State’s producing oil wells reaches over 17,000

Eloise Ogden/MDN North Dakota has reached a new preliminary all-time high in the number of producing wells in the state.

BISMARCK – North Dakota has a new preliminary all-time high of 17,041 producing wells, according to the newest oil and gas production report released on Tuesday by the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

The new high number of producing wells is for September, the most recent numbers available.

In August, the state had 16,956 producing wells.

North Dakota produced 1,113,410 barrels of oil a day or 33,402,299 barrels in September. In August, the state produced 1,107,359 barrels of oil a day or 34,328,132 barrels, according to the report.

The price of crude on Tuesday was $74.75 for North Dakota light sweet and $80.88 for West Texas Intermediate.

The state’s natural gas production in September was 90,467,024 MCF or 3,015,567 MCF a day. In August, natural gas production was 91,804,476 MCF or 2,961,434 MCF a day.

The gas capture percentage in September was 94% and in August it was 92%.

Thirty-four rigs were actively working in the oil field on Tuesday. The all-time high was 218 rigs on May 29, 2012.

There were 503 wells waiting on completion in September.

Fort Berthold Reservation produced 254,896 barrels of oil a day in September. One rig was actively drilling on the reservation and 2,607 wells were active. The reservation has the potential for 3,954 future wells.

Lynn Helms, director of the Mineral Resources Department, said the drilling rig count fell 38% from January 2020 to September 2021 and is slowly increasing.

He said the number of well completions has been low and volatile since April 2020 as the number of active completion crews dropped from 25 to one, then increased to six in August 2021 and to 10 this week.

“OPEC+ continues to phase out 5.8 million barrels per day of oil production cuts by September 2022. Coordinated increases in oil supply from the group known as OPEC+ began in August 2021. At their November 2021 meeting OPEC+ decided to stick with their plan to increase production 400,000 barrels per day monthly going forward,” Helms said.

He said the International Energy Agency estimates a 1.5 million barrel per day shortfall for the second half of this year, indicating a tight market despite the gradual OPEC supply boost. “EIA now estimates that supply and demand are balanced with demand returning to 2019 levels in the second quarter 2022,” Helms said.

Helms said drilling activity is slowly increasing, and operators continue to maintain a permit inventory of about 12 months.


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