ND still producing over one million barrels of oil

May 12, 2017

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota is still producing over one million barrels of oil per day.

That’s shown in the just-released March production figures.

"We had a very slight downtick in production from February to March," said Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms at his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. "Gas production was up 1.4%."

The figures: March oil production at 1,025,638 barrels a day. Natural gas at 1.7 MCF per day.

Helms said the state has a record number of oil producing wells – 13,632. As to why the number of producing wells is up, but production dropped slightly, Helms said the majority were wells that had been idled, and are now coming back on-line.

"We're seeing fewer brand new, high-productive wells, and more of the older, somewhat aged wells that don't produce as much," Helms said.

Helms said whether production stays over a million barrels a day depends on an OPEC meeting later this month. He said OPEC did cut back on production – but because of the drilling activity in the Permean Basin of Texas, OPEC may decide to rescind the production cuts.

"These folks in the Permean are new companies in a new basin," Helms said. "OPEC may think they need to learn teh lesson of the other shale plays, and everything drops to $40. That would take rigs out of our market, and put us back in decline."

North Dakota currently has 51 drilling rigs working in the Williston Basin.