Slight drop in oil production reported in November

Jan 13, 2017

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms at the January "Director's Cut" briefing (1-13-17)
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

"Slips, Trips and Falls." 

That's State mineral resources director Lynn Helms' theme for the January director’s cut briefing – where he presented November’s oil and gas production.

"Production did slide -- or slip -- from October to November," Helms said. "About 10,000 barrels a day."

It dropped from 1,043,693 barrels a day in October, to 1,033,693 barrels a day in November. And Helms said about 80 percent of that slip happened on the Ft. Berthold reservation.

On the flip side, natural gas production was up – and flaring was down. Natural gas production hit a new all-time high, while flaring was down to around 10 to 11 percent.

"It really does reflect how much more significant natural gas production is becoming, in terms of North Dakota revenue and other things," Helms said. "It shows how important that is."

Helms said the producing well count was up for both legacy conventional pools and the Bakken.

However:

"I've been getting reports from field inspectors that, starting about a week ago, companies were plowing the roads to get to their conventional wells, just so they can shut them down safely," Helms said. "We're seeing enormous numbers -- dozens to hundreds -- of conventional wells shut in this month."

Helms said they would be shut down for the winter.

And in permitting – Helms said the number of permits issued dropped by more than half from November to December. And he said 36 rigs are now working in North Dakota – down from 40 in December.

Helms saids while the weather was great in November – it was much different in December and January – and that will likely show up in those production numbers.