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April oil production figures remain over one million barrels a day

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

North Dakota’s April oil production remained above a million barrels a day.

It was up nearly 25,000 barrels a day from the March number -- about a 2.4% increase.

"Happy, happy, happy," said state mineral resources director Lynn Helms at his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. "I think that was more than many of us expected."

There are 55 drilling rigs operating in the Bakken. But Helms said one potential drawback to getting new wells completed is – there aren’t enough frack crews right now.

"You'll see close to 200 frack crew jobs listed for North Dakota," Helms said. "The rigs are outrunning the frack crews."

Helms said many who worked in North Dakota on frack crews have moved to the Permian Basin in Texas. He said industry wants 25 crews working, but right now there are less than 20.

Still, Helms remains optimistic production will remain about a million barrels a day for the rest of 2017. That Is, unless...

"We could get a harsh winter," Helms said. "That'll be the real test. Either that, or a big drop in price."

North Dakota also set a record for natural gas production in April – producing over 1.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day.


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