compared to July’s figure of 1.042 million barrels of oil a day.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources announced on Friday the most recent production figures. The figures normally are about two months behind.

On Friday, the price of North Dakota Light Sweet crude was $31.75 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was $40.96. The N.D. market estimate was $36.36.

In August, 19 wells were completed and 15,144 were producing, according to the report. Both are preliminary numbers. Inactive wells numbered 2,719 and wells waiting on completion numbered 846 in August.

Production on the Fort Berthold Reservation included 268,976 barrels of oil produced, five rigs actively drilling, 2,475 active wells, 147 wells waiting on completion and 290 approved drilling permits.

Lynn Helms, Mineral Resources director, said the drilling rig count is down 71% from January to August of this year.

He said the number of well completions has been very volatile since March as the number of active completion crews decreased from 25 to 1 to 5.

Lower crude oil price has put extreme downward pressure on rig and completion crew counts. As of Oct. 10, he said unemployment claims indicate about 11,400 layoffs, with more jobs at risk due to oil price volatility.

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