ND oil production drops below the million-barrel-a-day mark

Oct 14, 2016

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms at the monthly "Director's Cut" briefing Thursday (10/13/16)
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s oil production dropped below one million barrels a day in August.

In his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing, state mineral resources director Lynn Helms says production dropped about 5 percent from July. The August average was 981,000 barrels a day.

"This is the month that we've all been anticipating, but were definitely not looking forward to," Helms told reporters. "It's not great news. But we've all been anticipating it."

Helms said he thinks he knows why the drop in the August report.

"August and September prices were down," Helms said. "We had at least two operators that anecdotally said theyshut some wells in for a part of the month, restricting production. Son it wasn't just a natural decline."

July production was 1,029,734 barrels a day. It dropped to 981,039 in August.

Helms has said he anticipates production to drop to around 900,000 barrels a day – before it starts coming back. He also said the million-barrel-a-day threshold is more a psychological milestone than something that sheds a negative light on the Bakken going forward.

"The Bakken is still very healthy," Helms said. "Most of the good years are yet to come."